Rural Hospitals Have Their Day in Austin
On Wednesday, February 12, 2003, hospital representatives from across rural Texas converged on the State Capitol for TORCH Rural Hospital Advocacy Day. The group was recognized in both the House and the Senate for the skillful medical care they provide to the 3.1 million rural citizens of Texas. The biennial event was organized by the staff of the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals in Austin. TORCH was created in 1990 to address the unique concerns of the small hospital market.
TORCH’s mission is to preserve access to care and protect rural hospitals. The advocacy priorities that rural hospitals identify most with this Legislative Session are:
Minimizing budget cuts and preserving state healthcare funding
Enacting meaningful medical liability reform legislation
Expanding the pool of qualified healthcare professionals
Improving the stability of emergency and trauma care
Supporting the agencies that assist rural communities
This year, over 30 different facilities were represented. Gonzales Healthcare Systems was one of those in attendance. Chuck Norris, CEO, spent time with State Representative Edmund Kuempel and State Senator Kenneth Armbrister, discussing the needs of the local hospital, the community, and the effect of pending healthcare legislation. According to Chuck, “Keeping elected officials abreast of the hospital’s current situation helps maximize our effectiveness in Austin.”
“There are many issues of great concern to healthcare providers this legislative session,” said John Boff, President of TORCH. “Each community has a responsibility to make sure their voice is heard. TORCH Rural Hospital Advocacy Day provides a forum, an organized way for administrators and trustees to share the news about their hospital and the fine work that goes on each and every day in hundreds of our small communities statewide.”
TORCH is the largest rural hospital association in the country, with over 155 hospital members, and is recognized throughout the state and nation for its advocacy on behalf of rural hospitals and rural community healthcare needs. TORCH focuses on issues that are specific to general acute care hospitals of fewer than 150 beds and the administrators, staff, and trustees of rural and community hospitals.
Contact: Lisa Armstrong
Phone: (830) 672-7581
Date: March 5, 2003