U.S. Department of Agriculture 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. More than $2 million was awarded to organizations in Nebraska.
These grants will help 143 rural health care organizations expand critical services for 3 million people in 37 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The investments include $32 million for 67 rural health care organizations to help more than 1 million people living in socially vulnerable communities.
In Ainsworth, Nebraska, Brown County Hospital was awarded $871,336 to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic and boost immediate health care to help plan for future pandemic events and increase access to quality health care services. Brown County Hospital will complete a COVID-19 isolation wing in the hospital with a separate entrance. Emergency Rural Health Care Grant funding also provides for the purchase of two generators, one for the Ainsworth Family Clinic to properly store vaccines and provide power backup, and the second to service the negative pressure rooms in the hospital and maintain hospital functions in the event of a power outage.
In Friend, Nebraska, Warren Memorial Hospital was awarded $436,457 to reimburse certified operating losses sustained during the COVID-19 Pandemic. These recovered funds will ensure the service area of 1,027 rural residents continue to have equitable access to health care by supporting staffing and health care needs, and broadening access to COVID-19 testing, vaccine capabilities, health care services, and to prepare for future pandemic events to improve community health outcomes.
In Pender, Pender Community Health District, Inc. was awarded $1,000,000 to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic, boost immediate health care needs, plan for future pandemic events, and increase access to quality health care services. Pender Community Health District, Inc. will increase telehealth capabilities by implementing an improved electronic health record system connecting the hospital with clinics in Bancroft, Beemer, Emerson, and Pender, providing quick and accurate access to all rural patient records in the hospital’s service area of 17,730 residents.
“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 in 37 states. 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 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.
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/ne.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.