Thompson Announces $571,000 in Federal Funds for Rural Healthcare

March 13, 2009
Press Release

Bellefonte, PA – U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, announced today that he has secured $571,000 in Federal funds through the recently passed Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act for area medical centers.  The funding was requested by Thompson’s predecessor, John Peterson, who was a Member of the House Appropriations Committee.

“Access to affordable and quality healthcare in our rural communities is critical in the revitalization and preservation of our communities,” said Thompson, who spent 28 years in the healthcare field prior to serving in Congress. “Having spent my entire professional career assisting patients with life-altering and cryonic illness, I know firsthand the challenges that many rural hospitals face.  These federal funds will undoubtedly assist in the ever reaching goal of providing quality and affordable healthcare to the citizens of rural Pennsylvania and the Fifth District.” 

Area hospitals and medical centers weigh in:

Elk Regional Health Center will receive $95,000 to purchase additional inpatient hospital beds.

“The Elk Regional Health Center is very pleased to be receiving funding through the efforts of Congressman Thompson for our inpatient bed replacement program,” said Gregory P. Bauer, President and CEO of Elk Regional Health System.  “The replacement project started last year with the assistance of the George and Margaret Mee Charitable Trust and the Elk Regional Health System Auxiliary.  With this latest funding, the replacement of all of the beds on Health Center’s Medical/Surgical Floor will be completed one year ahead of schedule.”

According to Mr. Bauer, “Features on the new beds highlight patient safety, as well as staff safety and efficiency.  An in-bed scale eliminates the need to remove patients from their bed to be weighed, significantly reducing and limiting fall risks and adding to the comfort and protection of non-ambulatory patients.  Each bed features a nurse call button, universal television and lighting, IV pole, and patient position monitor; the usual tangle of extra wires and cords is significantly reduced on the new beds.”

Dickenson Mental Health Center (DMHC) is slated to receive $119,000 for autism treatment and support services.

“Dickinson Mental Health Center is pleased and excited to receive funding, and greatly appreciates the Congressman’s support,” said Heidi Thomas, Chief Fiscal Officer of the Dickinson Mental Health Center.  “This funding will be used to initiate a special community and family based program of education, sensory development and interpersonal relationship building for children in Elk and Cameron Counties who suffer from Autism or a related diagnosis. The development of this program will greatly enhance access to a variety of services in our rural area for this population.”

Charles Cole Memorial Hospital will receive $119,000 for advanced life support ground transportation.

 “Efficiently transferring critically ill or injured patients to a higher level of care is one of the most important services that smaller rural hospitals provide to their communities. It requires the coordination of our emergency services team with our regional ambulance and helicopter services and the larger tertiary care hospitals,” said Edward C. Pitchford, President and CEO of Charles Cole Memorial Hospital. “We are committed to leading this essential work with our partners to insure that each and every critical patient is transferred promptly and safely.  This funding will enable us to accelerate our efforts."

Clarion Hospital will receive $238,000 which will be utilized to redesign the emergency department and purchase emergency room equipment.

“The Clarion Hospital appreciates receiving this funding,” said John Stroup, Executive Director of the Clarion Hospital Foundation.  “This will help gives us the opportunity to redesign our Emergency Department, better preparing us in the event of a major catastrophe.  Our location along Interstate 80 makes us more vulnerable to a variety of crises, and we need to be prepared to protect our citizens.  The funding will also aid us in the purchase of equipment upgrades, enabling us to consult with other hospitals and ultimately, save lives.”