President Donald Trump Releases Plan to Reorganize Government Agencies
This afternoon, President Donald Trump released a plan to reorganize government programs, including those at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that are critical to our rural communities. As the White House and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director begin to discuss the released plan with Members of Congress, we ask that they ensure that any reorganization of programs under these agencies does not result in the elimination of key pieces of the rural health safety net.
HHS would effectively be renamed the Department of Health and Public Welfare under the reorganization plan. Programs from USDA would be moved to the newly retitled department. We are currently working with Members of Congress to better coordinate programs between HHS and USDA by establishing a Rural Health Liaison position at the USDA (H.R. _ /S. ), and while we support efforts to streamline preexisting programs, we cannot support cuts that would be detrimental to our rural economy and to rural health.
The plan would cut the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to a maximum of 4,000 officers, a reduction of 2,500 from the current 6,500 officer positions. When workforce shortages plague our rural communities, we cannot afford to reduce the number of officers in this program which helps bring providers to remote areas.
The Administration’s plan would move three research arms of HHS – the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research – to the National Institutes of Health.
The proposal would also eliminate the Community Development Block Grant Program, which provides community resources to address the needs of underserved communities through job creation and expansion programs. This program is critically important for our rural communities.
As the Administration and Congress continue to discuss governmental reorganization plans, NRHA will work to ensure that any mergers or changes preserve the programs that are vital to the future health of rural America. While maintaining a priority of streamlining preexisting programs and eliminating waste, we must also realize what programs are critical for creating strong economies and keeping hospital doors open.