Durbin Meets With Rural Illinois Health Care Providers
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Illinois members of the National Rural Health Association to discuss the challenges hospitals and health care providers are facing with COVID-19, behavioral health challenges, and delivering maternal health care services in rural Illinois. During their conversation, Durbin received an update on workforce shortages, the burnout health professionals are experiencing, and how federal programs and funding are helping to ensure rural health care providers can serve patients.
Durbin highlighted the historic $1 billion he secured in the American Rescue Plan for the National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps to build a more diverse pipeline of clinicians and recruit more health providers to serve in shortage areas. Last month, Durbin sent a letter to Illinois health care providers, clinics and hospitals, schools of medicine, nursing, and dentistry urging them to encourage health care workers to take advantage of the National Health Service Crops and Nurse Corps scholarships offering loan repayment.
“Our health care workers have been through so much in the last two years. Day in and day out, they have risked their own health and faced severe strains in order to care for others during this pandemic. We cannot thank them enough,” Durbin said. “That’s why my conversation with Illinois members of the National Rural Health Association was so important today. I will continue to support policies and funding to bolster our health care workforce and ensure patients continue to access the best care possible, especially in rural areas.”
To address other rural health care workforce issues, Senator Durbin has introduced the bipartisan Rural America Health Corps Act, which would create a National Health Service Corps pilot program to test whether an expanded loan repayment award and service commitment - $200,000 over five years – would improve retention in rural communities. Additionally, Senator Durbin recently announced funding for rural fire and emergency medical services (EMS) agencies through the SIREN Act, a grant program created by Durbin. Funding through this program is available for training and recruiting staff, conducting certification courses, and purchasing equipment.
Attending the meeting were representatives from:
- Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network
- Illinois Rural Health Association
- Genesis Medical Center (Aledo)
- Warner Hospital (Clinton)
- Franklin Hospital (Benton)
- SIU School of Medicine (Springfield)
- Gibson Area Hospital (Gibson City)
- Ferrell Hospital (Eldorado)
- Lawrence County Memorial Hospital (Lawrenceville)
- Morrison Community Hospital (Morrison)
- Eagle View Health System (Oquawka)
- Arukah Behavioral Health Institute (Princeton)
- National Center for Rural Health Professions (Rockford)
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