El Centro, California - Thursday, Representative Juan Vargas (CA-51) hosted a press conference to announce his plan to introduce the Asthma Care and Prevention in Rural Communities Act. This legislation will be introduced with original cosponsors Rep. Eliot L. Engel (NY-16) and Rep. TJ Cox (CA-21) when the House returns to session in September. Reps. Vargas, Engel and Cox are Members of the House Asthma and Allergy Caucus.
“The Asthma Care and Prevention in Rural Communities Act will provide underserved rural communities with the resources they need to bring mobile clinics to children with asthma, keeping them out of the emergency room,” said Rep. Juan Vargas. “I’m pleased to work with my colleagues to ensure that all children have access to proactive asthma treatment and care, regardless of where they live.”
The legislation instructs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide counties in rural areas and medically underserved communities with grants for telemedicine and mobile clinics to treat asthma in children. Counties with a prevalence of asthma of 12 percent or higher among children will be eligible to receive funding for care through this legislation. In addition, the legislation mandates the CDC to perform a study on the burden of rural asthma and report proposed solutions back to Congress.
“Rural communities and underserved areas such as the Bronx have some of the highest rates of childhood asthma. These communities need additional support for the care and treatment of this dangerous disease,” said Rep. Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), Co-Chair of the Asthma and Allergy Caucus. “Many children who suffer from asthma can miss a great deal of school, putting them behind in their education. I am pleased to join my good friend Congressman Vargas on this important legislation, which will help increase access to asthma related health care services for children, ensuring they can reach their full potential inside and outside of the classroom.”
“Cities in the Central Valley have the worst air quality in the nation, contributing to high asthma rates that disproportionately impact our children,” said Rep. TJ Cox (CA-21). “This legislation will bring critical telehealth services and mobile clinics to asthma patients in rural and underserved areas like those in our district. I am pleased to work with my colleague, Rep. Juan Vargas, to keep our kids in school and out of the hospital.”
CDC studies shows that children of urban communities with access to asthma clinics and operative care have fewer missed school days, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits. The detrimental impact of asthma on children living in rural communities is understudied, but this legislation will provide research on the best treatment practices for children with asthma in rural counties and ensure access to asthma care facilities.
Vargas represents California’s 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire U.S.-Mexico border. Vargas was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and is currently serving his fourth term in Congress. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee.