Date: June 30, 2022
The National Association of Rural Health Clinics (NARHC) is excited to share that the just-released House Committee on Appropriations report, which serves as an explanation of the appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies, includes $5 million to support expanded access to behavioral health services at rural health clinics, as described in President Biden’s 2023 budget request.
As NARHC announced following the release of the proposed budget, the initiative is intended to “allow clinics in rural areas where there are no existing behavioral health providers to fund the salary of a behavioral health provider, address provider burnout, and expand the availability of services such as mental health screenings, counseling, and therapy.”
Over the last few months, NARHC has communicated support of this initiative to the relevant House and Senate committees, through various advocacy letters and meetings with key members. NRHC worked collaboratively with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) and the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) who are united in support of this initiative to support the behavioral health needs of rural communities.
Congress is still several months away from passing the final appropriations package, however, this is a very positive first step in securing the first congressionally appropriated grant for RHCs! NARHC will continue to advocate on the important provision and provide updates to the RHC community.