Over $3 million coming to Central Pa health care organizations

WTAJ — Under President Joe Biden’s American Rescue plan US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new program to expand rural hospitals’ access to COVID-19 materials.

With the announcement, $43 million will benefit 2.2 million as part of the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants which covers 93 rural health care organizations, including six locally.

The following locations will receive funding in our Central Pa area:

Punxsutawney Area Hospital Incorporated — $868,500
This Rural Development investment will be used to purchase additional equipment and supplies for COVID-19 testing, Personal Protective Equipment, a new ventilator and respirator, and further expand telehealth and remote care services, which will assist in reducing potential exposure and transmission. The funds will be used towards promoting and administering vaccines to current and future residents and staff, as well as increase testing

Fulton County Medical Center — $136,900
This Rural Development investment will be used to reimburse healthcare revenue from March 2020 to June 2021. The lost revenues were brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used for promoting and administering vaccines to current and future residents and staff, as well as to increase testing.

DuBois Continuum of Care Community — $1,000,000
This Rural Development investment will be used to reimburse lost healthcare revenue from March 13, 2020 through August 31, 2021, and reimburse COVID-19 related costs including personal protective equipment, testing kits and supplies, staffing for COVID-19 testing of residents, increased medical supplies, etc. The funds will be used towards promoting or administering vaccines to current and future residents and staff, as well as to increase testing.

Somerset Care Incorporated — $907,200
This Rural Development investment will be used to reimburse for lost healthcare revenue from March 15, 2020 through September 30, 2021. The lost revenues were brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used towards promoting or administering vaccines to current and future residents and staff, as well as to increase testing. Somerset Care, Inc. was established to maintain, operate, and manage nursing homes, hospitals, and related health care facilities, including without limitation retirement care facility for elderly persons and facilities for the housing and care of developmentally disabled persons of Somerset County.

Center Care Incorporated — $1,000,000
This Rural Development investment will be used to reimburse lost healthcare revenue from March 15, 2020 through August 31, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be used for promoting or administering vaccines to current and future residents and staff, as well as to increase testing. Center Care Incorporated. provides a nursing, assisted living and senior retirement care to qualifying persons.

The announcement comes as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Rural Infrastructure Tour, a multi-faceted outreach as they travel and learn about rural communities across the country.

“Under the leadership of President Biden and Vice President Harris, USDA mobilized our staff and resources to respond in record time to improve the long-term viability of rural health care providers and services across this nation,” Vilsack said. “USDA used an all-hands-on-deck approach to create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program to address a variety of immediate health care needs and services in rural communities. The American Rescue Plan Act and this program are examples of the government’s ability to respond quickly to ensure every person and family has access to high-quality health care no matter their zip code.”

The funds were made available through the American Rescue Plan act. In total, $475 million in grants are being provided and additional awards will be announced in the coming months.

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