Jefferson Community Health & Life received $443,486 as part of the USDA Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program. The grant is designed to help rural community hospitals recover economically from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
JCH&L’s grant is part of more than $74 million awarded by USDA nationwide, and more than $2 million awarded in Nebraska. USDA Rural Development promotes a healthy community and environment through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants to make sure people, kids and families have access to the health care they need. The grants support the ability of rural communities to provide health care to the people and places in our country that often lack access. In August 2021, USDA made the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants available through the American Rescue Plan Act to help rural health care facilities, tribes and communities expand access to health care services and nutrition assistance.
JCH&L applied for the grant funding to reimburse certified operating losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic and increase access to quality healthcare services.
Chief Financial Officer Chance Klasek said JCH&L experienced lost revenues in March through June 2020, and in November 2020 through May 2021. The lost revenues occurred because of lower patient volumes than pre-pandemic levels, attributable to the public avoiding healthcare facilities as well as limiting procedures implemented by JCH&L to respond to and prevent spreading of COVID-19.
“We are happy to get some relief from lost revenues from the USDA Emergency Rural Health Care Grant program,” Klasek said. “This assistance will help us to recover economically from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Overall, JCH&L’s financial outlook remains positive, Klasek said. JCH&L opened its new family medicine clinic location attached to the health center in May, and continues to add more services, especially outpatient specialty clinics, to serve the area residents. Two new physicians will be joining JCH&L in the fall, to join the current medical staff of three physicians, 4 nurse practitioners, and 2 PAs.