AUGUSTA — Four Augusta and Waterville healthcare facilities will receive a combined $1 million in federal grant funding to help offset pandemic losses and to continue providing critical services.

The money will go toward MaineGeneral Community Care’s Green Street and Enterprise Drive facilities in Augusta and its Hathaway Center and Seton Center locations in Waterville. The community care centers, part of the broader MaineGeneral network, provide myriad services ranging from specialized home care to behavioral health and substance use disorder services to hospice care.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the funding earlier this month through its Emergency Rural Health Care Grants program, part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

Nine Maine organizations received a total of $3.49 million in grant funding, and $74 million was awarded overall to groups in 37 states, Guam and Puerto Rico.

“Whether it is a cold-storage space to connect neighbors with healthy, locally grown foods, or a health center along our farthest northern border — these dollars represent hope,” said USDA Rural Development Maine State Director Rhiannon Hampson in an Aug. 11 news release.

Of the nine Maine organizations receiving funding, MaineGeneral received the largest portion. Sebasticook Family Doctors in Palmyra also received a $1 million grant to build a new health care and wellness facility.


MaineGeneral spokesperson Joy McKenna said Wednesday that, altogether, MaineGeneral Community Care lost more than $3.7 million as a result of reduced revenue and increased operating costs during the first 15 months of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on health care and the normal operations of health care,” she said. “Additionally, the pandemic has created an increased demand for home care, hospice, behavioral health and substance use services. Grants have helped us stay sustainable during this long pandemic, and these funds in particular will help ensure that these valuable services are available to our community.”

McKenna said the grant will assist with all services that fall under MaineGeneral Community Care, and that it will largely support the staffing needed to meet the increased demand for those services in the community. She said the grant will help support “new clinical staff such as nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers and home health aides, among others.”

As someone who grew up in rural Maine, Hampson said the USDA is trying to be the best steward of public dollars that it can and that through investing in rural health care spaces the agency can provide people the direct benefit of health care access.

“We’re recovering from the pandemic, but we also recognize that that means different things for different people,” she said. “For some people, that’s a really long game, and for some, things will never be the same again. And for other people, they’re just worried about what happens when it happens again, and it will. We know that now. So, we’re really trying to create resiliency.”

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