White House to give billions in funding to support rural hospitals, boost staffing

The White House said Aug. 13 that it would allocate billions of dollars to help hospitals in rural communities combat the COVID-19 pandemic and stay financially viable. 

The Biden administration said it would provide $500 million in funding from the American Rescue Act to create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program. The program will provide $350 million to help rural hospitals and increase access to COVID-19 vaccines and testing, medical supplies, telehealth and support construction or renovation of rural healthcare facilities. Another $125 million will help improve the long-term viability of rural healthcare providers, according to a news release.  

Separately, HHS said it will allocate $8.5 billion in funding to providers serving rural Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Plan patients for lost revenue and increased expenses associated with COVID-19. It expects to release a plan for allocation in the coming weeks.

"These funds will help ensure that providers can effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and will place them on stable financial footing to continue serving their communities into the future," the Biden administration said. 

HHS also will allocate $52 million from President Joe Biden's stimulus package signed into law earlier this year to train new rural healthcare workers to help curb healthcare personnel shortages.

Other steps the White House said it will take to improve rural healthcare include expanding telehealth access for those in rural communities and bolstering Veterans Affairs training programs. 


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