Story by Tom Kuhns, Meade County News, April 29th Edition
U.S. Senator Jerry Moran was in Meade last Thursday afternoon to visit the Meade District Hospital and to explain how a new law could help both the hospital and local veterans.
“I just came by to see how you deliver health care in Meade,” Moran said. “I want to make sure that you have the opportunity to tell me anything you want to make sure that I know, the issues that I need to be paying attention to.” “I’ve held town hall meetings here in your hospital, but I just wanted to come back and see what was going on,” he added. “We’ve had a long-time relationship with this hospital.”
Artesian Valley Health System CEO Steve Stewart told Moran that his main concerns with the federal health care system was the growing bureaucratic that he and his employees are forced to deal with.
“It’s just the same thing,” Stewart noted. “The unfunded mandates, the new stuff coming down, we’re struggling to get ready for it. It’s just the constant changing.”
“If you don’t read your news and your emails every day, you’re probably going to get behind,” Stewart added, “and if you go on vacation you’re going to read stuff just because you don’t want to get behind.”
Moran said he agreed with the administrator’s concerns. “There’s no vacation where you don’t work or pay the price when you return,” he noted.
Moran toured the hospital and visited the various departments of the healthcare facility.
Midway through his tour, Moran said that a recently passed federal law would help eligible veterans obtain more health care from their local hospitals.
“The law says that if you live more than 40 miles from a VA facility, or it takes more than 30 days to get the service you need, the veteran at his or her choice can use hometown,” Moran stated.
“Any veteran who wants to have care provided at home, instead of going to the VA, the VA is required to do that, and the VA is required to pay that provider Medicare rates.”
Moran said that past efforts have tried to offer veterans hometown care, but acknowledged that those measures often fell short.
“The VA has been pretty messy in what they do,” he stated. “The VA is a pretty bureaucratic place and they’ve implemented this law in a pretty lousy way.”
“We passed a law last Thursday so we think that things can get better,” he added.
Moran said that his office was available for help to any veteran who was having problems getting needed health care from a local provider.
“If a veteran goes through this process and he or she has a problem, we’ll go to bat for them,” he told Stewart.
“This is a way we think we can certainly help the veteran, but also help stabilize health care in community hospitals with the additional revenue that comes from caring for people that come from your own community.”
image courtesy of Jennifer Godfrey
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