The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
SECTION 1. Section 1179.1 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:
1179.1. (a) The Secretary of
the Health and Welfare Agency
California Health and Human Services shall establish an Office of Rural Health, or an alternative organizational structure, in one of the departments of the California Health and Welfare
Human Services Agency to promote a strong working relationship between state government and local and federal agencies, universities, private and public interest groups, rural consumers, health care providers, foundations, and other offices of rural health, as well as to develop health initiatives and maximize the use of existing resources without duplicating existing effort. The office or alternative organizational structure shall serve as a key information and referral source to promote coordinated planning for the delivery of health services in rural California.
(b) To the extent funds are appropriated by the Legislature, these efforts may include:
(1) Educating the public and recommending appropriate public policies regarding the viability of rural health care in California.
(2) Monitoring and working with state and federal agencies to assess the impact of proposed rules and regulations on rural areas.
(3) Promoting community involvement and community support in maintaining, rebuilding, and diversifying local health services in rural areas.
(4) Encouraging and evaluating the use of advanced communications technology to provide access to health promotion and disease prevention information, specialty expertise, clinical consultation, and continuing education for health professionals.
(5) Encouraging the development of regional health care and public health networks and collaborative efforts, including, but not limited to, emergency transportation networks.
(6) Working with state and local agencies, universities, and private and public interest groups to promote research on rural health issues.
(7) Soliciting the assistance of other offices or programs of rural health in California to carry out the duties of this part.
(8) Disseminating information and providing technical assistance to communities, health care providers, and consumers of health care services.
(9) Promoting strategies to improve health care professional recruitment and retention in rural areas.
(10) Encouraging innovative responses by public and private entities to address rural health issues.