10/27/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/27/2021 13:12
WASHINGTON, DC - Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today joined Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03) to introduce the Helping Account for Rural Medical Outpatient Needs in Oklahoma (HARMON) Oklahoma Act, that would ensure Harmon Memorial Hospital, a rural hospital in Hollis, OK, can remain open. This bill is the next step in a long list of efforts the members have engaged on to help prevent Harmon from closing. Congressman Lucas introduced companion legislation in the House.
"Without local hospitals, people in rural communities will be forced to travel long distances in life-or-death situations," said Lankford. "Harmon Hospital is essential to the Oklahomans they serve in Hollis, Harmon County, and the surrounding area. After years of countless phone calls and letters pushing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to extend Harmon Hospital's critical access status, we finally attained a temporary extension of their status earlier this year. Our bill holds the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to their word by ensuring Harmon Hospital can maintain its critical access designation to prevent bureaucrats in Washington, DC, from forcing them to close their doors and hurt our neighbors in southwest Oklahoma."
"Harmon Hospital in Hollis, Oklahoma needs to be able to keep its doors open to serve the community," said Inhofe. "While the extension secured in June due to the public health emergency will give the hospital some peace of mind, the HARMON Act will solidify the hospital's future. This will ensure the essential workers that are serving the surrounding community can continue to do their work for years to come, benefitting all the folks in the area who rely on the hospital's services."
"As more and more rural hospitals across the country close their doors, it's important that we keep Oklahoma's rural hospitals open and operational. As a critical access hospital, Harmon Memorial Hospital in Hollis, Oklahoma provides crucial care to its community and to the people who call southwest Oklahoma home," said Lucas. "After years of back-and-forth communication with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), I was happy to hear that CMS has provided flexibility and extended the hospital's designation as a critical access hospital. But to ensure these issues don't arise again, Congress must pass the HARMON Oklahoma Act, ensuring Harmon Memorial Hospital can continue to provide local health care for our communities. I'm proud to join Senator Inhofe and Senator Lankford in introducing this important bill and look forward to making sure rural communities across southwest Oklahoma have access to the essential services Harmon Memorial provides."
"Harmon Memorial Hospital is incredibly thankful to Sen. Inhofe, Sen. Lankford and Congressman Lucas for their continued work to keep our doors open," said Steve Hartgraves, Harmon Memorial Hospital CEO. "The HARMON Oklahoma Act will allow our local healthcare professionals to continue providing valuable primary and emergency care services for people living in southwest Oklahoma as we wait for our Rural Emergency Hospital designation."