COLUMBIA, SC- Today Congressman James E. Clyburn announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding $6,276,787 in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants for eight projects to improve health care facilities throughout South Carolina. These grants will help rural health care facilities expand and improve quality of services.
“It has been my mission to ensure that every citizen has access to affordable healthcare especially those in our rural communities that have been historically neglected,” said Congressman Clyburn. “I am pleased to see the Biden-Harris Administration’s continued investment in rural communities, which addresses a critical need in districts like mine.”
"This significant investment in our rural communities shows the agency's commitment to not only helping rural, particularly those communities that suffered the most from COVID 19, to recover from the pandemic; but also to help these communities prepare for future pandemics," said Dr. Saundra Glover, Director of South Carolina Rural Development. "Most importantly it shows our agency's recognition of the importance of access to quality health care and healthy food options in addressing health inequities."
The Biden-Harris Administration is making this Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Program funding available through its historic legislative package, the American Rescue Plan Act. The 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 investments in the eight South Carolina facilities will help build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic. The projects receiving funding are:
- The Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg and Calhoun counties will receive a $1 million grant to purchase emergency medical equipment that will prevent, detect, and respond to the threat posed by any future pandemic and strengthen the healthcare system for public health preparedness. This project has two components: The first component, emergency pandemic equipment, aims to prevent and limit the extent of possible long-term effects and loss of life in the region by having updated and more accessible clinical equipment. The second component, is to provide healthcare access through telemedicine, aims to support monitoring and evaluation of future patients to ensure smooth and satisfactory transitional care and access to specialized healthcare providers.
- The Franklin C. Fetter Family Health Center will receive a $1 million grant to expand and improve health care services, nutritional services, provide COVID-19 testing and vaccinations and prepare for future pandemic testing and vaccinations, food distribution of locally grown fruits and vegetables (food bank) and telehealth services. This project and these improvements will allow the Fetter Health Care Network to provide essential services to its customers and improve health care related outcomes.
- Dorchester County will receive a $1 million grant to offer support for rural healthcare services to broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, wellness services, lab work, radiology, and telemedicine in the rural community of St. George, South Carolina. Dorchester County plans to rehabilitate and repurpose the structure for an urgent medical care facility providing these services to increase access to quality health care and improve community health outcomes in the rural western end of Dorchester County.
- The City of Orangeburg will receive a $857,075 grant to assist the city of Orangeburg recover from the costs and wear on the fire and Emergency Management System equipment during the pandemic. This improvement will enable the city to replace and expand their emergency medical care and services to provide equity medical care and emergency medical response to rural citizens to improve the medical and health outcomes in rural Orangeburg.
- Allendale County Rescue Squad will receive a $750,000 grant to improve pre-hospital patient health outcomes by providing more effective pre-hospital emergency and non-emergency care to the residents of Allendale County, South Carolina. Replacement of obsolete emergency equipment is critical to improving patient outcomes. Pre-hospital interventions are important to patient survival. This improvement will provide emergency communication systems and ambulance equipment resulting in better to access to quality health care for the citizens of Allendale County.
- Orangeburg County will receive a $750,000 grant to purchase five emergency medical services response vehicles for the Holly Hill and Eutawville service area, which is medically underserved and 40 miles from a hospital. This project is needed to provide equitable medical services to residents of this rural area and to prepare for future pandemics.
- Allendale County will receive a $687,212 grant to increase access to quality health care services, improve community health outcomes, and help first responders safely and properly respond to emergent situations. These improvements will allow the Allendale County Fire Department and Sheriff's Department to improve and increase access to quality health care to the residents of rural Allendale County.
- Coastal Plains Physician Associates will receive a $232,500 grant to purchase medical equipment and furnishings needed to establish the telemedicine center. This project is in conjunction with Hampton Regional Medical Center and is an affiliate of Medical University of South Carolina.
In August 2021, USDA made the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants available through the American Rescue Plan Act to help rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to health care services and nutrition assistance. The assistance is helping provide immediate relief to support rural hospitals, health care clinics and local communities. USDA is administering the funds through Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program.