Strong hospitals give families comfort and peace of mind
Nurse sitting on a hospital bed next to an older woman helping hands, care for the elderly concept

Nurse sitting on a hospital bed next to an older woman helping h
'Strengthening hospitals is crucial to ensure that families across Florida can remain healthy and safe.'

Hospitals are typically the last place any of us want to find ourselves. Usually, a visit to the doctor means something is wrong. When I noticed a swollen lymph node, the last news I expected from my casual checkup was to be told I had developed stage 2 breast cancer. Still, even in the midst of this life-changing diagnosis, I felt comfortable and confident due in large part to my local hospital providers who prioritized my comfort and care throughout my cancer journey.

My cancer treatment opened my eyes to the vital role hospitals, both large and small, play in our state and country. More than 83 million people in the U.S. lack access to a primary care physician. That means for many people, hospitals are the first place they go when they need medical assistance.

It’s exactly where I went last month when my own daughter needed assistance. My daughter recently had her first significant hospital visit at our local children’s care hospital after she injured her arm. The doctors took incredibly good care of us, calmed her down and popped her “nursemaid’s elbow” back into place. As we said goodbye to our friendly hospital care team, she jumped into the doctors’ arms, thanking them. I have never seen my daughter so grateful and full of relief.

My family would not be able to live with the same comfort and peace of mind if we didn’t have such a great hospital system in our community. Where else can we receive 24/7 health care, ranging from my daughter’s nursemaid’s elbow to my breast cancer treatments?

My experience is not unique. Every day, hospitals and health systems are working 24/7 to provide the care that families like mine need, whether it’s cancer treatment, emergency trauma care, labor and delivery services, mental health services and more. They do so even as they struggle under the weight of problems that are largely out of their control — rising inflation costs, a shortage of health care providers, and low reimbursement rates that don’t pay them fully for the services they provide.

I don’t want to imagine what may have happened to me or my daughter if our local hospital had been forced to close due to financial issues.

Our hospitals deserve support from our government. They deserve to be fully reimbursed for the cost of care. Strengthening hospitals is crucial to ensure that families across Florida can remain healthy and safe. Having strong hospitals means that when we do find ourselves in the emergency room, as a patient ourselves or waiting anxiously for news about a loved one, we know the needed care will be available.

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Jenny Felix is a small-business owner, wife and mother of five children who lives in the Jacksonville area.

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