Block and Meyer Voice Area Concerns
By: Pam Kusel
It has been two years since Carroll County Growth Partnership has traveled on their annual Access Washington trip to visit with the Congressional delegation, federal agencies, and others to discuss important issues in Carroll County. COVID-19 and government shut downs kept the group from traveling to Washington DC the past two years. This year, the group brought a full slate of issues to discuss and new faces to experience our nation’s capital.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity to go to Washington DC to advocate for rural healthcare,” said Manning Regional Healthcare Center CEO, Linn Block. “As Iowa saw its first hospital closure this year, the impact of many years of reimbursement pressures will continue to put the future of rural healthcare in jeopardy. MRHC has consistently been a leader in working alongside state and federal policy makers to ensure they understand our challenges as we continue to meet the needs of our community.”
Dawn Meyer, Manning City Administrator, said, “We met with all four of the House representatives from Iowa and their staff. We also met with a representative of the Biden administration. We talked about a number of issues specific to Manning. We brought a proposed change for David-Bacon, which is a federal regulation relating to contracts that involve federal money. This is a long-term issue. In the past we have received quick turnarounds, such as the gas line. We also brought up several healthcare concerns; things that are important to MRHC. We felt it was important to support those issues, and Linn (Block) presented very well on that, and we got some good feedback from elected officials.”
Healthcare dominated the trip, being the leading issue brought by private industry. Linn Block, MRHC CEO, asked for continued support and funding of the 340B program, which has a large impact to their bottom line and helping provide healthcare in the Manning area. Both requests were given support from the entire Iowa delegation (four Congressional offices and two Senate offices). Allen Anderson, CEO of St. Anthony Regional Hospital, discussed the importance of the rural demonstration program and the funding support it gives to the Carroll hospital.
Kimberly Tiefenthaler, Executive Director of Carroll County Growth Partnership led the group to DC on her first Access Washington trip. “Access Washington is a phenomenal opportunity for our organization, area businesses, and constituency to bring issues to our nation’s leaders,” stated Tiefenthaler.
The City of Carroll discussed issues regarding the wastewater treatment plant and effluent limitations. This was discussed at all congressional meetings and of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking for guidance to solve the problem and help the taxpayers of the city of Carroll. Other issues consisted of volunteer EMS support, transportation infrastructure (four-lane Highway 30), Davis-Bacon, Economic Development Administration reauthorization, and housing rehab. All issues gained the support of the Iowa delegation who were willing to help find solutions.
A highlight of the trip was meeting with Will McIntee, Associate Director of Public Engagement with the Biden Administration. The group met with Will at the Eisenhower Executive Office on the White House Campus, just down the hall from the Vice President’s office.
“We attend this trip looking for help and guidance to solve problems that people and businesses are facing here in Carroll County. Some years, CCGP has accomplished those tasks and some years, we continue to build relationships with the leaders in Washington DC. Either way, this trip is a benefit for the people of Carroll County,” stated Tiefenthaler.
Carroll County Growth Partnership invests in this trip every year and is to be used as a resource and benefit to Carroll County. Any leader or business can bring their issue and attend the trip in the future.
Attendees of the trip were: Kimberly Tiefenthaler, Carroll County Growth Partnership; Rick Hunsaker, Region XII Council of Governments; Dawn Meyer, City of Manning; Gene Meiners, Carroll County Supervisor; LaVern Dirkx, Carroll City Councilman; Mike Pogge-Weaver, City of Carroll; Allen Anderson, St. Anthony Regional Hospital; Linn Block, Manning Regional Healthcare Center; and Matt Meiners, Carroll Co. Growth Partnership.