U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh and Undersecretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small were in Alabama on Wednesday. The Biden Administration officials were joined by Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL07) at a visit at Medical West Hospital in Bessemer.

“I was so pleased to welcome USDA Deputy Secretary Bronaugh and Undersecretary Torres Small to Alabama today!” said Sewell. “I want to thank them and the rest of the Biden-Harris Administration for their commitment to Alabama’s 7th Congressional District and for bringing transformational investments like this right here to our doorstep. Thanks to this $360 million investment, the construction of Medical West Hospital in Bessemer will expand access to critical health care services for thousands of residents in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa Counties and the surrounding rural communities.”

The visit began with a roundtable where Sewell joined officials from the USDA, Jefferson County Commission, and UAB Medical West Hospital to discuss how they can collaborate to strengthen and expand access to health care for rural communities.

Following their discussion, Deputy Secretary Bronaugh announced more than $1 billion in investments by the USDA that will transform rural areas across the country, including $360 million for the construction of the Medical West Hospital in Bessemer. The Medical West Hospital Authority is an affiliate of UAB.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has made investing in infrastructure improvements a top priority,” said Bronaugh. “These loans and grants will help rural communities invest in facilities and services that are vital to all communities, such as health care facilities, schools, libraries, and first responder vehicles and equipment. When we invest in essential services in rural America, we build opportunity and prosperity for the people who call rural communities home.”

Bronaugh said that this funding will increase access to health care, education, and public safety while spurring community development and building sound infrastructure for people living in rural communities.

Bessemer’s Medical West Hospital Authority will use this $360 million Community Facilities Direct Loan to build a state-of-the-art, 200-bed hospital. The hospital will feature a 26-room emergency department, 12 operating rooms, eight labor and delivery rooms, and eight multi-purpose rooms. This 405,186-square-foot facility will be strategically located in McCalla on a 45-acre site off of Interstate 459. The total investment in the project is $400 million with most of that coming from USDA. Groundbreaking on the project occurred in November.

The construction of Medical West Hospital is one of 737 projects that USDA is helping fund through five programs to help rural America build back better.

Sewell is in her sixth term representing Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.

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