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USDA Invests in Vermont Communities to Help Improve Rural Health Care

Megan Roush
Release Date

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $501 million in 60 projects to help improve health care infrastructure and services in rural communities nationwide. 

   “Creating strong and healthy communities is foundational to increasing prosperity in rural America,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to partnering with rural leaders to improve quality of life and economic development through modern and accessible health care.”

“Vermont needs to be prepared to meet the challenges of an ever changing health care environment which includes supporting the unique challenges of providing rural emergency services,” said Anthony Linardos USDA Rural Development State Director, “Rural residents around the state need access to quality medical care and our rural ambulance services need to provide the same level of care as an urban ambulance despite running fewer calls, having fewer resources, and depending on fewer personnel. USDA helps to deliver programs that provide rural communities, like Rutland and Newport, with access to essential services and lifesaving equipment.”

   Hazlett made today’s announcement 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.

Below is a summary of USDA’s investments in Vermont rural communities:

  • Newport Ambulance Service. will receive a $82,000 loan and a $50,000 Grant to purchase four cardiac monitors. The monitors currently in use are more than 10 years old and are not serviceable.  Newport Ambulance responds to 3,000 calls a year, many of which are cardiac related. This equipment will help first responders save Newport's service area includes eight communities in Orleans and Lamoille counties.
  • Rutland Hospital Inc. will receive a loan of $34 million to modernize and consolidate health care services in the Rutland, Vt., region. A two-story addition to the medical office building will house the ear, nose and throat practice and the Vermont Orthopedic Clinic. Rutland Hospital, known as Rutland Regional Medical Center, is the second largest hospital and the largest community hospital in Vermont. It has  provided health care services to the region for more than 100 years. This project will modernize and consolidate health services, expand the dietary program, allow modern trucks to make deliveries, and reduce operational expenses for the hospital, providing Rutland with improved health care services. Additional funding includes an $8.6 million USDA Community Facilities loan guarantee and a $2 million applicant contribution.

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.