During his visit to Alma on June 20th, Senator Dan Hughes took the opportunity to visit with Harlan County Health System leadership to learn about the current state of healthcare in Harlan County and to discuss barriers in the provision of healthcare in rural Nebraska, specifically here in Harlan County and the surrounding areas. Topics discussed included how the health system ensures that high quality and efficient care is provided to our patients, challenges in behavioral health that are a concern not only in this county, but throughout the State of Nebraska and the provision of care to residents that are not currently eligible for public assistance programs. HCHS and many other healthcare providers are facing difficulty in the current practices of the Medicaid and Medicaid Managed programs and we are looking toward our legislators to assist with this process.
The expected workforce shortages in nursing and other allied health professions, as well as in non-clinical area are a concern that HCHS, along with many other employers is facing. Manuela Wolf, HCHS CEO stated:” In the coming years it will be increasingly important to have strategies to address these shortages, both on a local level and also in the legislature by offering incentives and education assistance for workers to choose employment in rural settings.” Recruitment and retention in health care, especially in rural Nebraska were important topics during the conversation with Senator Hughes.
During the visit we also had opportunity to discuss the Health System’s Capital Campaign to replace the current medical clinic and received input from Senator Hughes regarding available funds through USDA programs.
It is important to the future of healthcare, especially rural healthcare to be in close contact with legislators and their staff to make them aware of the difficulties that we face. One of the most powerful tools available to constituents is a personal call, visit or letter to their elected officials. Elected officials want to be responsive to their constituents, so as concerned citizen it is important to know who your representatives are, let them know who you are and be a resource for them by sharing information in addition to sharing concerns and requests. HCHS leadership is grateful for the opportunity to visit with and inform Senator Hughes of our ongoing concerns.