2009-03-19 / Front Page

County, FCMC To Get $20,000 Healthcare Grant

Fulton one of three U.S. counties to receive the award
By Jean Snyder STAFF WRITER

Fulton County is one of three rural counties in the United States to be awarded a grant from The National Association of Counties (NACo) to help strengthen the local healthcare system.

According to a press release, Fulton County will receive $20,000 through the Rural Health Works Technical Assistance Grant Program, which is designed to help rural counties revitalize their local healthcare systems. The other two grant recipients were Idaho County, Idaho, and Sumter County, Ala., which also receive grants of $20,000 each.

The Fulton County commissioners said, "We view the Fulton County Medical Center as a crucial part of our local economy. Without it, untold dollars would leave our county and many of our residents and businesses, including a number of heavy manufacturing businesses, would have to drive at least a half an hour to get to the nearest emergency room. The study that will be undertaken will help us to better quantify the positive impact the Fulton County Medical Center has on our county's economy as well as help to identify other opportunities where the Medical Center can provide service to our community."

Rural Health Works grants help provide the tools for rural counties to revitalize their local healthcare systems and keep their healthcare dollars and services at home. The grants will enable counties to help build and maintain community interest in enhancing local health services.

"We are very excited about this opportunity which will allow us to better serve our community. The data that we will receive from this effort will allow us to have a better understanding of the healthcare needs of our community, what we are doing and what services we need to provide in the future," said Jason Hawkins, FCMC CEO

"Rural counties and America's health care systems serving rural communities are facing enormous challenges to provide adequate care to families," said NACo President Don Stapley, supervisor, Maricopa County, Ariz. "Healthcare services are critical to improve a community's quality of life and to help strengthen the local economy. Without adequate healthcare services in a community, as much as 20 percent of the local economy could be lost."

The program is funded through the Office of Rural Health Policy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Since 2005, 12 counties have received Rural Health Works grants totaling $198,000.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. Founded in 1935, NACo provides essential services to the nation's 3,068 counties. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public's understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research, and provides valueadded services to save counties and taxpayers.

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