Durbin, Duckworth Announce More Than $3 Million In American Rescue Plan Funding To Support Rural Health Care Services In Illinois

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced that, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, six health care providers in rural Illinois will receive a total of $3,190,300 to increase access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, food assistance programs, and other services to improve community health outcomes. The funding comes from a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program created by the American Rescue Plan.


“Across Illinois, rural hospitals and health care providers are the backbone of their communities, providing essential access points to care and anchoring the local economy. Yet, many grapple with financial vulnerabilities that have only increased during the pandemic,” Durbin said. “That’s why Senator Duckworth and I worked to pass the American Rescue Plan, which created the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program. This federal funding will improve access to critical health needs and benefit the long-term financial stability of rural health care providers.” 


“Illinois’s rural healthcare providers are critical to extending reliable and accessible care to Illinoisans and providing jobs in communities—this support as part of the American Rescue Plan is needed and deserved,” Duckworth said. “Democrats intended for the American Rescue Plan to serve working families and by supporting healthcare access across our great state, we’re able to help do that.”


The following Illinois health care providers will receive USDA Emergency Rural Health Care Grants:


Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services (Ford County): $72,200 to purchase lab equipment to allow COVID antibody testing and safely process COVID samples. The equipment will enable the hospital to differentiate between the COVID virus and bacterial pneumonia to administer proper medical treatment. The project includes purchasing a vented safety hood to protect lab staff while processing COVID swabs. Gibson Area Hospital & Health Services operates a critical access hospital with 12 clinics serving five counties in East Central Illinois.


Illini Community Hospital, Blessing Health System (Pike County): $891,500 to construct a drive through clinic at Illini Community Hospital located in Pike County. The new facility will provide COVID vaccinations, testing and treatment for patients. The drive through clinic will see all patients with COVID-19 related exposures and symptoms, which will decrease exposure to staff and other patients. This project will broadens access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines as well as increase access to health care services to patients in the rural service area. The project serves 16,430 people.


Ferrell Hospital (Saline County): $869,500 to convert ten existing patient rooms that were constructed in 2020 to negative-pressure COVID treatment rooms, upgrade five existing semi-private rooms for COVID treatment, provide a new training room to adequately serve the present and future client base and renovate nurse support stations. This project will improve ventilation and isolation needed during pandemic situations.


Salem Township Hospital (Marion County): $792,400 to renovate the existing Salem Township Hospital and includes construction to the main registration bays, procurement room, installation of med/surgical negative pressure rooms and four glass doors in emergency room treatment rooms, infusion rooms recliners/Geri chairs, video monitoring system for infusion rooms, nurse call system, Phreesia pads, blood culture incubators, Vapotherm breathing devices, disinfecting sprayer and chemicals, ultraviolet-C disinfection system, personal protective equipment and COVID tests. This project will serve 39,437 people in Marion County, Illinois and will broaden access to COVID-19 testing and vaccines and care as well as treatment and prevention of the spread of the virus and any future viruses.


Arrowleaf (Alexander County): $362,900 to renovate the current community mental health center located in Cairo, Illinois, that serves the residents of Alexander and Pulaski counties. Project renovations include roof, gutters, siding, windows, doors, and parking lot. Interior renovations include repairing walls, new flooring, lighting, restroom fixtures, mechanical system updates, and converting open office cubical areas into closed private offices to meet Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy requirements. These rooms will be utilized for COVID testing areas. COVID vaccination clinics will be held in the lobby area of the facility.


Tri-State Food Bank Incorporated (Johnson County): $201,800 to purchase handling and transport equipment for Tri-State Food Bank Incorporated located in Johnson County, Illinois to improve rural communities' access to food. This equipment includes electric forklifts and chargers, electric pallet jack and charger, pallet rack assembly, shrink wrap station, weigh scale, conveyor system assembly, guardrail assembly and a 53' trailer. This vital equipment ensures continued and improved services provided by Tri-State Food Bank Incorporated. While the project is located in the Vienna, Illinois Hub it will serve Johnson, Hardin, Pope, Pulaski, and Alexander counties. This project will strengthen nutritional assistance, help prepare for future pandemics, and ensure continued services through the existing COIVD-19 pandemic. This project will serve 35,771 people.