Aledo, IL – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) announced a Rural Health Outreach Grant for the Mercer County Health Department from the Health Resources and Services Administration. These grants focus on enhancing access to care and addressing challenges to health services in rural communities. Specifically, the Mercer County Mental Health Consortium will implement the Mercer County Mental Health Action Program and establish a mental health navigator in order to improve access to mental health care and care coordination.
“Small towns and rural communities face unique challenges when it comes to healthcare, which is why I am proud to announce that Mercer County is receiving a Rural Health Outreach Grant from the Health Resources and Serves Administration,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “Rural Americans have to drive further to access under-resourced providers, and more than half of rural counties remain without mental healthcare professionals. These federal dollars and the great work being done by the Mercer County Health Department will go a long way in improving our region’s access to 21st century care.”
As a member of both the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Agriculture Committee, Bustos has been a strong advocate for improving access to care in rural communities. Bustos introduced the Rural Health Liaison Act, which would designate a Rural Health Liaison at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promote awareness and availability of USDA resources for rural communities. Bustos also introduced the bipartisan Addiction Recovery for Rural Communities Act, which was adopted by the USDA. This proposal will give funding priority in two key grant programs to help combat the opioid epidemic in rural communities.