U.S. Department of Agriculture
1835 Assembly Street, Suite 1007
Columbia, SC 29201
Nearly 2 Million Rural Residents in 34 States will Benefit
COLUMBIA, S.C., Nov. 15, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $503 million in 61 projects to help improve health care infrastructure and services in rural communities nationwide.
“Access to health care is essential for every community,” Hazlett said. “It supports a high quality of life, and it helps businesses attract and retain workers. USDA is partnering with rural communities across the country to help rural residents and workers get access to modern, convenient health care services.”
Hazlett made today’s announcement as part of USDA’s commemoration of National Rural Health Day, which is held annually on the third Thursday of November to focus on the specific health care issues facing rural communities. The Department is investing in 61 projects through the Community Facilities direct loan program. These investments will expand access to health care for approximately 2 million people in 34 states.
Hampton County, South Carolina is receiving a $300,000 loan which will allow Hampton County to relocate the coroner's and the emergency medical service offices and to provide space for the Air Methods medical helicopter, which serves 21,090 residents.
Hazlett’s funding announcement complements the finalization of a partnership between USDA and the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) to identify issues causing financial strain on rural hospitals, which are an important part of the rural health care system. NRHA and the Department will work together to identify management and financial indicators that often precede a hospital’s closure. This proactive strategy is designed to help rural hospitals before they are in financial distress. Intervention steps may help the hospitals continue to operate and serve rural communities.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.
To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs 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 areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/sc.