$9.2M HRSA grant to aid care in rural areas

By Bernie Monegain
09:50 AM

The Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University was awarded three contracts totaling more than $9.2 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support healthcare access in the rural United States over the next three to five years.

The organizations that receive help through the programs use the money for a wide variety of initiatives, such as the purchase and upgrade of health information technology, chronic disease management, workforce development, school fitness and dental programs, mental and behavioral health and maternal and child health,

[See also: Studies: Health IT has big impact on rural and minority communities.]

Administered by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy at HRSA, the funding supports four grant programs: Delta State Rural Development Network, Rural Health Care Services Outreach, Rural Health Network Development, and Rural Health Workforce Development. HRSA's Office of Rural Health Policy provides these programs to increase access to care for residents of rural and frontier communities.

[See also: USDA awards 44 rural healthcare organizations with telemedicine grants.]

The GHPC's Community Health Systems Development (CHSD) team, a staff 14 healthcare experts, will manage the project. CHSD has been providing capacity building and training to HRSA grantees since 2002. The current contracts include 206 communities across the United States. The CHSD team has worked with more than 800 communities, in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and in regions as far as the Marshall Islands.

The CHSD program focuses on helping communities build local capacity to increase access to care and improve the health status of their residents. Once community-based organizations are awarded grant funding through HRSA, the CHSD team provides one-on-one training and resource support for the duration of their three-year grant cycle. Concentrating on organizational sustainability and strategic planning, the program offers a variety of innovative techniques including individual site visits, webinars, peer-to-peer learning, workshops, an interactive online database, and more.

"The grant programs are mechanisms for improving care and expanding services in rural and underserved areas, including frontier and tribal communities,” says Beverly Tyler, senior research associate with the Georgia Health Policy Center and leader of the CHSD team.

"This work is very important to the Georgia Health Policy Center because it keeps us connected to communities," says Karen Minyard, executive director of the GHPC. "By working with people who are trying to find health access solutions locally, our work at the state and the national level is more relevant."