GRINNELL, Iowa –At UnityPoint Grinnell Regional Medical Center the Des Moines office of USDA Rural Development was on hand to present in person one of 17 grants for healthcare projects across Iowa.

UnityPoint Grinnell was awarded two grants close to $1 million. Statewide $8.4 million in grants went to a total of 13 recipients, in 12 counties.

“National Rural Health Day is the perfect time to showcase the significant contributions that USDA is making for health care infrastructure in rural Iowa,” said Iowa USDA Rural Development Director, Theresa Greenfield. “Our rural neighbors face unique challenges in obtaining personalized health care in remote and underserved parts of our state.”

The funds are a part of the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Act, which is part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

Director Greenfield made the announcement as she toured the Grinnell Regional Medical Center. One grant for $535,000 will be used to help divide the emergency room and radiology waiting room into two separate waiting rooms. The number of patients admitted will be enlarged, as will the women’s health clinic. Another $464,000 grant will go towards renovating a now crowded lab, and make more space for vaccines, testing, and administration.

 “Were we not to receive this award we’d have to be deciding between expanding woman’s health services or replacing a chilling tower, which it’s like an air conditioner,” said Kyle Wilcox, of Grinnell UnityPoint Regional Medical Center.

At the round table discussion, the topic of financially struggling rural health care facilities was discussed.

“Sixty per cent of all the hospitals in the state right now are losing money so the question becomes, especially for rural hospitals and there are 89 of them, how do they remain solvent,” said Bill Menner, Executive Director of the Iowa Rural Development Council.

According to a news release from the USDA Rural Development, Humboldt County Memorial Hospital received $69,200, Opportunity Living received $86,700, Mahaska County Hospital received $619,000, Van Diest Medical Center received $751,000, Iowa Specialty Hospital received $1 million, and Monroe County Hospital received $1 million.