WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking applications for grants to improve health care in the Delta Region. Nearly $4.4 million in grant funding is available through the Delta Health Care Services Grant Program.
"The Delta Health Care Services Grant Program and other programs like it are helping rural America to rebound," said Vilsack. "USDA's targeted grant programs and development projects can help Delta towns access high-quality medical and health care services, improving the quality of life for residents and enriching the area's ability to support strong communities for generations to come."
Groups eligible for grants include higher education institutions, health and research institutes, economic development entities, health care cooperatives or consortia of these entities. Recipients must serve residents of the Delta Region, which includes 252 counties and parishes in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.
USDA is encouraging applications for projects in census tracts with poverty rates greater than or equal to 20 percent. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis. The maximum award per grant is $1 million. USDA has provided more than $17 million for 31 projects funded through the Delta Health Care Services Grant Program since the start of the Obama Administration.
Paper applications are due Nov. 14. Electronic copies are due Nov. 7. For more information, see page 62854 of the Sept. 13, 2016, Federal Register. Please contact your local Rural Development State Office to request the application guide and materials.
Sam Rikkers, administrator for USDA's Rural Business-Cooperative Service, underscored the importance of the Delta Health Care Services Grant Program during a Sept. 8 visit to Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond. While there, Rikkers awarded the school a $646,482 grant to enhance a health care training project the University launched in 2013, also with USDA funding through the Delta Health program.
The University is expanding a program in which volunteers are trained as health coaches and motivational aides as part of a care coordination strategy. The program is designed to reduce hospital readmissions, improve patient health and enhance the quality of the medical workforce. The University also will expand its health coach internship program to include students from more health care disciplines.
Today's funding builds on USDA's historic investments in rural America over the past seven years. Since 2009, USDA has worked to strengthen and support rural communities and American agriculture, an industry that supports one in 11 American jobs, provides American consumers with more than 80 percent of the food we consume, ensures that Americans spend less of their paychecks at the grocery store than most people in other countries, and supports markets for homegrown renewable energy and materials.
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development (@USDARD ) has invested $13.5 billion for 5,739 water and waste infrastructure projects, benefiting 19.1 million rural residents; invested nearly $13 billion to start or expand nearly 112,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 9,200 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. USDA also has invested $31.3 billion in 963 electric projects that have financed more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. For more information, visit USDA's latest entry on medium.com, " Rural America is Back in Business."
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