Big changes in health care system require leadership at many levels, Edelen says

After undertaking a nine-month review of the state’s rural hospitals, state Auditor Adam Edelen believes many of the changes in the health care system have led to big problems across the state.

Through his audit of the 66 rural hospitals in the state, Edelen found that 15 of those hospitals were in very poor financial state and many of the others not far behind.

In an interview with the Kentucky Chamber, Edelen said while this is a rural issue, the health of these hospitals and the people for which they care is an issue that impacts the whole state.

“I think in a state where our motto is united we stand, divided we fall, it’s important that we not let any part of Kentucky get left behind,” Edelen said. “The real emphasis of my work here is that we’ve got to manage this transition. If we think it’s just going to work itself out organically, I think the net result could be closure of a lot of hospitals that we depend on to provide care to a lot of sick people and to provide jobs to a lot of hard working people.”

While speaking to the Kentucky Chamber Health Policy Council, Edelen noted a statistic that there are more people on Medicaid in Kentucky than in public schools. When asked how we address this issue, Edelen said there are many long term goals that need to be set in order to make sure people get a world-class education, practice wellness, and promote pro-growth policies that create an economic environment where people are able to be more self-sufficient and move into private insurance.

“In the short term, we’ve got to make sure that particularly the health care system is working better in a way that the deal is square for patients, providers and taxpayers. And you do that by smoothing the rougher edges of managed care, helping providers navigate the complexity that comes with the Affordable Care Act and you do it by trying to grow the economy overall,” Edelen said (at 2:00 in the video below). “But if we just take our hands off and declare victory, it will never work like it ought to.”

To hear more of what Edelen had to say about the health care system and what the role of the next governor will have to be, listen to the interview below:

The Kentucky Chamber is a strong advocate for better health care and wellness policies to help the state move forward. In his remarks to Chamber members, Edelen also noted that the health of the rural hospitals is important to business because companies will not want to move to an area where they believe their employees will not be able to receive timely care.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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