Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett recently announced that USDA is investing $501 million in 60 projects to help improve health care infrastructure (PDF, 170 KB) and services in rural communities nationwide. Five of the projects are located in the rural Iowa communities of Albia, Spirit Lake, Britt, Carroll and Glenwood.
“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.”
Hazlett made the 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.
Summaries of USDA’s investments in rural Iowa communities include:
Monroe County Hospital – Albia, Iowa
This $16,500,000 Rural Development investment will be used to construct an addition to and renovate the Monroe County Hospital. The project will increase capacity and provide more space for large equipment.
Lakes Regional Healthcare – Spirit Lake, Iowa
This $8,000,000 Rural Development investment will be used to build an addition and remodel parts of the existing Lakes Regional Healthcare facility. A new entrance canopy and updated mechanical and electrical systems will be part of the project. The remodel and changes will allow the hospital to meet current safety codes and will increasing the efficiency of staff and equipment. This investment will benefit the community's 4,840 residents.
Hancock County Health System – Britt, Iowa
This $6,433,000 Rural Development investment will be used to renovate the Hancock County Health System hospital. Renovations will reconfigure and expand the surgical unit, emergency room and space for behavioral health services. This project will provide for better workflow and efficiencies to optimize care delivery for the area’s 11,341 residents.
St. Anthony Regional Hospital & Nursing Home – Carroll, Iowa
This $12,607,000 Rural Development investment will be used construct a free-standing cancer center on the campus of St. Anthony Regional Hospital. The center will combine all of the cancer services into one area. The facility will provide improved radiation and medical oncology services and house the upgraded linear accelerator. Currently, the cancer services are spread throughout the hospital, and there is not space for an upgraded linear accelerator.
Glen Haven Home, Inc. – Glenwood, Iowa
This $400,000 Rural Development investment will be used to provide additional financing to lease and renovate six cottages for skilled nursing care services, memory care and short-term rehabilitation. The new facility will be able to serve up to 69 residents in family-style living in each cottage.
USDA is investing in health care projects in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Hazlett’s funding announcement complements the finalization of a partnership between USDA and the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) to identify issues causing financial strain on rural hospitals, which are an important part of the rural health care system. NRHA and the Department will work together to identify management and financial indicators that impact rural hospital operations. This technical assistance will help rural hospitals continue to operate and provide critical health care services to serve rural communities.
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.
Contact USDA Rural Development
Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/ia or by calling (515) 284-4663.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.