U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is awarding nearly $3 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to help rural health care organizations expand critical services to more than 21,000 people in rural Mississippi.
Today’s announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour, during which Biden Administration officials are traveling to dozens of rural communities to talk about the impact of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments, as well as President Biden’s broader commitment to ensure federal resources reach all communities in rural America.
“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA mobilized our staff and resources to respond in record time to improve the long-term viability of rural health care providers and services across this nation,” Vilsack said. “USDA used an all-hands-on-deck approach to create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program to address a variety of immediate health care needs and services in rural communities. The American Rescue Plan 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 Biden-Harris Administration made these funds available through its historic legislative package, the American Rescue Plan Act. 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.
The investments USDA is announcing today will help rural hospitals and health care organizations build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic and create and expand telehealth, testing and vaccination programs in the Mississippi Delta.
Vilsack made the announcement at Greenwood Leflore Hospital, which is receiving a $1 million grant that will allow the hospital to continue providing cost-effective medical services to more than 15,000 people in Leflore County despite experiencing a loss in revenue due to the pandemic.
Additional awardees in Mississippi include:
- Delta Health Alliance Inc. will use a nearly $1 million grant to create a COVID-19 rapid testing, education and training center at Leland Medical Clinic (LMC) in Leland. LMC provides free vaccinations supported through other funding sources, but the USDA grant will expand access to these services to more vulnerable, low-income community members.
- Delta Health Center Inc. will use a $1 million grant to expand vaccine distribution efforts and increase the capacity for telehealth in the rural Mississippi Delta. The funding will help providers address immediate and future health care needs exacerbated by COVID-19.
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.
In August 2021, USDA made up to $475 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants available through the American Rescue Plan 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.
Background: Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour
Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA and its federal partners in the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force are working with rural communities to deliver on the promise of support for rural America.
The Building a Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour is a multi-faceted outreach effort involving cabinet and sub-cabinet officials across federal agencies as they travel to and learn from key rural communities. These visits will highlight new federal funding and investments already underway through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a once-in-a-generation investment that will support rural communities and their infrastructure needs.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In 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.
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.usda.gov.
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