July 26, 2023

Kilmer Announces Investments in Rural Health Care, Nutrition on Olympic Peninsula

Funding Will Help Improve Quality Health Care in Rural Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding $129 million in Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to improve health care facilities in rural towns across the nation, including three grants totaling $256,000 that will help expand critical services on the Olympic Peninsula.

“This announcement is a testament to the power of investment in rural communities,” said Rep. Kilmer. “With significant federal funding focused on helping communities care for people, we’re not only enhancing emergency response capabilities and access to healthy food on the Olympic Peninsula but also taking critical strides toward creating stronger, healthier communities for rural Washingtonians.”

“The Biden-Harris Administration responded quickly to deliver immediate economic relief and to ensure people have access to quality health care during one of the most critical times in our nation’s history,” said USDA Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. “USDA’s Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program has played a key role in strengthening rural America’s health care infrastructure and building capacity for the future. “Today’s investments will help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care challenges. These solutions will build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system for the nation’s small towns and communities.”

“Thanks to the investments announced today, our rural communities are taking significant steps towards improving healthcare accessibility and emergency response in Washington State,” said State Director for USDA Rural Development in Washington State Helen Price Johnson. “We are committed to the well-being of Washington residents and the strength of partnerships to help meet their essential needs.”

On the Olympic Peninsula, two grants will enhance access to quality health care and one grant will improve health outcomes for people in rural communities by improving access to healthy foods:

  • Clallam Fire District #2, which covers 85 square miles surrounding the City of Port Angeles, will use a $95,500 grant to purchase a new ambulance and necessary equipment.
  • Clallam Fire District #4, which provides fire protection and EMS services in a rural unincorporated area of west Clallam County in and around the community of Joyce, will use a $79,000 grant to purchase two power-lift gurneys.
  • The Port Angeles Food Bank will use an $81,500 grant to provide services to 13 area food pantries, including four Tribal Communities.

In March 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act, legislation Rep. Kilmer supported, to provide direct relief to families bearing the weight of the COVID-19 crisis and support affected communities. The USDA quickly made funding available to ensure long-term rural health care services.

In August 2021, Emergency Rural Health Care Grants were introduced to expand health care access. These grants have provided crucial support to rural hospitals, clinics, and communities in places like the Olympic Peninsula.

# # #