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Sunday, October 25, 2020

USDA Invests $34 Million in Five Rural Kansas Hospitals

Hospitals receiving financing are in Holton, Hoxie, Leoti, Marysville, and Mankato

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Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids, and graduated from Valley Heights High School in May of 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. After stops at KFRM and KCLY radio in Clay Center, he joined KNDY in 2002 as a board operator and play by play announcer. Derek is now responsible for the digital content of Dierking Communications, Inc. six radio stations. In 2005 Derek joined the staff of KCFX radio in Kansas City as a production coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, which airs on over 94 radio stations across 12 Midwest states and growing. In 2018 he became the Studio Coordinator at the Cumulus Kansas City broadcast center for Kansas City Chiefs Football.

Note: Click here for expanded local coverage of the Jewell County Hospital expansion and improvements referenced in this press release.

TOPEKA, Kan., Nov 15, 2018 – USDA Rural Development State Director Lynne Hinrichsen today announced that USDA is investing in health care infrastructure and services in rural Kansas.

“Ensuring that rural Kansans have access to quality medical care, close to home is a top priority for USDA Rural Development,” said Hinrichsen. “Several of our rural hospitals are aging, and we are committed to assisting communities with financing for innovative health care projects that meet the needs of rural Kansans.”

Today’s announcement is part of USDA’s commemoration of National Rural Health Day, which is held annually on the third Thursday of November to focus on the specific health care issues facing rural communities. The Department is investing $501 million in 60 projects nationally, through the Community Facilities direct loan program. These investments will expand access to health care for approximately 2 million people in 34 states.

In Kansas, the following projects are receiving financing, which totals more than $34 million:

  • CMH Foundation is receiving a $9.525 million loan to acquire Community Memorial Healthcare’s (CMH) critical access hospital in Marysville. The CMH Foundation will lease the facility back to Community Memorial Healthcare to operate and maintain the campus. The CMH Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was formed in 2009 to support health care in Marshall County. This project will help ensure that the hospital can continue to serve the area’s 10,000 residents. Additional funding includes a $6,570,277 Community Facilities loan guarantee.
  • Jewell County is receiving a $7.5 million loan to renovate and expand the critical access hospital in Mankato. The expansion project will include a new main entrance to the hospital, and the emergency department will be expanded. Other areas of the hospital will be renovated to meet new building and health care codes. This project will serve the area’s 3,077 residents. Additional funding includes a $500,000 USDA Community Facilities loan guarantee.
  • Rural Health Resources of Jackson County, Inc., doing business as the Holton Community Hospital, is receiving a $14.619 million loan to expand and renovate the critical access hospital in Holton. A two-story rural health clinic will be built adjacent to the current hospital. Updates to the hospital facility include expansion and renovations to the emergency department, inpatient rooms, specialty clinic, public restrooms, corridors and roof. Additional funding includes a $2 million USDA Community Facilities loan guarantee and a $1 million applicant contribution. The population to be served by this facility is 16,328.
  • Sheridan County is receiving a $2.250 million loan for improvements to the critical access hospital at the Sheridan County Health Complex in Hoxie. Patient rooms and restrooms will be remodeled to meet accessibility standards, and the plumbing and electrical systems will be replaced. The complex serves 2,556 people.
  • Wichita County is receiving a $760,000 loan to install a new heating and air conditioning system for the Wichita County Health Center Hospital in Leoti. The existing HVAC system has exceeded its life expectancy and is too expensive to maintain. This project will benefit the area’s 2,234 residents.

USDA is investing in health care projects in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

This funding announcement complements the finalization of a partnership between USDA and the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) to identify issues causing financial strain on rural hospitals, which are an important part of the rural health care system. NRHA and the Department will work together to identify management and financial indicators that often precede a hospital’s closure. This proactive strategy is designed to help rural hospitals before they are in financial distress. Intervention steps may help the hospitals continue to operate and serve rural communities.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, contact the USDA Rural Development office in Kansas at (785) 271-2700 or visit www.rd.usda.gov/ks.

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