Texas County Memorial Hospital received a $1 million USDA grant that will allow it to finish its surgical center, a long-time goal to improve healthcare access in its service area.

The announcement came Friday from Kyle Wilkens, state director of USDA’s Rural Development. Two recipients were selected in Missouri.

USDA created the Emergency Rural Healthcare Grant program through the American Rescue Plan Act to address immediate healthcare needs and services in rural communities.

Texas County Memorial Hospital will use its funds to assist it in the completion of a surgery area, thus improving critical access to quality healthcare services for area residents and will also help the hospital prepare for future pandemics by increasing its capacity for vital medical surgery, Wilkens said.

“We are excited about the opportunity to partner with the USDA to meet this critical need for our community. As TCMH continues to expand services, we are able to offer our local residents the same services as other health systems without the hassle of travel,” said Jeff Gettys, director of projects at TCMH.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt learns about the surgery center during an October visit at Texas County Memorial Hospital. That’s CEO Chris Strickland, right. Credit: FILE PHOTO

The second grant recipient in Missouri is a northwest Missouri food bank. Across America, about $43 million will be distributed. In total, the program will use up to $475 million in grants provided by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to expand rural hospitals and providers. Additional awards will be announced in the coming months. Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act in March 2021 to deliver immediate economic relief to people impacted by the pandemic.



The surgery center shell — between the Jayson Gentry Community Safe Room and east wing of the hospital — is already built and in place. When the hospital constructed the safe room, it included space between the safe room and hospital to build a new surgery department. Funding efforts started with Gettys’ predecessor.  “I want to personally thank Jay Gentry for his diligent work over the years to make this project a reality,” Gettys said.

Additionally, a temporary funding source — a Community Improvement District — contributes funds toward costs through a quarter-cent sales tax.

The new surgery center is designed to house two operating rooms, an endoscopy suite and for pre-surgical prep and post-surgery recovery. 

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