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

Philip Eggman
Release Date

Funding Will Help Improve Quality Health Care in Rural Washington

OLYMPIA, Wa., July 25, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding $129 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across the nation, including seven grants totaling $2.25 million that will help expand critical services in rural Washington.

USDA Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is expanding access to health care for more than five million people living in 39 states, including Washington State, as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.

“The Biden-Harris Administration responded quickly to deliver immediate economic relief and to ensure people have access to quality health care during one of the most critical times in our nation’s history,” Deputy Secretary Torres Small said. “USDA’s Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program has played a key role in strengthening rural America’s health care infrastructure and building capacity for the future. "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.

For example, in Washington State, six grants will enhance access to quality health care.

  • Clallam Fire District #2, which covers 85 square miles surrounding the City of Port Angeles, will use a $95,500 grant to purchase a new ambulance and necessary equipment.
  • Clallam Fire District #4, which provides fire protection and EMS services in a rural unincorporated area of west Clallam County in and around the community of Joyce, will use a $79,000 grant to purchase two power-lift gurneys.
  • The City of Raymond will use a $459,200 grant to purchase two ambulances and associated equipment for the city.
  • Pend Oreille County Fire District #3 will use a $428,000 to purchase two ambulances and associated equipment in the City of Newport.
  • Grant County Public Health District #1 will use a $1,000,000 grant to help replace equipment in a new health care facility that will offer more services, capacity and health care providers in the Community of Moses Lake and the Grant County service area.
  • Whatcom County Fire District #8 will use a $111,300 grant to purchase an ambulance and related equipment that will serve the Marietta community and the Lummi Nation Reservation.

The investments will also improve health outcomes for people in rural communities by improving access to healthy foods on the Olympic Peninsula.

  • The Port Angeles Food Bank will use an $81,500 grant to provide services to 13 area food pantries, including four Tribal Communities.

"Thanks to the investments announced today, our rural communities are taking significant steps towards improving healthcare accessibility and emergency response in Washington State," said Helen Price Johnson, State Director for USDA Rural Development in Washington State. "We are committed to the well-being of Washington residents and the strength of partnerships to help meet their essential needs."

 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.  For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.