U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development announced that it’s awarding $1.7 million in grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across Indiana. These grants will help four rural health care organizations expand critical services for more than 74,000 people in Indiana.
“Access to modern and sustainable health care infrastructure is critical to the health, well-being and prosperity for the millions of people who live in rural and Tribal communities,” Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small said. “That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to making sure that people who need it most, no matter where they live, have access to high-quality and reliable health care services like urgent care, primary care and dental care. Through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants I am announcing today, USDA is being a strong partner to people in 43 states and Guam.”
The investments USDA is announcing will help build, renovate and equip health care facilities like hospitals and clinics in rural areas. They also include more than $9 million for 12 rural health care organizations to help 187,000 people living in energy communities, which are areas with high concentrations of coal-dependent jobs. This funding will help communities that are vital to our country’s energy production as the nation transitions to a clean-energy economy.
Dr. Terry Goodin, USDA-RD Indiana state director, said, “The Emergency Rural Health Care Grants for the counties of Perry, Pulaski, Greene, and Crawford are key to improving the infrastructure in those areas. It ensures the people living in those communities continue to get necessary health care services by providing new emergency vehicles, expanding medical facilities, and address COVID-19 procedures and reporting. USDA-Rural Development Indiana looks forward to continued partnership in these communities because Together Indiana Prospers.”
The Biden-Harris Administration is making this Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Program funding available 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.
The investments will be used for projects such as those to 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 will also help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care problems, which will help build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic.
The investments USDA is announcing today will expand health care services in Perry, Pulaski, Greene, and Crawford counties.
Perry County has two grants for the Perry County Memorial Hospital totaling $262,700 for telehealth capabilities and the renovation of a portion of the Tell City clinic. Perry County will use the telehealth capabilities investment to expand access to telehealth capabilities. Through collaboration with the Indiana Health Information Exchange, the hospital helps ensure a successful exchange of COVID-19 testing data to track and monitor outbreaks and infections across Southern Indiana. The county will use the renovation investment to renovate a portion of the Perry County Memorial Hospital's Tell City, Indiana clinic. Renovations will include a new canopy attachment to assist with providing mobile care for testing and vaccinations; three new exam rooms, with one being designated as a negative pressure room for patients with COVID-19 and other airborne illnesses; installation of an Americans with Disabilities Act accessible restroom, renovated lab space, and a dedicated nurses station. Improvements will allow the safe separation of suspected COVID-19-positive patients from other patients receiving routine or chronic care.
In Pulaski County, Rural Development is investing $95k, which will be used to purchase an ambulance. Pulaski County, Indiana, will collaborate with Pulaski Memorial and local Emergency Medical Services to provide transportation services to local patients. When COVID-19 surges occur throughout the state and bed availability is limited, the new ambulance will enable Pulaski Memorial Hospital to timely transfer patients to a facility that can accommodate them and/or to a higher level of care facility.
In Greene County, Rural Development is investing $1 million, which will be used to renovate and relocate Greene County General Hospital's intensive care unit and co-locate it with the medical-surgical department. This project will allow them to address the COVID-19 isolation and recovery and negative airflow issues by creating a truly dedicated isolation space that meets current pandemic isolation and other isolation requirements. The hospital, located in Linton, Indiana, has a population of 5,413.
In Crawford County, Rural Development is investing $408,900, which will be used to purchase two fully equipped ambulances, five Lucas Devices (for cardiac life support), two Stryker Load Systems, and four ventilators. These purchases allow the residents of Crawford County to have five fully equipped ambulances and assist the Emergency Medical Technicians when responding to COVID-19 and other medical surges. Additionally, it provides high-quality care in all situations and transfers patients promptly to a care facility that can accommodate them.
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, health care, and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal, and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/in.
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