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 5,200 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).

To continue this momentum, we need your help! We strongly encourage you to reach out to your Senators, sharing your support for this 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!

Make Your Voice Heard by Email, Phone, or by Mail
Template Letter for RHCs and Parent Hospitals
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.

NARHC is working with key champions in the House of Representatives to have an identical bill introduced and to generate support.