Bustos Statement on First-Ever Rural Health Liaison Designation

Rural Health Liaison Position Created by Bustos as part of 2018 Bipartisan Legislation

Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the Rural Health Liaison, a position created by Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) in the 2018 Farm Bill, will be filled by Betty Ann Bryce. In response, Congresswoman Bustos released the following statement:

“Health care is the number one issue that I hear about from folks in Northwest and Central Illinois, and in rural communities, access to care can present unique challenges,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “That’s why creating the Rural Health Liaison position was crucial to ensuring that small towns across the heartland have access to 21st Century health care. I was proud to introduce and help pass the bipartisan legislation that created this position and look forward to working with our first Rural Health Liaison.”

BACKGROUND

Congresswoman Bustos introduced the bipartisan Rural Health Liaison Act in 2018, with co-sponsor Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-1). The legislation created a new rural health liaison position at the USDA to:

  • improve coordination and funding mechanisms in the delivery of health care to rural America.
  • spread best practices in health care and the battle against opioid addiction throughout small towns.
  • promote awareness and availability of USDA resources to help finance the construction of hospitals and telehealth and health education programs.
  • coordinate with other government agencies on rural health issues.

As a member of the Agriculture Committee, Congresswoman Bustos led the charge for language creating the position to be included in the 2018 Farm Bill. As a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Bustos included language in the fiscal year 2020 funding bills to ensure the position was filled at the start of 2020 and required the Department of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the liaison.

 

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