USDA Rural Development State Director Brad Finstad today announced that USDA provided nearly $110 million in Fiscal Year 2017 to help improve access to health care services for over 50,000 people in rural communities throughout Minnesota.
“Access to safe, affordable, modern health care services in rural communities is a major priority for USDA,” Finstad said. “By investing in modern technology and infrastructure for hospitals, clinics, treatment centers, and assisted living facilities, we can ensure the continued growth and development of rural America. As a rural resident with seven children myself, I understand the importance that this access has on the continued economic growth of surrounding communities.”
USDA invested in 97 rural health care projects, that served 2.5 million people in Fiscal Year 2017, totaling over $1 billion in investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. The loans can be used to fund essential community services. For health care, this includes constructing, expanding or improving health care facilities such as hospitals, medical clinics, dental clinics and assisted-living facilities, as well as to purchase equipment. Public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized tribes in rural areas and towns with up to 20,000 people are eligible for these loans.
USDA financed Community Facilities direct loan projects in the following states: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
The following are examples of the rural health care projects that USDA funded in Minnesota during FY 2017:
- St. Williams Living Center received a $4.6 million loan to expand the current facility in Parkers Prairie, Mn by 14 single rooms. The assisted living center will also renovate 12 existing double units into single units, and make improvements to the HVAC systems, nurse call systems, fire protection, plumbing and electrical.
- The City of Redwood Falls in southwestern Minnesota received a $32 million loan to expand and renovate the existing facility to 55,000 square feet, modernizing the Imaging, Laboratory, Emergency, Surgical and Rehabilitation departments. Renovations will also include adding a third-floor to the two-story facility, and demolishing the original campus built in 1952 due to aging infrastructure. More than 15,000 residents will benefit.
- Rural Development provided a $56 million loan to FirstLight Health System of Mora, Minn., to add a second floor to the south end of the current facility for an additional 56,000 square feet. The new addition will house 23 modern inpatient and birthing rooms and renovation of the current birthing center for chemotherapy and infusion treatments. Renovation of these services will help promote and enhance the team approach to health care delivery. The critical access hospital has a 30,000 service population.
Funding from USDA’s Community Facilities Direct Loan program is playing a major role in central Minnesota. Heartland Senior Living received $12.5 million to purchase, remodel, and expand the Heartland nursing home and assisted living facilities in the cities of Winnebago, Wells, and Truman. Through the purchase and renovation of these existing facilities, Heartland’s goal is to be a quality provider of senior assisted living, memory care, and nursing home services by regionalizing housing and enhancing services provided.
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; homeownership; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mn.