02.02.16

Senator Lankford Discusses Rural Hospital Decline at Annual Rural Health Policy Institute

WASHINGTON, DCSenator James Lankford (R-OK) spoke at the National Rural Health Association’s (NRHA) 27th Annual Rural Health Policy Institute today. During his speech, Lankford stressed the importance of rural health organizations and the communities they serve. Lankford discussed the options Congress is considering to continue support for Oklahoma’s rural hospitals.

“Rural hospitals are essential to our rural communities and families in Oklahoma. The threat of closure of rural hospitals is a serious risk to the livelihood of these communities,” said Lankford. “Since 2013, more rural hospitals have closed than in the previous 10 years combined. We need to protect healthcare access for rural communities and give individual states the tools to make healthcare decisions based on their local needs through solutions like the Rural Emergency Acute Care Hospital Act. I am thankful for NRHA’s and RHAO’s dedication to protect Oklahoma’s rural communities and to speak with them about viable healthcare solutions.”

The Rural Emergency Acute Care Hospital (REACH) Act, of which Lankford is a co-sponsor, would create a new Rural Emergency Hospital classification under Medicare. The hospital would have an emergency room and outpatient services, but it would not have the inpatient beds that many hospitals are struggling to maintain. 

The NRHA is a national nonprofit membership organization with more than 20,000 members. The association’s mission is to provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communication, education and research.