This program resulted from the Louisiana State University Health Science Center-New Orleans and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals award of the Southern Rural Access Grant (SRAG). Funding for this grant initiative was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ) in 1999. The RWJ grant required the creation of a rural loan fund.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation required the loan fund to secure start-up funding which RWJ would match. Through the gracious support of the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority (LPFA), SELAHEC was able to borrow $500,000 on a ten year interest free basis. This was immediately matched with another $500,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A further RWJ requirement of the loan fund was that it must survive for a period of 10 years even though the SRAG program terminated after 3 years. Through a series of good fortune and generous philanthropy the loan fund continues to thrive today with total capitalization in excess of $4,000,000. Since its inception the Rural Loan Fund has provided technical assistance or participated in $60 million of direct and indirect loans. The loans include funding for two rural hospitals funded jointly with USDA, three FQHC’s and a multitude of rural health clinics and support to primary care physicians and other providers.
Both non-profit and for-profit healthcare providers are eligible for loans. Loan amounts range from $10,000 to $350,000 and can be used for start-up costs, equipment, renovations, new construction and working capital.
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