Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) introduced H.R. 5641, the State Offices of Rural Health Reauthorization Act of 2018. The bill reauthorizes the State Offices of Rural Health grant program through 2022 and helps provide rural communities with vital resources to improve rural health care and increase access to quality, affordable care to individuals in rural communities.
“Rural America faces unique obstacles when it comes to accessing quality health care as compared to Americans in urban or suburban areas,” said Mullin. “The Offices of Rural Health were created to help deliver affordable, accessible health care to the underserved communities of our country. Since their establishment, they been successful accomplishing exactly that. I am proud to introduce bipartisan legislation alongside Congressman Schrader to reauthorize the State Offices of Rural Health and ensure the good work they are do for our rural communities can continue.”
“For our rural communities, state offices of rural health provide vital services to areas that often have limited resources and access to health services,” said Schrader. “In Oregon, our Office of Rural Health worked to develop recruitment and retention programs to attract health care professionals to our underserved areas. It has also connected our small rural health systems with state and federal resources, while providing technical support for our rural health care delivery systems. Our bill will continue to expand these crucial services that ensure our rural communities have access to affordable, quality health care.”
“This bill ensures that communities, health professionals, hospitals clinics and EMS providers have the help they need to care for and promote health for rural people around the country,” said Teryl Eisinger, Executive Director for the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH).
“Having the State Office of Rural Health bill reauthorized would guarantee the 38 critical access hospitals and other essential rural health providers across Oklahoma would have a local source to turn to in regards to rural health in Oklahoma through student education, residency training, research, program application, advocacy and alliances with other rural stakeholders,” said Corie Kaiser, Director of the Oklahoma Office of Rural Health.
“This bill to reauthorize State Offices of Rural Health is a strong show of support for rural communities in Oregon and around the country,” said Scott Ekblad, Director of the Oregon Office of Rural Health. “The work this program does often means the difference between reasonable access to healthcare and going without.”
Established in 1991, Oklahoma State University’s Office of Rural Health was created as part of a federal mandate to coordinate, plan, and promote quality health care for underserved rural Oklahomans. The Office of Rural Health works with rural communities to help ensure their health care infrastructure is economically viable and to broaden and improve the access and quality of health care services.