U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that USDA provided more than $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2017 to help improve access to health care services in rural communities. “USDA invests in a wide range of health care facilities – such as hospitals, clinics and treatment centers – to help ensure that rural residents have access to the same state-of-the art care available in urban and metropolitan areas,” Perdue said. “I understand that building a prosperous rural America begins with healthy people. Ensuring that rural communities have access to quality medical care is a top priority for USDA.”
USDA invested more than $1 billion in rural health care in Fiscal Year 2017 through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The loans can be used to fund essential community services. For health care, this includes to construct, expand or improve health care facilities such as hospitals, medical clinics, dental clinics and assisted-living facilities, as well as to purchase equipment. Public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized tribes in rural areas and towns with up to 20,000 people are eligible for these loans.
A $6.7 million loan was provided to Valley Wide Health Systems Inc. in Cañon City, Colo., (Fremont County) to convert a building to an integrated care center for primary, dental and behavioral health services. Consolidating these services into one building will provide better patient care and eliminate the need for patients to travel to different locations. The clinic anticipates an increase of more than 4,000 patients during its first year of operation.
In Fiscal Year 2017, Colorado Rural Development invested $98.3 million for health care services. Additional health care projects funded in Fiscal Year 2017 were located in Brush, Craig, Del Norte, and Leadville. “These investments would not be possible without public-private partnerships that help improve the economic stability for small rural communities. In addition the increased access to capital for health care initiatives is crucial to growing the economy and improving the quality of life for Colorado’s rural residents,” said Sallie Clark, Colorado State Director for USDA Rural Development. “USDA is committed to helping rural communities advance their well-being through these types of projects,” said Clark.
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; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.