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USDA awards South Dakota $2.4 million to improve rural health care services

United States Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development will award $2.4 million in grants for health care facilities in rural communities in South Dakota.

USDA Rural Development South Dakota State Director Nikki Gronli announced the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Wednesday.

“The Emergency Rural Health Care Grants support rural communities in providing health care to people and places in our country that often lack access,” Gronli said. “These investments will help build, renovate and equip health care facilities like hospitals and clinics throughout South Dakota.”

These grants are part of the American Rescue Plan Act started in March 2021.

Gronli said the grants will help rural South Dakotan health care facilities with programs such as telehealth services, nutrition assistance programs and COVID-19 testing and vaccine administrations. The grants will also help with building and renovating facilities increasing staffing and purchasing new medical supplies.

These awards will also help South Dakota tribes improve health care access and increase programs in remote areas.

Day County is one recipient of the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants. The county will receive $90,000 to purchase ambulances and equipment to fill a potential gap in health care for it and surrounding counties. Day County will also be able to upgrade two existing ambulances and purchase an automated chest compression system.

The Bennett County Hospital and Nursing Home will receive $897,000 to buy health care equipment and vehicles. This includes two ambulances, a portable X-ray machine, an ultrasound machine and more. It will also purchase two home health care vehicles to reach rural residents in Bennett, Oglala Lakota, Jackson and Todd counties.

Lewis and Clark Behavioral Health Services Inc., which operates in several sites around Yankton, will receive $323,000 to build a new facility for behavioral health and substance abuse services. The new facility will be in Yankton and will serve several surrounding counties like Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Union, Aurora, Brule, Sanborn, Miner, Lyman and Tripp counties, among others.

The USDA is also awarding grants for health care services in several other states including North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Wyoming.

Jordan is a senior English and journalism major at SDSU in Brookings. She is from De Smet, South Dakota. She is based out of the Sioux Falls studio.