American Rescue Plan program gives over $1M to Panhandle health care providers

Female Doctor with Stethoscope Holding Piggy Bank Abstract.
It is part of the $43M rollout of a grant program meant to support rural health care.

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Wednesday that two health care providers in the Panhandle will be receiving a combined $1.14 million in grants from a program funded through the American Rescue Plan.

The Community Facilities Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program is allocating $43 million to health care providers across the country as part of its rollout, impacting an estimated 2.2 million Americans. The grants are meant 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.

Florida’s recipients are the city of Marianna for the Marianna Nursing Home, and Madison County Hospital. Marianna is getting more than $141,000 to build a new nurse call station in the nursing home, and the hospital is getting $1 million to improve hospital infrastructure.

The nursing home’s existing call station was more than ten years old and does not meet current guidelines. The upgrade is meant to improve the speed nurses are able to serve patient needs and improve the facility’s capacity.

The hospital’s grant will be used to purchase an electronic health record system and install security upgrades. The record system will allow the hospital to store patient information on a digital system, allowing them to streamline treatment and increase their ability to report data to the Department of Health in the case of another pandemic.

The $43 million roll out is just the beginning. The program is expected to use $475 million in grants in the coming months to address rural health care needs.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said the effort to roll out the program was multifaceted and succeeded thanks to the leadership of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“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.

“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.”

Tristan Wood

Tristan Wood graduated from the University of Florida in 2021 with a degree in Journalism. A South Florida native, he has a passion for political and accountability reporting. He previously reported for Fresh Take Florida, a news service that covers the Florida Legislature and state political stories operating out of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. You can reach Tristan at [email protected], or on Twitter @TristanDWood


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