Biden-Harris Administration Invests $110 Million to Improve Health Care for Rural People in 43 States and Guam
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 Maine, two health care facilities will receive more than $1.28 million in grants from USDA Rural Development.
“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 Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson said, “Here at Maine Rural Development, we continue to celebrate the significant Emergency Rural Health Care investments being made by the Biden-Harris Administration. With the awards announced today, we are helping the Charles A. Dean hospital address long-awaited infrastructure needs. Not only will this equipment allow them to better serve their community members in one of our most rural areas, but it will also support their staff in providing the highest quality of care.
Katahdin Valley Health Center’s expansion and renovation will create a better delivery of services across the board, allowing their team to engage in their work proactively by creating a designated infection control entrance. This facility is the Brownville community's only option for primary care, dental, and behavioral health services and it is a great example of how Rural Development steps up to be a last-mile connector for vulnerable residents.
Maine’s hospital staff, health care providers, and emergency service professionals are not only supporting the patients they treat; they are caring for the families and loved ones of each of those people as well with every act of service they deliver. At Maine Rural Development, we are honored to contribute to their good work.”
The investments USDA is announcing 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.
Through this Emergency Rural Health Care grant announcement, two rural health care facilities in Piscataquis County will receive a combined total of $1,281,000 for critical emergency equipment, building expansion and renovations identified as essential needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Maine:
- Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital, in Greenville, will use a $622,000 grant to purchase digital imaging equipment, acute care beds, and snowplowing equipment to address specific patient care needs intensified by the pandemic.
- Katahdin Valley Health Center, in Brownville, will use a $659,000 grant to expand the building by 7,560 square feet. This expansion is for a designated infection control entrance and control area to be used for COVID-19 vaccination, testing, treating and infection control purposes. This will increase the capacity for vaccine distribution, medical surge capacity, telehealth capabilities, and to support programs with food banks and distribution. The project also includes renovations to give the Center the ability to add additional primary care, expanded podiatry, optometry, chiropractic care, physical therapy, behavioral and mental health, and pharmacy services under one roof.
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. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under 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.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.