Grants Will Benefit More Than 27,000 Mainers and More Than 5 Million Rural Americans Nationwide
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., July 25, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is expanding access to health care for more than 5 million people living in 39 states and Puerto Rico as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.
“During one of the most critical times in our nation’s history, the Biden-Harris Administration responded to deliver immediate economic relief and ensure rural people have access to quality health care,” Deputy Secretary Torres Small said. “USDA’s Emergency Rural Health Care Grants are helping strengthen rural America’s health care infrastructure to build for the future.”
“These investments are the very definition of ‘resiliency’ – they demonstrate what it is to emerge stronger from an unforeseeable event and as Mainers, this kind of hope resonates strongly,” said Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson. “Every time the Biden-Harris Administration supports health center facilities in our small communities, they are investing in each and every one of us.”
In Maine, the grants will benefit two healthcare facilities:
- Fish River Rural Health (FRRH), serving the northernmost towns in Aroostook County, will receive $69,800. FRRH will use the funds to purchase necessary equipment for family medicine, dental, and optometry services, along with technology and food distribution services. The health center serves the towns of Eagle Lake, Fort Kent, and Madawaska.
- Belfast’s Penobscot Community Health Center (PCHC), in the heart of Waldo County, will receive $450,900. Founded as the Seaport Community Health Center nearly 40 years ago, PCHC will use the funds to renovate the first 2 floors of a recently acquired, 35,000-square-foot facility. With 60 employees, PCHC serves approximately 8000 patients annually.
Nationwide, USDA is awarding $129 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns.
Today’s investments will help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care challenges. These solutions will build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system for the nation’s small towns and communities.
The investments USDA is announcing will also expand health care services in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Puerto Rico.
This funding is made possible by President Biden’s 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.
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.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.