U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making $500 million available in emergency rural health care grants as part of the American Rescue Plan. The awards will be made available for rural health care facilities, and communities to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, health care services and nutrition assistance. Applicants may apply for assistance through Recovery Grants and Impact Grants.
“Communities across Ohio have stepped up to meet the challenges of this pandemic, and today the government is reaffirming its support of this efforts,” Brown said.
Recovery Grants are available to help public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and tribes provide immediate COVID-19 relief to support rural hospitals, health care clinics and local communities. These funds may be used to:
- Increase COVID-19 vaccine distribution and telehealth capabilities; purchase medical supplies;
- Replace revenue lost during the pandemic;
- Build and rehabilitate temporary or permanent structures for health care services; and
- Support staffing needs for vaccine administration and testing; and support facility and operations expenses associated with food banks and food distribution facilities.
Recovery Grant applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are expended. Impact Grants are available to help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and tribes solve regional rural health care problems and build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic. USDA encourages applicants to plan and implement strategies to:
- 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.
Impact Grant applications must be submitted to local USDA Rural Development State Offices by 4:00 p.m. local time on Oct. 12, 2021.