CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — More help may be on the way to boost rural healthcare all across the nation. This comes after Boone Memorial Health received $3 million from Congress.

Boone Memorial received that grant to expand services, but soon it may not be alone.

Just this week, the U.S. House formed the bipartisan Congressional Rural Health Caucus, which even had its first hearing on Wednesday. Among its goals: stop hospital closures and increase the number of rural healthcare workers.

The committee also wants to increase federal reimbursement rates to Medicare and Medicaid providers. But rather than increasing spending, members want that money to come by cutting other government programs.

“It’s just what we have to do. Get rid of whatever wasteful spending that we can, and make sure that we have the money that can go into the rural areas because rural health care is very important to me,” said Rep. Carol Miller (R) West Virginia.

The committee consists of nine Republicans and 15 Democrats. Instead of party lines, the members share the common bond of representing many rural communities.

As for when more money will be coming for rural health care? Well, next year is an election year, and that puts pressure on members of Congress to bring more money back to their districts.

While our region has seen more than a dozen hospitals close in recent years, it’s estimated by the group “Beckers Hospital Review” that nationwide, 600 rural hospitals are now in danger of closing.


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