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8 rural health care projects in South Carolina awarded over $6.27 million in federal grants

Money comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, part of $110 million awarded nationwide
Credit: SkyLine - stock.adobe.com

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding South Carolina more than $6 million in grants to improve healthcare facilities in rural areas around the state.

The $6,276,787 in funds are part of the $110 million available nationwide through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Program. This latest round of funding will help 208 rural healthcare organizations expand critical services to almost five million people in 43 states and Guam.

In South Carolina, the eight projects receiving grants are:

  • Allendale County: $687,212 to purchase and update equipment 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 for the residents of rural Allendale County 
  • Allendale County Rescue Squad: $750,000 to improve pre-hospital patient health outcomes by providing more effective pre-hospital emergency and nonemergency 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 access to quality health care for the citizens of Allendale County.
  • Coastal Plains Physician Associates: $232,500 to purchase medical equipment and furnishing needed to establish the telemedicine center. This project is in conjunction with Hampton Regional Medical Center and is an affiliate of the Medical University of South Carolina. 
  • Dorchester County: $1,000,000 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.
  • Franklin C. Fetter Family Health Center: $1,000,000 to expand and improve health care services, and 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 healthcare-related outcomes in Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, and Dorchester counties.
  • The City of Orangeburg: $857,075 to assist the city of Orangeburg to 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 its 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.
  • Orangeburg County: $750,000 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.
  • The Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg and Calhoun Counties: $1,000,000 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, which is to provide healthcare access through telemedicine, aims to support the monitoring and evaluation of future patients to ensure smooth and satisfactory transitional care and access to specialized healthcare providers. 

The Emergency Rural Health Care Grants grew out of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of March 2021. In August 2021, the USDA made the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants available through the American Rescue Plan Act to help rural healthcare facilities, tribes and communities expand access to healthcare services and nutrition assistance.

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