Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health receives $1.4 million in grants

The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH) at Penn State has received more than $1.4 million in state and federal funding to support programs designed to improve the health and well-being of Pennsylvania’s rural citizens.

PORH was created in 1991 to enhance the health status of rural Pennsylvanians and strengthen the delivery and quality of care in the communities in which they live. Located administratively in the Penn State Department of Health Policy and Administration, the organization compiles, analyzes and disseminates information to health providers, educators, policymakers and administrators; develops new and strengthens existing networks of rural providers, planners and advocates; develops, implements and assesses strategic rural health projects and programs; and serves as a liaison between academia, government, professional associations and the public to increase awareness of rural health issues throughout the Commonwealth.

State and federal funding recently provided to PORH will enable the office to continue addressing rural health issues in Pennsylvania until at least 2013. Those awards include:

-- A one-year, $180,000 grant from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) through its State Office of Rural Health Program. That grant was bolstered by a three-year, $300,000 matching grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Bureau of Health Planning.

-- A one-year, $399,919 award from the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Bureau of Health Planning to administer the Commonwealth’s federally funded Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program. The program, which is funded by ORHP, enables states to designate very small (25 beds or less), very rural hospitals as Critical Access Hospitals.

-- A one-year, $175,100 grant from ORHP to oversee Pennsylvania’s Small Rural Hospital Improvement Program. The program helps small rural hospitals (49 beds or less) comply with provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, reduce medical errors and support quality improvement efforts.

-- A two-year, $381,613 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industries to administer Pennsylvania’s Rural Health Farm Worker Protection Safety Program. The program, the only one of its kind in the nation, provides technical and compliance assistance to farm owners, growers and farm workers who are required to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Worker Protection Standards related to the safe use of pesticides in agricultural production.

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Last Updated November 23, 2010