NASHVILLE, Tenn., Aug. 11, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that 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. Tennessee State Director Arlisa Armstrong is pleased to announce the investments will include $4 million for six rural health care and community support organizations to help more than 89,700 rural Tennesseans living in socially vulnerable communities.
“Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development is placing a special emphasis on the need to address equitability as we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Armstrong said. “The six rural health care and community support organizations that are receiving an Emergency Rural Health Care Grant today, will now have the opportunity to continue offering essential services to people living in socially vulnerable communities.”
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 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 Tennessee:
- Coffee Medical Group LLC will use a $1 million grant to purchase equipment and supplies, and assist in operating costs for area clinics and hospitals located in rural Manchester. The project will provide upgraded equipment to the medical clinics and hospital operated by Coffee Medical Group. This equipment will better enable physicians and care providers in the area to deliver COVID-19 testing and vaccines. It will also help medical personnel to diagnose and treat those infected with the virus and to treat those previously infected who continue to experience virus-related health issues. The project will benefit the approximately 10,000 residents in Manchester.
- Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge Inc. will use a $804,600 grant to continue the vital primary care needed in Briceville and Harriman. The project will assist to mitigate COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and death for low-income residents served by the clinic. The investment will also help purchase two vehicles that will expand testing and vaccination outreach programs and provide the backbone to the clinic's new "Community Healthcare Initiative." The project will benefit approximately 8,000 residents near the clinics in Harriman and Briceville.
- Mid-Cumberland Human Resource Agency will use a $84,700 grant to purchase food and operating costs for the Meals-on-Wheels program provided by the Mid-Cumberland Human Resource Agency located in rural Houston County, and serving the town of Erin. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a severe spike in meal service provided by the Meals-on-Wheels program. The project will allow Mid-Cumberland Human Resource Agency to provide an additional 36,885 meals over three years to needy senior citizens residing in the rural community of Erin. The project will benefit approximately 8,400 residents within Houston County.
- Mountain States Health Alliance will use a $849,500 grant to provide additional funding to Mountain States Health Alliance. The funding will assist Mountain States Health Alliance, headquartered in Johnson City, Tenn., continue operating Russell County Hospital, located in rural Russell County, Virginia. Additional funding includes a $695,090 applicant contribution.
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee Inc. will use a $346,200 grant to purchase supplies and assist in operating costs for the Second Harvest Food Bank located in rural Benton County. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a severe spike in the need for food assistance provided by the Second Harvest program. The project will allow Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee to cover the additional costs associated with safety protocol measures and assist in the increase in operating costs and equipment. The project will benefit the approximately 16,500 residents of Benton County.
- University Health System Inc. will use a $1 million grant to equip an emergency department located in Fentress County and provide care to the rural residents of Jamestown. The project will provide equipment for non-emergent care, and equipment for the newly formed emergency department. This equipment will better enable the medical community in the area to deliver COVID-19 testing and vaccines, and help medical personnel to diagnose and treat those infected with COVID-19 or treat those previously infected and continue to have health issues stemming from the virus. The project will benefit the approximately 18,000 residents in Fentress County.
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, 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.