Rural Michigan hospital takes down Gov. Whitmer: "Your executive order is reckless and senseless"
Urban hospitals treating many COVID-19 patients can weather the financial storm of the suspension of regular care and elective surgeries. But rural hospitals, like Michigan's Hillsdale Hospital, cannot.
Hillsdale is the only hospital in the surrounding area, and they're facing the prospect of closing their doors due to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer's draconian, one-size-fits-all policy.
Hillsdale's vice president and COO, Jeremiah J. Hodshire, penned a devastating open letter to his governor, urging her to open up rural hospitals and keep their life-saving services available to people who need them most.
He began by explaining how rural hospitals have struggled over the last decade -- even though their services are 100% essential:
Since 2010, 128 rural hospitals in America have closed—a shocking number. And when rural hospitals close, people die. There is no way around it. Rural patients are forced to drive an hour or more to receive healthcare at larger health systems in larger towns, even when suffering heart attacks, strokes, birthing complications and other time-sensitive health emergencies. Without quick access to an emergency room, operating room or clinic, lives are lost.
When COVID-19 struck, Gov. Whitmer required all hospitals -- no matter their location or infection rate -- to shutter their doors to virtually everything but COVID patients. Hodshire explains how this policy is not only wrong-headed, but dangerous:
If there is one thing that we need now more than ever, it’s patients using our services instead of living in fear of leaving their homes while their health needs are left unmet. Blanket restrictions in your executive orders have placed our small, rural hospital in the same standing as those in large, highly-populated areas like Detroit, busy with 75 percent of the state’s COVID-19 patients. The most devastating order required closure of every hospital operating room to elective procedures, even while 22 Michigan counties have less than ten confirmed COVID-19 cases.
While Hillsdale has followed Whitmer's orders to the letter, Hodshire described them as "reckless and senseless":
Executive orders based on science are important and we unequivocally support them. But those that go beyond are reckless and senseless, crippling already fragile rural economies for the sake of managing highly-populated areas.
Hillsdale isn't alone. Hospitals around the country are struggling to make ends meet, and if they close their doors, the people in that area won't have access to healthcare unless they travel miles away. For any emergency situation, that's just as good as having no healthcare at all.
That's why millions have joined the movement to re-open the states. We've listed all the local groups on our "My State" forum, and you can access those lists -- for free! -- by clicking the red button below.
Rural communities with few cases shouldn't be forced to live under the same policies as harder-hit areas. Get involved in your state's re-open movement today!