On Friday, August 15, Congressman John Shimkus (R-IL-15) visited the Vienna Rural Health Center in recognition of National Rural Health Week. Congressman Shimkus has long been a supporter of the Rural Health program and is quick to state that it is his full intention to continue his push for the support and growth of this program. The congressman stated that when he was first elected, before the restructuring of the districts, there were no rural health clinics in his congressional district at all. Now however, his district has fifteen rural health clinics including the ones in Vienna and Goreville. The federal Rural Health program is up for funding renewal in 2015, and if not renewed, the local centers stand to lose approximately 60%-70% of their funding. Congressman Shimkus vowed to do everything in his power to make sure the funding is continued so that the area clinics can continue to provide the much needed services upon which local residents have come to depend.
The Vienna Rural Health Clinic was originally opened in 1982. In 2013, local clinics in Johnson County and surrounding counties saw a total of 11,865 different individual patients with over 55,000 contact encounters. Area clinics provide both physical and behavioral treatment services. The congressman made a special statement of appreciation and thanks to all the committed workers who make access to such professional care possible, emphasizing that without such workers the program could not exist.
Pictured above, Left to right: Cynthia Flamm – CEO; Patty Phillipe – exec. asst.; Congressman John Shimkus; Brooke Miller – C.O.O.; Jodie Stewart, RN – quality mgr.; Robert Odum – CFO