Highland Health Providers and Highland District Hospital recently welcomed Congressman Brad Wenstrup of the United States House of Representatives to the new Rocky Fork Medical Center practice, led by vurse practitioners Pam Knisley and Marsha Mitchell, which opened in April this year.
A physician by trade, Wenstrup conferred with both Randal Lennartz, president and CEO of Highland District Hospital, and Amanda Warix, executive director of Highland Health Providers, over current legislation within state and national agendas, and listened to accounts of what is working for his constituents and what needs improved.
“Access to health care and medications, reimbursement for care, and the ability to make impactful, patient-centered decisions as a health care provider are among our most important topics of discussion with the Congressman,” Lennartz said. “Our focus is bringing quality care to where it is needed, after that we must focus on how to sustain that care through a reimbursement model that makes sense. The Congressman, a physician, understands that first-hand.”
Discussions continued regarding the federal grant process, how funds are allocated to health care agencies serving the underserved, and how important those funds are for continuing the mission to serve in rural areas.
In February, 2019, Highland Health Providers — currently a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC) look-a-like, filed for a grant to obtain its fully funded FQHC status.
“Acquiring our fully funded FQHC status is very important us. Being awarded those federal funds is the difference between bringing access to care to where it is most needed, and not being able to fill that need at all — leaving our communities with little opportunity for quality care close to them,” Warix said.
Wenstrup added, “It was a pleasure meeting with health care providers at Rocky Fork Medical Center. I’m grateful for the excellent care they provide amidst the challenges facing rural health care practitioners and hospitals, including a shortage of providers and low reimbursement rates for care. Our rural communities are too often overlooked by bureaucrats setting health care policies. I’m working to increase the number of providers and expand access to comprehensive health care services in rural communities like Rocky Fork.”
A decision on the FQHC grant application is not expected to be announced until fall 2019.
Wenstrup concluded the visit by meeting the staff and a tour of the facility.
Submitted by Ashlee Cheesbro, marketing manager, Highland District Hospital.