February 05, 2019
Senator Jones announces State of the Union Guest will be Rural Health Care Leader Farrell Turner, President of the Alabama Rural Health Association
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Doug Jones today received the National Rural Health Association’s (NRHA) 2019 Rural Health Champion Award at the 30th annual Rural Health Policy Institute. The event brings more than 400 rural health professionals and advocates, including several from Alabama, to Washington, D.C to discuss priorities for the rural health advocacy community. Senator Jones’ senior health policy advisor, Deputy Legislative Director Katie Campbell, of Montevallo, Ala., was also honored by the NRHA for her outstanding work to advance rural health policy.
To further underscore his commitment to improving health care in Alabama’s rural communities, Senator Jones has invited the President of the Alabama Rural Health Association, Farrell Turner, to be his guest at tonight’s State of the Union address.
“When I came to the Senate, I knew that increasing access to quality, affordable health care would be my top priority,” said Senator Jones, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. “People living in rural areas often face tremendous difficulties finding health care providers in their own communities. The challenge of consistent, quality health care for rural America is exponentially more difficult than in other areas of the country. These persistent gaps in access to care unsurprisingly lead to very poor health outcomes. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish on this issue in a bipartisan way over the past year, but there are many more steps we can take to shore up our rural health system, like finally expanding Medicaid in Alabama.”
Senator Jones said of his State of the Union guest, Farrell Turner, “It is an honor to welcome Farrell Turner to be my guest at the State of the Union this evening. Through his leadership role at the Alabama Rural Health Association, he represents more than 600 rural hospitals, clinics, community health centers, and providers in Alabama who are dedicated to improving health outcomes in our rural communities. They have faced serious challenges in recent years, but their commitment to their mission has never wavered. Since this issue has been at the top of my priority list, it was important to me to invite Farrell to be my guest tonight and to attend on behalf of all of the dedicated rural health professionals and advocates in Alabama.”
Alan Morgan, CEO, National Rural Health Association, said “We are honored to present Senator Doug Jones with our 2019 Rural Health Champion Award. Since he was elected, Senator Jones has been a tireless advocate for rural health, fighting for patients and providers on the HELP Committee. In making rural health a priority, he has made rural health policy successful.”
Senator Jones has championed rural health care issues throughout his first year in office, focusing on ways to improve access and affordability. His first piece of original legislation, the Rural Health Liaison Act, was included in the 2018 Farm Bill and aims to improve coordination of federal resources and expand health care access for rural Americans. The Rural Health Liaison Act was signed into law by the President in December.