State Senator Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, accepted an award from the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals Thursday at El Campo Memorial Hospital in recognition for her work during the 86th Texas legislature.
There’s “no friend that fights harder for rural hospitals in this state than Lois Kolkhorst,” Director of Government Relations for TORCH Don McBeath said.
Senate Bill 749, which Kolkhorst co-sponsored, changed Medicaid reimbursements to rural hospitals bringing in an extra $53 million per year, according to McBeath.
Currently there are 158 rural hospitals in Texas, 17 falling within Kolkhurst’s district.
Since 2010, 26 rural hospitals have closed permanently or temporarily, according to the TORCH website.
“Sadly, we are facing a rural hospital closure crisis, but Senator Kolkhorst has worked to reverse that,” TORCH President and CEO John Henderson said.
It is important for babies to have a birth certificate with their hometown on it, Kolkhorst said.
Amended by Kolkhorst, Texas Senate Bill 1621 charges the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, of which Kolkhorst is chair, with drafting a plan to prevent rural hospital closures.
“They are vital resources in communities where no other care is available,” Kolkhorst said.
TORCH is an organization representing rural hospitals in Texas. The TORCHbearer award, which was presented to Kolkhorst, is given to Texas legislators who “go above and beyond the call of duty” in support of rural hospitals.