USDA officials visit Upper Valley rural health grant recipients

Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 5:52 PM EDT
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LEBANON (WCAX) - A federal investment in rural health care across the country will impact several organizations in the Upper Valley.

“When you live in a rural area, being able to get health care close to home is crucial,” said USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small, during a visit to Lebanon Wednesday.

She says funding for health care is often best spent when the community takes the lead. “One of the things that rural development understands is that when you look at community needs, they have the best vision for how to achieve it.”

In Lebanon, health care officials are focusing on addiction. A million dollars in emergency rural health care funds will renovate the old Homestead Building at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital into a residential treatment center for mothers in recovery.

“These are folks who are making the transition, trying to improve their lives,” said Rep. Annie Kuster/D-New Hampshire. She says Dartmouth Health and its network of providers will staff the new facility as part of the Families Flourish Northeast program. “They provide the expertise and personnel that are providing counseling and support services to help people get their lives back on track.”

Across the river in White River Junction, the Upper Valley Haven is getting $88,000 to renovate its kitchen which feeds families in need. Access to rural health care, according to Torres Small, is much more than just treating the sick at the hospital. “Recognizing that mental health includes a lot of facets -- mental health, behavioral health,” she said.

Around $110 million is being distributed to rural communities across the country which will benefit more than 200 organizations.