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Letter: Speak with legislators about healthcare

A delegation of six volunteers from St. Joseph’s Area Health Services Auxiliary participated in Health care Auxiliary of Minnesota (HCAM) day at the Capitol April 10. While there we received important new information and priorities from experts in the health care field and also were able to meet and/or personally contact our elected representatives with our concerns.

Over the past decade, policymakers have repeatedly called for Health and Human Services to bear the brunt of solving the state’s budget shortfalls. These cuts have greatly strained hospitals’ and other providers’ ability to provide the level of care and services Minnesotans need.

Hospital volunteers called on the legislature to amend their budget target to reflect Gov. Dayton’s priority on Health and Human Services. In addition, it is essential that funding be restored to the Medical Education and Research Costs program to ensure we can train the next generation of physicians, advanced practice nurses and others to care for our state’s aging population and the 32 million additional people who will be insured under the Affordable Care Act.

While at the Capitol, we were able to personally meet our representatives or leave hand written messages with their pages conveying our concerns and asking them to please understand and support the needs of our hospitals and long-term care facilities.

We would like to say thank you to Roger Erickson, Rod Skoe and Steve Green for taking the time during their busy schedules to meet/contact us to discuss priority issues facing Minnesota hospitals and aging service providers. We look forward to gaining their support for our local healthcare system this session.

I would ask that anyone who is concerned about these or any other healthcare issues to please contact your representatives with a handwritten letter (gets more attention) or an email. They will listen to your input. Thank you.

Carol Luukkonen

HCAM Legislative

Representative for St. Joseph’s Area Health Services