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USJHSD acquires grant fund for equipment, improvements, operations

As today’s healthcare costs would indicate, a well-run hospital requires serious capital in order to provide even basic services. Virtually all providers, in fact, rely on multiple funding sources, including the procurement of various grants. The Upper San Juan Health Service District is no exception.

Grants, as they relate to healthcare, come in all shapes and sizes, with some providing full funding for things like software, communications equipment or supplies; while others extend partial — or matching — funds for initial planning or renovation, capital improvements, diagnostic and transport equipment, even operating capital.

Whatever the need, a progressive medical facility seeks and secures grant funding to offset otherwise insurmountable expenses. Typical sources include any number of non-profit organizations, as well as assorted state and federal agencies.

Following is a list of grants recently awarded the district, some of which are now being implemented:

• $231,720 Colo. Health Foundation grant over three years, with equal district match. Awarded last October, it will partially fund Pagosa Mountain Clinic operating expenses through its first three years.

• $100,000 Caring for Colorado grant. This grant applies to clinic renovation costs, with the district paying the balance. It was awarded in January.

• $9,000 Colo. Dept. of Rural Health “SHIP Grant,” with no district match. Awarded last October, it has paid for a drug dispensing system, related software, hardware and training.

• $78,650 Colo. Dept. of Public Health “EMS Grant,” with a $73,548 district match. This grant will partially offset costs associated with a new ambulance, supposedly arriving Monday.

• $8,000 Colo. Rural Health “CAH Capacity Bldg. Grant” awarded in December, with no district match. This grant is dedicated to technical assistance for critical access hospitals.

• $2,043 Colo. Dept. of Public Health “EMS Grant Cycle II,” with equal district match. Awarded in December, this grant partially pays the cost of a GPS for the new ambulance.

According to the district’s most recent grant summary dated June 22, the district has also applied for the following grants and now awaits final approval:

• $17,080 Colo. Dept. of Public Health “State EMS Grant,” with a 50-percent district match. If approved, this grant should be awarded soon, and will help pay for a new Stryker-powered ambulance cot and staff training.

• $9,997 SWRETAC regional “EMS and Trauma Grant,” with no district match. If approved, this grant should be awarded soon, and will pay for ambulance cot fasteners, aging equipment and staff training.

• $88,250 USDA “Community Facilities Grant,” with the district paying the balance. If approved, the estimated award date is August 2010, with funds covering a portion of the costs associated with clinic renovation and equipment acquisition.

• $160,914 DOLA “Tier 1-Energy and Mineral Impact Grant,” with an $11,915 district match, a $100,000 Caring for Colorado match and a $49,000 Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation match. After applying for this grant last year, the district reduced its request and resubmitted the application this year. It’s now under review, with a possible August approval, which would help fund clinic renovation and equipment acquisition.

• $5,000 “2010 Homeland Security Grant,” with no district match. If approved, it should be awarded in September, and help cover the cost of new 800 MHz. radio heads for ambulances.

• $58,500 FEMA “Assistance to Firefighters Grant,” with a $2,925 district match. If approved, this grant should be awarded in January 2011, and will help fund replacement of two aged cardiac monitors/defibrillators for Ambulance service.

Joe Bigley is a member of the district’s Emergency Medical Services staff, and also writes many of its grant applications. While largely responsible for securing several district endowments totaling vast sums of money, his relentless pursuit of supplemental district funding continues unabated.

At present, Bigley is working on a couple of grants loosely equaling $155,000, with hope of securing capital for health, wellness and early detection programs at Pagosa Mountain Hospital. If successful, funding should arrive this summer.

In the near future, Bigley will set his sights on half-a-dozen additional grants totaling more than half-a-million dollars. Should they come through fully or in part, they will require significant district matches, but cover a host of expenses ranging from wellness programs and clinic operations, to physician recruitment and physician loan repayment programs.

While acknowledging Bigley’s contributions to district funding, the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation plays an even larger role.

Today, in anticipation of community-wide growth and expanding long-term health and financial needs, foundation members work closely with the district’s Strategic Planning Committee to procure necessary funding for the purchase of new clinic and hospital equipment, and implementation of additional medical services.

Though grant applications are always on the foundation radar, staging successful fund-raisers and the quest for generous private contributions are also vital to its cause.

For more information on the health district, its hospital or clinic, or the foundation, visit www.pagosamountainhospital.org. To speak directly with hospital or clinic personnel, call 731-3700.

chuck@pagosasun.com