U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Kentucky State Director Dr. Tom Carew today announced over $4.4 million in grants to improve health care in rural Kentucky.
Kentucky is one of 43 states and Guam, where $110 million is being invested to broaden health care access.
“The COVID-19 pandemic had a tremendous impact on our rural health care providers,” Carew said. “It also highlighted some vulnerabilities in our system, and the projects announced today will address those by better equipping health care facilities and helping to address nutrition and food insecurity. No matter where you live, the Biden-Harris administration is committed to making sure you have access to high-quality health care services.”
God’s Pantry Food Bank will use a $585,000 grant to expand the food bank’s Mobile Pantry Program to increase food distribution to a total of 16 rural counties in Central and Eastern Kentucky. The program is designed to supply nourishing food directly to those in underserved areas through the use of refrigerated trucks delivering nutrient-dense food and groceries, including meats, starches, fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and 100-percent fruit juices.
Memorial Hospital Inc. will use a $1 million grant to expand the intensive-care unit, reduce infection rates, improve testing times, improve patient safety, reduce transmission risks for immunocompromised patients, and provide pulmonary services for residents in seven rural Appalachian counties in Eastern Kentucky.
St. Claire Regional Medical Center Inc. will use a $1 million grant to upgrade the air handling units for the hospital. The new state-of-the-art units will provide increased ventilation and filtration, and ultraviolet lights throughout the system will kill viruses and bacteria in the airstream.
Volunteers of America Mid-States Inc. will use a $25,000 grant to launch and administer a COVID-19 vaccine campaign in Clay County, Kentucky.
ARH Tug Valley Health Services Inc. will use an $825,000 grant to upgrade cardiac monitoring equipment and initiate tele-intensive care unit services at Highland ARH Regional Medical Center, a 184-bed hospital in Prestonsburg, Kentucky.
Baptist Health Corbin will use a $1 million grant to purchase equipment including a pulmonary function test body box, nuclear camera, laryngoscope, defibrillators, and a centrifuge, all of which will improve the emergency department’s capacity to diagnose and treat residents in Bell, Clay, Harlan, Knox, Laurel, McCreary and Whitley counties in Kentucky and Campbell County in Tennessee.
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 helps provide immediate relief to support rural hospitals, health care clinics and local communities. The funds are administered 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.