Area hospitals receive state grant money

Hillsboro Community Medical Center and St. Luke Hospital & Living Center in Marion were among the 95 Kansas hospitals to receive a share of the $800,000 in grants awarded last week by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Both institutions received around $8,400. The money is part of the federal government’s Health Resources and Services Administration Small Hospital Improvement Program. This is the fourth consecutive year that grants have been awarded.

HRSA’s Office of Rural Health Policy distributes the grants through its Small Rural Hospital Improvement Grant Program to provide funding to small, rural hospitals to help them do any or all of the following:

(1) structure billing systems to meet federal requirements for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement;

(2) comply with provisions of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act;

(3) reduce medical errors and support quality improvement.

“These grants allow Kansas’ rural hospitals to upgrade their computer systems, enhance compliance with federal privacy standards and data security standards, and, to continue to improve their quality of service and care to their patients,” said Chris Tilden, director of KDHE’s Office of Local and Rural Health.

“Because Kansas has such a large number of small, rural hospitals, only Texas awarded more grants than did Kansas this year,” Tilden noted.

To be eligible for these grants, a hospital must be:

(1) small, meaning 49 available beds or less, as reported on the hospital’s most recently filed Medicare Cost Report;

(2) rural, meaning located outside a Metropolitan Statistical Area; or located in a rural census tract of a MSA as determined under the Goldsmith Modification or the Rural Urban Commuting Areas, and (3) hospital, meaning a non-federal, short-term, general acute-care facility.

There is no requirement for matching funds with this program.

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