McKinley and O’Halleran Introduce Bill to Bolster Rural Health Care Workforce

Bill will ensure rural communities maintain access to care

Washington, D.C. -  Today, U.S. Representatives David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-W.Va.) and Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) introduced the Rural Health Training Act of 2021. This legislation will provide rural health care organizations with funding to support the retention of their health care workforce and enhance training opportunities.

 “The health care professionals who work in rural communities are hardworking and dedicated to serving the health care needs of the people they serve. The Covid-19 Pandemic exacerbated the shortage of qualified health care professionals and demonstrated a need to do more to attract and retain people,” said McKinley.

“Investing in our dedicated health care professionals has immeasurable long-term value in strengthening health care systems in rural communities, providing good-paying, lifelong jobs. As a proud sponsor of this bill supporting health workers to better their careers, it was important to include in this legislation a mechanism that provides trainees the tools they need to successfully complete these programs, including childcare and transportation options,” McKinley added.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, rural hospitals, clinics, and community health centers were struggling to provide services because of staffing shortages and lack of funding. Our commonsense, bipartisan bill will enable these vital rural health entities to recruit, hire, and train residents directly from the towns they serve to fill non-physician health care and administrative roles, ensuring better quality and accessibility of care for whole communities. I’ll keep working to invest in the health care needs of Arizonans, no matter their zip code,” said O’Halleran.

“The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) applauds Representatives McKinley and O’Halleran’s introduction of the Rural Health Training Act of 2021. As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued throughout the last year-and-a-half, one of the major obstacles plaguing rural providers has been the ability to attract and retain workforce. Additional grant funds for rural hospitals and rural health clinics will help providers recruit, attract, and retain the workforce they need to combat the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic and future public health emergencies,” said Alan Morgan, Chief Executive Officer of the National Rural Health Association

“We applaud and are grateful to Rep. McKinley for introducing the “Rural Health Training Act of 2021”.  Across the country, Community Health Centers (CHCs) struggle to recruit and retain the talented workforce needed to meet the needs of their 30 million medically-underserved patients.  This bill will allow CHCs in rural areas to provide existing staff with training that will not only expand their skills, but also deepen their connection to the CHC itself,” said Colleen Meiman, National Policy Advisor for State & Regional Associations of Community Health Centers.

Also in support of the bill: The American Occupational Therapy Association, America’s Essential Hospitals and the American Physical Therapy Association

 

Click here for the full bill text.

Click here for one-page summary.

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