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USDA Invests $804,600 in Emergency Rural Health Care in Tennessee

Release Date

HARRIMAN, Tenn., Oct. 25, 2022 - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development – Tennessee is pleased to participate in an award announcement for the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge at their Harriman and Briceville locations.

“The Free Medical Clinic provides no charge primary care to the over 14,000 low-income and uninsured residents, in the heart of Appalachia, living in Anderson, Morgan, and Roane Counties of Tennessee. The USDA Emergency Rural Health Care Grant has been a game changer for our underserved rural communities,” Billy Edmonds, Executive Director of The Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge said. “The funding from this grant will help fuel our mission, especially in Harriman and Briceville, as we serve unmet medical needs to those that can’t afford it; especially during this COVID pandemic. We will use this funding to address health disparities that face rural families.”

The Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge Inc. received a $804,600 grant through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program. This Rural Development investment was used to continue the vital primary care needed in Briceville and Harriman, Tennessee. The project will assist to mitigate COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and death for low-income residents served by the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge Inc. The investment will also help purchase two new vehicles that will expand testing and vaccination outreach programs and provide the backbone to the clinic’s new “Community Healthcare Initiative.” The project will benefit approximately 8,000 residents near the clinics in Harriman and Briceville.

"We are excited to celebrate in this award announcement for the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge. This is a great investment for the community and people of Anderson, Morgan and Roane County, Tenn.," Arlisa Armstrong, Tennessee State Director said. "We are committed to partnering with organizations to help broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines and rural healthcare services. This funding will support the long-term sustainability of rural health care in these communities."

“The Free Medical Clinic (FMC) thanks the USDA, their Federal and State Reps, especially Chris Hampton and Karen York, for their competence and compassion in navigating FMC through the grant process. It has been a joy to work with them,” Edmonds said. “FMC is thrilled to announce to the general public how these funds will be used to continue our sacrificial work to help our neighbors in need. For more information go to FMCOR.ORG.”

Others participating in the event include Billy Edmonds, Executive Director of Free Medical Clinic; Free Medical Clinic Board of Directors; representatives from the Office of Mayor Wayne Best, City of Harriman, Tenn; representatives from Roane County Chamber of Commerce; Angela Richardson, TCAT Harriman; John Roberts, Anderson County Chamber of Commerce; Bob Smallridge, Anderson County Commissioner; representatives from the Office of Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03), and USDA Rural Development representatives Arlisa Armstrong, State Director; Chris Hampton, Program Director; and Karen York, Loan Specialist.

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/tn. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In 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.