IL Director of USDA Talks Local Healthcare Grants

By Benjamin Cox on August 3, 2023 at 12:35pm

The State Director of the US Department of Agriculture recently highlighted rural development programs helping area hospitals.

Betsey Dirksen-Londrigan appeared on AM1180’s What’s On Your Mind last Friday to talk about the USDA’s Rural Development programs.

She drew particular attention to a program set up by the USDA post-pandemic in order to help rural hospitals be prepared in the future for massive healthcare emergencies: “There was an opportunity for these emergency rural healthcare grants. The hospitals and some of the smaller nonprofits around Illinois really put their thinking caps on about their needs. This funding came out of Covid. It was about how we can prepare ourselves so that we are not caught again [in some tough situations]. We asked those hospitals what kind of upgrades do we need to make, how can we better serve our patients and our communities.”

Jacksonville Memorial Hospital was a recent recipient of a $1 million rural healthcare development grant through USDA. Londrigan says JMH is using it to modernize their continuum of care: “[JMH] is using those funds to purchase an electronic medical records system. What is so wonderful about that is that it has a direct impact on the continuum of care for patients that are seeking assistance at these hospitals. We are excited for them to be a part of helping that come to pass.”

Jersey Community Hospital was also a recent recipient of the $1 million grant. JCH is using the grant to purchase an ambulance, ultrasound equipment, and a touch-less door entry system. JCH is also using some of the funds for deferred maintenance on their Jerseyville location to repair the facility’s roof and parking lot.

Londrigan says this particular program mirrors what USDA Rural Development likes to do in that it serves the communities of the state according to their needs. Londrigan also pointed out that the USDA has numerous offices in communities and has representatives who live and work in that community they serve.

To learn more about USDA Rural Development, visit their Jacksonville office at 1904 West Lafayette Avenue or call them at 217-243-1535.