WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Tina Smith (D-MN), in introducing bipartisan legislation to reauthorize a key program that supports state health facilities across the country to help improve health care in rural areas.

The State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) Reauthorization Act of 2022 would ensure that State Offices of Rural Health have the financial resources they need to improve information-sharing, technical assistance, and care delivery in rural health settings. By reauthorizing the program for five years, this bill would also preserve the program’s flexibility to meet state and local rural health care needs.

“It’s crucial that rural communities in Wisconsin receive the best quality health care services they need to live healthy lives and I am proud that this legislation delivers on that,” said Senator Baldwin. “Our bipartisan legislation will provide rural health practitioners with the technical support needed to deliver standard care to patients in Wisconsin and develop more health care resources to meet the needs of rural residents across our state.”

This legislation is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), John Hoeven (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

This legislation is supported by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health and the National Rural Health Association.

“The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) applauds Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Tina Smith (D-MN) for their introduction of the State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) Program Reauthorization Act of 2022. Last reauthorized in 2018, and first authorized in 1990, the SORH program has been an integral part of improving health care in rural areas. The SORH program requires State Offices to coordinate rural health activities across each state and provide technical assistance to rural health care providers on relevant rural programs. NRHA urges Congress to pass this important legislation to reauthorize the SORH program at a level of $15 million for fiscal years 2023 to 2027. This increase would align with levels proposed by recent budget requests, and with recent Congressional appropriations.” – Alan Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, National Rural Health Association

“Reauthorization of the State Offices of Rural Health (SORH) Grant Program provides the vehicle to build the capacity of SORH and their stakeholders to help patients, neighbors and rural communities become and remain healthy. Every SORH Grant dollar is matched with $3 in non-federal funds, providing state-level consensus for growing collaboration around rural health needs. The effect of the increased appropriation provides approximately $50,000 to each of the 50 SORH. With the 3-to-1 match, $200,000 in service value is provided to rural communities in each state.” – Tammy Norville. President, National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health

The full text of the legislation can be found here.

An online version of this release is available here.

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