Trips to D.C. finally make headway for hospital

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Recent trips by residents of Pearl River County to the District of Columbia will hopefully make an impression on federal lawmakers.

While Pearl River County Hospital has been dealing with the possibility of losing its critical access designation, and subsequently emergency room funding, legislators on the national level are finally starting to put pressure on federal agencies.

Sen. Roger Wicker recently wrote a letter to the new secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, which was cosigned by almost 40 U.S. senators on both sides of the aisle, urging the agency to ensure the continuation of rural healthcare services. 

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While no federal action has been taken yet, those who have spoken with Wicker, as well as

Sen. Thad Cochran and Reps. Steven Palazzo and Gregg Harper, are hopeful about the future of the hospital.

This issue seems to be gaining national attention because it doesn’t affect just one rural hospital in our beloved Pearl River County; it affects over 600 rural hospitals across the country.

Because it’s fairly uncommon for senators or representatives to visit Pearl River County during legislative breaks, those who wish to have a face-to-face meeting are forced to come to them.

Emails, voicemails and other messages are easy to ignore, but it’s hard to ignore a group of passionate individuals standing on your doorstep while they hold the future of their hometown in their hands.

The issue of the hospital potentially losing its critical access designation is not new, but it begs the question, why is the federal government only seeing it on its radar now? It’s not for a lack of effort by Pearl River County leaders. If the PRC hospital and the 600 others are going to be saved, then more and more pressure has to be put on legislators and subsequently on the agencies responsible until something is done.

Waiting another year to make another trip to the capitol and plead our case again just isn’t an option.