Access to quality care essential to survival of rural communities
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-KS, has introduced S. Res. 26, a Senate resolution recognizing the importance of access to hospitals and other health care providers to the survival and success of communities in the United States. These rural providers face unique challenges in administering care to patients spread across a wide area.
"When vising towns across Kansas, I am reminded of what I loved about growing up in rural America--the strong sense of community," Moran said. "Our special way of life in these towns would not be possible without access to quality health care. It is important that the Senate understand that in addition to health care services, rural providers are a vital part of the local economy of a community."
"Kansas rural hospitals provide essential health care services to a growing population of rural Medicare beneficiaries," Vicki Hahn, administrator of Wichita County Health Center, Leoti, Kan., said. "Rural communities depend on hospitals to be there when they need them, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. They respond swiftly to emergencies, help patients cope with acute and chronic illness, and care for those who have no place left to turn."
The Resolution recognizes that:
--Access to quality health care services determines whether older individuals can remain in the communities they call home and whether their children will return to those communities to raise families of their own;
--More than 60 million individuals in rural areas of the United States rely on rural hospitals and other providers as critical access points to health care;
--Access to health care continues to be a major challenge in rural areas of our country;
--Because rural hospitals and other providers face unique challenges in administering care to patients, Congress has traditionally supported those providers to enable them provide care to individuals that are geographically isolated.
--Rural hospitals achieve high levels of performance, according to standards for quality, patient satisfaction, and operational efficiency, for the types of care most relevant to rural communities;
--In addition to the vital care they provide, rural health care providers are critical to the local economies of their communities and are one of the largest types of employers in rural America; and
--Closure of a hospital in a rural community can devastate that community.