More than $118 million in COVID relief headed to Oregon rural health providers


Ethan Kispert


Over 400 rural health providers are set to receive  more than $118 million in funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) following a joint announcement by Sen. Ron Wyden (D) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D). 


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The ARPA funding is part of a $7.5 billion allotment from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

According to HHS, the rural assistance funds will go to providers who serve rural Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries.

Sen. Wyden expressed his support for the rural funding: 

“For the past 20 months, Oregon’s rural health providers have shouldered a heavy burden of this public health crisis—from illness prevention to treatment to vaccination and boosters—and they have been providing quality treatment 24/7.”

Sen. Merkely shared the same views as Wyden and emphasized the necessity of the ARPA funding for Oregon’s rural providers. 

“This ARPA funding will give necessary relief to Oregon’s rural health clinics, whose services contribute to the health and safety of rural communities across the state.”

HRSA began releasing the ARPA payments in November. According to the department, eligible providers have to have served at least one rural Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP beneficiary between January 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020. This period was chosen by HHS since it factors in pre-pandemic operations. 

According to HHS, funding amounts are being calculated based off of Medicaid reimbursement rates. 

The funding can be used to help bolster staff salaries, recruit new staff, and order supplies such as N95 and surgical masks, equipment like ventilators and filtration systems, and other resources to help combat COVID-19. 

Funding under the program will go to rural health providers in Alaska and 49 other U.S. states, including Washington D.C. and six territories.