On Friday, August 10th Senator Heidi Heitkamp joined members of HAMC’s executive team to discuss issues effecting the delivery of health care in rural North Dakota.
Chief Operations Officer and Pharmacist, Erik Christenson explained his concerns with Medicare and Medicaid regulations and reimbursement rates saying “77% of our patient population is Medicare and Medicaid and when reimbursement regulations are changed it impacts our organization greatly. Programs meant for rural healthcare facilities such as the 340B Drug Discount Program must be protected, because they help offset costs associated with bad debt and charity care.”
Chief Medical Officer and Physician Assistant, Dustin Hager commented that he would like to see regulations associated with labor and delivery loosened to once again practice obstetric care at HAMC. “We are missing out on an entire generation of patients because we can no longer deliver babies. We can care for expecting mothers up until delivery but due to regulations, cannot deliver her baby. If regulations changed we could keep those families in our community.”
According to Senator Heitkamp, “Healthcare will be the big issue in this next campaign, we need to solve these problems and deliver rural healthcare, if we don’t, these smaller communities could potentially dry up creating a greater distance between rural families and access to healthcare.”