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USDA Supports Rural Health Care Providers and Invests Over $1.3 Million in Montana's Rural Communities

Name
Sue Kerver
City
Bozeman
Release Date
Apr 13, 2022

BOZEMAN, Mont., April 13, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced awards for the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant program, which was established under the American Rescue Plan as a way to expand rural hospitals and providers’ access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and supplies, while helping rural health care providers stay financially solvent in the long-term. 

Within months after the American Rescue Plan Act's passage, USDA responded quickly by making this funding available to ensure the long-term availability of rural health care services. Nationwide, the program will use up to $475 million in grants provided by the American Rescue Plan to expand rural hospitals and providers.  

In Montana, awardees include four rural health care organizations, with just over $1.3 million in funding.  These grants will help Montana's rural hospitals and health care providers implement telehealth programs, build or renovate facilities, improve resources and purchase medical supplies.

"Access to quality, affordable health care is critical for Montana families and communities," said USDA Rural Development (RD) Montana State Director Kathleen Williams. "The Emergency Rural Healthcare Grant program is a great way USDA Rural Development can help a diversity of health care facilities respond to their communities' needs locally and effectively, and we are honored to be able to facilitate that."

Montana's awards include:

  • $116,300 to the Community Hospital of Anaconda, which will be used to purchase an IT switch that will enhance their telehealth services by allowing better clarity for telemedicine with fewer video and audio interruptions during patient conferencing. The switch will also alleviate IT-related storage issues. 
  • $122,500 to Powder River County to purchase two ambulances and related equipment.  Powder River County recently took over the provision of emergency ambulance services for the area's approximate 2,000 residents. 
  • $506,741 to Prairie County Hospital District, in Terry, to increase the size and improve the function of the hospital's emergency department. Funding will also be used to expand the laboratory capabilities, improve patient services, and improve select support spaces.  
  • $596,812 to Big Horn Hospital Association, which operates an 18-bed critical access hospital, a 36-bed nursing home and 10 assisted living apartments in Hardin. This Rural Development funding will help Big Horn Hospital Association acquire a new electronic health record (EHR) system and associated software to interface with Billings Clinic facilities. 

Background: Emergency Rural Health Care Grants

In August 2021, USDA made the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants available through the American Rescue Plan 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. 

In Montana, USDA Rural Development still has $418,000 available in Emergency Rural Health Care grant funding and is continuing to accept Track One Emergency Rural Health Care program applications until this funding is expended. 

Facilities and projects supported through this grant must be located in Montana's rural areas with populations of 20,000 or fewer.

Applications must be submitted to the USDA Rural Development Montana State Office in Bozeman and information, including eligibility requirements, may be found on page 44332 of the Aug. 12, 2021 Federal Register.

For additional questions, please contact Meggin Delaurier at (406) 585-2520 or meggin.delaurier@usda.gov

Background: Rural Infrastructure Tour

This announcement is part of the Rural Infrastructure Tour, which is a multi-faceted outreach effort involving cabinet and sub-cabinet officials across federal agencies as they travel to and learn from rural communities across the country. These visits will highlight new federal funding and investments already underway through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a once-in-a-generation investment that will support rural communities and their infrastructure needs for years to come. 

USDA and its federal partners in the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force are working with rural communities to deliver on the promise of support for rural America.

USDA 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/mt.. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

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