U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Oklahoma State Director Kenneth Corn today announced that USDA is awarding $1.17 million in grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across Oklahoma. These grants will help five rural health care organizations in Anadarko, Atoka, Choctaw County, Coal County and Prague continue to deliver vital health services.
“Access to modern and sustainable health care infrastructure in rural Oklahoma is critical to the health, well-being and prosperity for our rural and Tribal communities,” Corn 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 reinvesting more than $1.17 million in rural Oklahoman’s long-term health.”
The investments USDA is announcing will help equip Oklahoma health care facilities and emergency services and provide improved services to their rural communities. 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. For example, in Oklahoma:
- The City of Anadarko receives $152,495 to purchase an ambulance for the city. The ambulance will replace a high mileage, outdated ambulance to improve access to quality health care, improve health outcomes, and improve emergency response for the community. Anadarko has a population of approximately 6,700 residents.
- Atoka County Emergency Medical Services receives $102,500 to purchase four cardiac monitors and two CPR compression devices to be used in treatments including but not limited to COVID-19. The new cardiac monitors will replace the older obsolete monitors and provide up to date cardiac assessment, diagnosis and care to the patients. This will allow Atoka County Emergency Medical Services the ability to respond to future pandemic surges and offer improved health care options. This purchase will benefit the people of the City of Atoka as well as the Atoka County.
- Choctaw County Ambulance Authority receives $147,000 to purchase a new 4-wheel drive ambulance. This ambulance will be fully equipped to help protect patients and employees from Covid-19. Choctaw County Ambulance Authority will purchase ventilators and a lift system to transfer patients.
- Coal County Healthcare Authority receives two grants totaling $359,300 and $361,900 respectively to reimburse lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the Coal County Hospital. This will ease some of the financial burden the county hospital experienced during the pandemic.
- Prague Healthcare Authority receives $53,300 to install a bulk oxygen system, repair the medical vacuum system and purchase computer equipment for the enhancement of telehealth services. These improvements will expand the health care offerings and ability to respond to COVID-19 mental health issues and complications. The bulk oxygen system repaired medical vacuum system and computer equipment will allow the Prague Healthcare Authority to respond to future pandemic surges and offer improved health care options.
The investments USDA is announcing today will expand health care services in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming and Guam.
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.
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