Senator Carper Advocates for Improved Access to Health Care in Rural Communities

Today at the Senate Finance Committee hearing “Rural Health Care: Supporting Lives and Improving Communities,” U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) discussed the need for improved access to high quality health care for all Americans, regardless of their zip code. During the hearing, Senator Carper shared the challenges in access to health care that rural Delawareans face, and reiterated the need for Congress to address these challenges nationwide.

Senator Carper emphasized how his recent introduction of the bipartisan Hospital Inpatient Services Modernization Act of 2024 would provide more people with access to care:  

“Last Congress, Senator Tim Scott and I championed legislation that extended the Hospital at Home waiver program for two years beyond the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Since then, this healthcare delivery system has not only benefited patients by making hospital-level care more accessible, it’s also been shown to do a number of things that we all should seek. One of those is reduced costs. Another is to improve patient outcomes. And the third is to provide high patient satisfaction. […] Today, hospitals and health care systems across 37 states, including my own home state of Delaware, utilize the Hospital at Home program to provide safe, high-quality hospital-level services in patients’ homes. […] This week, Senator Tim Scott and I introduced the Hospital Inpatient Service Modernization Act of 2024 [… to] extend the Hospital Home Waiver program for another five years. As rural communities face an abundance of access and quality of care issues, alternative care delivery models like Hospital at Home hold potential to improve health care delivery in rural communities.”

Senator Carper then stressed the need for Congress to alleviate workforce challenges in rural communities in Delaware and across the country: 

“The biggest challenge I hear about consistently [in Delaware…] has been [maintaining a strong] workforce: having people show up for work that are either trained or trainable, and who are willing and ready to do a day’s work. The challenge is exemplified in more rural counties. […] Two of Delaware’s counties are considered health professional shortage areas – we simply don’t have enough health care providers choosing to practice in these rural communities. It’s critical that our rural communities are able to recruit and retain a qualified workforce to ensure patients have access to high quality care.”

A video of Senator Carper’s questions at today’s hearing can be found here.