KORH to administer nearly $4 million in federal funds

By Sally McMahon

The Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH) received nearly $4 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to support 46 of the commonwealth’s rural hospitals as they work to prevent, prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The funds, which are part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act approved late last month, will provide one-time support to hospitals to help cover expenses associated with increased demands for COVID-19 related testing, clinical services and equipment. Funds can also be used to address the financial and workforce challenges related to the public health emergency.

“We are thankful to see this kind of support from the federal government during these challenging times,” said KORH Director Ernie Scott. “There’s no doubt about it: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a widespread disruption to our health system. While preparing for and fighting the coronavirus, our hospitals have had to discontinue outpatient care and elective procedures. As a result of that lost revenue, many hospitals have been faced with the reality of having to temporarily furlough staff. Through it all, though, these hospitals have remained open all day, every day. And, their staff has continued to place the medical needs of community members above all else.”

The Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH), oversee the administration of federal funds the facilities. Established in 1991, KORH is a federal-state partnership authorized by federal legislation. The UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health, located in Hazard, serves as the federally designated Kentucky Office of Rural Health. The mission of the KORH is to support the health and well-being of Kentuckians by promoting access to rural health services. The program provides a framework for linking small rural communities with local, state and federal resources while working toward long-term solutions to rural health issues. The KORH assists clinicians, administrators and consumers in finding ways to improve communications, finances and access to quality healthcare while ensuring that funding agencies and policymakers are made aware of the needs of rural communities.

Distributing Funds

“Each hospital will receive an equal amount of funds and has received a brief work plan to complete and return to our office,” said Michael McGill, Rural Project Manager at the Kentucky Office of Rural Health. “The work plan contains a menu of eligible activities and investments and hospital leadership is asked to indicate and briefly describe which activities and investments their facility intends to engage in to support COVID-19 related challenges.”

Fund Use

These funds are provided to hospitals to support them as they work to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Funds can be used for three broad areas of activity: ensuring hospitals are safe for staff and patients, detecting, preventing, diagnosing and treating COVID-19 and maintaining hospital operations.

“Hospitals can purchase supplies that assist with respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette (like hand sanitizer) and personal protective equipment for hospital personnel or known-infected patients,” McGill explained. “Hospitals can also use funds to support COVID-19 testing and laboratory costs—including purchasing COVID-19 tests as well as supporting an increased capacity for patient triage, testing and laboratory services] or support transitions to increase access to care through telehealth, hiring and contracting with new providers to support increased service demand due to COVID-19.”

Facilities receiving federal funds:

  • AdventHealth Manchester
  • ARH Our Lady of the Way Hospital in Martin
  • Barbourville ARH Hospital
  • Bluegrass Community Hospital in Versailles
  • Bourbon Community Hospital in Paris
  • Breckinridge Memorial Hospital in Hardinsburg
  • Caldwell Medical Center in Princeton
  • Carroll County Memorial Hospital in Carrollton
  • Casey County Hospital in Liberty
  • Crittenden Health Systems in Marion
  • Cumberland County Hospital in Burkesville
  • Ephraim McDowell Fort Logan Hospital in Stanford
  • Ephraim McDowell James B. Haggin Hospital in Harrodsburg
  • Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown
  • Fleming County Hospital in Flemingsburg
  • Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana
  • Jane Todd Crawford Hospital in Greensburg
  • Kentucky River Medical Center in Jackson
  • Livingston Hospital & Healthcare Services in Salem
  • Logan Memorial Hospital in Russellville
  • Marshall County Hospital in Benton
  • Mary Breckinridge ARH Hospital in Hyden
  • McDowell ARH Hospital
  • Mercy Health-Marcum & Wallace Memorial Hospital in Irvine
  • Methodist Health in Morganfield
  • Middlesboro ARH Hospital
  • Monroe County Medical Center in Tompkinsville
  • Morgan County ARH Hospital in West Liberty
  • Ohio County Healthcare in Hartford
  • Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital in Greenville
  • Paul B. Hall Regional Medical in Paintsville
  • Pineville Community Health Center
  • Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center in Mt. Vernon
  • Russell County Hospital in Russell Springs
  • St. Elizabeth Grant in Williamstown
  • Saint Joseph Berea
  • Saint Joseph Mount Sterling
  • The Medical Center at Albany
  • The Medical Center at Caverna
  • The Medical Center at Franklin
  • The Medical Center at Scottsville
  • Three Rivers Medical Center in Louisa
  • T.J. Health Columbia
  • Trigg County Hospital in Cadiz
  • Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center in Leitchfield
  • Wayne County Hospital in Monticello

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