State Senators pass UNK Rural Health Bill

Bills creating a rural health care training program at UNK awaits Gov. Ricketts' signature.
Bills creating a rural health care training program at UNK awaits Gov. Ricketts' signature.(KSNB)
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 2:35 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KSNB) - Last week the legislature approved LB1014, providing $60 million to build a new facility to train rural health providers at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Wednesday state senators approved money to run the program under LB 792.

The $60 million included in LB1014 would go toward construction and start-up costs, with an additional $25 million expected to come from private funds. The $60 million approved by the legislature would come from Nebraska’s share of funds from the federal American Rescue Plan.

LB792, introduced by Kearney Sen. John Lowe, originally would have appropriated funds to renovate the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in Kearney. Those provisions were removed and replaced with provisions of Omaha Sen. Robert Hilkemann’s LB721.

The bill appropriates a total of $24.5 million in general funds over the next three fiscal years for operating expenses at the University of Nebraska Medical Center Rural Health Complex in Kearney. The complex will be built on the University of Nebraska Kearney campus and aims to close the gap in rural Nebraskans’ access to quality health care caused by significant workforce shortages. Currently, 14 Nebraska counties lack a primary care physician and demand is high for more nurses, dentists, allied health professionals and mental health professionals.

LB792 passed on a 45-0 vote.

The bills still needs Governor Ricketts’ signature.

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