Chairman Smith Announces Field Hearing on Access to Health Care in America: Challenges in Rural and Underserved Communities | Eastern North Carolina Now

Press Release:

    Washington, D.C.     House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) announced that the Committee will hold a field hearing on Access to Health Care in America: Challenges in Rural and Underserved Communities. The hearing will take place Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at the East Carolina Heart Institute at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.

    "Americans living in rural and underserved communities face a health care crisis. Hospitals are on the brink of closure; too few doctors and services are available; and patients are forced to drive long distances for even the most basic care. Misguided policymaking in Washington has forced rural providers to either sink or swim against a tide of bureaucracy and insufficient resources. The Ways and Means Committee will be shining a light on the need to expand access to health care in these communities by listening to Americans directly affected by these challenges. We look forward to taking their ideas to help rural Americans get access to health care back to Washington," said Chairman Smith.


    Field hearing on Access to Health Care in America: Challenges in Rural and Underserved Communities


    Tuesday, October 17, 2023


    9:00 AM EST


    East Carolina Heart Institute at East Carolina University


    Due to limited seating capacity, press who wish to attend in-person should RSVP to JP Freire, Tim Foster, and Dylan Chandler.

    How to Watch the Hearing:

    Members of the press who wish to attend in-person should RSVP with the Committee staff listed above. Those who are unable to attend in-person can access a livestream on the Ways and Means Committee YouTube channel. NOTE: The livestream will not be available until the hearing starts.

    About the Hearing:

  • Ways and Means Committee members are listening to patients and health care providers impacted by the lack of health care in rural and underserved communities across America.
  • This field hearing will focus on staff shortages, lack of medical residencies in rural communities, uneven federal reimbursement schemes for rural providers, and new ways to provide health care for rural and underserved Americans.
  • 104 rural hospitals across the country in the last 18 years have closed, including 12 in North Carolina. Another 600 are at risk of shutting down.
  • Fewer resources, long travel times, and a depleted health care workforce make it harder for Americans to access and doctors to provide health care in rural communities.
  • Instead of efficiently using taxpayer money, many Medicare programs to help rural hospitals are duplicative, vulnerable to manipulation, and in some cases, reimburse non-rural hospitals with funds meant to help rural hospitals.
  • While Congress added new Graduate Medical Education residency slots, rural hospitals still face barriers to participation.
  • Examining new ways of delivering care could eliminate many of the barriers blocking rural and underserved Americans from getting care.

   J.P. Freire
   Tim Foster
   Tate O’Connor
   Dylan Chandler
   Phone: (202) 225-3625
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