HomeTown Health Leads Policy-Maker Tour Through Georgia

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HomeTown Health, LLC invites officials and representatives from the Georgia Dome to tour rural healthcare facilities in an annual Policy-Maker Tour.

HomeTown Health, LLC hit the road this summer with two Policy Maker trips throughout rural hospitals in Georgia. The two-day trips take pertinent policy maker representatives from inside the Capitol to multiple hospital facilities to meet with hospital leadership teams and get real-time testimony of the challenges and concerns of rural hospital providers throughout the state of Georgia. Hospitals are also given the opportunity to showcase their facility, successes and accomplishments.

The first Policy Maker Tour took place May 29th, 2013 led by HomeTown Health Managing Director Kathy Whitmire and CEO Jimmy Lewis. Melissa Carter and Stephanie Papps, from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, accompanied Lewis and Whitmire to Taylor Regional Hospital and Bleckley Memorial Leadership teams from both hospitals discussed the challenges with the current reimbursement system and how the future of health care will be challenged in the future for all rural hospitals. Town Hall forums will be conducted in the near future to discuss the challenges that lie ahead for the healthcare delivery system.

The second Policy Maker Tour took place July 9 and 10, 2013 where Lewis and Whitmire accompanied Rep. Terry England, House Appropriations Chairman, and Martha Wigton, House Budget & Research Office Director, to eight rural facilities throughout central Georgia. On Day One, the team visited Monroe County Hospital, Putnam General, Emanuel Medical Center, Jefferson County Hospital, and Washington Regional Medical Center. On Day Two, the Policy Maker Tour started at with breakfast and an excellent telehealth presentation by Dr. Jean Sumner at Oconee Nursing Home along with Paula Guy, from Georgia Partnership for Telehealth. Burke Medical Center was the first hospital visit and their executive team, led by Interim CEO Gary Kendrick at head of table presented the challenges the hospital is currently facing and discussed ways that the hospital can survive tremendous budget cuts and changes to Medicaid reimbursement and State Health Benefit Plan. The Policy Maker Tour then continued to Wills Memorial Hospital.

HomeTown Health coordinates the annual Policy Maker Tours to provide an insider look of rural healthcare facilities, leaders, challenges and successes to government officials.

HomeTown Health, LLC is an organization of more than 55 rural and small hospitals, located throughout the southeast, which collectively pursue ways to help our hospitals survive in this environment of tremendous budget cuts from the state and federal level. The mission of HomeTown Health is to ensure that rural healthcare is preserved at the local community level wherever possible and that a continuum of care is available to the rural populations. What began as a handful of community hospitals 12 years ago has now grown into an organization of over 56 hospital members and 60 business partners. For more information, visit http://www.hometownhealthonline.com.

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Meghan Williams
HomeTown Health, LLC
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