This past week, Governor Parson held the first ever Rural Health Care Summit in Bolivar. The purpose of this summit was to call attention to the increasing decline of rural healthcare access and choice. In his address, he stated in the past four years, six counties have closed their county hospitals. Osceola and Mt. Vernon were included in this loss. Furthermore, 44 counties have no hospitals at all.

My fear is our own Cedar County Memorial Hospital and Cedar County will become a part of these statistics. If we lose this facility, our choice and access to health care will be further limited. There are also 140 jobs at stake in a county that is struggling for growth and economic development. This would be a huge impact.

Citizens Memorial Hospital in Bolivar has established 34 clinics with physicians employed by CMH throughout the region with one being in Stockton and one in El Dorado Springs. This is a good thing in regards to our options but has put CCMH under a great deal of competitive pressure.

Our health care should not be a matter of competition but what best meets our needs. Please don’t rule out our own county hospital as a possible option for your health care needs.

Marlon Collins

Cedar County

Presiding Commissioner