WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Kweisi Mfume, Anthony G. Brown, Jamie Raskin and David Trone (all D-Md.) today announced $43,027,768 in federal funding for rural health care providers across Maryland who serve rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Medicare beneficiaries for expenses related to COVID-19.

“Increasing the access to health care in rural areas is essential to improving health outcomes for Marylanders. The pandemic has made it even more difficult for rural communities, who already suffered from poor public health infrastructure, to access critical health care services,” the lawmakers said. “As we continue to address longstanding disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to actively support and build our rural health services to ensure that rural communities have access to reliable and affordable health care.”

This funding comes from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the American Rescue Plan, and will help rural health care providers make up for lost revenue and increased expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds can be used for salaries, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other expenses related to the prevention, preparedness or response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health care providers eligible for this funding are located in geographic areas defined as “rural.” The United States Census Bureau (Census) considers “rural” to include all people, housing and territory that are not within an urban area. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines rural as not in a Metro area (urban core of 50,000 or more people).