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Biden-Harris Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture Establish New Program to Support Rural Health Care Providers, Invest $5.1 Million in Iowa

Cecilia Lynch
Des Moines
Release Date
Apr 13, 2022

Includes Funding to 7 Iowa Hospitals to Expand Access to Health Care

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the establishment of a program under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to expand rural hospitals and providers’ access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and supplies, while helping rural health care providers stay financially solvent in the long-term. The initial awards of the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants total $43 million and will benefit 2.2 million people who live and work in rural America. Awardees include 93 rural health care organizations and community groups across 22 states.

“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA mobilized our staff and resources to respond in record time to improve the long-term viability of rural health care providers and services across this nation,” Secretary Vilsack said. “USDA used an all-hands-on-deck approach to create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program to address a variety of immediate health care needs and services in rural communities. The American Rescue Plan Act and this program are examples of the government’s ability to respond quickly to ensure every person and family has access to high-quality health care no matter their zip code.”

Seven awards will go to rural Iowa hospitals for a total of $5,187,500. Additional awards will be announced in the coming months.

“These grants are big investments in Iowa’s healthcare infrastructure, so that we can care for the people in our hometown communities and rural areas,” said Theresa Greenfield, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa. “As an advocate for rural Americans, USDA is funding critical facilities to make medical services more modern and accessible. By moving fast to improve rural hospitals, we are helping create more positive healthcare activities and outcomes for our family, friends, and neighbors all across Iowa.”  

The seven Emergency Rural Health Care program investments in Iowa are:

  • Belmond Community Hospital received a $984,600 grant to increase capacity for vaccine distribution by providing cold storage, transportation, and vehicle support. The funds will be used to purchase medical supplies, laboratory equipment and personal protective equipment to increase medical surge capacity.
  • Pocahontas Community Hospital received a $344,200 grant to purchase equipment necessary to better serve COVID-19 patients at the local level instead of being transferred to larger facilities for medical care. The equipment includes ventilators, X-ray machines and imaging equipment, chemistry analyzers, ultraviolet disinfection, cardiac rehab, and monitoring systems.
  • Hancock County Health System received a $622,200 grant to construct a respiratory clinic in both Garner and Britt. These clinics will be used for COVID-19 testing and will offer safer enhanced care to patients affected by COVID-19 and future pandemics.


  • Ida County Iowa Community Hospital, Horn Memorial in Ida Grove received a $1,000,000 grant to expand and renovate the emergency and laboratory departments. This expansion will create more space for testing equipment, help improve the efficiency needed to process COVID-19 tests and increase vaccine storage capacity.


  • Jones Regional Medical Center in Anamosa received a $236,500 grant to support the COVID-19 pandemic and higher-acuity patients. These tools will help prepare for a future pandemic event, increase medical surge capacity and vaccine distribution, improve access to quality health care services, including cold storage, heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) building updates, and other equipment expenses.


  • Regional Health Services of Howard County in Cresco received a $1,000,000 grant to help build a 3,900-square-foot clinic addition. It will include nine exam rooms, three offices, three nurses' stations, and a procedure room to support COVID-19 recovery efforts.


  • Shelby County Chris A. Myrtue Memorial Hospital in Harlan received a $1,000,000 grant to help with an emergency room addition and renovation.

Background: Emergency Rural Health Care Grants

Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021 to deliver immediate economic relief to people impacted by the pandemic.

In August 2021, USDA made up to $500 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants available through the American Rescue Plan to help rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to health care services and nutrition assistance. USDA is administering the funds through Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program.

Background: Rural Infrastructure Tour

This announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Rural Infrastructure Tour, a multi-faceted outreach effort involving cabinet and sub-cabinet officials across federal agencies as they travel to and learn from rural communities across the country.

USDA and its federal partners in the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force are working with rural communities to deliver on the promise of support for rural America. These visits will highlight new federal funding and investments already underway through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Contact USDA Rural Development

USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a state office in Des Moines, along with area offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas in Iowa, call (515) 284-4663 or visit www.rd.usda.gov/ia. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.