Four organizations awarded $390,000 in Georgia rural health grants

Three of the organizations awarded the grants serve counties in Southwest Georgia

ATLANTA — Four rural health organizations, including three in Southwest Georgia, have been awarded a combined $390,000 in Georgia Department of Community Health grants to expand health services in rural areas.

“These four projects will help enhance our Rural Health care infrastructure in Georgia, improving quality and access to essential health services,” DCH Commissioner Clyde L. Reese III said. “Each project is diverse and demonstrates cross-county cooperation and outreach among the entities. The projects address critical issues in rural health care, including health care technology and childhood obesity.”

The organizations awarded the Rural Health Safety-Net Grants by the DCH State Office of Rural Health were:

— Crisp Regional Hospital, Cordele, $90,000 to purchase cardiac monitors/defibrillators for Crisp and Wilcox County Emergency Medical Services;

— Irwin County Hospital, Ocilla, $100,000 to establish the HealthHIE Georgia Collaborative, an integrated health care network addressing urgent health care information technology needs of its rural partners;

— Southwest Georgia Health Network, $100,000 to establish a comprehensive Childhood Obesity Prevention Program for children ages 2-18 years in a five-county service area: Chattahoochee, Crisp, Quitman, Stewart and Sumter counties;

— East Georgia Healthcare Center, $100,000 to implement new case management and outreach services to patients determined to be at high risk through the hiring of case managers for a service area consisting of 18 rural Georgia counties. The center has locations in Swainsboro, Reidsville, Soperton, Metter, Mount Vernon, Vidalia and Statesboro.

“There is great value in communities collaborating to address health care needs as most citizens consume health care resources within their local region which are typically multi-county,” said Charles Owens, executive director of SORH. “These collaborative initiatives maximize grant funds to ensure access to high quality health care to improve the lives of the local citizens, which is vital to sustaining healthy communities and supporting local economies.”

Since the program began in 2007, the Office of Rural health has awarded more than $2.5 million safety-net grants.

The grants are state-funded and applications were open to non-profit health care providers and local governments. The funding cycle continues through June 30, 2015.