You finished your SORH, FLEX and SHIP grant applications, you’ve written about the needs of rural providers and your plans to address those needs now take that homework that you did for your grant applications, summarize it and craft it into a fact sheet you can share with members of Congress to document the needs of rural people and providers and to tell the story of you use federal dollars.  It sounds like there will be a Senate hearing coming up soon, NOSORH submitted written testimony on the need to increase SORH funding and at least one SORH has heard of an invitation to their state to testify.  (Thanks to Pat Justice from the Washington SORH for that information!)

The work for gaining increase appropriations is ongoing and needs a regular message from your SORH and/or your partners. As expected, the House Appropriations Committee released their “302b allocations” last week.  The 302b allocation is the amount of money each of the subcommittee will have to spend – in total – on programs within the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction.  A copy of the report is attached.

The total for the Labor-HHS Subcommittee is $153 Billion for FY 2016.  This is approximately $3 Billion LESS than what the Subcommittee was allocated last year for programs within the Subcommittees jurisdiction.  It is fully within the subcommittee’s discretionary authority to allocate fund at a program-by-program level  as they see fit.  The fact that the top-line number for the Subcommittee is lower than last year will make getting an increase in the State Office of Rural Health line more difficult than if the top-line number were higher.  However, this should NOT deter SORH from continuing to push for an increase.  Bill Finerfrock, NOSORH Legislative Liaison reported to the Policy Committee last month that it is conceivable that the top line number could change.  The House and Senate are working on a budget Resolution for FY 2016. The adoption of a Concurrent budget resolution could provide some additional money to the Appropriations Committee, which could allow them to allocate more to the Labor-HHS Subcommittee.

If you or your state partners would like help pulling together a summary of SORH work and rural health needs for your Congressional members please contact Teryl Eisinger.


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