The Michigan House today overwhelmingly approved a proposal from Rep. Edward J. Canfield D.O. improving access to health care in rural areas of the state.
The measure calls for providing at least $26 million for rural hospitals to help care for Medicaid patients – money some hospitals need to remain open, Canfield said. Some of the money would be dedicated specifically for baby delivery and related services.
Canfield’s plan increases funding for the rural hospital access pool and gives it more permanency.
“Many rural hospitals need this money simply to keep their doors open. And they are in areas where we simply can’t afford to lose hospitals and health care providers,” said Canfield, a long-time doctor from Sebewaing. “These funds are too important not to have some permanence.”
Canfield said the financial viability of rural hospitals has life-and-death consequences.
“Keeping these hospitals open saves lives and makes lives better,” Canfield said. “In some areas, losing a hospital may mean a drive that’s an hour or more longer to receive critical care – and that’s time people don’t have in many situations.”
House Bill 5934 advances to the Senate for further consideration.