Rural Health Policy Update

October 2023

National Rural Health Day:  NOSORH will be on the Hill on November 16 to celebrate National Rural Health Day 2023! NOSORH is sponsoring an event in the Rayburn House Office Building that will spotlight the members of Congress and their staff who are dedicated to advancing rural health. For more information on this event, please contact Andrew Coats at   

Congress Averts Shutdown:  To the surprise of many, Congress averted a partial government shutdown by passing a continuing resolution (CR) on September 30. The federal government will remain funded at fiscal year (FY) 2023 levels through November 17. The CR (H.R. 5860) included funding for the following health programs that were expiring: 

  • $526 million for Community Health Centers  
  • $40.8 million for the National Health Service Corps  
  • $19.7 million for the Special Diabetes Program  
  • $16.6 million for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Program.   

The CR delays scheduled cuts to Medicaid payments for disproportionate share hospitals that serve large numbers of low-income and uninsured patients. The CR reduces funding in the Medicaid Improvement Fund to $6.36 billion, from $7 billion.    

FY 2024 Appropriations Update: The CR buys Congress time to pass the FY 2024 appropriation bills, which NOSORH is tracking. The delay should not impact FY 24 funding levels for the various rural health programs. As a reminder, below are the FY 24 funding levels for rural health programs that have been passed through the committee level in each chamber:   

  • Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility program  
    – House:  $74,277,000 of that amount, $25,942,000 for the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program  
    – Senate: $64,277,000 of that amount, $20,942,000 for the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program 
    • Rural Emergency Hospital Technical Assistance 
      House: $5,000,000
      Senate: $5,000,000 
      • State Offices of Rural Health grant program  
        – House: $12,500,000 
        – Senate: $12,500,000 
        • Rural Residency Programs  
          – House: $12,700,000
          Senate: $12,500,000 
          • Rural Communities Opioids Response Program
            – House: $0
            Senate: $155,000,000 

          NOSORH was in DC during a September meeting with congressional offices on the importance of the RCORP program.   

          Rural Health RFI Released:  On September 7, the House Ways and Means Committee released a request for information on rural health care. The committee is seeking stakeholder input on geographic payment differences, sustainable provider financing, aligning sites of services, the healthcare workforce and technology. NOSORH is submitting a response to the Committee. Committees releasing RFI’s tend to be a first step in building the record for future legislation.

          Update provided by Andrew Coats, NOSORH Legislative Liaison