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September 26, 2013

Hospital Leaders Underscore Need for Strong Rural Healthcare Network in Visit to Washington D.C.

Marcia R. Dial, CEO, Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, MO, recently returned from Washington, D.C., where she was part of a rural hospitals administration team that visited with members of the state's congressional delegation about the importance of critical access hospitals (CAHs) to health care access and rural economics in Missouri. Missouri's 35 CAHs, including Scotland County Hospital, provide an oversized value to the state, creating access to health care, economic security for families and seniors, and jobs to rural communities across the nation.

CAHs serve as high quality access points for around-the-clock emergency services, inpatient and outpatient services, as well as opportunities to access specialists without incurring tremendous costs in time and travel for those in need. CAHs make it possible for patients to receive care at home in their rural communities where they can be surrounded by family and other social supports.

Missouri's delegation to Washington, D.C., has consistently supported the CAH program. However, a recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General has recommended changes to the program that could undermine the ability of CAHs in Missouri to continue to serve their communities.

Missouri's CAHs provide nearly 10 percent of the state's inpatient hospital care and 9 percent of emergency care. In many of the communities they serve, they provide the primary access to physician services locally.

"It is imperative, as CEO of a Critical Access Hospital, to remain on the forefront with the U.S. Representatives and Senators for the survival of rural healthcare access in our small communities," said Marcia Dial, CEO. "I was pleased to be part of this group leading efforts to educate federal lawmakers of the importance of the critical access hospitals in Missouri."


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