Consistent Quality Health Care a Critical Issue for Utah House District 73 Candidate Marsha Holland
Moving our family to Tropic was a choice our family made a number of years ago but many of our close friends and neighbors have lived here in District 73 their entire lives. Living in a rural community presents many challenges and one that each of us shares is access to quality health care for our families.
One of the reasons I have served on the Garfield Memorial Healthcare Foundation for six years is to help ensure my family and neighbors have the best health care available to them. Quality care is important not only in times of sickness or emergencies but everyday for the prevention of illness and maintenance of a healthy and independent life.
An often overlooked segment of our rural population, seniors and veterans, represent a greater percentage in our counties than other areas of Utah. With the 65 and older group growing 51% (126,700) by 2020 we can anticipate more health care services will be required. Today all of us face rising health care costs but for seniors these rising costs can also delay their retirement. Additionally, there is a shortfall of critical health care workers, in-home support and social services available. With access to facilities often up to 100 miles away, seniors and veterans in particular are having to leave their lifelong homes for the care they require.
At the State level, legislators must strive to reduce health care costs for all citizens, including seniors and veterans, encourage healthy lifestyles and help individuals prepare for their future with a feeling of certainty - not doubt.
Utah House District 73 has six Critical Access Hospitals, designed to reduce the financial vulnerability of rural hospitals and improve access to health care by keeping essential services in rural communities. There are 14 Rural Health Clinics in Utah, 8 of them are located in District 73 alone. It is important to use every resource available to us to maintain the quality of existing services, seek new ways to expand operations, offer competitive wages to rural health care workers, have access to capital to remain compliant with state and federal requirements, and be able to renovate or build new facilities.
I am looking forward to working with groups such as The Office of Primary Care and Rural Health, the State Office of Rural Health, and the Rural Health Association of Utah to support their work and to achieve these goals.
Providing the best accessible health care goes a long way to maintaining the quality of life that we all appreciate in our rural communities. In turn, a healthy population supports economic development and better education outcomes for students and teachers while providing all of us the opportunities we seek for our families and neighbors.