McMorris Rodgers on Building a Stronger Health Workforce and Improving Primary Care

Apr 19, 2023
Health Care
Press

Washington, D.C. — Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) delivered opening remarks at today’s Health Subcommittee hearing to examine current federal government programs, support the health care workforce, and improve primary care.

Excerpts and highlights from her remarks below:

THE HEALTH RESOURCES AND SERVICES ADMINISTRATION

“Today, we will hear from Carole Johnson, the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, known as HRSA, and thank you for the detailed district analysis that you have given each one of us and for coming to Spokane and spending some time in my district.

“We will discuss several existing federal programs and proposed legislation related to health care workforce, primary care services, organ procurement competition, countermeasure injury compensation transparency, and diabetes research and treatment.

“The healthcare workforce shortage is leaving people without the primary care they need, which is why we are considering the Strengthening Community Care Act of 2023, led by Representative Joyce.

“This legislation will reauthorize the Community Health Center Fund and the National Health Service Corps, that help support both primary care services and the health care workforce.”

ADDRESSING WORKFORCE SHORTAGES

“I’m especially proud of the work community health centers in my district are doing to expand services and increase job opportunities.

“New Health currently offers a Medical Assistant pre-apprenticeship program in partnership with local high schools.

“They are also working with a local school district to develop a workforce training center where rural high school students can gain access to clinical and non-clinical internships.

“Additionally, CHAS Health in Spokane is giving high school students the opportunity to participate in training sessions where they can learn about the different aspects of the health clinic and related professions.

“I’m hopeful these efforts will help bring more health care workers into our community.

“Next, we’ll discuss proposals to continue the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program funding. I’m a long-time supporter of this program, which helps to bring more primary care doctors, OBGYNs, mental health providers and others to rural areas.

“Spokane, Washington has recognized this and is a national leader on recruiting the next generation of health care workers.

“The mandatory funding for this program runs out September 30, and I am committed to working to extend it. I hope that we can come to a bipartisan agreement and find the offsets needed.

“We will also consider the National Nursing Workforce Center Act of 2023, led by Representative Young Kim. This bill will help enhance existing state-based nursing workforce centers so we can better assess workforce challenges and address any gaps.”

HELPING PATIENTS

“I’m thankful for Representative Bucshon’s leadership on the Securing the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network Act.

“It will allow for HRSA to make the organ procurement and transplantation network process more competitive with the ultimate goal of making organs available to more people in need. One area where more work needs to be done.

“We will also consider a proposal to increase transparency within the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program.

“This is administered by HRSA and provides compensation for covered injuries or deaths that occur as a direct result of using certain countermeasures used to treat ailments from a public health emergency or security threat.

“Lastly, we will discuss two programs critical to improve the lives of people with diabetes, including Representative Bilirakis’, Special Diabetes Program Reauthorization Act of 2023, and Representative Cole’s Special Diabetes Program for Indians Reauthorization Act of 2023.”

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