LEWISTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced USDA is providing $74 million in grants to improve health care facilities in rural areas of the country. These grants will go to 143 rural health care organizations in 37 states, including two in our region.
The Nez Percé Tribe will receive $1 million to build a facility in response to COVID-19. The new facility will serve as a site for testing and vaccination. It will also provide beds and acute urgent medical care to tribal and non-tribal patients to help alleviate severe overcrowded conditions at area medical centers that are running out of bed capacity due to the pandemic, according to the USDA. The new facility will also be accompanied by an assisted living facility located next to the existing Nimiipuu Health Clinic.
The Garfield County Hospital District in Pomeroy will also receive $1 million to replace an aging electrical system to ensure it has the capacity to respond to COVID-19 and future pandemics by improving critical electrical infrastructure, including connecting the system to an emergency generator. This will support higher patient volumes in the emergency room and the ability to have enhanced laboratory services and advanced diagnostic capabilities. This CAH serves all of Garfield County, which is the least populated county in Washington State.
The Biden administration made the funds available in rural emergency health care grant programs through the American Rescue Plan Act.