Discussing state of healthcare at rountable forum

From Medicaid reimbursements to finding an ambulance, issues regarding access to health care in rural areas were shared at Friday's forum in New Hampton

Posted: Mar 22, 2019 10:56 PM

NEW HAMPTON, Iowa - It's been a controversial topic across our area: access to health care in rural communities.

Some hospitals have had to close clinics in small towns, and even ambulance services are feeling the pinch due to cuts and growing expenses.

Many that work in the health care field are fed up with the current state of affairs, and shared their concerns at a public forum Friday in New Hampton.

From Medicaid reimbursements, to frustration finding an ambulance, there were a few concerning issues brought up during the forum.

"We had an ambulance in Alta Vista, New Hampton, Fredericksburg and Nashua. You don't get that today."

Doreen Cook used to run the Chickasaw Ambulance Service until about 10 years ago. She says issues she was dealing with a decade ago still continue today, including getting reimbursement.

"In the past, we've been hearing for the past several years, they're not getting reimbursed for the cost. And if you don't get reimbursed for the cost, what are you going to do? You're going to cut your service, you're going to cut your employees, and you're going to cut your service area."

Cheryl Haggerty is the Chief Nursing Officer at MercyOne New Hampton, and says issues surrounding the privitization of Medicaid have led patients to go elsewhere, especially when it comes to transfers for a service that would accept Medicaid.

"We have the potential to lose that patient for the hospital because they can go to Howard County. Why would they stop with us?"

The reduction in service has even put a strain on services, which are needed at a moment's notice, and can be costly.

"Eventually, you do get to a point where you say, 'alright. We can call a helicopter and it can be here in 10 minutes, or I can wait 40 minutes for an ambulance. What do you want to do?' And I shouldn't have to ask the patient that in that situation."

With state lawmakers also at today's forum, Haggerty hopes that they're getting the message for proper funding and change to the system.

"We're talking about making them an essential service. If they do that, they're taking money away from services like public health. That is insane, because you're going to cut services to those patients, so I think they really need to look at the patients and rural communities, and the Medicaid population."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 37624

Reported Deaths: 1503
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Hennepin12150785
Ramsey4805226
Stearns234519
Dakota228690
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Olmsted110115
Washington106940
Mower9452
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Scott7004
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Blue Earth4532
Todd4002
Carver3641
Lyon3092
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Watonwan2160
Benton2143
St. Louis17715
Martin1635
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Cass152
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Roseau130
Marshall120
Grant100
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Mahnomen81
Clearwater70
Hubbard60
Lake60
Traverse50
Lac qui Parle40
Stevens40
Red Lake30
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 30377

Reported Deaths: 720
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk6332179
Woodbury320644
Black Hawk219658
Buena Vista170711
Linn124282
Johnson12388
Dallas123529
Marshall104119
Story7513
Pottawattamie71911
Scott71910
Wapello70530
Crawford6752
Muscatine62444
Dubuque62122
Sioux4600
Tama46029
Wright3771
Louisa36013
Jasper32117
Plymouth3135
Warren2641
Dickinson2602
Washington2349
Hamilton1871
Webster1712
Cerro Gordo1471
Boone1451
Clarke1292
Clay1280
Allamakee1264
Mahaska11517
Shelby1140
Clinton1051
Poweshiek1048
Carroll931
Pocahontas931
Bremer916
Des Moines862
Henry863
Franklin840
Cedar811
Emmet800
Taylor790
Cherokee751
Monona740
Floyd702
Marion680
Hardin670
Guthrie644
Sac630
Benton621
Jefferson590
Osceola590
Jones560
Harrison530
Humboldt531
Lee532
Butler522
Iowa510
Buchanan501
Monroe506
Hancock490
Calhoun482
Delaware481
Madison422
Lyon410
Clayton403
Davis391
Fayette370
Mitchell370
Winneshiek370
Mills360
Palo Alto360
Grundy350
Kossuth330
Lucas304
Greene290
Howard290
Chickasaw280
Jackson270
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Keokuk201
Page200
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