Washington, D.C. [11/7/22] — Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced significant federal investments that will improve health care quality and accessibility in Greater Minnesota. These grants – over $1.8 million in total – will help health care organizations and providers expand critical services and recover from lost revenue in the wake of the pandemic.
“This funding will make health care more accessible for rural communities across our state by helping providers expand services, purchase new ambulances, and upgrade facilities to improve the safety of patients and frontline workers,” said Klobuchar. “I’ll keep pushing for resources to ensure that all Minnesotans, regardless of their zip code, can access quality, affordable health care.”
“When I meet with families, farmers, businesses and Tribal leaders in rural Minnesota, one of the first issues that comes up is health care,” said Sen. Smith. “These investments will expand access to health care for thousands of Minnesotans while helping providers recover from pandemic-related staffing shortages and lost revenue. As Co-Chair of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, I will continue working to improve access to health care in Greater Minnesota.”
Specifically, grants will help replace outdated ambulances, purchase personal protective equipment (PPE), and upgrade hospital and nursing facilities in Slayton, Kittson, Big Stone, Chippewa, Sibley, Freeborn, Red Lake, and Murray Counties.
As a member of the Senate Health Committee and a leader in the bipartisan Rural Health Caucus, Sen. Smith is fighting to protect, improve, and expand comprehensive health care coverage for Minnesotans. Last month, Smith reintroduced bipartisan legislation that supports rural health facilities around the country. She has also made expanding mental health services a top priority, particularly in rural communities. As part of the American Rescue Plan, Smith passed bipartisan provisions with Senator Murkowski to provide expanded access to community based mental health care and harm reduction services. She has also introduced a host of bipartisan legislation aimed at increasing mental health services for students, improving integrated care, increasing access to tele-mental health, and investing in the mental health workforce.