Bennet Continues 'Fighting for Colorado Families' Tour - Doctors, Nurses on Rural Health Care Needs in Walsenburg and Westcliffe

Walsenburg, CO - Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today met with health care providers in Walsenburg and Westcliffe in an effort to ensure doctors, nurses and administrators who serve rural communities have a seat at the table in the debate over health care reform.

In Wlsenburg he met with health care providers from the Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center and the Colorado Veterans Nursing Home, among others. In Westcliffe, he met with area health care providers at Custer County Medical Center.

"In Colorado's rural areas, doctors and nurses do everything they can to make sure their patients get the best care possible. As we talk about health care reform, we need to make sure they have a voice in the debate and that any reform makes sense for rural Colorado," Bennet said.

At the meetings, Bennet heard from the doctors on the need to improve access to care in rural areas, address the shortage of primary care physicians and other health care providers and including rural populations in efforts to remove barriers to access and use of clinical preventive services.

Bennet also talked about his efforts in the Senate on behalf of rural communities, including the Bennet-Roberts amendment to the budget resolution, which ensures that health reform increases funding to fix access problems in rural communities, including access to primary care and outpatient services, hospitals, and an adequate supply of providers in the workforce.

Additionally, Bennet cosponsored the Murkowski-Murray amendment to the budget resolution, increasing funding by $100 million for the National Health Service Corps program, which supplies primary care and mental health providers to rural and medically underserved communities through scholarship and loan repayment assistance. Bennet also cosponsored the Craig Thomas Rural Hospital and Provider Equity Act, which would provide much needed improvements to Medicare reimbursements for rural providers.