A new law aims to improve rural healthcare across the country

KEYC News Now at 10 Recording
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 10:17 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - For the next five years, the Minnesota State Office of Rural Health will receive federal funds to continue an initiative that expands suburban health care access to rural providers across the state.

This could include telehealth, information sharing, technology assistance, staff training, and more.

“We do utilize the state office of rural health and we’ve obtained grants in the past,” said David Walz, CEO of Madelia Health.

For Madelia Health, with a total of 25 hospital beds, keeping patients and providers local with convenient healthcare access is a priority.

“We’re trying to be proactive in the care that we provide, and providing that care closer to home is the ultimate goal, and to provide easy access,” explained Walz.

“Because if all of their patients are leaving as soon as they need another level of care, then it makes it much, much harder for that provider to stay in business in the community,” said Sen. Tina Smith.

U.S. Senator Tina Smith sponsored the State Office of Rural Health Reauthorization Act, with goals to improve EMT services, critical access hospitals, and provider training in rural Minnesota.

For example, Senator Smith says rural providers don’t deliver enough babies, so the state office can provide a solution.

“They developed this mobile training service to help obstetricians keep up their skills with a simulation unit so that they can practice their skills,” explained Sen. Smith.

Another example is the use and expansion of telehealth services among rural communities.

“We do offer telehealth, and telehealth medicine is vital, especially here in these winter months,: said Walz, “Individuals can get the care they need from the comforts of their homes.”

Madelia Health says it will continue to apply for grants from the state office of rural health.

“Our plan is to expand services and partner with other organizations to ensure that we have those capabilities here locally,” explained Walz.