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Local rural health efforts get boost from state, federal funds

Augusta-Aiken WRDW-TV logo Augusta-Aiken WRDW-TV 8/8/2022 Staff
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - An AU-led program and two hospitals in the CSRA are in line for some state and federal funding that’s meant to improve rural health care.

The Georgia Department of Community Health awarded $9 million in grant funds to 10 rural hospitals across the state, with each hospital receiving $900,000.

Jefferson Hospital in Louisville and Wills Memorial Hospital in Wilkes County are among the recipients.

“Rural hospitals across Georgia each face unique challenges which demand a timely and effective response in order to ensure all Georgians, regardless of where they live, have access to quality health care,” said state Sen. Max Burns, R-Sylvania.

The funds were made possible through the Rural Hospital Stabilization Grant. Since the program began in 2014, the fund has awarded more than $39 million to assist with maintenance and distinct problems facing rural hospitals throughout Georgia.

Meanwhile, federal money is headed for a part of the statewide system coordinated by Augusta University to recruit and retain primary-care providers for rural and urban underserved areas.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will send $1.33 million to the Southwest Georgia Area Health Education Center in Albany, which is part of that AU-led system.

Across the Savannah River in South Carolina, Family Health Centers Inc. in Orangeburg is set to receive $65,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Officials say health disparities between rural and urban areas tripled between 1999 and 2019, with rural residents experiencing higher rates of heart disease, respiratory disease, cancer, stroke, unintentional injury and suicide, plus higher risk of maternal morbidity and mortality.

Also in the news ...

NURSING FUNDS: Gov. Brian P. Kemp on Monday announced that through the Governors Emergency Education Relief Program, more than $800,000 will be awarded for a certified nursing assistant pilot effort. The program will be allocated $843,000 and will allow 500 current dual-enrollment high school students across 10 Georgia College and Career Academy sites a grant to cover the cost of achieving a certificate.

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