More than $17 million in aid will be distributed to 351 rural healthcare providers in Missouri, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo, announced Wednesday.

“This funding will expand coronavirus testing capabilities at hundreds of health clinics in underserved areas, providing resources for everything from supplies to staff training,” Blunt said in a statement.

Expanding coronavirus testing to more than 7,500 tests a day has been a focus for Missouri officials, as the state’s economy continues to reopen. Gov. Mike Parson said he will announce specific details about testing expansion Thursday.

On May 1, Blunt also announced rural Missouri hospitals and health providers would receive more than $296 million in federal funding for coronavirus-related relief.

Since 2014, 10 rural hospitals in Missouri have closed. Healthcare clinics serving rural areas often face financial and staffing difficulties, according to previous Missourian reporting.

“Making sure people in rural communities have access to coronavirus tests is critical to our state’s response and reopening efforts,” Blunt said. “Rural communities always face a unique set of health care challenges, and this pandemic is no different.”

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • News reporter, summer 2020. I am a second year graduate student studying public policy journalism. You can reach me at mneasley@mail.missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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