Letter to the Editor

Bringing High-Quality Health Care Back Home


*Opinions expressed in Letters to the Editor are not necessarily those of The Messenger

Today, our rural communities face unique and unacceptable barriers to accessing health care. But, if I learned anything from my time working with Representative Angie Craig and other health care leaders in our area it is that when we work together, we have the ability to ensure that every single Minnesotan can access the health care they deserve.

Last January, I had the opportunity to join a group with the shared mission of eradicating the health care disparities that too often plague our rural communities: Representative Angie Craig’s Rural Health Advisory Council. Her council was composed of local health care leaders who shared my dedication to ensuring that all those who live in rural communities are able to reliably access and afford the health care options they deserve. In order to do this, we worked closely with Representative Craig to pass the Affordable Insulin Now Act out of the U.S. House of Representatives, establish a mental health crisis line and lead efforts to expand and modify telehealth services under Medicare.  

Working with Representative Craig and other council members has been an important reminder of what happens when dedicated people, working collaboratively together towards a common cause, can and take action to improve our communities. I was blessed to have this opportunity and recognize there is much more we need to do.  All of us, living in our rural great communities in Southeastern Minnesota, should have the ability to receive affordable and timely access to both physical and behavioral health care we need it.  Our rural communities do so much to keep Minnesota running, and now is the time to take decisive action to make sure we have the resources needed to thrive.


Erik Sievers

Executive Director

Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center