Readout of Secretary Becerra’s Trip to West Virginia to Highlight Biden-Harris Administration Plans to Build Back Better by Strengthening Rural and Behavioral Health, Substance Use Treatment, and More

1 year ago
AMERICA NEWS NOW

Today, December 10, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra traveled to West Virginia to highlight Biden-Harris Administration plans to improve rural and behavioral health, substance use treatment, and more. During the trip, Secretary Becerra and Senator Manchin participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a rural health facility and held a behavioral health and substance use roundtable. Throughout the trip, they met with local leaders, advocates, and West Virginians to discuss health equity, bolstering medical supply chains, and the Build Back Better bill recently passed by lawmakers in the House.

Secretary Becerra began his day at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Mon Health Marion Neighborhood Hospital in White Hall, West Virginia, a facility that will help close gaps in rural health care access as the state’s first small format hospital. He spoke about the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to health equity, especially for those in historically underserved populations — noting over $7 billion of investment for COVID-19 response, treatment of substance use, and telehealth for rural America through the American Rescue Plan.

Later in the day, Secretary Becerra, Senator Manchin, and Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bill Crouch hosted a behavioral health and substance use roundtable at West Virginia University’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute. The institute, with more than 1,000 staff across five departments, has led the nation in cutting-edge treatments for substance use and Alzheimer’s. Secretary Becerra spoke about rising overdose rates and stigma that prevents treatment — hearing directly from doctors who underscored the impact to communities in West Virginia. Secretary Becerra and the Biden-Harris Administration have launched a whole-of-government effort to fight the substance use crisis – developing an HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy focused on primary prevention, harm reduction, evidence-based treatment, and recovery support. HHS has also invested over $3 billion in youth behavioral health and substance use care.

Secretary Becerra thanked Senator Manchin for supporting the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and bolstering the country’s rural health network — commending his tireless advocacy for not only the people of West Virginia, but rural communities across the country. They agreed to continue to work together as the Biden-Harris Administration builds back better.

“Senator Manchin’s tireless advocacy for the people of West Virginia and his partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration has made our country stronger,” Secretary Becerra said. “Together, we are expanding rural health access, helping those with substance use, and strengthening our medical supply chain. I look forward to continued collaboration with Senator Manchin as we implement the American Rescue Plan and build back better.”

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HHS Secretary Becerra speaking at a podium during ribbon-cutting ceremony for a rural health facility in West Virginia.
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HHS Secretary Becerra and Senator Manchin cutting a green ribbon with group of other officials during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a rural health facility.
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HHS Secretary Becerra speaking with a medical professional during a tour of a neuroscience institute.
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HHS Secretary Becerra and Senator Manchin with group of officials during a tour of a new rural health facility.
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HHS Secretary Becerra during a behavioral health and substance use roundtable.
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