Ron Kind: Rural clinics can get federal grants for COVID-19 testing
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WKBT) — Rural health clinics now will be able to receive grants to cover COVID-19 testing, U.S. Rep. Ron Kind says.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will provide the grants through the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which the La Crosse Democrat voted to approve on April 23.
The latest surge of COVID-19 has hit rural communities particularly hard, and the disease’s spread is higher in rural communities than in many other parts of the country. The COVID-19 spike in Wisconsin is increasing pressure on rural health-care providers, underscoring their need for assistance, Kind said.
“Our rural health care providers are working tirelessly to keep our communities safe and healthy,” said Kind, who co-chairs the House Rural Health Care Coalition and serves on the Subcommittee on Health for the Ways and Means Committee.
Many rural health-care providers faced severe financial challenges even before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
In 2019, 19 rural hospitals closed across the country, and 1 in 5 rural hospitals is at risk of closing — factors that prompted Kind to join 48 colleagues on both sides of the aisle in July to urge HHS to provide immediate relief to rural health care providers struggling because of the pandemic.
“As COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Wisconsin, it’s critical that we ensure our rural health clinics on the front lines of this pandemic have the funding and support they need to continue to their life-saving work,” Kind said.