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Thursday, July 15, 2010
Main rural-health lobby objects to exclusion from panel that will redefine medically underserved areas
The National Rural Health Association is objecting to its exclusion from a committee that that will redefine Health Professional Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Areas, designations that help steer federal money. "Because nearly all federal health care funding to rural America is tied to the HPSA/MUA definition, such an omission severely undermines the legitimacy of the committee," the lobbying group said in an e-mail urging members and supporters to ask for the appointment of an NRHA representative to the panel.
Map shows in blue the Texas counties now designated as short of health professionals. (Click on map for larger image.)
NRHA said the designations determine funding for "the National Health Service Corps, rural health clinics, community health centers, the Indian Health Service Scholarship Program," and Medicare reimbursement bonuses, as well as "broadband funding and eligibility for virtually every rural health grant." It said "Some additions to this list are expected to be made soon," and asked recipients to contact HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-443-2216.