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Feds provide $6M for rural health care in 6 states





NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Six states in the Mississippi River Delta region are getting more than $6 million in rural health care grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More than half of it is going to Mississippi. 


Nearly $3 million in rural development grants will pay for the first urgent care center in Mound Bayou, Miss., and almost $700,000 will create an electronic intensive care unit system among five hospitals in Mississippi's poorest rural counties, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Friday. 


Three Louisiana projects are getting nearly $700,000. Two in Mississippi are receiving a total of almost $550,000. The other states have one project each -- with grants for $385,000 in Alabama, $520,000 in Illinois and $233,000 in Kentucky. 


"These projects can provide care to patients currently receiving no care at all and hopefully reduce the incidence of stroke, mental illness, and other health disorders in rural regions," Vilsack said. 


The funds will pay for a range of projects: 


In Mississippi, the Taborian Urgent Care Center of Mound Bayou will expand health care and extend doctors' hours in a town nine miles from the nearest hospital and 80 miles from the nearest urgent care center, according to USDA. The center also will work with Coahoma County Community College to offer courses at its offices, and it can provide distance learning from Mississippi Valley State University. Delta Health Alliance, Inc. will network five rural hospitals with the critical care center at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. 


Three telemedicine projects are planned in Louisiana. The biggest, receiving $364,400, will link five rural nursing homes that have large numbers of Medicaid patients with specialists who can examine the patients over video. The consultation will include heart, lung, kidney, cancer and wound care. Mental health patients in Franklin and Tensas parishes will be able to get psychiatric assessments, counseling, follow-up, outpatient visits and medication by video conference. The USDA says its $62,800 grant to Franklin Parish Hospital Service District No. 1 will help deal with shortages and increasing numbers of patients. The number of mentally ill people in the area is above state and national averages. Ochsner Clinic Foundation is receiving $270,000 to hook up with eight rural Central Louisiana hospitals for health care, education and professional training in stroke care. The hospitals are in a region that has a high risk and mortality rate for strokes but lack a specialist on staff. 


In Alabama, the Tombigbee Health Care Authority is getting $384,700 to set up a van that will take nurses and medical students to areas that don't have clinics, hospitals, emergency care or family doctors. It will provide health care, education, telemedicine and outreach. 


Arkansas State University at Mountain Home will get $384,700 for equipment at two state schools so that respiratory therapy students can be certified in saving the lives of newborns with breathing problems. University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences is getting $162,000 to set up computer labs with Internet access to six nursing homes for students in college nursing programs. The university's Delta Telecommunications Centers also will include three centers to let nursing home medical staff consult with distant medical directors and specialists. 


Illinois' Connect SI Foundation, Inc. will get nearly $520,000 to provide distance learning equipment and support to four local colleges and two high schools for health education and health care job training in the state's southern tip. The USDA says that area is a region with isolated households, low income and low educational levels, high rates of poverty, illness and mortality, and large numbers of medically underserved residents. 


Murray State University is getting $233,400 to bring telemedicine to eight hospitals in western Kentucky.




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Reader Comments

Article Comment hope commented at 11/23/2011 9:28:00 AM:

Tuesday on FOX, Frank Luntz had this focal group as he calls them, asking them questions. I did not get the question, as it had been asked before I landed on it. But the answer was to get government out of our lives. Typical brain washing by FAUX! How nice it would have been if he would focus on the people (real people) in these rural areas that will be reaping the benefits of the health care grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (OUR GOVERNMENT)


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