Bennet Continues 'Fighting for Colorado Families' Tour - Hears from Bent County Health Care Providers, Constituents on Rural Health Care Needs

Las Animas, CO - Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today met with local doctors and nurses as well as constituents to talk about health care in an effort to ensure that Colorado's rural communities have a seat at the table in the debate over health care reform.

"In Colorado's rural communities, doctors and nurses do everything they can to make sure their patients get the best care possible," Bennet said. "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."

Participants at the meeting included representatives from the Bent County Healthcare Center, Bent County Public Health, Prairie View Village Assisted Living Facility, Southeast Colorado Mental Health Services and Valley Wide-Las Animas Clinic.

At the meeting, Bennet heard from health care providers on the need to improve access to care in rural areas, addressing recruitment and retention problems that have led to physician shortages and a lack of pediatric care and including rural populations in efforts to remove barriers to access and use of clinical preventive services.

Bennet discussed 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.