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Biden-Harris Administration Helps Expand Access to Rural Health Care Through Investing in America Agenda

Christopher Stewart
Release Date

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) New York State Director Brian Murray today announced nearly $3 million in grant funding across four projects, including a joint project with agency counterparts in Pennsylvania. This is part of a broader announcement as Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced from Charlottesville, VA that USDA is expanding access to health care for more than 5 million people living in 39 states and Puerto Rico as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.

Supporting rural health care infrastructure is crucial to the safety, well-being and prosperity of our rural communities,” New York State Director for USDA Rural Development Brian Murray said. “Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA Rural Development is dedicating resources to support and improve the long-term viability of our rural health care partners and their facilities to ensure patients have access to high-quality health care.”

“USDA Rural Development is committed to preserving access to care in rural communities,” State Director of Pennsylvania Bob Morgan said. “Rural towns are a gathering place where first responders put people’s safety first and hospitals care for everyone. USDA promotes a healthy community and environment through grants to make sure people, kids and families have access to the health care they need.”

“During one of the most critical times in our nation’s history, the Biden-Harris Administration responded to deliver immediate economic relief and ensure rural people have access to quality health care,” Deputy Secretary Torres Small said. “USDA’s Emergency Rural Health Care Grants are helping strengthen rural America’s health care infrastructure to build for the future.”

USDA is awarding $129 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across the nation. These grants will help 172 rural health care organizations expand critical services.

Today’s investments will help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care challenges. These solutions will build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system for the nation’s small towns and communities. Projects in New York include:

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church      This Rural Development investment of $268,900 in grant funding will be used to renovate the Watson Ministry Center of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, located in the city of Olean, in Cattaraugus County, New York. The funding will renovate the office space that the church currently uses to facilitate mental health counseling services for residents of Cattaraugus and Allegheny counties. 

The Center for Discovery                This Rural Development investment of $622,954 in grant funding will be used to support the design and construction of a Children's Specialty Hospital, in town of Thompson, which is located in Sullivan County, New York.  The Center for Discovery (TCFD) will provide resident program spaces including an educational wing with classrooms, a Wellness Therapy Gym, Dining/Kitchen, Extension Health Clinic, as well as a Learning Center. The renovation impacts approximately 78,950 square feet of combined renovation on the first floor and lower level, with a 6,300 square foot addition on the first floor.

The Gerry Homes                             This Rural Development investment of $1,000,000 in grant funding will be used to help offset the revenue lost from March 2020 through June 2022 due to lower volume resulting in lower revenue for the Gerry Homes in the town of Gerry, which is located in Chautauqua County, New York.

The joint project with agency counterparts in Pennsylvania include:

Olean General Hospital                   This Rural Development investment of $1,000,000 in grant funding will be used to help offset the revenue lost in 2021 due to lower volume of patients resulting in lower revenues for Olean General Hospital, which is in the City of Olean, in Cattaraugus County, New York. Olean General Hospital is doing business as (DBA) Bradford Regional Medical Center, which is in the city of Bradford, in McKean County, Pennsylvania.

Torres Small announced the awards today at the University of Virginia. USDA is providing a grant to the university’s Virginia Consortium to Advance Healthcare in Appalachia, a not-for-profit group that will use the funds to expand access to health care and telemedicine in Wise County. The funding will also help the group expand regional networks for resource sharing, training, education and communications. This group will also develop a blueprint for addressing pandemic emergency chronic illnesses and enhancing the long-term sustainability of rural health care.

The investments USDA is announcing will also expand health care services in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Puerto Rico. 

This funding is made possible by President Biden’s historic legislative package, the American Rescue Plan Act. The 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.

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. Within months after the Act’s passage, USDA responded quickly by making this funding available to ensure the long-term availability of rural health care services.

In August 2021, USDA made the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants available through the American Rescue Plan Act to help rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to health care services and nutrition assistance.

The assistance is helping provide immediate relief to support rural hospitals, health care clinics and local communities. USDA is administering the funds through Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program

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. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery subscriber page.

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.