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USDA Invests $2.45 Million to Improve Health Care for People Living Rural Oklahoma

Amy Cowley
Release Date

Investments will support rural health care facilities and services

STILLWATER, OK, Aug. 11, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is awarding $2.45 million in grant funds in rural towns in Oklahoma. These grants will help 5 rural health care organizations expand critical services.

“Through these Emergency Rural Health Care Grants rural health care systems will be able to build, renovate and equip health care provider facilities like hospitals and clinics with updated and expanded services. Having accessible health care in rural areas is critical to the health and well-being of the people of rural Oklahoma”, said Kenneth Corn, USDA Rural Development Oklahoma State Director.

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. For example:

• In Adair County, the Adair County Health Center will use $257,000 to purchase telehealth equipment, medical supplies and refrigeration units. This equipment will allow the health center to function as an end-user in regional telehealth networks and the increased refrigeration space will increase the storage capacity for the COVID-19 vaccines.

• In Cleveland, the Cleveland Area Hospital Trust Authority will use $574,200 to expand and make improvements to their regional health clinic. This expansion will offer needed upgrades that will assist in the preparation for future pandemics while also increasing access to quality healthcare services. • In Ringling, the Duncan Regional Hospital will use $312,700 to modify the Ringling Family Healthcare Clinic. The clinic will be renovated to increase the care spaces and update utilities such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The renovations will also include updating the clinic to ensure it meets the Americans with Disability Act compliance requirements to better serve their community.

• In Pawnee, the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma will use $1,000,000 to construct a new behavioral health facility. This facility will offer a full range of local health care services including testing, diagnostics, vaccinations and an array of treatment options for the community.

• In Poteau, the LeFlore County Hospital Authority will use $307,800 to renovate the emergency room and waiting area of the local hospital. These renovations will also relocate the nurse’s station to allow for better visibility as well as include an improved intensive care unit. These upgrades will allow the hospital to better serve the 15,000 patients who visit the emergency room each year.

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. 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.

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