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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding $74 million in grants to improve health care facilities in America's rural towns and communities.
Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small said the Emergency Rural Health Treatment Grants are examples of the government's ability to quickly ensure equal and substantial health care access to all Americans, regardless of their zip code, according to an Aug. 11 USDA news release.
“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," Torres Small said in the release. "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.”
The grants will be used to support 143 rural health care organizations as they expand their services for approximately 3 million people in 37 states, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico. According to the release, $32 million of the total sum will be used to help 67 rural health care organizations support more than one million people living in underserved communities.
With the awarded funds, provided through the Biden administration's American Rescue Plan Act, rural hospitals and health care providers will be able to implement telehealth and nutrition assistance programs, increase staffing to bolster COVID-19 support, build or renovate facilities and purchase much-needed medical resources, the release reported. The investments will also help various public bodies, nonprofits, Tribes and other affiliated groups form new and stronger partnerships, as well a better rural health care infrastructure in response to the pandemic.
“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 in the release.