WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Cresent Hardy (NV-4) introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen the network of rural health care facilities throughout Nevada.
After the closure of Tonopah’s only hospital last August left area residents hours away from emergency medical facilities, Congressman Hardy began investigating how to prevent future closures of additional rural hospitals.
“What we found was shocking. More than 30% of America’s rural hospitals are vulnerable to conditions that have caused the closure of 71 facilities since 2010. Rural communities are home to some of our most resilient people, but they are too often overlooked for that very reason. We need to act now to prevent more families from losing their lifelines in times of emergency,” said Congressman Hardy.
Congressman Hardy teamed up with Democratic Congresswoman Terri Sewell from Alabama to introduce the Rural Health Enhancement and Long Term Health Act (HEALTH) of 2016.
“The growing fragility of rural hospitals, combined with inaccessibility issues and grave health disparities, threatens the economic viability of the most underserved communities in our country. As more rural hospitals are being forced to shut their doors and rural health services are being cut, it is my hope Congress will pass the Rural HEALTH Act,” said Congresswoman Sewell.
The Rural HEALTH Act aims to support existing rural hospitals through State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) and incentivize construction of new facilities for communities in need. It also requires the federal Department of Health and Human Services to annually report on the state of America’s rural health systems, something that hasn’t been done since 2003. This report must examine the number of hospital closures and their causes.
“The proposed reauthorization of the SORH grant program will allow the Nevada SORH to continue to provide vital technical assistance and support to rural and frontier hospitals in Nevada,” wrote Doctor Evan Klass and Director Gerald Ackerman with the Nevada State Office of Rural Health.
“Rural health care systems throughout the country continue to operate in a fragile state,” said Teryl Eisinger, Executive Director National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health. “By reauthorizing the State Office of Rural Health grant program, this bipartisan legislation will help provide improved access to quality health care for the 61 million Americans living in rural areas.”
The Rural HEALTH Act of 2016 is supported by the Nevada Hospital Association, the Nevada State Office of Rural Health, the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health and the American Osteopathic Association.
Nevada’s Rural Hospitals:
- Banner Churchill Community Hospital (Fallon)
- Battle Mountain General Hospital
- Boulder City Hospital
- Carson Valley Medical Center (Gardnerville)
- Desert View Hospital (Pahrump)
- Grover C. Dils Medical Center (Caliente)
- Humboldt General Hospital (Winnemucca)
- Incline Village Community Hospital
- Mesa View Regional Hospital (Mesquite)
- Mount Grant General Hospital (Hawthorne)
- Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital (Elko)
- Pershing General Hospital (Lovelock)
- South Lyon Medical Center (Yerington)
- William Bee Ririe Hospital (Ely)
Congressman Cresent Hardy represents Nevada’s 4th Congressional District. He serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and the House Small Business Committee.