Gov. Deal Outlines Rural Georgia Health Care Access Plan

20 March 2014

ATLANTA – Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and the Department of Community Health announced various proposals in order to better health care access in rural areas.

Deal said that the proposals include changes to certain rules and regulations regarding hospital licensing. The changes would allow rural facilities to cut back services if they are in danger of closing, Deal said.

“Rural hospitals are struggling financially and have been for many years; we have witnessed a handful of them close in recent times,” Deal said. “When they shut their doors, it’s not only bad for health care access but also for the local economies.”

Another proposal allows for freestanding emergency departments to offer services before transferring patients to hospitals no more than 35 miles away. Deal also plans to select a Department of Community Health rural health care liaison and will create a Rural Hospitals Stabilization Committee.

“These communities should not have to go without crucial services, many of them lifesaving,” the statement said. “I am confident that these proposals will ... ensure that every Georgian is reasonably close to a health care provider should a need or emergency arise.”

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