May 7, 2019
WORKING TO ENHANCE RURAL HEALTHCARE
By Texas State Representative Ryan Guillen
Due to a lack of funding, twenty hospitals in rural Texas have closed in recent years, with 60 percent of the remaining hospitals in these areas also at risk of closing. Without readily available medical care, residents and businesses are often forced to relocate, leading to the inevitable collapse of the community. The lack of infrastructure, resources or personnel not only affects the quality of healthcare that rural Texans receive, but the State's overall healthcare infrastructure.
I am working to address the issue this legislative session as an author of multiple measures that seek to better support healthcare quality and services for rural Texans. House Bill 651 would allow counties to establish healthcare provider participation programs for those without public hospital districts, which would help to serve indigent patients. House Bill 871 would allow for trauma facilities to utilize telehealth and telemedicine technology, in order to care for patients without forcing them to travel long-distances to be seen in person. Both of these measures have passed a vote in the House of Representatives and advanced to the Senate for consideration.
I am grateful that my colleagues can agree with me that these bills are necessary for creating long-lasting fixes to healthcare. All Texans deserve accessibility to quality and affordable healthcare, no matter where they live.