President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Includes Funding to Expand Access to Health Care for Rural Missouri
COLUMBIA, MO., April 13, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Missouri State Director Kyle Wilkens today announced the establishment of a program under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to expand rural hospitals and providers’ access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and supplies, while helping rural health care providers stay financially solvent in the long-term. The initial awards of the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants will benefit two rural Missouri entities in Texas County and parts of Northwest Missouri.
“Assisting communities with maintaining and strengthening their healthcare and services to the citizens of rural Missouri is important, not just during a pandemic,” said Wilkens. “Our mission is to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural Missouri.”
USDA created the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant program, available through the American Rescue Plan, to address a variety of immediate health care needs and services in rural communities. The investments Rural Development is making 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.
Texas County Memorial Hospital will receive a $1,000,000 grant. This investment will assist the hospital complete the interior of a surgery area, thus improving critical access to quality health care services for area residents, and will also help the hospital prepare for future pandemics by increasing its capacity for vital medical surgery. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for the immediate completion of the surgical center. Completion of this project will be of great benefit for not only the hospital but the thousands of rural residents that it serves.
Emergency Rural Health Care Grants can also assist rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to nutrition assistance. Expanding nutrition access in rural communities is a real concern that USDA Rural Development wants to help address with projects like the Second Harvest Community Food Bank. This organization will use a received a $211,000 grant to assist the food bank with increased expenses due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and will facilitate mobile food distributions throughout Northwest Missouri.
Assistance from programs like this are helping provide immediate relief to support rural hospitals, health care clinics and local communities. Today’s announcement comes as part of a larger, nationwide announcement from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack where he announced the investment of Emergency Rural Health Care Grants totaling $43 million and will benefit 2.2 million people in rural America.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. By 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 Missouri.
Contact USDA Rural Development
USDA Rural Development has 25 offices across the state to serve the 2.2 million residents living in rural Missouri. Office locations include a state office in Columbia, along with local offices in Butler, Charleston, Chillicothe, Clinton, Dexter, Eldon, Farmington, Higginsville, Houston, Kennett, Kirksville, Maryville, Mexico, Moberly, Neosho, New London, Poplar Bluff, Richmond, Rolla, Sedalia, Springfield, St. Joseph, Troy, and West Plains.
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