“This has been moving at lightning speed, and it makes really big changes to our healthcare system,” said Cindy Zeldin, executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future.
Earlier this week, the Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee (RHSC), created by Governor Deal to address the needs of struggling rural hospitals and find solutions that address those needs, issued its final report. The recommendations in the report include:
- A four site “Hub & Spoke” pilot program
- Maintenance and protection of Certificate of Need laws
- Expanded scope of practice for non-physician providers, like physicians assistants and nurse practitioners
- More support for school-based health centers
The committee’s work shines a spotlight on the health care access challenges that rural Georgians face and puts forth constructive recommendations. While we support these recommendations whole-heartedly, we are also disappointed that the committee did not address the coverage gap and Medicaid expansion in its report.
Georgia Health News interviewed Georgians for a Healthy Future’s Executive Director on this issue (click here to read the full article), and in that article she pointed to the early success of states like Kentucky, which recently reported improvements and coverage rates and in health care access due to Medicaid expansion. She also encouraged policymakers to take a comprehensive approach that includes closing Georgia’s coverage gap to help get people into health insurance and provide a reimbursement stream for rural hospitals.
Back in December, Georgians for a Healthy Future, together with several consumer and community-focused organizations including the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Georgia Watch, and Families First, submitted a report and provided public comment to the committee making a detailed case for such an approach. You can read that full report here.