As Two More Tennessee Hospitals Close, Our Voice Gets Louder

2018 ended with the closing of two more Tennessee hospitals, bringing the total number to 11 in the past eight years. In addition, Lauderdale Regional Hospital in Ripley, Tennessee, missed payroll in December, and funding cuts resulted in a power outage on New Year’s Eve.

I have often written about the financial issues facing rural hospitals, but today I also want to tell you how we’re working with others to help preserve health care throughout the communities we serve. For example, when Lauderdale Regional Hospital had to transfer patients in December, nearby Baptist Tipton accepted them.

I hope Lauderdale Regional will continue to survive. That’s one reason why we are becoming stronger advocates for health care statewide. I met with Tennessee’s new governor, Bill Lee, last month to discuss the state of health care. It was a positive conversation, and we will continue to engage political leaders in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas to make sure the interests of the health care industry are well represented.

Our hospitals want to treat as many patients as possible, and it can be easy to see other hospitals in our communities as rivals. But in reality, our biggest competition is cancer, diabetes, heart disease and the many other conditions that disproportionately affect the lives of our neighbors. When I speak to political leaders about the issues we face, I speak on behalf of all health care providers because our communities need all of us. We are all working hard to make our communities healthier, and our voices deserve to be heard.

I’d love to hear your opinions on this issue! Email them to me, tweet me @jason_m_little or find me on LinkedIn.

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