Federal Funds to Bolster Health Care, Child Services in Ottumwa Area


Wapello County was among several in Iowa to receive millions in American Rescue Plan funding.

Specifically, the funding went to the River Hills Health Center and the Southern Iowa Economic Development Association (SIEDA), both based in Ottumwa, to help them meet community needs and recover from difficulties and setbacks they faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

River Hills Health Center was awarded $4.4 million for primary health care on April 1, 2021. The funding ends March 31, 2023.

Funds from the Health Center Program are supposed to be used for services such as COVID-19 response and treatment, COVID vaccination, expanding or sustaining the workforce, and maintaining or increasing capacity for services, according to the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA).

SIDEA was awarded $396,830 for Head Start programming. Head Start promotes school readiness for low-income children by providing educational activities, some free medical and dental care, healthy meals and snacks, and opportunities to play inside and outside.

The funding has the same timeframe.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the funds are to bolster Head Start services including offering more weeks of programming, supporting the enrolled children and families, hiring additional staff, and improving the facilities and spaces.

The American Rescue Plan was signed by President Joe Biden in March 2021. The legislation was created to help America recover from the COVID-19 pandemic by funding projects and services to help America’s economy, public health, businesses, and individuals.

Fourteen Iowa health centers received funding from the American Rescue Plan. Others were in Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fort Dodge, Leon, Sioux Center, Sioux City, Storm Lake, Waterloo, and West Burlington.


Nikoel Hytrek

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