FY 2022 Appropriations:  As the deadline approaches for Congress to submit their funding requests to the House Appropriations Committee, NOSORH has asked Congress to increase funding for the SORH line of the State Office of Rural Health Grant program to $15 million for FY 2022. The appropriations timeline has been delayed because the Biden Administration has yet to release a budget request to Congress. The White House confirmed the FY 22 budget proposal will be released in early May. The May release means the markup process in the House should begin in June. The Senate process traditionally follows the House by at least a month. NOSORH reached out to State Offices and asked for them to contact their congressional delegation. In particular, NOSORH asked state offices to target members who sit on the House or Senate Appropriations Committee. 

On April 19, Reps Kind (D-WI) and McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA) wrote a letter to House Appropriations Labor-HHS Chairwoman DeLauro (D-CT) and Ranking Member Cole (R-OK). The letter asks for “robust funding” for SORH. The letter also advocates on behalf of the Flex program and a myriad of other rural provisions. 

Flex Reauthorization: Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) will be re-introducing his SAVE Rural Hospital Act this Congress. Rep. Graves has introduced this broad rural hospital-focused bill in past years, and it has attracted broad bipartisan support. NOSORH has asked Rep. Graves to include the NOSORH-drafted Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) reauthorization language as one of the provisions in the bill. NOSORH is also working with Rep. Wenstrup (R-OH) who is a co-chair of the House Rural Health Caucus. 

On the Senate side, NOSORH has met with Senator Stabenow’s (D-MI) office and Senator Wyden’s (D-OR) Committee staff on reauthorizing Flex. Wyden is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Stabenow is Subcommittee Chairwoman on the Finance Health Subcommittee. NOSORH has also asked State Offices to contact their congressional delegation and ask them to support the Flex reauthorization language. In particular, State Offices should target members on the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee. 

The timeline for passing the Flex language is still unclear as leadership in Congress is trying to determine the best path for health care legislation this Congress.