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USDA Invests $1.6 Million to Help Rural Health Care Organizations Provide Services to People in West Virginia

Emily Cannon
Release Date
Apr 18, 2022

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack 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 total $43 million and will benefit 2.2 million people who live and work in rural America. Awardees include 93 rural health care organizations and community groups across 22 states. In West Virginia, the agency is investing $1.6 million in three health care organizations.

This announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Rural Infrastructure Tour, a multi-faceted outreach effort involving cabinet and sub-cabinet officials across federal agencies as they travel to and learn from rural communities across the country.

“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA mobilized our staff and resources to respond in record time to improve the long-term viability of rural health care providers and services across this nation,” Vilsack said. “USDA used an all-hands-on-deck approach to create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program to address a variety of immediate health care needs and services in rural communities. The American Rescue Plan 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.”

Rural Health Centers and Hospitals are vital to our communities and provide critical services to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and maintain the health and well-being of our people,” USDA Rural Development West Virginia State Director Ryan Thorn said, “The $1.6 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants invested in Lewis, Mingo, and Webster counties by the Biden-Harris Administration,  serves as a lifeline to ensure stability in service and the continuation of critical care for the underserved people of rural West Virginia.”


The grants USDA is awarding 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.

 In West Virginia, three health care organizations have received a total of $1,652,400:

  • Williamson Health and Wellness Center has received an Emergency Rural Health Care Grant in the amount of $1,000,000. This Rural Development investment will be used to hire one full time Vaccination Coordinator and two laboratory technicians to help with the COVID-19 pandemic workload. They will also use funds for various equipment for the pandemic, including a portable blood gas analyzer, portable ultrasound, high-flow nasal cannula, radiographic mobile digital equipment, lab testing equipment, and thermometers. Williamson Health and Wellness Center serves Williamson, Delbarton, Kermit, Matewan, and Gilbert in Mingo County. Williamson Health and Wellness Center has recently purchased the Williamson Memorial Hospital building. This was the only hospital in Mingo County, and it has been closed for over a year. Once internal renovations are complete, the facility will reopen as a fully functioning hospital with an emergency department.
  • Webster County Memorial Hospital Incorporated has received an Emergency Rural Health Care Grant in the amount of $588,200. This Rural Development investment will be used to cover part of the reduction in revenue and additional expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Pandemic-related expenses included personal protective equipment, more laboratory equipment to run COVID-19 testing, and an increase in staff.  Webster County Memorial Hospital is located in Webster Springs, West Virginia, and serves all of Webster County.  
  • Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital has received an Emergency Rural Health Care Grant in the amount of $64,300. This Rural Development investment will be used to purchase 20 Mindray N1 and N15 monitors along with the new software and licenses required to use the devices.  These new devices will replace their outdated equipment. This new equipment will be used in the Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, and Acute Care Units which have seen an increase in patients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic due to the specialized care required. The devices enable monitoring of vital signs, including oxygen saturation, carbon dioxide, arterial pressure, and heart rhythm.  The hospital serves Lewis and Gilmer counties.

The investments announced today will expand health care services in Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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

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.

In August 2021, USDA made the 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.

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. 

Background: Rural Infrastructure Tour

Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA and its federal partners in the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force are working with rural communities to deliver on the promise of support for rural America.

The Rural Infrastructure Tour is a multi-faceted outreach effort involving cabinet and sub-cabinet officials across federal agencies as they travel to and learn from rural communities across the country. These visits will highlight new federal funding and investments already underway through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a once-in-a-generation investment that will support rural communities and their infrastructure needs.

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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