It is the responsibility of counties to meet the needs of their residents and provide appropriate health and social services. The recruitment and retention of health care providers in rural counties can be difficult. Rural areas are unable to utilize economies of scale to decrease costs, and depressed economic conditions lead to large publicly-funded populations with low provider reimbursement rates. Between implementation of federal health care reform, realignment, and provider rate cuts and clawbacks, RCRC works with the State and Federal government to develop strategies to ensure that critically underserved California residents have access to medical and public health services.
Rural counties also face unique challenges in providing access to high quality education for all students. RCRC supports changes and incentives that allow increased access and funding to broaden educational opportunities in rural areas.
Counties are on the front lines of providing physical and mental health services. Counties must ensure that all federally-mandated human services programs (such as food stamps) are implemented. Rural county Health and Human Services (HHS) Departments are often understaffed, with many employees wearing different hats and doing different and varied jobs. RCRC works to educate lawmakers to ensure that legislation with a “one-size-fits-all” approach is not passed, because new HHS requirements or changes to eligibility are often more difficult to implement in small, rural areas.
Counties also have a special role in ensuring that veterans are able to access the services they are entitled to through the service to our country. From ensuring that veterans are enrolled in appropriate programs, to providing the niche services through the County Veterans Services Officers, RCRC is committed to veterans and to policies that give counties the greatest range of flexibility and authority in providing their veterans the services they need.