HHS Awards $26.7 Million in Grants To Improve Health Care in Rural Areas
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson yesterday announced $26.7 million in grants to improve health care in rural hospitals and care for heart attack victims in rural areas. About $14.8 million will assist 1,450 small, rural hospitals in 46 states and Puerto Rico participating in the Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant program. Hospitals will be awarded $10,000 each to improve quality of care and patient safety by investing in computer technology and technical assistance. Meanwhile, the Rural Access to Emergency Devices Grant program will award $11.9 million to states to buy automatic external defibrillators and train emergency workers to use the defibrillators, which will "greatly improv[e]" rural patients' chances of survival before they reach the nearest hospital. The grants are part of the Initiative on Rural Communities, which aims to improve health care access for the 65 million people who live in rural areas. Thompson said, "Rural Americans deserve quality health care services and these grants will help to provide life-enhancing and life-saving services for residents in rural communities" (HHS release, 10/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.