Finkenauer Introduces Resolution Supporting National Rural Health Day

November 20, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) introduced a congressional resolution to recognize and support National Rural Health Day, which is tomorrow, November 21, 2019.

Sixty million hardworking Americans live in rural communities and are increasingly facing barriers to accessing the health care services they need. This is because our rural health facilities
face systemic challenges, including low reimbursements, physician workforce shortages, and difficulty accessing certain technologies like telehealth.

National Rural Health Day was established in 2010 to emphasize the importance of rural America and recognize the efforts and contributions to address the unique challenges in rural health care.

Finkenauer’s National Rural Health Day Resolution expresses that Congress supports the goals and ideals of National Rural Health Day, celebrates rural health care providers and rural Americans, and commits to advancing policy to improve health care accessibility and affordability in rural America.

“High quality healthcare is important all across Iowa and deserves special attention to make sure that no matter where you live, you have access,” Congresswoman Finkenauer said, “I look forward to celebrating National Rural Health Day tomorrow. Our health care providers are doing amazing work serving rural America, but there’s a lot of work to be done to increase health care access while lowering cost.”

Dr. Marygrace Elson, President of the Iowa Medical Society, said, “Rural Iowa faces significant and growing health access issues. In many corners of our state, patients must travel long distances for even basic medical care and many rural facilities are facing difficult decisions regarding the services they are able to continue to provide. We must do more to support rural practices and rural recruitment efforts. National Rural Health Day is an opportunity to reflect upon the challenges facing rural America and the opportunities to address them. This includes common sense measures like expansion of the successful Conrad 30 program to aid in physician recruitment efforts, increased support for telehealth infrastructure and services, and at long last taking action to address the Geographic Practice Cost Index that arbitrarily and unfairly reduces Medicare payment rates for practices in rural communities. We thank Congresswoman Finkenauer for her continued commitment to rural healthcare and helping to bring greater attention to this important issue.” 

Finkenauer has led several pieces of legislation to improve access to high-quality care in rural Iowa. She is championing the Rural MOMS Act to ensure Iowa’s new and expectant mothers can get access to high quality health care no matter where they live, the Keep Physicians Serving Patients Act to adjust Medicare reimbursement rates so rural health care providers are more fairly compensated, and the Conrad State 30 and Physician Access Reauthorization Act to address Iowa’s physician shortage.

Joining Finkenauer as original cosponsors of the National Rural Health Day Resolution are: Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-1), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK-4), Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE-3), Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM-2), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5), Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH-5), Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL-7), Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI-3), Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA-4), Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL-18), Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA-2), and Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA-3).

Organizations endorsing the resolution are: Federation of American Hospitals, Iowa Hospital Association, Iowa Medical Society, Marshfield Clinic Health System, National Association of Counties, National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, National Rural Health Association, Wisconsin Hospital Association, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative