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Rural Hospitals Get Grants Through The OHSU Oregon Office of Rural Health

   Portland, Ore.

The Oregon Office of Rural Health at Oregon Health & Science University has received a 2007 Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant (FLEX Grant) totaling $620,000.  The money will be used to fund projects to improve health care in rural communities, in particular those communities with Critical Access Hospitals.

Created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the federal FLEX Program enables certain rural hospitals to be classified as Critical Access Hospitals (CAH). The program is available to any state that chooses to meet the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements and establishes such a program. In Oregon the process of designation is coordinated by the Oregon Office of Rural Health. Flex grant funds enable the Office of Rural Health to provide a broad variety of technical assistance services, as well as pass-through grants, to Critical Access Hospitals and their local health care systems. Areas of emphasis include quality improvement activities, health information technology, emergency medical services and expansion of the local health care work force.

A critical access hospital is an alternative for small, rural hospitals that allow for greater financial stability, the opportunity to better match the local community's needs to the hospital's capabilities, and the foundation of a formalized network with other larger hospitals. The CAH is able to improve its financial stability through cost-based Medicare (and, in Oregon, Medicaid) reimbursement and reduced operating costs.

Oregon Critical Access Hospitals include:
Blue Mountain Hospital, John Day
Columbia Memorial Hospital, Astoria
Coquille Valley Hospital, Coquille
Cottage Grove Community Hospital, Cottage Grove
Curry General Hospital, Gold Beach
Good Shepherd Medical Center, Hermiston
Grande Ronde Hospital, La Grande
Harney District Hospital, Burns
Lake District Hospital, Lakeview
Lower Umpqua Hospital, Reedsport
Mountain View Hospital, Madras
Peace Harbor Hospital, Florence
Pioneer Memorial Hospital, Heppner
Pioneer Memorial Hospital, Prineville
Providence Hood River Hospital, Hood River
Providence Seaside Hospital, Seaside
Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital, Lebanon
Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital, Lincoln City
Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, Newport
Southern Coos Hospital, Bandon
St. Anthony Hospital, Pendleton
St. Elizabeth Hospital, Baker City
Tillamook County General Hospital, Tillamook
Wallowa Memorial Hospital, Enterprise
West Valley Hospital, Dallas


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