MANISTIQUE – U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development recently announced that USDA is investing $139 million in 56 projects to improve community facilities and provide essential services for 3.3 million rural residents in 23 states. In Michigan, Manistique – awarded a $2.6 million loan – is among just four communities receiving funds.
“Modern, accessible and reliable community infrastructure, public safety facilities, schools and health facilities are essential components to strong and prosperous communities,” Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in building and modernizing these facilities in rural America, because we believe that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
USDA is making the investments through the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program. Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development state office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility details. Also see the Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants, a detailed overview of the application process.
“These investments showcase how USDA is helping rural Michigan communities by improving the infrastructure for local charities, governments and hospitals,” said USDA Rural Development State Director for Michigan Jason Allen.
Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital is receiving a $2,609,509 loan to purchase and implement an electronic medical record (EMR) system. The hospital operates several departments including the rural health clinic. This EMR system will allow the two entities to share medical records electronically. The implementation will take seven months, with a projected go-live launch in January 2020.
SMH has signed on with Cerner, a global health platform and innovation company, to utilize CommunityWorksSM, a unique cloud-based delivery model designed to provide full access to the electronic health record for smaller health systems, critical access and specialty hospitals.
SMH is among four new hospitals to sign up as CommunityWorks clients.
“These clients represent Cerner’s continued commitment to health care innovation, no matter the size or location of the hospital,” said Mitchell Clark, president, CommunityWorks, Cerner. “We’re continuing to improve health experiences and outcomes for all people, including those who live outside of major metropolitan areas and may have more difficulty gaining access to care. We look forward to advancing the successes of these organizations as they increase the sharing of data across their hospitals and improve the quality of care for people in their communities.”
Each recently signed hospital, including SMH, selected the patient centric, integrated EHR and CommunityWorks deployment model to transform the future of health care in their unique communities.
Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital is working to improve information sharing across its critical access hospital and clinic in Manistique. Cerner’s EHR was ultimately chosen to replace CPSI and eClinicalWorks throughout the hospital and clinic, becoming the second CommunityWorks client in the Upper Peninsula. Over the next 10 years, Cerner will support the hospital as it continues to enhance the quality and efficiency of care for the people of Northern Michigan.
“Cerner’s Community Works is the most sophisticated medical record system that will follow our patients from doctor’s office to emergency room to inpatient or surgery and back,” said SMH CEO Robert Crumb. “It is all encompassing. We are so excited to bring this type of innovation to our region.”
The other three communities in Michigan receiving USDA funding include:
Habitat for Humanity – Grand Traverse Region is receiving two loans totaling $1,265,000. The funds will be used to purchase and renovate a warehouse including adding 1,200 square feet, a bathroom, IT installation and upgrades, flooring, painting and signage. The upgraded storage capability will help support Habitat for Humanity’s efforts in the area.
The St. Ignace Building Authority is receiving a $2.2 million loan to construct a fire station. The 10,000-square-foot station will replace one less than half its size.
Gerrish Township, in Roscommon County, is receiving a $374,000 loan renovate the township hall, which was built in the 1970s. The project will remove and replace the existing roof system, repair all exterior masonry and update the HVAC systems.
More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities program funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www. rd.usda.gov.
In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a cornerstone recommendation of the task force.