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USDA Invests $10.5 Million in American Rescue Plan Funds to Expand Access to Rural Health Care for People in Pennsylvania

Name
Daniel Blottenberger
City
Harrisburg
Release Date
Apr 13, 2022

Department Responds in Record Time to Meet the Growing Health Care Needs in Rural America 

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is awarding $10.5 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to 18 rural health care organizations and community groups in Pennsylvania.

“No matter where you live, people deserve good health care, and the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to making that a reality throughout rural America,” Torres Small said. “Through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Program, USDA is improving access to the critical health care services rural people rely on every day here in rural Pennsylvania, and we are proud to have such strong partners like Representatives Cartwright and Wild.”

The Biden-Harris Administration made these funds available through its historic legislative package, the American Rescue Plan Act. 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.

The grants USDA is awarding will help rural hospitals and health care providers implement telehealth and nutrition assistance programs, increase staffing, build or renovate facilities, and purchase medical supplies.

Torres Small made the announcement at the Greater Pittston Ambulance Rescue Service Association. The association is one of 18 recipients to receive grant funds in Pennsylvania. It will use a $226,900 grant to purchase approximately 200 pieces of medical equipment for emergency and ambulatory services. The equipment includes LIFEPAK monitors, therapy cables and reusable blood pressure cuffs.

Additional awardees in Pennsylvania include:

  • Broad Acres Nursing Home Association in Centre County received a grant of $1 million to reimburse lost health care revenue incurred from March 13, 2020, to August 31, 2021. The funds will be used to promote or administer vaccines to current and future residents and staff, and to increase testing.
  • Evangelical Community Hospital in Union County received a grant of $487,800 as part of the American Rescue Plan Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program. The funds have been used to support the purchase of an ALS Medic Unit with radio equipment as well as patient monitors and ancillary equipment to be used in the hospital on inpatient and outpatient units. The COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for care on both EMS and hospital fronts. The new unit and equipment allows the hospital to be on the ready from an emergency and in-hospital care standpoint to handle any future COVID-19 surges as well as medical treatment for conditions outside of COVID-19.
  • Warren General Hospital in Warren County received a grant of $469,000 to purchase 30 patient beds for their emergency and patient rooms. Warren General will also purchase a MEDITECH Expanse electronic health record system to support a single-patient record system. The equipment is needed to provide more efficient care during the pandemic.
  • Somerset Care Inc. in Somerset County received a grant of $907,200 to reimburse lost revenue from March 15, 2020, through September 30, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used to promote or administer vaccines to current and future residents and staff, and to increase testing. Somerset Care Incorporated was established to maintain, operate, and manage nursing homes, hospitals, and related health care and retirement facilities for elderly persons and for the housing and care of developmentally disabled persons of Somerset County.
  • Punxsutawney Area Hospital Inc. in Jefferson County received a grant of $868,599 to purchase additional equipment and supplies for COVID-19 testing, personal protective equipment, a new ventilator and respirator, and further expand telehealth and remote care services, which will assist in reducing potential exposure and transmission. The funds will be used to promote or administer vaccines to current and future residents and staff, and to increase testing.   
  • Lock Haven Emergency Medical Services in Clinton County received a grant of $309,700 to purchase two ambulances, two cardiac monitors and defibrillators, a power load system, two Motorola mobile units and six Motorola portable radios. The equipment is needed to help the company provide services to the community, which has seen an influx of patients due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Highlands Hospital in Fayette County received a grant of $971,300 to reimburse lost healthcare revenue incurred from March 13 through December 31, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used to promote or administer vaccines to current and future residents and staff, and to increase testing. Highlands Hospital was established to maintain, operate and manage hospital and related healthcare facilities in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.     
  • Fulton County Medical Center received a $136,900 grant to reimburse lost health care revenue from March 2020 to June 2021. The lost revenues were due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used to promote or administer vaccines to current and future residents and staff, and to increase testing.   
  • The DuBois Continuum of Care Community in Clearfield County received a grant of $1 million to reimburse lost health care revenue from March 13, 2020, through August 31, 2021, and reimburse COVID-19 related costs including personal protective equipment, testing kits and supplies, staffing for testing of residents, increased medical supplies, etc. The funds will be used to promote or administer vaccines to current and future residents and staff, and to increase testing.   
  • The County of Forest received a grant of $219,300 to purchase two E-250 ambulances with power stretcher, monitor and defibrillator to assist with the rising levels of ambulance transport needs in Forest County. The rural county does not have a hospital. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the ambulance services provided in the east side of the county were lost.
  • The Corry Memorial Hospital Association in Erie County received a grant of $404,300 to reimburse lost health care revenue from April 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021, and reimburse COVID-19 related costs including personal protective equipment, testing kits and supplies, staffing for COVID-19, testing of residents and increased medical supplies. The lost revenues were brought on by the pandemic. The funds will be used to promote or administer vaccines to current and future residents and staff, and to increase testing.   
  • The Clinton County Department of Emergency Services received a grant of $750,000 to purchase and install tower communications equipment for an existing tower in Leidy Township (Tamarack Tower) and Chapman Township (Summerson Tower) in Clinton County. The funds will also be used to purchase radio communications equipment to better serve the Bucktail Regional Medical Center. This project will help ensure the emergency services call center reaches the area and guarantees communication between the hospitals, ambulance services and fire companies.   
  • Clarion Hospital in Clarion County received a grant of $1 million to reimburse lost health care revenue from March 13, 2020, through August 31, 2021. The lost revenues were due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used to promote or administer vaccines to current and future residents and staff, and to increase testing.   
  • Citizens Hose Company of South Renovo in Clinton County received a grant of $443,800 to purchase a quick response unit rescue truck. The new vehicle will allow for better and more reliable response times, and equip the fire department with the necessary equipment, tools and diagnostic capabilities to perform the emergency response tasks. It will also be used to serve as a mobile vaccine administration and testing unit as necessary for the COVID-19 pandemic and for future health crises. This equipment will allow emergency services to reach the remote portions of the service area. The equipment will allow the fire response team to setup a mobile medical unit during emergency situations before ambulance services arrive.  
  • Center Care Inc. in Centre County received a grant of $1 million to reimburse lost health care revenue from March 15, 2020, through August 31, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used to promote or administer vaccines to current and future residents and staff, and to increase testing. Centre Care Incorporated provides nursing, assisted living and senior retirement care to qualifying persons.    
  • Adagio Health Inc. in Venango County received a grant of $122,400 to purchase medical supplies and equipment to increase capacity, increase telehealth capabilities and purchase food bank equipment and supplies such as cold storage units, electronic food insecurity screening equipment, edible foods, dry/canned/fresh food storage receptacles, and food pantry employment costs. The funds will be used to promote or administer COVID-19 vaccines to current and future residents and staff and increase testing. 
  • Adagio Health Inc. in Allegheny County received a grant of $233,300 to purchase medical and food pantry equipment and supplies for the Uniontown Medical Facility in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. This investment will also allow for additional hiring to meet the demand caused by the pandemic. The facility provides COVID-19 screening, vaccine and educational services. It also has a mobile unit that visits each of its sites to administer vaccines. In addition, the medical facility launched an educational project to provide its patients and visitors with equal access to medically accurate information about the vaccine.   

This funding will help meet the demands of growing health care needs in rural America and expand access to health care services for 2.2 million people across 22 states.

USDA will announce additional recipients of Emergency Rural Health Care Grants in the coming weeks and months.

Background: 

Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021 to deliver immediate economic relief to people impacted by the pandemic.

In August 2021, USDA made up to $500 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants available through the American Rescue Plan to help rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to health care services and nutrition assistance. 

Today’s awardees in Pennsylvania are part of a $43 million investment USDA has made to date under the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Program.

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.

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