Kuster reintroduces legislation to close rural health care divide
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster (NH-02) introduced the bipartisan Rural Health Innovation Act with Congressman David Kustoff (TN-08). This critical legislation will work to improve access to and the quality of health care in rural communities in New Hampshire and across the United States.
“Every American deserves access to quality, affordable health care, regardless of where they live,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I am proud to reintroduce the Rural Health Innovation Act to close the health care gap and ensure no family is left without the care they need. This bill can help expand access to care for families living in rural communities throughout New Hampshire.”
“Residents living in the more rural parts of our state must travel dozens of miles to access urgent and emergency care services,” said Ken Gordon, Chief Executive Officer of Coos County Family Health Services. “Making these services more readily available in smaller, distant communities can strengthen the local health infrastructure and improve the health and well-being of rural residents.”
The Rural Health Innovation Act:
The Rural Health Innovation Act will strengthen access to care in rural areas by incentivizing communities to leverage their existing resources to provide for the community’s urgent care needs. The bill would establish a competitive grant program allowing Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) or Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) to increase staffing resources, increase hours of operation, acquire additional technology and equipment, and pay for construction costs. This bill would also establish a competitive grant program to allow rural health departments to serve the walk-in urgent care needs for a rural community and serve as a triage center and staging facility for necessary air or ambulance transports to area emergency departments, obtain additional medical equipment, hire additional personnel, and provide public health outreach.