Senator Carper Highlights the Need to Improve Health Care Access in Rural Communities

At the Senate Finance subcommittee hearing “Improving Health Care Access in Rural Communities: Obstacles and Opportunities,” U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del), a senior member of the committee, highlighted the importance of reducing the number of medically underserved communities across Delaware and the country. According to Health Resources and Services Administration, Kent, Sussex, and parts of New Castle County are all designated medically-underserved areas. During the hearing, Senator Carper specifically emphasized the need for access to mental health care and how expanding health care workforce is critical to serving these communities.  

While questioning the witnesses, Senator Carper highlighted the critical impact of Federally Qualified Health Centers:

“We’re grateful that you’re all here dealing with federal qualified community health centers with respect to increasing access to behavioral health care. I’m a huge proponent, have been ever since I was governor, and even before I was governor. I’m a huge supporter of federally qualified community health centers, which have reached each of our counties and they do wonderful work in a variety of ways.  The services that are provided by federally qualified community health centers go beyond one’s physical health, they also provide crucial services, as you know, for mental health care and treatment, not only in Delaware, but in the other 49 states [and U.S. territories] as well.”

Senator Carper also emphasized the importance expanding the health care workforce in rural communities:

“We have a major health care provider in our state, it’s called Christiana Care. And it’s huge for a little state. We have any number of smaller hospitals and federally qualified community health centers. I stay in close touch with almost all of them, and my staff does, and one of the things I recently discussed with the people who run Christiania health care, […] is their challenges in the workforce. And it’s not just federally qualified community health centers, it’s just about everybody. We find it in almost every employer that we talk to.”

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