Thanking Our Healthcare Heroes
Despite the frigid temperatures and snowfall, I was blessed to travel throughout our district this week and meet with our heroic healthcare workers at medical centers and vaccination sites. In addition to these in-person events, we were also able to hold virtual meetings with organizations that truly make a positive impact in our communities, such as the National Federation of the Blind, Central Methodist University, and the Missouri Rural Health Association.
This week also involved much legislative activity as our House Agriculture Committee met virtually to debate amendments on future COVID relief for American families.
Read more below for a full rundown of this week’s events.
Meeting with Healthcare Heroes
L to R: Craig Thompson, CEO; Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler; Ranae Walrath, Director of Social Services; Rachel Boyles, Executive Director of Home Based and Therapy Services; and Christine Faulconer, Director of Quality
Much of this week involved meeting and thanking our front line workers who have done so much for our communities combatting this pandemic. I was pleased to spend time on Wednesday at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare in Clinton and CMH Osceola Medical Center in Osceola to see firsthand the great strides made towards vaccinating Missourians.
L to R: Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler and Dian Eissler (Citizens Memorial Healthcare Clinic Administrator)
CMH Osceola Medical Center began vaccinations on Wednesday and I was thrilled to see vaccines were finally sent to St. Clair County so local residents would not have to travel far to receive their vaccine. Doses have also been allocated to Evans Drug locations in Osceola and Stockton.
L to R: Jamie Robinson, Amanda Mautino, Tiffany Mason, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Tonya Vega, Lindsey Goldammer, Todd Krass, and Ronnie Thompson
On Thursday, I visited Belton Regional Medical Center and Cass Regional Medical Center in Cass County. Both have done a great job working with the Cass County Health Department and other community hospitals in other counties to vaccinate as many people as possible. Cass Regional, one of our state’s high-throughput vaccination sites, has plans to administer 6,000 doses by the end of the month.
L to R: Kenneth Burkhart, Catherine White (Director of the Emergency Department for Cass Regional), and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler
During my visit, I also had the pleasure of meeting Kenneth Burkhart, a Korean War veteran from Peculiar, who drove down to Harrisonville to receive his vaccine. Dr. Catherine White, Director of the Emergency Department for Cass Regional, expertly administered it.
L to R: Todd Krass, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Kari Johnson, Jamie Robinson, Lindsey Goldammer, Amanda Mautino, and Tiffany Mason
This pandemic has truly shown what an asset these medical centers are for Missourians. We are so grateful for these heroes and their round-the-clock efforts. Thank you!
Agriculture Committee COVID Relief Markup
As a senior member on the House Agriculture Committee, I engaged in our COVID relief markup marathon session which lasted over eight hours on Wednesday. Despite the need for targeted relief for American families and my Republican colleagues’ attempts to put forth common-sense amendments to achieve this goal, nearly all were sadly rejected in a party-line vote.
In our failed pandemic-related attempts, we pushed for investments in the connectivity needs of our communities such as rural broadband, supported agricultural research opportunities, and sought careful preventative measures to protect American taxpayers’ money from going to waste.
As we continue our congressional push to deliver additional federal COVID relief, I urge my House colleagues to solely focus their efforts on the imminent needs of the American people and the agriculture industry, which have been upended by this virus.
National Federation of the Blind
It was also great to connect with the National Federation of the Blind on Tuesday and discuss several legislative priorities with constituents from Columbia, Warrensburg, and Nevada. These topics included ways to promote economic opportunity, accessible medical devices, accessible websites, and civil rights for individuals who are blind.
Organizations like these which serve individuals with disabilities are vital to our families, friends, and neighbors. I am so thankful to be able to meet and learn from the National Federation of the Blind.
Missouri Rural Health Association
I also had the opportunity to catch up with some of Missouri's rural health providers and advocates to discuss issues related to access, equity, and quality of healthcare for rural Americans. Sadly, the pandemic has been especially hard on rural communities and their ability to deliver care to those who need it most. I was happy to inform them that I contacted the Department of Health and Human Services stressing the importance of ensuring that the integrity of the 340B Drug Pricing Program is protected. Through this action, those in need can continue to have access to their prescriptions at an affordable price.
Missouri COVID-19 Vaccine Update
We also have positive news to share regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. This week, Missouri announced that retired healthcare providers who were licensed physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and emergency medical technicians can assist in administering vaccines. Expanding the number of providers will help our healthcare workforce vaccinate more Missourians.
Select Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies have also begun to provide COVID-19 vaccinations by appointment and online registration. Approximately 102 pharmacies in Missouri are now receiving 18,000 weekly vaccine doses. As more vaccines become available, additional pharmacies will be participating throughout the state. Before registering, please check and see if you are eligible for the vaccine at this time.