The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office in Virginia today announced that USDA is investing nearly $8 million to improve rural health care in Franklin and Rockbridge, Virginia.
The announcement comes as a part of U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s national announcement today 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.
The following are rural health care projects that USDA funded during FY 2017 in Virginia:
Tri-Area Community Health Center received a $3 million loan to construct a health center in Ferrum. Construction will enhance parking availability, handicap accessibility, and security of the center’s pharmacy. The health center’s enhancements also will increase types of medical services provided to the community and improve the facility’s physical visibility to its clients.
Rockbridge Area Health Clinic received a $4.667 million loan to be used for renovations and expansion of the clinic. The facility will expand to 28,080 square feet, increasing from eight to 18 medical exam units, four to 10 dental offices and two to four counseling rooms.
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.