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Bassett initiative seeks to drive rural health effort

Posted 5/19/22

Central New York’s Bassett Healthcare Network has proposed legislation to Albany lawmakers to provide additional funding to help overcome rural health disparities.  The proposal would offer …

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Bassett initiative seeks to drive rural health effort

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Central New York’s Bassett Healthcare Network has proposed legislation to Albany lawmakers to provide additional funding to help overcome rural health disparities. 

The proposal would offer motorists across the state the opportunity to get a distinctive license tag option known as the Feeling Rural Good plate. 

Proponents pledge the unique license plate, if ultimately approved by the New York State Assembly and Senate, and if signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul, would also significantly raise public awareness about the growing crisis in rural healthcare.

Bills to authorize the aptly named Feeling Rural Good license plate have been introduced by state Sen. Rachel May, D-53, Syracuse, and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-111, Rotterdam.

The two New York lawmakers have proposed that voluntary proceeds from the distinctive license plate go to fund key priorities under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Health.

The legislation’s funding priorities would focus on:

Expansion of rural school-based health clinics across
New York; and

Evidenced-based rural health-related research and education through New York based universities and enhanced physician recruitment in rural areas among other goals.

The bill is expected to pass the Senate before the close of the legislative session on June 2, 2022, according to proponents. In the Assembly, the bill has been referred to the Assembly Transportation Committee, where it is under consideration.

Bassett officials and other stakeholders are working with Assembly leadership in an effort to advance the bill in the Assembly, officials said.  

“My bill would provide New Yorkers with the opportunity to voluntarily direct an extra $25 a year to support more philanthropic funding for helping eliminate some of these very challenging rural health disparities in our communities,” explains May.

Any qualified rural healthcare provider in the state would be eligible to apply for funding through the New York Department of Health from the Feeling Rural Good plate proceeds, assuming the distinctive license plate becomes law.

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