Rep. Sewell Announces $7.3 Million in USDA Rural Development Funding from the American Rescue Plan to Improve Rural Health Care Facilities Across Alabama
November 2, 2022
Demopolis, AL — Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) announced $7.3 million in funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Alabama Office of Rural Development to support rural health care providers and improve rural health care facilities across Alabama. This funding was made possible by the American Rescue Plan’s Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Program and will benefit nearly 200,000 rural residents in 10 Alabama counties. Rep. Sewell was the only member of the Alabama Congressional Delegation to vote in favor of the American Rescue Plan.
“Since coming to Congress, I have made it a top priority to improve access to quality, affordable health care in rural Alabama, which is why I proudly voted to deliver historic relief to our rural health care providers through the American Rescue Plan,” said Rep. Sewell. “This transformational funding will impact hundreds of thousands of rural Alabamians and will equip providers with the tools they need to provide lifesaving care.”
"For those who are living in rural Alabama, access to healthcare is a very important issue," said USDA Rural Development Alabama State Director Nivory Gordon. "For some families, being able to access modern healthcare facilities can factor in the family's decision to locate to or stay in a rural community. In order to make sure that rural Alabamians have equal access to healthcare as those who live in our urban centers, USDA is working to help support rural healthcare systems. The investments announced here today will help to ensure these healthcare providers can continue to serve those communities that they proudly call home."
These investments will be used for projects to 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. They will also help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care problems, which will help build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic.
The following projects are receiving funding:
- In Pike County, the Troy Hospital Healthcare Authority will use a $120,100 grant to install an energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. This system will be an energy cost-savings for the hospital, and also help reduce exposure to COVID-19 and other airborne contagious illnesses. This investment will benefit 32,889 rural residents in Pike County and surrounding areas.
- In Franklin County, the Russellville Hospital will use a $1,000,000 grant to to continue the vital primary care needed in rural Russellville, Alabama. This project will provide the hospital with needed renovations that will help to protect against future pandemics. In addition, the project will help purchase supplies that were depleted during the COVID-19 pandemic. This investment will benefit 9,830 rural residents in Franklin County and surrounding areas.
- In Tallapoosa County, the Russell Hospital Corporation will use a $426,600 grant to reimburse lost healthcare related revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the response, the hospital expended funds to establish testing sites, vaccine clinics, and purchase personal protective equipment. This investment will benefit 66,737 rural residents in Tallapoosa County and surrounding areas.
- In Bullock County, the Bullock County Development Authority will use a $299,600 grant to purchase a vehicle to be used as a mobile health care clinic, and to store supplies and equipment. This vehicle will provide outreach to the community and offer services such as COVID-19 vaccines, COVID-19 testing, primary care services, and management of chronic health problems. This investment will benefit 5,612 rural residents in Bullock County and surrounding areas.
- In Butler County, the Healthcare Authority of the City of Greenville will use a $1,000,000 grant to to reimburse lost health care related revenue during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the hospital's response to the pandemic, it expended funds to set up testing sites, vaccine clinics, and purchased personal protective equipment. This investment will benefit 8,135 rural residents of Butler County and surrounding areas.
- In Geneva County, the Geneva County Health Care Authority will use a $999,300 grant to offset expenses which were incurred by the hospital due to its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to prepare for a future pandemic-level event. As part of the response to the pandemic, the hospital expended funds to set up testing sites, vaccine clinics, and to purchase personal protective equipment. This project will also help increase the hospital's medical surge capabilities and telehealth capacity. This investment will benefit 10,510 rural residents of Geneva County and surrounding areas.
- In Marengo County, the Tombigbee Healthcare Authority will use a $910,000 grant to replace the Whitfield Regional Hospital's boiler system, which is necessary for the continued operation of the hospital. The previous boiler system suffered a mechanical failure, requiring the hospital to rent a replacement at great expense. This investment will allow the hospital to own the boiler and save money. This investment will benefit 21,027 rural residents of Marengo County and surrounding areas.
- In Sumter County, the City of York Healthcare Authority DBA Hill Hospital of York will use a $114,000 grant to increase capacity for COVID-19 and other contagious illness vaccine distribution by purchasing a vehicle to transport clinical staff and a utility truck to transport equipment to a vaccination site. This investment will also be used to provide medical supplies such as personal protective equipment to increase the Hill Hospital's medical surge capacity, and to purchase videoconferencing equipment to increase the telehealth capabilities of the hospital. This investment will benefit 13,763 rural residents of Sumter County.
- In Marion County, Marion Medical Center, Inc. will use a $437,500 grant to provide a specialized area within the hospital for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. This area will feature a specialized heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, and other equipment. This specialized unit will allow for centralized and isolated treatment of patients with COVID-19 and other contagious diseases. This investment will benefit 6,885 rural residents of Marion County.
- Also in Marion County, the Healthcare Authority of Winfield, AL will use a $1,000,000 grant to renovate 10 rooms at the Northwest Regional Medical Center which is part of The Healthcare Authority of Winfield. These renovated rooms will be used to house long-term COVID-19 treatment patients, a rehabilitation unit, and other associated care. This specialized unit will allow for patients to be centralized and isolated for treatment of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases. This investment will benefit 10,978 rural residents of Marion County.
- In Washington County, the Washington County Health Care Authority will use a grant of $1,000,000 to upgrade the facility's medical surge effectiveness and capacity in the event of a medical emergency. This project will provide equipment to establish a triage area in the hospital's multipurpose building, equipment to upgrade the hospital's camera security system including specialized COVID-19 features, laboratory, rehabilitation, and medical surgical equipment to provide care for patients, and for facility modifications such as a new helipad, computerized topography scanner room, and upgraded heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. This project will benefit 1,228 rural residents of Washington County.
For more information about these investments and USDA’s Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Program, click here.