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USDA Announces Grant Funding To Help Expand Access to Rural Health Care in Virginia

Barbara Bowen
Release Date

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., July 25, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small visited the University of Virginia today to announce new investments that will expand 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.

"Virginians should be able to get quality healthcare no matter where they live, but people across rural America face unique challenges to get the services they deserve,” Deputy Secretary Torres Small said. “That’s why President Biden is investing in telemedicine to bring quality healthcare closer to home.”

USDA is awarding $129 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to help 172 rural health care organizations expand critical services in communities across the nation. Virginia awards include the:

  • University of Virginia (Virginia Consortium to Advance Healthcare in Appalachia). The not-for-profit group will use the funds to expand access to health care and telemedicine in Wise County and grow regional networks for resource sharing, training, education and communications. This team will also develop a blueprint for addressing pandemic emergency chronic illness and enhancing the long-term sustainability of rural health care.
  • Bath County Community Hospital. The small Critical Access Hospital will purchase a patient-side fluoroscopy and radiography system, an X-ray machine and electronic medical records system subscription. The subscription will give doctors quick access to health records from labs and clinic emergency rooms, which will not only improve patient care to the medically underserved communities of Bath, Highland and Alleghany counties but will also be critical to treatment of future pandemics.
  • Mount Rogers Community Services Board. Grant funding will be used to increase capacity to provide mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse disorder treatment programs at the Smyth County campus. A second eight-bed unit will be added to the Rhea B. Lawrence Recovery Center to double residential service capacity and the crisis care center will be relocated from an offsite space to centralize treatments and offer a full array of referral-based outpatient services in a five-county area and the city of Galax.

“Today’s investments will help build stronger, more sustainable rural health care systems in these Virginia communities and the surrounding area,” said Perry Hickman, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director. “The regional footprint for our projects will improve health outcomes for more than 200,000 people, directly contributing to an improved quality of life.”

The grants announced today will also help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care challenges and expand 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.

Funding was made possible by President Biden’s historic legislative package, the American Rescue Plan Act and administered through Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program. These grants are helping to provide immediate relief to support rural hospitals, health care clinics and local communities to ensure every person and family has access to high-quality health care.

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. Visit our GovDelivery subscriber page to receive regular USDA Rural Development updates.

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.