The United States Department of Health and Human Services awarded the Rural Health Resource Center, based in Duluth, a $10 million grant, U.S. senators Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tina Smith, D-Minn., announced Tuesday.

The grant, which is part of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, will help the Rural Health Resource Center expand its Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program. The program helps enhance selected rural health systems in various ways, including increasing efficiency, addressing workforce recruitment and retention, increasing use of telemedicine services, and making emergency medical services more accessible.

Annual federal funding for rural health programs was increased by nearly $35 million by the CARES Act as part of the Improving Care in Rural America Reauthorization Act.

"I want to make sure we’re addressing the unique barriers faced by rural health care providers, which is why I’m so glad this funding will go a long way in helping the Rural Health Resource Center provide great care and retain staff," Smith said in the news release. "When rural health systems are financially stable, we have a more resilient rural health system that can reach more Minnesotans living in rural areas.”

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