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Utilizing the USDA Community Facility Grant

For building up rural delivery of pre-hospital emergency medicine, the USDA steps up


I am sure that if you listened to the transcripts of several EMS agencies' conversations across the county, many of them would have common threads in them.

Those threads would include a senior official stating that their current EMS station was moving toward the point of being in disrepair, providing little to no protection to those clinicians that were stationed there.

Another would say that their community had grown so quickly that their current station is unable to keep up with the demand of their citizens and another station needed to be built.

On the opposite end of the table, another agency stakeholder would state that he/she agreed with the evaluation of the situation; however, funding wasn’t going to be available for a while, and if the fuel prices continue to increase it may be even longer than previously predicted.

As a reader of this column, I would venture to guess that you too have had similar conversations with your personnel, which is one of the reasons you are here looking for ideas that will help your funding shortfalls.

When considering locations to obtain funding for EMS, the US Department of Agriculture is not somewhere I would immediately consider, but in the instance of building up the rural delivery of pre-hospital emergency medicine, the USDA steps up to the plate and hits a homerun with their Community Facility Grant Project.

By going to their website you will find more information related to this project.

The USDA Community Facility Grants program says it is designed to “assist in the development of essential community facilities. Grant funds can be used to construct, enlarge or improve community facilities for health care, public safety, and community and public services.”

There are several factors that are combined to determine the total grant funding that can be approved for a requested project.

For grant applicants, population and median income are two of the largest factors in determining qualified applicants. Based on the guidance for their document, towns greater than 20,000 have minimal chance of receiving funding under this grant program. “Grant assistance may be available for up to 75% of project costs. Grant funding limitations are based on population and income, economic feasibility, and availability of funds.”

This project will fund projects that also receive other USDA “CF financial assistance such as direct or guaranteed loan, applicant contributions, or loans and grants from other sources.”

Limitations to the USDA Community Facility Grant project include:
1. The payment of any annual recurring costs, including purchases or rentals that are generally considered to be operating and maintenance expenses.
2. The construction or repair electric generating plants, electric transmission lines, or gas distribution lines to provide services for commercial sale.
3. The payment of costs to construct facilities to be used for commercial rental where the applicant has no control over tenants and services offered.
4. The construction of facilities primarily for the purpose of housing State, Federal or quasi-Federal Agencies.

For those agencies that serve the rural populations that have minimal operations for healthcare delivery within their borders, this is an excellent opportunity to look at ways to fund the future of medical treatment to your citizens.

For more information about how to apply for this grant process you must contact your local USDA Rural Development office. You can find these resources here.

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