USDA Rural Development invests nearly $2.4 million to improve health care for rural South Dakotans; Monies going to facilities in Lyman, Gregory, Brule, Buffalo, Jerauld, Tripp, other counties

The US Department of Agriculture is distributing $2.4 million in grants to improve health facilities in rural areas of South Dakota, including Lyman, Gregory, Brule, Buffalo, Jerauld and Tripp counties.

Nikki Gronli, director of rural development for South Dakota, said the funds are part of the USDA’s effort to ensure every person and family has access to quality health care, regardless of their zip code.

The Emergency Rural Health Care Grants support rural communities in providing health care to people and places across our country who often cannot access it. These investments will help build, renovate and equip healthcare facilities such as hospitals and clinics throughout South Dakota.”

The investments will be used for projects to help rural hospitals and healthcare providers implement telehealth and nutrition assistance programs, increase staff to administer COVID-19 vaccines and tests, build or renovate facilities, and purchase medical supplies . They will also help regional partnerships, public agencies, nonprofits and tribes solve regional rural health problems, which will help build a stronger, more sustainable rural health system in response to the pandemic.

For example:

  • Lewis and Clark Behavioral Health Services Inc. awarded an additional $323,000 to build a facility to provide behavioral health and substance abuse services. They operate from multiple buildings located at various locations throughout Yankton. The new project will help improve safety, care and accessibility for patients and staff by bringing all services under one roof. The new facility will be in Yankton and will provide services to Yankton, Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Clay, GregoryHutchinson, Union, Douglas, Davison, Aurora, howler, JerauldMiner, Sanborn, Hanson, buffalo, Lymann and trip counties. Many members have limited resources. These funds are in addition to the nearly $7.5 million previously granted.

  • Bennett County Hospital and Nursing Home will receive $897,000 to purchase healthcare equipment to meet the varied needs of country residents in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Equipment purchases include two new ambulances, two homecare vehicles, a portable X-ray machine, an ultrasound machine, three temperature screening kiosks and a UV sterilizer. The updates will allow Bennett County Hospital to better prepare for future pandemics and treat more patients on-site. Home Health vehicles allow hospital staff to extend services to residents who are unable to travel in Bennett, Oglala Lakota. Jackson and todd counties.

  • Day County will receive $90,000 to purchase ambulances and equipment from the current private ambulance service, whose owners are retiring. Day County does not have another emergency medical service, nor has any of the surrounding counties been able to provide the required services, leaving Day County residents with a large gap in their emergency service coverage. The applicant will use the funds to purchase the equipment portion of the current ambulance service. The grant will also allow Day County to upgrade two ambulances and purchase an automated chest compression system. Ambulances are a necessity in normal times, but the pandemic has added even more urgency. As a front-line provider, it is imperative that they can reach and stabilize patients in their coverage area.

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