Saving lives is all in a day’s work at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, New Jersey. The hospital, which began as a Tuberculosis sanatorium in 1922, recently received USDA funding to treat and protect its patients from a different pandemic - the covid pandemic. In over 100 years of operation, the hospital estimates it has healed 2.3 million patients from every corner of the US and 87 countries around the world.
USDA Rural Development invested $99.4 million through the agency’s Community Facilities Programs to make the critical expansion project possible. This expansion project is the largest single investment for USDA Rural Development in New Jersey.
Recently, Deputy Under Secretary Farah Ahmad and I visited the hospital with other key leaders to hear about its long-standing lifesaving mission. While there, Deputy Under Secretary Ahmad announced a $1 million investment in the hospital through an Emergency Rural Health Care Grant to fortify its resources for the next pandemic response and equip its patient rooms to meet the critical care standards necessary for treating very ill or highly infectious patients.
“Having access to quality health care is an important part of USDA’s commitment to ensuring that people living in rural areas have every opportunity to find needed health care services – and that they can find those opportunities close to home,” Deputy Under Secretary Ahmad said.
This is good news for the estimated 800,000 rural residents who fall within Deborah’s service area, a federally designated and medically underserved rural area in northwestern Burlington County.
“As a rural hospital and the only specialty heart, lung, and vascular hospital in the region, we serve as a critical resource for our community,” said Joseph Chirichella, President and CEO of Deborah Heart and Lung Center. “Given our location, the residents in our area often have difficulty accessing specialty care without travelling long distances. This investment in our campus will help to broaden that access.”
We also toured the hospital’s construction site to see the construction of the new patient rooms. It was a good feeling knowing so many people will receive state-of-the art medical care in their own room once the expansion is complete next spring.
Across rural America, USDA Rural Development is investing in thriving communities. In Fiscal Year 2022, the agency invested $380 million through Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to provide immediate relief to 16 million rural people by supporting 563 rural hospitals and health care clinics.
For more information, contact your local Rural Development state office.