Wednesday, February 4, 2009

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try, Again (and again, and again…)

I just wrapped another trip to our nation’s Capitol with Poweshiek Iowa Development. Read about it here.

This was the fifth-annual trek by to Washington, D.C. Our purpose is to promote greater economic development and jobs. We meet with our elected officials in Washington to talk to our Senators, Congressman, and their staff members. This year’s group included: Grinnell Mayor Gordon Canfield; Shannon McNaul, Grinnell City Council member; and City Manager Russ Behrens; Jack Menner, president, Grinnell Newburg High School Student Government; Brad Hohensee, BGM superintendent; Monica Chavez-Silva, Community Enhancement Coordinator for Grinnell College, Robin Shaffer Lilienthal, Iowa Valley Vice Provost; Liz Queathem Grinnell College professor and Imagine Grinnell board member; Danny Carroll of Iowa Telecom; Chuck Brooke, Executive Director, Iowa Transportation Musuem; and Bill Menner, executive director, Poweshiek County Development.

This year, Newton Mayor Chaz Allen and Jerry Jauron, President, Iowa Speedway joined us on the trip.

Bill Menner created an excellent document that outlines the issues of importance that we discussed with our elected officials.

As you might imagine, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement was also on the agenda. Read more about why this is an issue for GRMC here.

The GRMC emergency department saved Shannon’s daughter’s life when she was five weeks old. Today, Shannon’s daughter is a healthy and happy seven-year-old girl. The Mayor speaks of the economic impact of 460 employees and $27 million in payroll and benefits in our local economy. Monica reflects on the value of a good healthcare system on faculty and staff recruitment at Grinnell College. All these testimonies build a compelling case for our Members of Congress to address this injustice. I am greatly appreciative of our community leaders to make the case that something must be done to protect all we have done to create such an outstanding medical center over the years.

Last month, Rep. Boswell and Sen. Grassley re-introduced legislation from the previous session of Congress to begin to address this problem. Now we build support and work to get co-sponsors from other states also affected by “tweener” payment issues. There are also provisions in the current economic stimulus package being debated in the Senate that would also be helpful to rural community hospitals like GRMC.

Iowa’s community hospitals are critical to the ongoing success of our economy, and the quality of life we all work hard for and enjoy. Thanks again to my fellow citizens who took their precious time and resources to travel to D.C. and make their voices heard. I believe the people of Poweshiek County deserve to have their hospital paid at a reasonable level and similar to other hospitals in Iowa and throughout the country. I believe we made a difference.

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent GRMC’s positions, strategies, or opinions.

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