Tester Secures More Than $5.5 Million for COVID-19 Testing and Mitigation in Rural Montana Communities
"It’s imperative that our Rural Health Clinics have the critical resources they need to keep our communities safe, and continue to monitor the spread and transmission of COVID-19."
U.S. Senator Jon Tester announced that Montana Rural Health Clinics will be receiving $5.6 million in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funding as a result of the American Rescue Plan to increase COVID-19 testing and to further mitigate its effects on rural communities.
Montana is home to 60 rural health clinics across the state—all of which provide life-saving care to underserved rural communities. 56 of these clinics will be receiving flat payments of $100,000 each through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) arm of HHS as a direct result of the passage of the American Rescue Plan. Tester is the only member of the Montana delegation to vote in favor of the American Rescue Plan.
“Montana’s Rural Health Clinics are often the only healthcare provider in rural communities, and they were hit especially hard during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tester. “As we recover by getting more shots into arms and our economy back on track, it’s imperative that our Rural Health Clinics have the critical resources they need to keep our communities safe, and continue to monitor the spread and transmission of COVID-19. Because of our work on the American Rescue Plan, this funding will help keep communities healthy across Big Sky Country.”
As of April 10th, 2021, rural vaccination rates lagged behind urban vaccination rates by nearly 7 percent, and rural communities were at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 associated morbidity and mortality, according to the CDC.
All Montanans aged 12 and older are currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the CDC, 1,102,395 total doses have been administered in Montana, and 444,216 Montanans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Monday, June 21st.
Vaccine appointments at participating clinics, pharmacies, and other locations can be found at vaccines.gov.
Tester worked tirelessly to ensure the American Rescue Plan provided targeted resources that will have a tangible impact on Montana’s economy. The bill ensures local mayors have the resources to keep cops and firefighters on the beat, every Montanan who wants a vaccine can get one, schools can fully re-open safely, and it provides badly-needed relief for hard-hit Montana workers and small businesses, along with fulfilling former President Trump’s promise of $2,000 in direct payments for every American earning less than $75,000.