The Department of Health awarded 14 grants of up to $75,000 to health care providers in rural and medically underserved areas in the state for community health care service expansion projects.

“Each year our investment in the health care system has yielded improvements in the availability of primary health care services through the hard work and innovation of community leaders in our rural and underserved areas,” said LDH Secretary Alan Levine.  “With these funds from the Legislature, we are investing in our health care system at the community level, building a foundation for future growth and providing invaluable services for youth and adults in areas where access to health care services is limited.”

Grantees include the Allen Parish School Board, Bunkie General Hospital, Capitol City Family Health Center, Central Louisiana Area Health Education Center, Louisiana Rural Health Association, Morehouse Community Medical Center, Pointe Coupee Better Access Community Health, Richland Parish Hospital, St. Frances School-Based Health Center, South Cameron Memorial Hospital Foundation, Southeast Louisiana Area Health Education Center, Southwest Louisiana Area Center for Health Services, Tulane University School of Medicine, and Zenith Services.

The grants were awarded through the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health’s Community-based and Rural Health Program.  The $1 million program is funded through an appropriation from the Louisiana State Legislature.  Public or non-profit health care organizations located in rural areas, health professional shortage areas or underserved areas identified through legislation were eligible to apply for grants to fund health care projects. Twenty-seven applications were received by the application deadline of July 30, 2008.  Grant applications were reviewed and scored by an Objective Review Committee on Aug. 26, 2008.

The Bureau awarded grants ranging from $29,000 to $75,000.  Funded projects include federally qualified health center development; school-based health center development; adolescent behavioral health service expansion; transportation to increase primary care access; health screenings, education and outreach; pharmacy services; chronic disease management to address diabetes and cardiovascular disease; medical equipment and facility upgrades; and rural primary care workforce development.