U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is awarding $74 million in grants to improve healthcare facilities in rural towns across the country. These grants will help 143 rural healthcare organizations expand critical services for 3 million people in 37 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. The investments include $32 million for 67 rural healthcare organizations to help more than 1 million people living in socially vulnerable communities.
The investments will 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 buy medical supplies. They also will help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and tribes solve regional rural healthcare problems. For example:
- In North Dakota, the Rolette County Public Health District will use a $155,000 grant to build a storage unit to house the district’s mobile health clinic. The mobile health clinic helps 14,000 Rolette County residents access healthcare, nutritional assistance and vaccines. The storage unit will protect the clinic from extreme weather conditions.
- In Texas, the Big Bend Regional Hospital District will use a $5 million grant to partner with Preventative Care Health Services Inc., Terlingua Fire & EMS and the city of Presidio. The organizations will establish an after-hours clinic in Presidio and create a part-time primary care clinic in Terlingua. They also will develop a paramedicine program, implement a behavioral health care management program and launch a telemedicine program for residents in Presidio and Terlingua.