In the 3rd Congressional District Republican primary, there is only one candidate with a comprehensive, smart strategy for reversing the dangerous deterioration of rural health conditions in Western Colorado: state Sen. Don Coram.
Our district is massive: Twenty-seven counties covering one-half of our state’s landmass, most defined as either frontier or rural. The challenge to restoring and assuring timely and continuous medical care is daunting.
We face staffing shortages that are severe at almost every level of care and may soon be approaching collapse in some of these communities. The math is straightforward: Without help, sustaining some health care facilities and the health care teams who work there will not be possible. But when a hospital or rural clinic closes or limits capacity, the care that is subsequently diverted and delayed or even denied will end up miles, even counties away in another emergency department, almost always in worse condition. Some will simply not make it there.
Rural health is across the board worse than urban Colorado with higher rates of teen pregnancy, drug dependence and alcoholism, untreated or undertreated chronic diseases, preventable illnesses and deaths. Many of our patients tend to be older, sicker and without everyday resources to get better.
Rural Colorado cannot survive much less prosper without reasonable support for its health care communities. Coram’s health plan will direct federal resources to workforce support, starting with incentives to recruit physicians, nurses and other health care professionals to our underserved communities. His plan supports reforms that assure quality and continuity of care and economically viable, safe facilities, especially for our elderly and veteran populations.
As our Congressman, Coram will take his thoughtful, principled approach to problem-solving from his tenure in the Colorado General Assembly to Washington, where it could benefit from a healthy dose of evidence-based, civil debate and professionalism.
We respectfully urge you to vote on or before June 28. And if health care matters to you, vote for the only choice that has a rational, workable plan. Don Coram.
Physicians for Coram
Go to www.coramforcolorado.com/healthcareplan for physicians’ names and an open letter to voters.
• National Summit on Rural Health Care: Coram will call for and aggressively promote a National Rural Health Summit in Washington, D.C., for the sole purpose of creating a new, comprehensive, long-term federal rural health strategy by the end of the decade.
• Health Care Professionals: Coram will invest in the well-being of our health professionals currently providing care in rural Colorado, while supporting programs that ensure a future health care workforce that meets the growing demand for access to high quality care.
• Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Federally Qualified Health Centers, Veterans Affairs and Other Care Settings: Coram will fight for adequate federal investment in the health care infrastructure to ensure long-term viability of our health care facilities.
• Behavioral and Mental Health: The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a substantial increase in the prevalence of mental health and substance abuse disorders nationally and most acutely in rural America. Coram will work to increase funding for rural mental health services; reduce the financial burdens associated with the delivery of care; and improve the recruitment of mental health professionals.
• Coverage: Coram believes everyone should have access to affordable health insurance that works when it is needed. Because rural areas have higher rates of public insurance, Coram will work to reduce red tape and increase reimbursement for care provided in these programs in rural areas. He will oppose any effort to repeal established insurance reforms, such as prohibitions on insurance underwriting that takes health status (pre-existing conditions), age, gender or socioeconomic criteria into account.