Health care on the move with passage of MOBILE Health Care Act

Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 12:19 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Congress is trying to close gaps in health care coverage across the country. Historically rural areas have struggled to receive adequate health care services.

“I think it’s a great recognition of some of the equity challenges we’ve had in a lot of these communities,” said Carrie Cochran-McClain, chief policy officer for the National Rural Health Association.

With the recent passage of the MOBILE Health Care Act, Congress signaled there are health care deserts in the U.S. that need addressing. Cochran-McClain says the legislation will bring care to these areas with mobile health clinics, rather than forcing rural residents to drive hours to offices or hospitals for issues that cannot be addressed via telehealth.

“There are just some things that you need to be able to do in a hands on kind of fashion,” said Cochran-McClain.

The legislation, in short, allows certain health centers to use grant funding to set up new so-called access points. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) says this will not cost the government extra money.

“It’s really just going to expand what our health clinics can do not just in my state of Nevada but in every place around the country,” said Rosen.

Rosen authored the legislation that had massive bipartisan support. Under previous law, if a health care center wanted to create a mobile site, they would also have to set up a permanent site. This new bill eliminates that requirement, in hopes of encouraging the deployment of more mobile centers.

“I hope that pretty quickly people will be able to start to take these mobile units out,” said Rosen.

The legislation passed both chambers of Congress and is awaiting the president to sign it into law.