June 05, 2019

Seeking help in fight for rural health care

Fight for rural care.

I was walking around Sequim posting leaflets headlined “Making Retirement Security Real For All” when I stopped at Olympic Medical Center’s walk-in clinic to pin one on the bulletin board.

Every seat in the waiting room was taken by elderly folks who looked even shakier than I am.

Lots of them were leaning on canes and walkers.

It got me thinking about the Trump administration’s scheme to slash Medicare reimbursements for clinics like ours by 60 percent from $118.35 to $47.34 per patient visit.

Olympic Medical Center officials estimates this cut will cost the hospital $47 million in the coming decade.

Targeted are rural clinics nationwide that are more than 250 yards from the parent hospital.

In our case, the Sequim clinic, 17 miles from OMC in Port Angeles, served 20,000 patients last year.

I was treated there for a painful toothache on a weekend when no dentist office was open.

The woman doctor examined my throbbing tooth, prescribing a painkiller and an antibiotic.

The pain went away.

Many patients using our clinic can’t drive 17 miles.

Some don’t even own a car.

Thank you, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, for introducing H.R. 2552 in the U.S. Congress to block this mean-spirited attack on rural health care.

Many rural hospitals and clinics are closing down in a worsening crisis across the nation.

Join the fight back.

Come to the meeting 2 p.m. Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1033 Barr Road in Agnew.

Sponsors include Sequim Indivisible, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, Washington CAN and Clallam County Democrats.

By:  Tim Wheeler
Source: Peninsula Daily News