JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Representatives from Missouri’s hospitals and the Missouri Hospital Association traveled to Washington, D.C., recently to meet with members of Missouri’s congressional delegation and share their views on health care issues. The visit focused on contacts with legislators whose districts are predominately rural.

Among those making the trip were Matt Wenzel, chief executive officer of Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe, and James P. Suchsland, D.O., chief of staff.

In their meetings with lawmakers, the hospital leaders emphasized the need for federal stability and predictability as hospitals make their spending and policy decisions. Topics included restrictions on state provider tax programs and reauthorization of the Medicare Dependent Hospital program, which is set to expire Sept. 30. The participants also discussed payment-related administrative burdens and underscored the importance of the critical access hospital program to health care access in rural Missouri.

“Federal policy decisions on Medicare and Medicaid significantly affect the ability of Missouri hospitals to serve their communities,” said Herb B. Kuhn, MHA president and CEO. “Although Missouri’s congressional delegation has been very supportive of hospitals historically, it is important in these difficult financial times to remind them that the policy choices made in Washington, D.C., have consequences for health care delivery back home.”

In addition to Wenzel and Suchsland, other leaders attending from northwest Missouri included representatives from hospitals in Bethany, Carrollton, Fairfax, Lexington, Maryville, Smithville, and St. Joseph.

The Missouri Hospital Association is a not-for-profit membership association in Jefferson City that represents 153 Missouri hospitals.