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USDA Brings Health Care Closer to Home for People in Rural Utah

Djinni Yancey
Salt Lake City
Release Date

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, August 11, 2022 – Today U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Utah State Director, Michele Weaver announced that USDA is awarding nearly $1.3 million in Emergency Rural Health Care grants to bring accessible health services to over 36 thousand people in rural Utah.

“Rural communities often face barriers accessing healthcare,” Weaver said. “This is why USDA Rural Development is committed to investing in emergency healthcare and long-term healthcare sustainability in rural Utah”

The Biden-Harris Administration made these funds available in the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Programs 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.

USDA Rural Development promotes a healthy community and environment through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to make sure people, kids and families have access to the health care they need. The grants support the ability of rural communities to provide health care to the people and places in our country that often lack access.

The investments 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. They also will help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care problems and build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic.

  • Blue Mountain Hospital in Blanding will use a $986,843 grant, to expand the existing hospital lab. This expansion will allow the hospital to expand, make updated renovations, relocate the in-hospital pharmacy and improve patient accessibility.
  • Sevier County will use a $229,000 grant, to enable the rural communities of Sevier, Piute, and Wayne Counties to purchase two ambulances to transport patients to specialized care facilities throughout the state. Sevier County is located in Central Utah and houses the only full-service hospital for the areas of Sevier County, and neighboring Wayne and Piute Counties. When one ambulance is not in use, it can provide mobilization for COVID testing at county offices, businesses, care facilities, or workplaces, and could also offer an option for vaccine administration to those who are not mobile, by either transporting them to a vaccine location or administering vaccines in their homes. This project will provide vital specialized care and serve more than 25,000 residents in three counties, including travelers, tourists, and more.
  • Juab County will use a $84,000 grant to assist rural Juab County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in providing specialized care and transportation for patients of Eureka Town and surrounding areas. Acquiring a more cost-effective transport style ambulance with new equipment and resources will improve community paramedicine and telehealth services for the community. The project will ensure Eureka EMS has the equipment and resources to care for patients in their community and provide transportation to necessary specialized care.

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.