Arkansas Rural Health Partnership was one of nine entities awarded additional grants from The Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas in its Rapid-Response COVID-19 Relief program, which will provide up to $1.7 million in grants to organizations in Arkansas working to prevent the spread of coronavirus or helping communities deal with its effects.

The Arkansas Rural Health Partnership (ARHP) is an organization of 14 non-profit south Arkansas hospitals including Ashley County Medical Center, Baptist Health Medical Center-Stuttgart, Bradley County Medical Center, Chicot Memorial Medical Center, Dallas County Medical Center, Delta Memorial Hospital, DeWitt Hospital & Nursing Home, Drew Memorial Health System, Helena Regional Medical Center, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, Magnolia Regional Medical Center, McGehee Hospital, Medical Center of South Arkansas and Ouachita County Medical Center.

ARHP will receive $136,400 to enable member hospitals to provide quality and specialty care via telehealth to COVID-19 patients throughout south Arkansas. Funding will be used to purchase telehealth equipment and supplies for all participating sites.

Other new Rapid-Response COVID-19 Relief grants were awarded to the following:

• Arkansas Hospice, Inc. in Little Rock will receive $148,715 to provide safe delivery of healthcare-related services to hospice and palliative care patients and families and support social distancing for remote workers by using a new IT platform for telehealth. This solution also builds a new, long-term, sustainable model for patients and families in a 43-county service area in Arkansas.

• Mercy Health Foundation Northwest Arkansas in Rogers will receive $147,860 to convert 29 rooms to airborne infection isolation rooms that will create a crucial barrier to help protect patients, healthcare workers and the community from the spread of the coronavirus.

• St. Bernards Development Foundation in Jonesboro will receive $126,705 to convert emergency department treatment rooms into “negative-pressure” rooms for improved infection control and respiratory treatment and to purchase testing equipment for faster diagnosis and treatment of patients who have COVID-19 symptoms.

• White River Health System in Batesville will receive $112,000 to expand telehealth services to COVID-19 patients and high-risk patients who have chronic diseases by implementing remote patient monitoring in north central Arkansas.

• University of Arkansas Foundation (UAMS) in Little Rock will receive $60,848 to support the UAMS COVID-19 Mobile Triage project to expand access to COVID-19 screening/testing, particularly in underserved Arkansas communities and rural areas that lack adequate testing resources. Funding will be used to purchase a van to support a permanent mobile triage unit, allowing a continuous deployment schedule to reach more Arkansans.

• The CALL in Little Rock will receive $8,000 to purchase technology to establish online training and support groups during the pandemic for foster families and prospects, and to ensure continued communication among all participants in the foster care system.

• Boys & Girls Club of Benton County in Bentonville will receive $5,152 to purchase personal protective equipment and implement more robust cleaning and sanitizing procedures.to keep its member children and staff safe.

• Holy Sews, Inc. in Little Rock will receive $5,000 to produce 2,500 protective cloth masks for distribution to healthcare workers, police officers, grocery store workers and nursing home employees.

For more information on Arkansas Rural Health Partnership visit arruralhealth.org.

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