ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Aug. 11, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that Southcentral Foundation will use a $1M grant to construct a health care clinic and provide medical equipment and supplies to deliver primary medical services in Takotna, Alaska.
“Under the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, USDA is committed to making sure that people, no matter where they live, have access to high-quality and reliable health care services like urgent care, primary care, and dental care,” Torres Small said. “The Emergency Rural Health Care Grants being announced today will build, renovate and equip health care provider facilities like hospitals and clinics in rural areas in 37 states. Having sustainable and accessible health care infrastructure in rural areas is critical to the health and well-being of the millions of people living in small towns across the Nation.”
The previous health clinic in Takotna was destroyed by fire, so the community currently relies on a temporary clinic. Approximately 80 miles of local roads connect Takotna to a former Air Force station, a cargo landing along the river, and mines. The nearest hospital is 235 air miles away in Anchorage, Alaska. Travel to and from the village is conducted via plane on a nearby state-owned 3,300-foot gravel airstrip, and by snow machine, or dogsled during the winter, from McGrath, 17 miles east. The new clinic will give Alaskans access to primary care medical services in Takotna.
The Biden-Harris Administration made these funds available in the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Programs through its 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 no matter their zip code.
Today USDA is awarding $74 million in grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across the Nation. These grants will help 143 rural health care organizations expand critical services for 3 million people in 37 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. The investments include $32 million for 67 rural health care organizations to help more than 1 million people living in socially vulnerable communities.
The investments will help rural hospitals and health care providers implement telehealth and nutrition assistance programs, increase staffing to administer COVID-19 vaccines and testing, build or renovate facilities, and purchase medical supplies. They also will help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care problems and build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA 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/ak.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.