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By Echo Menges, NEMOnews Media Group
Northeast Missouri – U.S. Rep. Sam Graves made stops in Northeast Missouri to visit with health care representatives and other constituents during the August break from being in session in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Graves visited with health care providers and others during his visit to Knox County making a stop at the new clinic, Edina Medical Services, north of the City of Edina on Wednesday afternoon, September 2. He was greeted by managing representatives of Scotland County Hospital, Blessing Health Systems, the Knox County Health Department, the staff of the new Edina clinic and others.
Scotland County Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr. Randy Tobler, MD FACOG, introduced the Congressman upon his arrival touting Graves as a champion supporter of rural healthcare in Missouri.
“I’m just moving around the district and taking advantage of the August break to get out to every county in the district and just talk to folks. Obviously, with the pandemic and everything going on, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to hospitals and health care providers and see what’s going on – how everything is and how you’re doing, so,” said U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, Republican Congressman representing District 6 in Missouri. “We’ve been traveling all over and, I’ve got to tell you, it’s good to get out and around and just talk to folks.”
During the visit, Rep. Graves gave a brief legislative report speaking about an infrastructure bill being stalled in the Senate and a bill on water resources, which impacts the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, he expects to see passed before the November election.
“When we get back, we are going to talk about the fourth round in COVID,” said Rep. Graves before pointing out three things in negotiations between Washington D.C. legislators including price tag, liability insurance for schools and businesses who opened during the pandemic to include protection from lawsuits and extending unemployment insurance.
“I look for us to have a package somewhere before the October break. We’ll be back in (session) in September,” said Rep. Graves.
Dr. Tobler introduced many in the crowd to the Congressman before inviting him to tour the new clinic. The tour was led by clinic staffer Tabitha Rohr, FNP-C.
Following the tour, Rep. Graves took time to speak to local reporters. He spoke to The Edina Sentinel about a number of issues including the push to expand rural broadband to rural areas in the nation.
“If there is one good thing that’s going to come out of the pandemic and the issues associated with it is we have found that we have really truly lacked when it comes to rural areas when it comes to broadband. We found that with schools trying to do distance learning, when it comes to health care and doing that over the internet, just so many things, people trying to run their businesses. What we’re looking at doing, and we’re already trying to plus some of that out, and that’s actually under the jurisdiction of the Ag Committee believe it or not, is rural broadband. They’re starting to plus that up. Now, we’re looking at doing more of a larger deployment – kind of like using the Universal Service Fund, like we did when we brought telephones out to the rural areas. The most expensive part is that last mile particularly the houses or homes that are way out in the country. We’re looking at using a Universal Service Fund, which is basically everybody pays into it and then they’re able to draw from that fund to be able to provide those areas that just simply don’t have it,” said Rep. Graves.
Ending the visit, Rep. Graves sat down with local hospital officials from Scotland County Hospital and Blessing Health Systems for a round table discussion about healthcare challenges. Rep. Graves also asked for local updates on how they are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can watch a video of Rep. Graves’ full visit to Knox County online on the nemonews.net Facebook page.