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Health Care Improvements Made in Four N.M. Communities

Ernie Watson
Albuquerque, N.M.
Release Date

Biden-Harris Administration Invests $110 Million to Improve Health Care for Rural People in 43 States and Guam

Including four projects in Ft. Sumner, Portales, Tucumcari, and Socorro

LEBANON, N.H., Oct. 12, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is awarding $110 million in grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across the Nation. These grants will help 208 rural health care organizations expand critical services for nearly 5 million people in 43 states and Guam.

“Access to modern and sustainable health care infrastructure is critical to the health, well-being and prosperity for the millions of people who live in rural and Tribal communities,” Torres Small said. “That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to making sure that people who need it most, no matter where they live, have access to high-quality and reliable health care services like urgent care, primary care and dental care. Through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants, I am announcing today, USDA is being a strong partner to people in 43 states and Guam.”

USDA Rural Development State Director Patricia Dominguez added, “USDA Rural Development supports our neighbors choosing to live in rural New Mexico. This funding is so important because it ensures our rural communities will have access to the best  possible health care.”

The investments USDA is announcing will help build, renovate and equip health care facilities like hospitals and clinics in rural areas. They also include more than $9 million for 12 rural health care organizations to help 187,000 people living in energy communities, which are areas with high concentrations of coal-dependent jobs. This funding will help communities that are vital to our country’s energy production as the nation transitions to a clean-energy economy.

The Biden-Harris Administration is making this Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Program  funding available 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.

The investments will be used for projects such as those to 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 will also help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care problems, which will help build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic. For example: the four communities in New Mexico receiving funding in this announcement are:

  • Mental Health Resources, Inc. (MHR) in Ft. Sumner received a $76,100 grant to purchase laptops, speakers, microphones, webcams, and to provide more training for staff. This funding will ensure the continuity of services during this and future pandemic events. MHR is a behavioral health provider organization providing a wide range of services including counseling, and coordination services through telephonic and tele-video means.
  • Mental Health Resources Inc. (MHR) in Portales also received a $47,900 grant to purchase new laptops, speakers, micro phones, webcams, and training services for staff. By doing so the equipment and training will ensure the continuity of health services in Portales, New Mexico.   
  • Mental Health Resources Inc. (MHR) in Tucumcari received a $59,700 grant to also purchase laptops, speakers, micro phones, webcams, and training services. The funding for the equipment and training for staff will ensure the continuity of services during this and future pandemic events in Tucumcari.
  • The city of Socorro received a $31,499 grant to offset the cost to purchase an ambulance for the city’s fire department. During the pandemic, the current ambulances were being utilized not only for patient transport but also to provide mobile testing for COVID-19.  The city's ambulances were also utilized to assist in administering the COVID vaccine to homebound residents. The increased use during the pandemic advanced the wear on these vehicles. As a result, a new transport ambulance is needed to allow the fire department to expand rescue and health services to the 8,300 residents of the city of Socorro.

The investments USDA is announcing today will expand health care services in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming and Guam.

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.