Washington, DC – A bipartisan bill co-authored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) to expand access to health care in rural areas is headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The Maximizing Outcomes through Better Investments in Lifesaving Equipment for (MOBILE) Health Care Act passed the Senate unanimously and the House by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 414-7. The legislation provides community health centers with the flexibility to use federal funds to establish new, mobile health care delivery sites to increase access to health care services in rural and underserved communities.
“Community health centers in Maine and across the country play an indispensable role in ensuring that rural and underserved communities receive affordable and quality health care,” said Senator Collins. “The MOBILE Health Care Act would help community health centers further expand their reach to the most rural parts of our state by giving them greater flexibility and allowing them to bring clinics even closer to the patients they serve.”
“Too many of Nevada’s rural and underserved communities lack permanent health centers and reliable health care, which make mobile health centers indispensable in reaching them,” said Senator Rosen. “We have to make health care more accessible, which is why I’m thrilled that my bipartisan bill to provide greater resources to expand mobile health clinics is on its way to the President’s desk to become law.”
“On behalf of Community Health Centers and the 30 million patients they serve, I want to thank Senator Jacky Rosen and Senator Susan Collins for pushing this important bill to extend access to high-quality primary care to rural communities through an expansion of mobile clinics,” said Rachel Gonzales-Hanson, Interim President and CEO of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). “Nearly half of health centers are located in rural and frontier communities, but we know there is still unmet need. Additional mobile health clinics have the potential to leverage the reach of health centers and fully serve hard-to-reach across the country patients.”
Community health centers provide affordable care to more than 29 million patients, including 376,000 veterans and one in eight children nationwide. Currently, there are small and rural communities in Maine and across the country that do not have the population base to support full-time health centers and therefore do not have consistent access to primary care services.
The purpose of Health Center Program New Access Points (NAP) funding is to improve the health of the nation’s underserved communities and vulnerable populations by expanding access to affordable, accessible, quality, and cost-effective primary health care services. The bipartisan MOBILE Health Care Act would specify that community health centers may be awarded funds to establish a new, mobile delivery site, regardless of whether they propose to establish a new permanent, full-time site.
The MOBILE Health Care Act is endorsed by the National Association of Community Health Centers.