RALEIGH, N.C., Aug. 11, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small announced USDA is awarding $1.8 million in grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across North Carolina today.
These grants will help three rural health care organizations expand critical services for rural citizens across the Tar Heel State.
“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. 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 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.
USDA Rural Development promotes a healthy community and environment through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to make sure people, kids and families have access to the health care they need. The grants support the ability of rural communities to provide health care to the people and places in our country that often lack access.
“The investments will help rural hospitals and health care providers, in rural North Carolina, increase staffing to administer COVID-19 vaccines and testing as well as purchase medical supplies,” said Rural Development State Director Reginald Speight. “USDA Rural Development invests in rural America because we know a strong community is rooted in its people. Rural towns are a gathering place where first responders put people’s safety first and hospitals care for everyone.”
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.
- In Buncombe County, the WNC Bridge Foundation will use a $760 thousand grant to purchase COVID-19 supplies, medical equipment, and packaged meals. Medical care will be rendered through special and regularly scheduled community events at the community centers, offering COVID-19 and other vaccines, and laboratory screenings for chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The staffing and supplies will aid in decreasing the transmission of COVID-19 and increasing community awareness of current trends and levels of infection in the community.
- In Mitchell County, Bakersville Community Medical Clinic Inc. will use a $1 million grant to purchase COVID-19 supplies. These supplies will support the organization's expanded testing and vaccination efforts related to the recent pandemic. The project will be directed toward the increased costs related to ongoing COVID-19 testing supplies and the staffing required to schedule, track, and administer tests and vaccines.
- In Vance County, Turning Point Community Development Corp. will use a $44 thousand grant to purchase meals and fund food distribution expenses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Turning Point sees the need to ensure that the community's most vulnerable populations have access to healthy food. The organization added a food distribution program to the wide variety of services already provided. The food distribution expenses will include produce boxes, student meals, a van, transportation maintenance, a freezer, personal protective equipment, food distribution contractors, and a heating ventilation and air conditioning system.
Nationwide Rural Development is investing $74 Million to improve health care for people living in 37 States, Guam and Puerto Rico. Investments include $32 Million to help more than one million people in socially vulnerable communities.
The investments announced today will expand health care services in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Guam and Puerto Rico.
USDA will announce additional awardees for Emergency Rural Health Care Grants in the coming weeks and months.
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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