$86K awarded for health care

Grants to fund equipment improvements, supplies for local providers

At a glance

• Gov. Bill Ritter announced Thursday that the Colorado Rural Health Care Grant Council awarded more than $1.9 million to health care providers in 34 counties across the state.

• The Grant Council awarded the Northwest Colorado Community Health Center a $50,000 grant for equipment improvements and supplies.

• The Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition also received a $36,202 grant from the Grant Council to fund equipment improvements, supplies and other infrastructure projects.

• The Grant Council was established in August 2007 and is funded by a $7.5 million contribution from UnitedHealthcare, a Colorado health insurer.

Two local agencies will get a financial boost from a grant program honed in on rural healthcare.

The Northwest Colorado Community Health Center, a division of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, and the Norwest Colorado Dental Coalition are slated to receive $86,202 in grants from the Colorado Rural Health Care Grant Council, a state news release reported.

Both agencies supply services to Northwest Colorado residents who may not be able to afford health care otherwise.

On Thursday, Gov. Bill Ritter announced the Colorado Rural Health Care Grant Council will bestow more than $1.9 million in grants to health care agencies in 34 counties across the state, a state news release reported.

The grants, which range from $1,600 to $50,000, were designed to provide funding for infrastructure projects for various Colorado care providers that tend to physical, mental and oral health, according to the release.

A portion of these funds could bolster Northwest Colorado agencies that provide services to underinsured clients.

The Community Health Center is scheduled to receive a $50,000 grant from the grant council for equipment upgrades and supplies.

The VNA has received notification of the grant award, said Suzi Mariano, VNA public information coordinator, adding that she expects the organization will receive the funds within the month.

The Heath Center serves the uninsured and underinsured in Northwest Colorado by offering a range of services from pediatric care to minor surgeries and immunizations, Mariano wrote in an e-mail.

The agency also provides mental health services through a partnership with Craig Mental Health Center.

The grant will allow the Health Center to purchase medical tools, including ultrasound and electronic fetal monitoring equipment, for use in on-site prenatal exams, Mariano said.

Grant funds also will pay for staff training for the new equipment, she said.

"This is a major accomplishment for us in terms of securing funding for equipment," Mariano said.

The Dental Coalition will receive a $36,202 grant from the grant council to fund equipment improvements, supplies and other infrastructure projects.

Janet Pearcey, Dental Coalition director, declined to comment because she had been out of the office this week and wasn't able to read the grant award letter, she said.

A $7.5 million contribution to the state from Colorado health insurer UnitedHealthcare funded the grant program, which was created in August 2007.

The organization's sum will be distributed during six years, according to the news release.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com.

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