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Blunt Announces More Than $17 Million in Coronavirus Aid for 351 Missouri Rural Health Clinics

May 20, 2020

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (Labor/HHS), announced that 351 rural health clinics in Missouri will receive a total of more than $17 million through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support and expand COVID-19 testing efforts. The funding was included in the Blunt-backed Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act.

“Making sure people in rural communities have access to coronavirus tests is critical to our state’s response and reopening efforts,” said Blunt. “This funding will expand coronavirus testing capabilities at hundreds of health clinics in underserved areas, providing resources for everything from supplies to staff training. Rural communities always face a unique set of health care challenges and this pandemic is no different. I’ve been encouraged by the Department of Health and Human Services’ efforts to move quickly to get resources targeted toward rural hospitals and health care providers out the door. I will continue working with the administration to make sure rural Missourians continue to have access to care close to where they live.”

As Labor/HHS chairman, Blunt has led efforts to expand COVID-19 testing capacity. Last week, Blunt announced that Missouri is receiving an additional $135 million through HHS to expand coronavirus testing capabilities. Earlier this month, Blunt commended HHS after it awarded nearly $12 million to 29 Missouri health centers to help cover the cost of coronavirus-related response activities, including testing.

In addition to the above funding, Blunt and U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) developed a “Shark Tank”-style initiative at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to leverage public-private partnerships to accelerate the development of new COVID-19 testing technologies. At a recent Senate hearing, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said that more than 1,000 developers had already started applying for the program.

As Labor/HHS chairman, Blunt worked to secure funding specifically for rural health care providers in the coronavirus response bills that have been signed into law. Earlier this month, rural hospitals and health care providers in Missouri received $296.2 million for coronavirus response efforts. In April, HHS began distributing more than $618 million to Missouri health care providers and hospitals, including those in rural areas, to help cover costs and lost revenue due to the coronavirus.   

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