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      RS 40:2195.1     


§2195.1. State office of rural health

            A. Within the Louisiana Department of Health, the Louisiana state office of rural health shall:

            (1) Administer the community-based and rural health care program as provided in R.S. 40:2195 et seq.

            (2) Provide state general funds, as appropriated, to qualified grantees for programs to increase access to primary and preventive health care in rural areas.

            (3) Provide state general funds, as appropriated, to qualified grantees as start-up funding for establishing primary care health clinics to serve low-income citizens, particularly in rural areas.

            (4) Provide state general funds, as appropriated, to qualified grantees as matching funds for grants designed to provide health services to low-income citizens, particularly in rural areas.

            (5) Provide technical assistance and grants to aid qualified rural hospitals in attaining designation as critical access hospitals in accordance with the Medicare rural hospital flexibility program, as provided in 42 U.S.C. 1395i-4.

            (6) Provide statewide technical assistance in conjunction with the Louisiana Rural Health Association on establishment of rural health clinics and on grant writing, especially related to rural health outreach grants, telemedicine grants, and other grants available to increase rural health access.

            (7) Participate in Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's southern rural access program and similar programs to improve access to health services for the rural population.

            (8) Initiate efforts for recruitment and retention of primary care professionals through the state loan repayment program as provided in R.S. 40:1205.4, and any other similar programs to increase the number of healthcare professionals in rural areas.

            (9) A primary function of this office shall be to increase the supply of physicians and other healthcare providers to the underserved areas of this state. This office may seek grants and financial inducements to entice medical students, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurses to locate in the rural area. This office may seek funds for equipment and start-up costs for medical providers wishing to locate in underserved areas.

            (10) Reorganization of the delivery of medical care shall be undertaken such that rural hospitals become centers of primary and preventive health delivery and medical services, including but not limited to medical education, immunizations, early detection of disease states, and dietary instruction.

            (11) Develop and implement a strategic plan for the purposes of maintaining, enhancing, and expanding services currently offered by rural healthcare providers, including rural hospitals as defined in R.S. 40:1189.3, to obtain additional grants and funding from any and all public or private entities, including but not limited to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the United States Department of Agriculture, and charitable organizations and foundations. In developing and implementing a strategic plan pursuant to this Paragraph, the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health shall consult with rural healthcare provider organizations. In addition the secretary shall submit a report to the legislature at least sixty days prior to the beginning of each regular session of the legislature detailing the progress in implementing the strategic plan. The report shall also set out the goals and objectives of the strategic plan for the next state fiscal session including the level of funding necessary to achieve those goals and objectives.

            B. It is further declared that the Louisiana strategic plan against poverty is the policy and responsibility of the state of Louisiana such that first priority shall be given to the comprehensive, coordinated use of resources, personnel, programs, and services to alleviate the pervasive, persistent poverty that limits the progress of the state and constricts the lives of its citizens. With this concerted effort, the state declares the alleviation of poverty in Louisiana to be its top priority and dedicates all of its resources to supporting and enhancing comprehensive community development in order to strengthen the state's economic and social fabric, thereby moving the state and its people forward.

            C. The purpose of this Section is to stimulate business and industrial growth and provide for a better delivery of health and medical services in these areas of the state by the coordination of economic development and healthcare resources, whether such resources originate from state or federal plans or programs, and to create priority healthcare and economic development zones to better serve the citizens of the region.

            Acts 2002, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 162, §2, eff. April 26, 2002; Acts 2018, No. 206, §4.

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