CARSON CITY – Up to $500 million in Emergency Rural Health Care grants will be made available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, health care services and nutrition assistance.
The announcement was made Thursday by the Biden-Harris administration. The administration noted in a statement that the funds are part of an economic recovery plan to provide immediate relief to households, grow the economy and address inequities that have worsened during the pandemic.
Recovery Grants are available to help public bodies, non-profit organizations and tribes provide immediate COVID-19 relief to support rural hospitals, health care clinics and local communities. The funding can be used for a variety of purposes, from expanding telehealth services and building or rehabilitating structures for health care services, to support for vaccine distribution and food bank distribution.
Recovery Grant applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are expended.
Impact Grants are intended 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.
In a statement announcing the grants, the USDA said it 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 the local USDA Rural Development State Office by 4:00 p.m. local time on Oct. 12, 2021.