Rep. David Kustoff, of Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District, toured Baptist Arlington Emergency Department with Baptist leaders and participated in a roundtable on Wednesday, March 15. Sen. Marsha Blackburn visited on Monday, April 24. She toured with Baptist leaders and participated in a roundtable to discuss her Rural Health Agenda, which aims to address challenges in health care in underserved areas and help maintain quality care close to home.
During both visits, Jason Little, president and CEO of Baptist Memorial Health Care, discussed the Baptist Health Sciences University College of Osteopathic Medicine, which will help train rural doctors. He also spoke about the numerous specialties within telehealth and telehealth’s important role at Baptist Tipton. Mr. Little discussed the importance of the area wage index, which is the ratio of the area’s average hourly wage to the national average hourly wage.
Blackburn’s Rural Health Agenda includes three bills: the Rural Health Innovation Act, the Rural America Health Corps Act and the Save Rural Hospitals Act. If passed, the bills may allow rural health care facilities to expand their hours of operation and hire more medical providers. The Rural Health Agenda may also help ensure fair payment to rural hospitals and incentivize health care professionals to work in rural facilities in exchange for forgiving medical school loans.
Kustoff announced his Rural Health Agenda after his visit. It includes the Rural America Health Corps Act and Rural Health Innovation Act, two of the acts in Blackburn’s agenda.