USDA Invests to Improve Rural Health Care for Nearly 5,000 Rural Minnesotans

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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Brad Finstad today announced $1.2 million to help improve health care infrastructure and services in Buffalo Lake City and surrounding areas – a population of nearly 5,000 residents.

   “Access to local, affordable healthcare is fundamental to the continued prosperity of rural communities,” Finstad said. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett, USDA is dedicated to partnering with local stakeholders to ensure that rural communities have the resources needed to improve quality of life and economic development.”

   Buffalo Lake Health Care Center is receiving a $1.2 million loan to complete phase IV construction to expand an existing 49-bed, skilled nursing home and 16-unit assisted living facility. The expansion will add four private rooms, a new entrance, administrative office space, therapy center and community room for residents. The new portion of the facility will help Buffalo Lake Health address the area’s growing senior population and provide more privacy for staff and residents.   

   Today’s award is in coordination with Assistant Secretary Anne Hazlett’s recent announcement that USDA is investing $501 million in 60 projects nationwide through the Community Facilities direct loan program. These investments will expand access to health care for approximately 2 million people in 34 states: 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.

   Examples of investments being made in other states include:

  • The Blackfeet Tribe is receiving an $8 million loan to help build a 39-bed, long-term-care facility on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northwestern Montana. This project is Phase I of a planned 47-bed facility. Phase II will be constructed at a future date. The new, 27,079-square-foot facility will replace a smaller one that is 47 years old. It will provide space for residents who are now in facilities that are more than 60 miles from the community. This project will benefit the approximately 7,000 members of the Blackfeet Nation who live on or near the Reservation.  

  • The Concordia Parish Hospital Service District # 1, in Louisiana, is receiving a $30 million loan to build an 87,000-square-foot hospital. This investment will benefit the area’s 20,822 residents.

  • Haven House Family Services Center in Wayne, N.E. is receiving a $142,400 loan and $32,100 grant to purchase and renovate a vacant facility that will allow Haven House to expand services and assist more survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. The new facility, which previously housed a private medical practice, will provide more rooms and privacy for staff and clients – better equipping Haven House to serve the local population of nearly 25,000.

   Hazlett’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.  It also 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/mn.

Last Modified: 11/19/2018