LEBANON, N.H., Oct. 12, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is awarding $110 million in grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns (PDF, 423 KB) across the Nation. These grants will help 208 rural health care organizations expand critical services for nearly 5 million people in 43 states and Guam.
“Access to modern and sustainable health care infrastructure is critical to the health, well-being and prosperity for the millions of people who live in rural and Tribal communities,” Torres Small said. “That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to making sure that people who need it most, no matter where they live, have access to high-quality and reliable health care services like urgent care, primary care and dental care. Through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants I am announcing today, USDA is being a strong partner to people in 43 states and Guam.”
The investments USDA is announcing will help build, renovate and equip health care facilities like hospitals and clinics in rural areas. They also include more than $9 million for 12 rural health care organizations to help 187,000 people living in energy communities, which are areas with high concentrations of coal-dependent jobs. This funding will help communities that are vital to our country’s energy production as the nation transitions to a clean-energy economy.
The Biden-Harris Administration is making this Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Program funding available 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.
The investments will be used for projects such as those to 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 will also help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care problems, which will help build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic.
In Washington State, four grants totaling $1.13 million were awarded to rural medical facilities and fire districts. For example:
- North Olympic Healthcare Network in Port Angeles will receive a $349,300 grant to purchase equipment needed to update the facility. The COVID-19 pandemic created significant disruptions to healthcare delivery services. This clinic will also be a site for COVID testing and vaccines in Clallam County.
- Adams County Public Hospital District will receive a $260,100 grant to offset lost revenue incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant will allow the district to return their financials back to healthy, pre-COVID levels to maintain adequate day-to-day operations.
- Douglas Okanogan County Fire District #15 will receive a $323,000 and Grant County Fire protection District #8 will receive a $199,870 grant to replace ambulances that are past their service life. During the COVID-19 pandemic these ambulances lacked adequate ventilation, air filtration and a separated patient - driver compartments. The vehicles were also plagued with multiple mechanical failures.The new ambulances will allow both districts to address these air quality safety issues as well as utilize a new molded surface making decontamination of the units better and faster between patients.
"Access to healthcare services is critical, yet too often Washington's rural residents encounter barriers," said Helen Price Johnson, Washington State Director for USDA Rural Development. "These grant awards demonstrate USDA's commitment to investing in our rural communities, so people have access to the healthcare they need."
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.