Biden-Harris Administration Invests $74 Million to Improve Health Care for People Living in 37 States, Guam and Puerto Rico
WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that USDA is awarding $74 million in grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across the Nation. These grants will help 143 rural health care organizations expand critical services for 3 million people in 37 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. The investments include $32 million for 67 rural health care organizations to help more than 1 million people living in socially vulnerable communities. In Maine, nine health care facilities throughout six counties will receive more than $3.49 million in grants from USDA Rural Development (full list below).
“Under the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, USDA is committed to making sure that people, no matter where they live, have access to high-quality and reliable health care services like urgent care, primary care, and dental care,” Torres Small said. “The Emergency Rural Health Care Grants being announced today will build, renovate and equip health care provider facilities like hospitals and clinics in rural areas in 37 states. Having sustainable and accessible health care infrastructure in rural areas is critical to the health and well-being of the millions of people living in small towns across the Nation.”
USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon C. Hampson said, “These grants are about more than the hard infrastructure they’ll fund; they are examples of the commitment of the Biden-Harris Administration to building livable and thriving communities. Whether it is a cold-storage space to connect neighbors with healthy, locally grown foods, or a health center along our farthest northern border – these dollars represent hope. We are not forgotten here in rural Maine, and our resilience has been recognized, and is being supported by USDA under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership. Our team here at Rural Development in Maine worked diligently to bring these dollars home, and we join our neighbors in celebrating today.”
The Biden-Harris Administration made these funds available in the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Programs 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.
USDA Rural Development promotes a healthy community and environment through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to make sure people, kids and families have access to the health care they need. The grants support the ability of rural communities to provide health care to the people and places in our country that often lack access.
The investments will 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 also will help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care problems and build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic.
Through this Emergency Rural Health Care grant announcement, nine rural health care facilities across six Maine counties will receive a combined total of $3,497,900 for new medical equipment, facility expansion, food security, or to obtain funding lost during the pandemic. In Maine:
- Sebasticook Family Doctors, also known as Hometown Health Center, in Palmyra, will use a $1 million grant to construct a 49,700 square-foot health care and wellness facility to help meet the needs of the community, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will provide a safe place for testing, medication assisted therapy, food cupboard, teaching kitchen, dental addition and add jobs to the service area.
- Maine General Community Care, in Waterville and Augusta, will use a $1 million grant to recover lost revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The recovery of lost funds will allow the community care facilities to continue with critical services.
- Katahdin Valley Health Center, in Dover-Foxcroft, will use a $341,000 grant to purchase medical equipment such as pharmacy refrigeration and freezer for vaccine storage and administration, vehicles to transport vaccines and staff to clinics and provide home delivery of pharmaceutical medications, medical exam room equipment and supplies for primary care, pediatrics, dental, walk-in care, laboratory and testing, equipment for sterilization and infection control, and more.
- Cary Medical Center, in Caribou, will use a $323,800 grant for a COVID Community Response Project to partner with Pines Health Services to further support the immediate health care needs of the community related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Eastport Health Care, Inc., in Eastport, will use a $281,400 grant to obtain funds for continued care along Maine’s Central Eastern Coast. The funds will consist of adding personnel for the successful management of VOCID patients, food distribution, equipment and supplies to accommodate the increase in testing for diagnosis and mitigation measures.
- Penobscot Valley Hospital will use a $244,000 grant to purchase medical equipment such as one ventilator, patient monitoring system, 12 workstations on wheels and 15 laptops.
- Fish River Rural Health, in Fort Kent, will use a $191,300 grant to support their continued efforts to diagnose and manage COVID-19 and other future pandemics throughout the Northern Aroostook County communities.
- MRH Corp, in Dover-Foxcroft, will use a $88,400 grant to purchase an ambulance.
- Piscataquis Regional Food Center, in Dover-Foxcroft, will use a $28,000 grant to install a 600 cubic-foot freezer and a 48-kilowatt propane powered backup generator to safely store food products in frozen, refrigerated, and shelf-stable forms until they can be delivered to rural distribution partners.
The investments announced today will expand health care services in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Guam and Puerto Rico.
USDA will announce additional awardees for Emergency Rural Health Care Grants in the coming weeks and months.
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.
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