LaMalfa, Bustos Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Create Rural Health Liaison at the USDA

Feb 6, 2018
Press Release
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) and Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) issued the following statement after introducing a bipartisan bill that will designate a Rural Health Liaison at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The position will act as a direct point of contact at the USDA for questions related to health care in rural communities and how the agency can help.
LaMalfa said: “Rural hospitals are a critical lifeline in rural America, both in terms of our economy and maintaining access to care. With more and more red tape from the state and federal government, we need to ensure they are able to keep their doors open. 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 Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “This is why I introduced the bipartisan Rural Health Liaison Act which will help ensure that United States Department of Agriculture funds to bolster rural health care efforts are spent efficiently and effectively. 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.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.