Des Moines, Iowa -, Nov 21, 2013 -- Today is National Rural Health Day, a time to celebrate rural America as a wonderful place to live, work and visit, while also recognizing the opportunities for continued healthcare improvements for rural Americans.
“Nearly 60 million Americans live in rural communities or areas, including about one in five Americans and more than half of all Iowans,” said Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development State Director in Iowa. “These community-minded people possess a selfless, ‘can do’ spirit that has helped our country grow and thrive.”
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has awarded more than $200 million in loans and grants to around 30 rural healthcare facilities in Iowa helping make needed facility and equipment improvements.
USDA Rural Development programs provide loans, grants and loan guarantees to help with essential facilities in communities with populations less than 20,000. Funds can help public bodies or community-based nonprofits build facilities and purchase equipment for healthcare facilities, public safety facilities and services, childcare centers, community buildings, libraries, etc.
USDA Rural Development also has loan and grant programs also assist education institutions, libraries, hospitals and/or medical centers deploy advanced telecommunication services by providing cameras, video monitors, computers for classrooms, radiology, x-ray scanners, etc.
“USDA and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have a strong history of collaborating to help meet the unique healthcare needs of rural Americans,” Menner said.
For example, in 2011, USDA Rural Development and the HHS signed a memorandum of understanding to support rural healthcare providers including funding for medical equipment purchases to support Health Information Technology (HIT) in rural communities.
“There is a continuing effort across the Obama administration to ensure that a high quality of life, access to healthcare and a vibrant future exists for people who live in small towns and rural communities,” Menner added. “Celebrating National Rural Health Day is another way to showcase the important role rural hospitals and healthcare practices have in strengthening the economic health of their communities.”
Further information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by calling (515) 284-4663 or by visiting the agency’s web site at www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.
USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.
USDA Rural Development is working with rural communities to create jobs, expand opportunity, encourage innovation and build a strong foundation for the future. The agency currently administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility loan and grant programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents and farmers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.
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