Similar to last week’s House Democrat operating budget proposal, today’s Senate Democrat proposal would cut $11 million from most of our state’s critical access hospitals. I say most because I’m told there is one critical access hospital – in a Democrat district – that will not suffer any cuts. All the rest are in Republican districts.
If you’re not familiar with these, critical access hospitals are smaller medical facilities usually located in some of the more rural areas of our state, and often provide care to lower-income residents. They’re often the only option for some state residents who need emergency surgeries or other high-priority treatment, and if they don’t receive funding from the state there is a good chance these critical access hospitals could close down. In our district, that would leave residents with only three areas to receive emergency medical care: Yakima, Tri-Cities or Vancouver.
This is one of the primary reasons I’ll be voting against this budget should it make it to the floor.