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USDA Invests to Improve Rural Health Care for Nearly 1 Million Rural Illinoisans

Patience Hayes
Release Date

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded $501 million in 60 projects to help improve health care infrastructure and services in rural communities nationwide.  More than $37 million has been awarded to Illinois to assist in these health care improvements.   

“There is high demand for healthcare services in rural Illinois.  Residents of Illinois deserve access to quality healthcare no matter where they live, said Douglas Wilson, USDA Rural Development Director, Illinois. “USDA-RD is committed to improving our health care infrastructure and will continue to partner with rural health care providers and community leaders to achieve that goal.”

Today’s announcement was made 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 60 projects through the Community Facilities direct loan program. These investments will expand access to health care for approximately 2 million people in 34 states.

  • Ferrell Hospital Community Foundation, in Saline County, is receiving a $34 million loan to build a 55,000-square-foot addition to the west side of the hospital and renovate 17,370 square feet of the existing building. The addition will create a new public entrance for the hospital and the clinic. It will add new spaces for waiting rooms, the emergency department, lab, imaging department and pharmacy, and surgery and recovery rooms. The addition will also add 15 private rooms. The hospital serves approximately 21,000 residents primarily in Gallatin and Saline counties
  • Macoupin County Public Health Department has received a $500,000 loan to purchase and renovate a building to house the Public Health Department in Macoupin County. Renovations will expand services to an additional 3,000 patients, resolve parking problems and meet accessibility standards. This project will serve residents of Macoupin County and 14 surrounding counties.

USDA is investing in health care projects in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

This 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 impact rural hospital operations. This technical assistance will help rural hospitals continue to operate and provide critical health care services to 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.