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USDA Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Farah Ahmad Announces More than $1.5 Million for Quality Health Care in New Jersey

Release Date

Announcement Coincides with American Heart Month


BROWNS MILLS, NJ Feb. 24, 2023- Today U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Farah Ahmad made a significant funding announcement that will benefit two New Jersey hospitals, and provide quality health care to over a million people across multiple rural New Jersey communities. The announcement took place at Deborah Heart and Lung Center during February American Heart Month.

“Having access to quality health care is an important part of USDA’s commitment to ensuring that people living in rural areas have every opportunity to succeed – and that they can find those opportunities close to home,” Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Ahmad said. “The investment we’re announcing here in New Jersey demonstrates how the Biden-Harris Administration is partnering with rural people to make sure rural communities can continue to access essential health care services for years to come.”

USDA Rural Development New Jersey State Director Jane Asselta said, “President Biden recently announced that on May 11 he will end the COVID-19 national emergency and public health emergency declarations.  The past nearly three years have taught us of the critical need to invest in our rural healthcare infrastructure and of the impact that accessible, quality health care has on the well-being of our neighbors living in small towns.”

She continued, “The USDA Rural Development New Jersey team is proud to continue to invest in and support the work of the employees at Deborah in their mission of providing outstanding care to those that come through their doors.  And we are thrilled to make our first investment in Shore Medical Center and support their dedicated staff in their pursuit of providing the highest quality of care for their patients from the Atlantic County region.”

Deborah Heart and Lung Center, in Browns Mills, is receiving an Emergency Rural Health Care Grant (ERHC) in the amount of $1 million. This critical funding will help Deborah, the region’s only heart, lung, and vascular specialty hospital, to fortify its resources for the next pandemic response and transform the future of healthcare by equipping its patient rooms to meet the critical care standards necessary for treating very ill or highly infectious patients.

Also announced at the event was an ERHC to Shore Memorial Hospital, in Somers Point, in the amount of $550,800. Shore Memorial will use the funding to purchase essential equipment for a free-standing 10 bed COVID-19 Isolation Unit in the Emergency Department of Shore Memorial Hospital dba Shore Medical Center. The new unit will be equipped with a negative pressure air handling system for COVID-19 outbreaks or any future similar pandemics.

Ahmad was joined by New Jersey State Director Jane Asselta, senior officials from Deborah Heart and Lung Center and Shore Memorial Hospital, along with representatives from the offices of senators Cory Booker, Robert Menendez, and Congressman Andy Kim. Also joining in the celebration were Pemberton Township Mayor Jack Tompkins, and Assemblyman Brandon Umba.

After the announcement, Ahmad and Asselta joined Deborah’s leadership in touring the hospital’s $108 million construction expansion project. USDA Rural Development provided a $88 million Community Facilities Loan and $10 million Community Facilities Loan Guarantee to help make the project possible. The project is scheduled for completion in spring 2024. This represents the largest investment in a single facility in the history of USDA Rural Development in New Jersey.

USDA Rural Development funds projects in New Jersey under the leadership of its State Office staff located in Mt. Laurel and supported by offices located in Hackettstown, Columbus, and Vineland. If you’d like to subscribe to New Jersey USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page or follow us on Twitter.  

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit Rural Development (usda.gov).


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