USDA secretary Tom Vilsack

Ohio rural communities receive over $1.3 Million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grant funds

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the establishment of a program under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to expand rural hospitals and providers’ access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and supplies, while helping rural health care providers stay financially solvent in the long-term. The initial awards of the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants total $43 million and will benefit 2.2 million peoplewho live and work in rural America. Awardees include 93 rural health care organizations and community groups across 22 states.

“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA mobilized our staff and resources to respond in record time to improve the long-term viability of rural health care providers and services across this nation,” Vilsack said. “USDA used an all-hands-on-deck approach to create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program to address a variety of immediate health care needs and services in rural communities. The American Rescue Plan Act and this program are examples of the government’s ability to respond quickly to ensure every person and family has access to high-quality health care no matter their zip code.”

The Biden-Harris Administration made these funds available through the American Rescue Plan Act. 

“The Emergency Rural Health Care Grants awarded today will provide immediate relief and support to rural Ohio hospitals, health care clinics and local communities,” said Jonathan McCracken, Ohio State Director. “These grants expand access to health care services and nutrition assistance which have been critically needed during the COVID pandemic.”

In total, the program will use up to $475 million in grants provided by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to expand rural hospitals and providers. Additional awards will be announced in the coming months.

The grants USDA is awarding will help rural hospitals and health care providers implement telehealth and nutrition assistance programs, increase staffing to administer COVID-19 vaccines and testing, build or renovate facilities and purchase medical supplies.

For example:

  • In Ross County, Franklin Township will use a $65,180 to purchase an ambulance. This rural county services a population of 1,705 and has experienced an 89% increase in Emergency Management System (EMS) dispatches from 2020 to 2021. This large increase is directly correlated to the effects of COVID-19. These include, direct COVID related EMS dispatches, and a secondary result of individuals seeking less preventative care visits to hospitals and primary care physicians because of COVID, leading to increased usage rates for EMS services. As the current ambulance has outlived its useful life, a new ambulance was greatly needed to continue providing EMS services and handle the increased volume Franklin EMS services is experiencing. It will also provide a better response and higher quality of care for the residents.

USDA will announce additional awardees for Emergency Rural Health Care Grants in the coming weeks and months.

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