CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), along with Representatives David McKinley (R-W.Va.), Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.), and Carol Miller (R-W.Va.) today announced that the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) has modified the definition it uses of “rural” for the determination of geographic areas eligible to apply for or receive services funded by FORHP’s rural health grants.
FORHP’s rural health grants provide important support for West Virginia’s Community Health Centers, Critical Access Hospitals, Rural Health Clinics, and other vital rural health care providers. With this change, critical providers across Boone, Clay, Hampshire, Lincoln, Preston, and Wirt counties will now be eligible for much needed FORHP grant opportunities. These changes will go into effect for new rural health grant opportunities anticipated to start in Fiscal Year 2022. Last November, the group led a letter to HRSA Administrator Thomas J. Engels supporting the proposed revision.
“I applaud FORHP for moving forward with these changes that will allow West Virginians across our state to have better access to healthcare. This revision will allow our health care providers to build additional capacity in our rural areas, broadening the coverage of health services in West Virginia. This revised definition more accurately reflects the realities in so many of our communities—which have the same rural characteristics and logistical challenges as others in the state—but were previously ineligible for these grant opportunities,” said Senator Capito. “COVID-19 has hit our state hard—including our rural communities—and has put significant strain on our health care providers. I will continue to do all I can to ensure our rural healthcare providers are able to access the federal funding they need and deserve.”
“Health centers serve a critical role across West Virginia, ensuring that thousands of people have access to quality healthcare. These centers provide primary care and mental healthcare, services often lacking in rural communities,” said Congressman McKinley. “The COVID-19 pandemic has put an enormous strain on our health care system especially in rural counties. This decision by the HRSA will allow more people in Preston County and elsewhere receive the quality care they deserve.”
“The Administration’s new definition of rural areas will allow more communities in West Virginia to receive needed healthcare funding. Especially now amid the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important that rural America has access to federal funds for healthcare,” said Congressman Mooney.
“West Virginians must have access to the best quality health care,” said Congresswoman Miller. “We must ensure reliable tele-health capabilities, treatments for addiction, and COVID-19 testing are available in every community. I applaud HRSA for their decision to revise the current definition for FORHP grants. This modification will allow our communities to receive the funding they need.”