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Ensuring rural health care

It is very discouraging that rural health facilities continue to close because their corporate managers can’t make enough money.

Kaiser Permanente closed a 70-plus-year-old, formerly independent health clinic in Fairfield, Washington, forcing its substantial elderly population to travel to Spokane for services previously received within a few blocks (Spokesman-Review, Sept. 24). This loss places additional stress on families, makes the local pharmacy less viable, puts the future of the local assisted living facility in jeopardy, eliminates important local jobs and their tax support, and generally makes a peaceful country life much less tenable.

State Rep. Joe Schmick is “looking for answers and things that work.” Fortunately he was selected to represent Republican legislators on the Universal Health Care Work Group. This broad group of stakeholders will study and make recommendations to the Legislature on how to create, implement, maintain, and fund a universal health care system that is sustainable and affordable to all Washington residents. As a member of this important group, he will be in close contact with some of the most knowledgeable people in the state who all have the same goal.

We simply must find a way to ensure every state resident gets adequate, low-cost health care, and providers get fair reimbursements without all the obstacles, so they can stay financially viable while serving our smaller communities. It’s a complex task, but the Work Group is off to a very good start. Follow it at See also for even more information.

Cris M. Currie, RN


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