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CARROLLTON, Ala. (AP) — A west Alabama hospital has earned a $2 million government grant to improve the overall operation at the facility.

The Tuscaloosa News reports the grant was awarded to Pickens County Medical Center, the Tuscaloosa News reported. The money is part of a three-year process administered by the Delta Regional Community Health Systems Development Program, which will provide intensive technical assistance to the medical center.

Nine rural hospitals were selected to receive grants through the program. Other hospitals selected are in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri.

“Pickens County Medical Center is honored to have been chosen to participate in this strategic process,” said John O’Neill, the hospital’s CEO. “It is a testament to the commitment of the board, physicians, hospital staff and the federal government to build a sustainable healthcare system for the rural communities served by the medical center.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby said he was proud to hear that the Pickens County Medical Center has been chosen to participate in the Delta Regional Community Health Systems Development Program.

The program was launched in 2017 to enhance health care delivery in the Delta region through intensive, multi-year technical assistance to providers in rural communities, including critical access hospitals, small rural hospitals, rural health clinics and other health care organizations.

The technical assistance the hospitals receive will be provided through a collaboration of the Delta Regional Community Health Systems Development Program, the National Rural Health Resource Center and the Health Resources Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.

Pickens County Medical Center is a 56-bed hospital. It provides surgical, intensive care, therapy and imaging services and a 24-hour emergency department. The hospital also offers clinics in gastroenterology, urology, oncology, ophthalmology, podiatry, orthopedics and dermatology.

Assistance will include assessments, onsite consultations, workshops and educational trainings focusing on care coordination, social services integration, emergency medical services access and workforce recruitment and retention with the goal to:

— Improve financial position and increase operational efficiencies

— Implement improvements that support an evidenced-based culture for improved health outcomes

— Address workforce recruitment and retention needs

— Increase use of telemedicine to fill service gaps and access to care

— Ensure access to and availability of emergency medical services

— Integrate social services to address socio-economic challenges

— Enhance coordination of care and develop a community care coordination plan

— Strengthen the local health care delivery system to position for population health

“This three-year partnership will allow for much-needed improvements to the facility and will foster a better environment for addressing and identifying health care needs across the board. I am confident that these improvements will positively impact the community and surrounding area,” Shelby said.


Information from: The Tuscaloosa News,