American Rescue Plan funding will expand access to healthcare in rural America

UNITED STATES — The United States Department of Agriculture is making up to $500 million available in grants to help rural healthcare facilities, tribes and communities expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, healthcare services and nutrition assistance.

President Biden’s comprehensive plan to recover the economy and deliver relief to the American people is changing the course of the pandemic and providing immediate relief to millions of households, growing the economy and addressing the stark, intergenerational inequities that have worsened in the wake of COVID-19.

“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA is playing a critical role to help rural America build back better and equitably as the nation continues to respond to the pandemic,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “Through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants, USDA will help rural hospitals and local communities increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing, medical supplies, telehealth, and food assistance, and support the construction or renovation of rural healthcare facilities. These investments will also help improve the long-term viability of rural healthcare providers across the nation.”

Applicants may apply for two types of assistance: Recovery Grants and Impact Grants.

The Biden-Harris administration is making Recovery Grants available to help public bodies, nonprofit organizations and tribes provide immediate COVID-19 relief to support rural hospitals, healthcare clinics and local communities.

These funds may be used to increase COVID-19 vaccine distribution and telehealth capabilities; purchase medical supplies; replace revenue lost during the pandemic; build and rehabilitate temporary or permanent structures for healthcare services; support staffing needs for vaccine administration and testing; and support facility and operations expenses associated with food banks and food distribution facilities.

Recovery Grant applications will be accepted on a continual basis until funds are expended.  

The administration is also making Impact Grants available to help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and tribes solve regional rural healthcare problems and build a stronger, more sustainable rural healthcare system in response to the pandemic.

USDA encourages applicants to plan and implement strategies to: develop healthcare systems that offer a blend of behavioral care, primary care and other medical services; support healthcare as an anchor institution in small communities; and expand telehealth, electronic health data sharing, workforce development, transportation, paramedicine, obstetrics, behavioral health, farmworker healthcare and cooperative home care.

For Montana, Impact Grant applications must be submitted to the Montana USDA Rural Development State Office by 4 p.m. MDT on Oct. 12.

 USDA encourages potential applicants to review the application guide at USDA Rural Development is prioritizing projects that will support key priorities under the Biden-Harris administration to help rural America build back better and stronger. Key priorities include combatting the COVID-19 pandemic; addressing the impacts of climate change; and advancing equity in rural America. For more information, visit