USDA makes emergency healthcare grants available to rural communities

Published: Aug. 14, 2021 at 2:26 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The USDA has made emergency healthcare grants available to rural communities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the Biden-Harris Administration announced on Thursday, Aug. 12, that it will make up to $500 million available in grants to help rural healthcare facilities, tribes and communities expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, healthcare services and nutrition assistance.

According to the USDA, President Joe Biden’s plan to recover the economy and deliver relief to Americans has changed the course of the pandemic and provided immediate relief to millions of households, which has grown the economy and addressed inequities that have worsened in the wake of the pandemic.

“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is playing a critical role to help rural America build back better and equitably as the nation continues to respond to the pandemic,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants, USDA will help rural hospitals and local communities increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing, medical supplies, telehealth, and food assistance, and support the construction or renovation of rural health care facilities. These investments will also help improve the long-term viability of rural health care providers across the nation.”

Starting Thursday, the USDA said applicants can apply for two types of assistance: Recovery Grants and Impact Grants. It said the Recovery Grants are available to help public bodies, nonprofit organizations and tribes provide immediate COVID relief to support rural hospitals, healthcare clinics and local communities.

According to the USDA, the funds can be used to increase vaccine distribution and telehealth capabilities, purchase medical supplies, replace lost revenue, build and rehabilitate temporary or permanent structures for healthcare services, support staffing needs for vaccine administration and testing and support facility and operations expenses for food banks and food distribution facilities.

The USDA said the Recovery Grant applications will be accepted until funds have been expended.

The USDA said the Impact Grants are meant to help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and tribes solve regional rural healthcare issues and build stronger and more sustainable systems in response to the pandemic.

The Department said it encourages applicants to plan and implement strategies to do the following:

  • Develop health care systems that offer a blend of behavioral care, primary care and other medical services;
  • Support health care as an anchor institution in small communities; and
  • Expand telehealth, electronic health data sharing, workforce development, transportation, paramedicine, obstetrics, behavioral health, farmworker health care and cooperative home care.

According to the USDA, Impact Grant applications are required to be submitted to local USDA Rural Development State Offices by 4 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2021.

For more information about the grants or the application processes, click HERE.

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