Representatives from Bothwell Regional Health Center traveled to Washington, D.C. Sept. 21 and 22 as part of the Missouri Hospital Association’s (MHA) federal rural advocacy trip.

The team, which included Bothwell CEO Lori Wightman, Bothwell Cole Camp Clinic Physician Dr. Misty Todd and Bothwell Board of Trustees Vice Chair Deidre Esquivel was part of a group of 40 rural hospital representatives who heard from Todd Morris, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy associate administrator. Morris provided insight on upcoming grants and additional provider relief funding opportunities.

The Bothwell group also met separately with its Congressional delegation, including Sen. Josh Hawley, R, Sen. Roy Blunt, R, and Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-4th District, to discuss topics related to Covid-19 and the future of health and health care.

Wightman said that items on the trip’s agenda included challenges to the present and future health care workforce, federal payments for Covid-19 related expenses, prior authorization reform in Medicare Advantage and the importance of protecting access to the 340B Drug Discount Program for community providers.

“This trip is just one component of our legislative efforts to ensure that the people who are creating public policy for health care really understand the issues that are impacting us at the hospital level,” Wightman said. “It is vitally important to know and communicate with our elected officials so we may continue having conversations about the important role rural hospitals play in providing access to health care in our communities.”

Founded in 1922, MHA is a nonprofit membership association that advocates for policies that improve health and health care in the state of Missouri and provides data, decision-support tools and operational resources to help hospitals and health systems deliver care.

In the photo: From left, Dr. Misty Todd, Bothwell Cole Camp Clinic; Lori Wightman, Bothwell CEO; Herb Kuhn, Missouri Hospital Association president and CEO; and Deidre Esquivel, Bothwell Board of Trustees vice chair.