Rural Health Clinic Burden Reduction Act

Signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in 1977, the rural health clinics (RHC) program was designed to improve access to health care in rural, underserved areas. Over forty-five years later, we are pleased to report that there are over 5,400 RHCs providing quality care to rural and underserved patients. However, as healthcare evolves, several program policies are in need of modernization to reflect the changing world. The Rural Health Clinic Burden Reduction Act would accomplish this through the following provisions:

  1. Modernizes RHC physician supervision requirements by aligning them to state scope of practice laws governing PA and NP practice.
  2. Removes the requirement that RHCs must “directly provide” certain lab services on site and allows RHCs to instead offer “prompt access” to these services.
  3. Allows RHCs the flexibility to contract with or employ PAs and NPs.
  4. Maintains status quo location eligibility, allowing RHCs to be located in an area that is not in an urban area of 50,000 or more, given that the Census Bureau no longer utilizes the term “urbanized area.”
  5. Removes a regulatory barrier that limits RHCs provision of behavioral health services in areas experiencing a shortage of such services.

S.198 was introduced in the Senate by rural health champions Senators John Barrasso (WY), Tina Smith (MN), Marsha Blackburn (TN), and Michael Bennet (CO). Additional cosponsors include Senator Cynthia Lummis (WY), with Senator Jacky Rosen (NV), Senator Dick Durbin (IL), and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (AZ).

H.R. 3730 was introduced in the House of Representatives by rural health champions Representatives Adrian Smith (NE-03), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), and Kelly Armstrong (ND). Additional co-sponsors include Representative David Valadao (CA-22), Representative Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06), Rep. Finstad (MN-01), Rep. Nehls (TX-22), Rep. Costa (CA-21), Rep. Harshbarger (TN-01), Rep. Green (TN-07), Rep. Barr (KY-06), Rep. Mann (KS-01), Rep. Boebert (CO-03), Rep. Pappas (NH-01), Rep. Carl (AL-01), Rep Zinke (MT-01), Rep. Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Rep. James Baird (IN-04), Rep. Rudy Yakym (IN-02), Rep. Alexander Mooney (WV-02), Rep. Harriet Hageman (WY-at large), Rep.Gabe Vasquez (NM-02), Rep. Mike Flood (NE-01), and Rep. Clay Higgins (LA-03).

To continue this momentum, we need your help! We strongly encourage you to reach out to your Senators and Representatives, sharing your support for the bill and how it will benefit your RHCs, ultimately asking them to co-sponsor the legislation. If Members of Congress never hear from their own constituents that passing this law is important, they are much less likely to support the bill! Please watch the brief video below for an overview of the bill and how to use our messaging software available on the right side of this webpage. Simply type in your contact information and then modify the message to explain why this legislation matters to your RHC!

Thank you to the following organizations who have endorsed this important RHC legislation:
National Rural Health Association
National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health
American Academy of PAs
American Association of Nurse Practitioners
American Psychological Association Services
California Association of Rural Health Clinics
Alabama Rural Health Association
Illinois Rural Health Association
Nebraska Rural Health Association
Kentucky Primary Care Association
Rural Health Association of Tennessee
Texas Association of Rural Health Clinics
Virginia Rural Health Association
Mississippi Rural Health Association
Rural Health Association of Arkansas
West Virginia Rural Health Association
Oregon Office of Rural Health
Arizona Rural Health Association
Minnesota Rural Health Association
Idaho Rural Health Association
Ohio Rural Health Association
Iowa Association of Rural Health Clinics
Missouri Association of Rural Health Clinics
Colorado Rural Health Center
Louisiana Rural Health Association

Make Your Voice Heard by Email, Phone, or by Mail

Senate - Template Letter for RHCs and Parent Hospitals
Senate - Template Letter for Supporting Organizations

House - Template Letter for RHCs and Parent Hospitals
House - Template Letter for Supporting Organizations

Full Bill Text

We encourage you to use the above template for details of this legislation, but the most effective messaging shares how this legislation will personally benefit your clinic and the community you serve. Please personalize the letter to reflect this!

Please email if you need assistance in finding contact information for your legislators.