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$129M in Funding is Released to Support Rural Health Care Projects

by: Mary Scott Nabers
Photo courtesy of Martha Dominguez on Unsplash
Photo courtesy of Martha Dominguez on Unsplash
Mary Scott Nabers
Mary Scott Nabers
A new round of health care funding allocations was recently announced. This new funding will support approximately 170 rural health care projects waiting to be launched nationwide. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers several types of rural programs, and the agency announces new funding (totaling $129 million) in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants for 170 health care projects. In many cases, the funding will be supported by additional revenue at the local level as well. The Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Program was earlier funded with $500 million for health care initiatives.

The grant funding can be used for projects that include infrastructure improvement, construction of community facilities, equipment, etc. These most recent allocations will flow to states for immediate use.

Some of the funding will be used for purchases rather than new construction or renovation projects. Purchases outlined in planning grant applications include clinic and hospital equipment, new technology, ambulances, and more. States where construction projects received the greatest funding allocations include Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, and Wisconsin. However, every state received some funding to support rural health care. Upcoming projects of high interest are similar to the ones described below.

A $2 billion project will add three new towers to the health care campus of Rowan University in Camden, New Jersey. Currently, in the design phase, construction for the project is slated to begin in the summer of 2024. Plans will be designed to expand the capacity of Cooper University Hospital and the MD Anderson Cancer Center, also located on the university campus. The construction project will deliver 100 new private patient rooms and a total of 82 new beds for the hospital. It will include adding new classrooms, lecture rooms, and teaching space.

A rural expansion project will soon launch on the University of Kansas’ medical center campus in Madison, Wisconsin. The project, currently in the pre-design phase, has been tagged with an estimated cost of between $180 million and $220 million. Although a definitive launch date has not been announced, the project is expected to be finished by 2026. University officials want to increase space and service capacity at the University Hospital and the East Madison Hospital. A new six-story building will expand the university’s hospital capabilities by adding an expansion of the East Madison Hospital that delivers six new operating rooms, 20 emergency rooms, 40 recovery spaces, and 14 flexible care rooms.

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The Floyd County Medical Center in Iowa received funding to support the construction of a new medical center clinic, and the project’s cost is estimated at approximately $25.8 million. An existing clinic will be relocated and attached to the new facility as part of the project. Once relocated, the older clinic will also be renovated, expanded, and upgraded. This extensive renovation will include adding space to accommodate an outpatient services clinic, meeting rooms, and training space. A canopy and walkway will connect the two facilities and other features include relocating, renovating, adding additional sidewalks, new concrete paving with curbs, and a parking area. A construction launch will begin by spring of 2024, and the project’s completion is slated for 2026.

The Copper Queen Community Hospital in Bisbee, Arizona, will be expanded significantly at a cost of $23 million. The expansion will include adding a two-story building, designed for a new surgery department with two operating rooms and two endoscopy rooms in addition to a new inpatient unit. The project will also upgrade and enhance existing patient rooms. The new facility will occupy 27,000 square feet and be connected to the existing facility. The project is currently in the pre-design phase and construction work is scheduled for 2024. The expansion project received a $10 million grant — the largest award from the Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program this year.

A $385 million expansion project at the University of Kansas Cancer Center is being designed. Currently, the institution’s labs and researchers are disbursed across multiple campuses in Lawrence, Kansas. The new facility will be located near the University of Kansas Hospital, allowing for the expansion of cancer care services and the relocation of the research division. The 300,000-square-foot facility will also include laboratory space, an imaging center, and administrative and conference space. A construction launch is scheduled for early fall of 2024.

Similar projects are in the planning stages and will launch over the next several months. These projects will require new equipment, technology, furniture, landscaping, and all types of construction services. Most solicitations will be released in 2024 but contracting partnerships will be solidified in 2023.

Mary Scott Nabers is CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. and the author of Inside the Infrastructure Revolution – A Roadmap for Rebuilding America.

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