TOPEKA, Kan. — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Acting State Director for Kansas Dan Fischer today announced it is investing $131,619 to help rural residents gain access to health care and educational opportunities. Rural areas are seeing higher infection and death rates related to COVID-19 due to several factors, including a much higher percentage of underlying conditions, difficulty accessing medical care, and lack of health insurance. The awards includes money provided through the CARES Act. The Kansas award will benefit 144,000 rural residents.
“Telemedicine provides rural Kansas residents with easier access to more medical resources,” Fischer said. “These investments by the Biden Administration will help millions of people living in rural places access health care and education opportunities that could change and save lives and build back better.”
USDA is funding 86 projects through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grant program. The program helps rural education and health care entities remotely reach students, patients and outside expertise. These capabilities make world-class education and health care opportunities accessible in rural communities. The ability to use telehealth resources is critical, especially now during a global pandemic.
USDA announced investments today in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The project in Kansas:
Morton County Health Systems in Elkhart, Kan., will be the hub site. The system will serve approximately 144,000 residents in Morton, Stevens, Seward, Haskell, Grant, Finney, Kearney, and Stanton counties in Kansas; Baca
County in Colorado; Cimarron and Texas counties in Oklahoma; Union County in New Mexico; and Dallam, Hansford, Ochiltree, and Sherman counties in Texas.
To learn more about investment resources for rural areas, interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office.
In January, President Biden requested all parts of the federal government to contribute resources to contain the coronavirus pandemic. USDA is responding to the President’s call to action. To date, more than 350 USDA personnel have deployed to assist with standing up vaccination sites, for example. In addition to personnel, USDA is offering its
facilities, cold chain infrastructure, public health experts, disaster response specialists, and footprint in rural and Tribal communities across the country. USDA’s commitment to control the pandemic extends to our own staff and facilities, with masking and physical distancing requirements across USDA, a commitment to provide PPE to our front-line workers, and working with states to prioritize vaccinations for our workforce. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus.
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USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
— USDA Rural Development
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