Letter: Support expanding health care to rural Iowa

The Cedar Rapids Gazette

By Brandon Gerleman

As a third-year pharmacy student, I see the need for accessibility to quality health care services in Iowa. Many Iowans live in rural and underserved areas too far from quality health care. Roughly 44 percent of Iowans fall into this category. Many residents have to travel longer distances to have access to basic health care services. Given the statistic that 72 of the 99 counties in Iowa are considered medically underserved, this issue of access becomes a significant problem.

I read Sen. Chuck Grassley’s column in The Gazette on the need to expand access to health care in rural Iowa and pass S. 314/H.R. 592, also known as the Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (“Reimburse pharmacists for services,” April 8).

I want to assure Sen. Grassley that there will continue to be more and more students spreading the word about this bill that will make it easier for pharmacists to provide the health care that is needed. I support this logical, low cost approach to addressing the looming provider shortage in this country.

Having my roots firmly planted in a small town in Iowa, this is an issue that I have a strong, vested interest in resolving. We need innovative solutions like those provided by this legislation to solve our health care crisis.

It is encouraging that Iowa’s Congressional delegation is in unanimous support of officially designating pharmacists as the health care providers that we are. Sen. Grassley understands this and I encourage his colleagues to do the same and make this bill a priority.

Brandon Gerleman

Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate

Class of 2017

the University of Iowa

Iowa City