SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards toured a rural hospital Friday in DeSoto Parish to see its local impact.
In the center of a rural town stands a beacon of light for those in need.
aid Billie Bedsole.
DeSoto Regional Health System in Mansfield has been serving people throughout the Parish for nearly 70 years. “I was born here,” said Bedsole. “There is nowhere else to go when you’re sick.
Bedsole knows first hand the importance of the hospital. “My dad had cancer and we had to go to Shreveport to get his treatments and it was very hard on him.”
She says that for years, her father had to travel nearly two-hours roundtrip for chemotherapy until the cancer center was established. “We were able to do his second round here and it made such a difference in his recovery.”
Throughout the South, rural hospitals are closing their doors, but Gov. Edwards pointed out Friday that it hasn’t happened in Louisiana.
“The rural preservation act on one hand and the Medicaid expansion on the other, Louisiana hasn’t had a single rural hospital close.”
And because of that Medicaid expansion, Edwards said more people have access to healthcare and that’s kept these hospitals open.
“It ultimately costs the state less for someone to have Medicaid than it does for them to be uninsured,” said Edwards.
The hospital is also a huge economic driver for the community.
“Here at Mansfield hospital, more than 200 full-time employees,” Edwards said.
Edwards says these hospitals are the backbones of rural areas and it’s important their doors remain open.
The Governor also released his healthy families agenda, which is his plan to make Louisiana a healthier state if he’s elected to serve a second term.