California Rep. Doug LaMalfa and Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos have introduced a bill to designate a Rural Health Liaison at USDA.
“Rural hospitals are a critical lifeline in rural America, both in terms of our economy and maintaining access to care,” said LaMalfa, a Republican. “USDA already offers grants to help smaller hospitals address health disparities, such as expanding telemedicine and combatting the ongoing opioid crisis. This bill directs USDA to make sure this funding is used efficiently by designating one point of contact within the department to coordinate efforts between different agencies and serve as a liaison for rural communities.”
“Delivering health care in rural communities presents unique challenges that require innovative solutions,” said Bustos, a Democrat. “By creating a Rural Health Liaison position at the USDA, we'll make sure that small towns across the heartland have access to 21st century health care.”
The USDA has the ability to finance the construction of hospitals and the implementation of programs for telehealth and health education. The Rural Health Liaison would promote the awareness and availability of these resources, and provide guidance and technical assistance to USDA field offices and staff on how to best serve their communities. The Rural Health Liaison would also coordinate with other government agencies on rural health issues.
Source: Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s office