Stevens Point, Wis., November 17, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Wisconsin Julie Lassa today announced that USDA is awarding $13 million in grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across Wisconsin. These grants will help 13 rural health care organizations expand critical services for rural residents in Wisconsin.
“Today we are celebrating National Rural Health Care Day as a reminder that a strong community is rooted in its people,” said Lassa. “Having sustainable and accessible health care infrastructure in rural areas is critical to the health and well-being of the people living in small towns across Wisconsin. Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is promoting healthy communities through grants to make sure everyone has access to the health care they need.” [Audio: Mp3, :24 Seconds, 584KB]
The Emergency Rural Health Care Grants announced today 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. The grants can also 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. For example:
- HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital (Chippewa Falls) will use a $9.47 million grant to increase the patient care capacity, long-term sustainability and address the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on Opioid/Substance/Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery. This project will assist with the limitations of the addiction response in rural communities drastically affected by the pandemic by establishing telemedicine hubs, Dynamicare application use for peer support and monitoring as well as construction of pandemic accessible recovery spaces and care. The facilities and proposed service area is expansive and includes focus on the following Wisconsin counties: Barron, Chippewa, Eau Claire, Florence, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Rusk, Shawano, and Washburn.
- Augusta Area Home Inc. in Eau Claire County will use a $346,151 grant to recoup lost revenue in 2020 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will allow the facility to continue to operate efficiently while addressing expenses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Baldwin Care Center Inc. in St. Croix County will use a $382,769 grant to recoup lost revenue in 2020 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The facility will attempt to recapture pre-pandemic census levels and has a goal to attract/retain highly trained staff.
- Bethany Home Inc. in Waupaca County will use a $458,278 grant to recoup lost revenue in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will be used to replenish funds lost due to increased expenses including equipment and payroll costs related to the pandemic as well as decreased admissions and capacity limits.
- Central Wisconsin Community Action Council Inc. in Adams County will use a $126,084 grant to expand the existing Adams County Food Pantry space located in Friendship. This project will include internal renovations to increase floor space and storage capacity from 850 to 2,100 square feet to accommodate the expanding needs of the local area due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Glenhaven Inc. in St. Croix County will use a $720,832 grant to recoup lost revenue since March 2020. Funds will allow the facility to continue to operate efficiently while addressing continuing raised expenses associated with the pandemic. The facility will attempt to recapture pre pandemic census levels and has a goal to attract/retain highly trained staff.
- Good Shepherd Services LTD in Outagamie County will use a $146,515 grant to recoup lost revenue in 2020 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The facility had to limit occupancy due to social distancing restrictions and incurred additional expenses due to purchasing personal protective equipment and higher staffing costs. Funds will allow the facility to continue to operate efficiently while addressing continuing raised expenses associated with the pandemic.
- Grant Regional Health Center Inc. in Grant County will use a $533,750 grant to construct a satellite healthcare facility in Fennimore, Wisconsin. The facility will be located 12 miles from the main campus to better serve the local area population – decreasing travel times for residents in remote areas. The clinic will provide patients with high-quality healthcare including primary services as well rehabilitation, X-ray, and lab processing. The facility will also allow employers in that community to help retain their workforce, including the ability for workers to receive healthcare in town rather than driving out of town, potentially missing work time or relocating out of the community.
- Park View Home Inc. in St. Croix County will use a $27,131 grant to recoup lost revenue in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of the lost revenue funds will be utilized to replenish funds lost due to increased expenses including equipment and payroll costs as well as decreased admissions and overall decline in census revenue related to the pandemic.
- Schmitt Woodland Hills Inc. in Richland County will use a $543,689 grant to recoup lost revenue in 2021 due to a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, limiting the census of the facility due to social distancing, restrictions and additional expenses incurred due to personal protective equipment and higher staffing costs. The funds will allow the facility to continue to operate efficiently while addressing continuing raised expenses associated with the pandemic.
- Shawano Area Matthew 25 Inc. in Shawano County will use a $69,300 grant to complete renovations on the Shawano Area Matthew 25 Inc. (SAM25) Community Clinic. This project will provide assistance with the increasing cost of supplies, equipment, wages, and operating expenses. These funds are necessary to keep this low-cost/free, health clinic operational, and to expand medical resources such as treatments, exams, and COVID-19 lab and pharmacy services.
- The Brick Ministries, Inc. in Ashland County will use a $154,500 grant to renovate the current food distribution and warehouse facility and lobby area. The renovation includes a reconfiguration of the floor plan for better flow, bringing the building up to code to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
- Waushara County Food Pantry, Inc. will use a $198,000 grant to expand the food pantry and improve the facility to meet the rise in demand for products and services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds for this project will be used to cover the increased cost and need of additional refrigeration, greater food supply and new equipment, as well as staffing costs and operating expenses.
Several recipients will make an impact on surrounding communities and will also benefit communities located in recently established Rural Partners Network (RPN) Community Networks:
- Northwestern Wisconsin Community Network: August Area Home, Inc. and HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital
- Greater Menominee Community Network: HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital
- Northern Wisconsin Community Network: The Brick Ministries, Inc.
- Adams County Visionary Community Network: Central Wisconsin Community Action Council Inc.
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 https://www.rd.usda.gov/wi
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