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St. Joseph’s Hospital to host meetings March 20 for grassroots advocacy

BUCKHANNON — St. Joseph’s Hospital is working to re-establish its grassroots advocacy team following the Covid pandemic. This is a team of local citizens who can help St. Joseph’s Hospital advocate in the legislature. 

“Grassroots advocacy is political activity with the goal of creating change and can be successful at federal, state and local levels,” said Skip Gjolberg, President and CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital. “There is power in numbers.”

Gjolberg said that rural hospitals are typically one of the top two largest employers in rural areas.  Rural populations have different healthcare needs because they often have dangerous occupations like farming and mining.  Their populations are also typically older, sicker and uninsured or underinsured.  That is why keeping a local hospital is so important.

“When someone is looking to bring in a business/industry or wanting to move here for work, quality health care, good schools, and an attractive labor market are critical components,” said Gjolberg. “When hospitals close in rural areas, it has a big economic impact on the community.”

Gjolberg envisions periodic meetings to update members as well as developing a distribution list so he can push out action alerts about issues, encouraging the team to contact their legislators. 

The informational meetings about Grassroots Advocacy will be held on Monday, March 20th at 1 pm and 5 pm in Salvati Hall at St. Joseph’s Hospital. All members of the community are welcome to attend.

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