The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that the USDA has provided more than $1 billion in the fiscal year 2017 to help improve access to healthcare in Maine.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the USDA provided more than $1 billion in the fiscal year 2017 to help improve access to health care services in rural communities.

This includes a Community Facilities Direct Loan in the amount of $2.8 million being invested in Aroostook Hospice Foundation, in Presque Isle. Purdue stated,

“USDA invests in a wide range of healthcare facilities – such as hospitals, clinics and treatment centers – to help ensure that rural residents have access to the same state-of-the-art care available in urban and metropolitan areas,”

Perdue added,

“I understand that building a prosperous rural America begins with healthy people. Ensuring that rural communities have access to quality medical care is a top priority for USDA.”

USDA Rural Development Acting State Director Tommy Higgins said,

“Maine’s most rural residents deserve to have hospice care that is close to their family and friends during a difficult time when their support is needed the most. I am pleased that this funding to Aroostook Hospice Foundation will help to make this critical community facility possible.”

The existing building, located in Presque Isle, will be renovated and expanded to provide the space and configuration needed to operate as a 6-bed inpatient hospice care facility.

In addition, it will add administrative space for outpatient hospice care. The nearest inpatient hospice care facilities in Maine is approximately 250 miles from Presque Isle. This project will create approximately 15 jobs in the area.

USDA invested more than $1 billion in rural health care nationwide in Fiscal Year 2017 through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program.

The loans can be used to construct, expand or improve healthcare facilities such as hospitals, medical clinics, dental clinics and assisted-living facilities, as well as to purchase equipment. Public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized tribes in rural areas and towns with up to 20,000 people are eligible for these loans.

USDA Rural Development supports critical community facilities like this through
its Community Programs.

In the past decade, the agency has invested over $66 million in Maine healthcare-related facilities for services including – acute care, first responders, dental, telehealth, substance abuse, mental health, and LifeFlight – all of which are having a substantial impact on the lives of Maine people every day.

USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor.

There are 54 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine.

Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's website at https://www.rd.usda.gov/me.