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USDA Rural Development Invests $2.46 Million to Increase Access to Healthcare and Food Distribution for People in Rural Virginia

Emily Cannon
Release Date

LEBANON, N.H., Oct. 12, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is awarding $110 million in grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across the Nation. These grants will help 208 rural health care organizations expand critical services for nearly 5 million people in 43 states and Guam. In Virginia, three organizations are receiving a total of $2,467,900.

“Access to modern and sustainable health care infrastructure is critical to the health, well-being and prosperity for the millions of people who live in rural and Tribal communities,” Torres Small said. “That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to making sure that people who need it most, no matter where they live, have access to high-quality and reliable health care services like urgent care, primary care and dental care. Through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants I am announcing today, USDA is being a strong partner to people in 43 states and Guam.”

USDA Rural Development State Director Perry Hickman said, “I am pleased to see that these Virginia entities will benefit from the Biden-Harris Administration commitment to improve health care and food distribution.  These three investments will help to improve the lives of people living in the rural Virginia communities that these organizations serve.”

In Virginia, three organizations are receiving a total of $2,467,900 through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program:

  • Appalachian Sustainable Development has received a grant in the amount of $467,900 to expand food distribution. The applicant operates a food distribution network out of Duffield, Virginia. The funds being made to Appalachian Sustainable Development will help with financial difficulties that they have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic and to continue to build capacity to assist food pantries with food distribution to those in need. The applicant has been in operation since 1998 and has managed food distribution services for years.
  • Northampton County has received a grant in the amount of $1,000,000 to purchase emergency medical services (EMS), medical, and food prep equipment, as well as new generators for two elementary schools. The EMS and medical equipment will allow Northampton County to partner with the County School system to establish an EMS training center for high school students in an effort to train future generations of emergency service employees to address the current staffing shortage.  Food service preparation and distribution equipment is needed to modernize current facilities and to allow for improved services to students.  Generators will be purchased and installed at two elementary schools in the case of power outages to enable continued service for the food service distribution areas and related water/sewer pumps at the schools. 
  • Harvest Outreach Center has received a grant in the amount of $1,000,000 to reimburse for lost revenue and telehealth services. This project will help with reimbursement for health care-related revenues used to maintain capacity during the coronavirus pandemic. This project will help fund the telehealth infrastructure to support immediate mental health care due the pandemic and preparation for future pandemic needs. 

The investments USDA is announcing across the nation will help build, renovate and equip health care facilities like hospitals and clinics in rural areas. They also include more than $9 million for 12 rural health care organizations to help 187,000 people living in energy communities, which are areas with high concentrations of coal-dependent jobs. This funding will help communities that are vital to our country’s energy production as the nation transitions to a clean-energy economy.

The Biden-Harris Administration is making this Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Program  funding available through its historic legislative package, the American Rescue Plan Act. The Act and this program are examples of the government’s ability to respond quickly to ensure every person and family has access to high-quality health care no matter their zip code.

The investments will be used for projects such as those to help rural hospitals and health care providers implement telehealth and nutrition assistance programs, increase staffing to administer COVID-19 vaccines and testing, build or renovate facilities, and purchase medical supplies. They will also help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care problems, which will help build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic.

The investments USDA is announcing today will expand health care services in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming and Guam.

Background: Emergency Rural Health Care Grants

Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021 to deliver immediate economic relief to people impacted by the pandemic. Within months after the Act’s passage, USDA responded quickly by making this funding available to ensure the long-term availability of rural health care services.

In August 2021, USDA made the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants available through the American Rescue Plan Act to help rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to health care services and nutrition assistance.

The assistance is helping provide immediate relief to support rural hospitals, health care clinics and local communities. USDA is administering the funds through Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program

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 www.rd.usda.gov.

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.



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