Gov. Cooper visits Brunswick County to discuss ‘rural heath care crisis’


BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Governor Roy Cooper says there is a rural health care crisis right now.

Cooper held a roundtable discussion at Dosher Memorial Hospital Monday morning to discuss the issue. He met with Brunswick County officials and health care professionals.

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At the roundtable, people voiced their concerns that rural health care may not be around much longer if it cannot get support.

Everyone there agreed that rural hospitals need more resources to be able to give people the care they need.

Cooper says he wants to get more people covered by health insurance so the hospital does not get stuck with the bill.

“Often times, they are left holding the bag when someone gets treated and the care is uncompensated,” Cooper said. “We’re hoping that we can find a way to get more people covered with health care.”

With the expansion of Medicaid, the governor says about 3,500 more people in Brunswick County could be insured. He thinks it can also be done without extra tax dollars.

Doctors at Dosher said they simply need more, from resources, to staffing, to hospital beds.

One doctor said it’s not only about expanding health care, but giving these rural hospitals the support they need to keep treating people.

Dr. Brad Hilaman says if rural hospitals go away, the bigger city hospitals will not be able to handle the demand.

“I really am concerned that not just in Brunswick County, but the rural counties and areas across the United States are going to wake up in the not too distant future and say, ‘Where’s our health care? I understand the hospital closed, but why did the doctors leave?’ Well, you don’t have a place to practice,” Hilaman said.

Hilaman says if rural hospitals are not funded, doctors will not want to come work there and people will be forced to find health care elsewhere.