71-5647. Office of Rural Health; created; powers and duties.

The Office of Rural Health is hereby created within the Department of Health and Human Services. The office shall have the following powers and duties:

(1) To assist rural residents in obtaining high quality health care which includes the following:

(a) Assist in the recruitment and retention of health care professionals to rural areas, including specifically physicians and nurses;

(b) Assist rural communities in maintaining the viability of hospital services whenever feasible or, for communities in transition, in developing alternative systems to provide equivalent quality care to their residents;

(c) Assist rural communities in planning to meet changes needed due to the changing rural economy and demographics or new technology;

(d) Assist in the development of health care networks or cooperative ventures among rural communities or health care providers;

(e) Assist in promoting or developing demonstration projects to identify and establish alternative health care systems; and

(f) Assist rural communities in developing and identifying leaders and leadership skills among their residents to enable such communities to work toward appropriate and cost-effective solutions to the health care issues that confront them;

(2) To develop a comprehensive rural health policy to serve as a guide for the development of programs of the department aimed at improving health care in rural Nebraska and a rural health action plan to guide implementation of the policy;

(3) To establish liaison with other state agency efforts in the area of rural development and human services delivery to ensure that the programs of the office are appropriately coordinated with these efforts and to encourage use of the comprehensive rural health policy by other agencies as a guide to their plans and programs affecting rural health;

(4) To develop and maintain an appropriate data system to identify present and potential rural health issues and to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and demonstration projects;

(5) To encourage and facilitate increased public awareness of issues affecting rural health care;

(6) To carry out its duties under the Rural Health Systems and Professional Incentive Act;

(7) To carry out the duties required by section 71-5206.01; and

(8) To carry out related duties as directed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Source:Laws 1990, LB 994, § 2; Laws 1991, LB 400, § 23; Laws 1993, LB 152, § 5; Laws 1996, LB 1044, § 725; Laws 1998, LB 1073, § 151; Laws 2005, LB 301, § 52; Laws 2007, LB296, § 623.

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