The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded $110 million in grants to improve healthcare facilities in rural towns across the nation. These grants will help 208 rural healthcare organizations expand critical services for nearly 5 million people in 43 states and Guam.
The investments will help build, renovate and equip healthcare 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 investments will be used to help rural hospitals and healthcare 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 healthcare problems, which will help build a stronger, more sustainable rural healthcare system in response to the pandemic.
- In New Hampshire, Families Flourish Northeast will use a $1 million grant to renovate a residential treatment center to help address substance-use disorders among mothers. Rates of substance-exposed pregnancies and the severity of maternal substance use have risen in Grafton, Carroll and Coos counties throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The facility will provide patients with easier access to public transportation, educational and employment opportunities, public school for their children, outpatient treatment and social activities.
- In Minnesota, Kittson Memorial Hospital will use a $51,700 grant to renovate the clinic exam room and the clinic nurse's station. Funds also will be used to build an isolation room for patients with infectious illnesses or those who are susceptible to infections, keeping them away from other patients, visitors and health care staff.