Federal grants to benefit three rural Oklahoma hospitals

Posted on: 4/22/22

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the establishment of a program under the American Rescue Plan to expand rural hospitals and providers’ access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and supplies, while helping rural health care providers stay financially solvent in the long-term. The initial awards of the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants total $43 million. Oklahoma is receiving $692,400, including grants to three rural hospitals.

Kiowa County Hospital Authority (Elkview General Hospital, Hobart) will use a $28,900 grant to purchase equipment for the Kiowa County Hospital Authority. The plan is to purchase Cepheid lab equipment to allow for in-house COVID testing and to upgrade the PACS radiology server to allow for remote reading by teleradiology physicians. 

Grady Memorial Hospital Authority, Chickasha, will use a $191,300 grant to purchase a wireless network. With the new wireless network and access points, the hospital will be able to increase connectivity and coverage to their parking lot pop-up clinic where vaccine administration and COVID-19 tests are performed. This includes the ability to facilitate telehealth interactive consults between the pop-up clinic and the clinicians inside the hospital. 

McAlester Regional Healthcare Authority will use a $71,300 grant to implement a telehealth program for McAlester Regional Health Center (MRHC). McAlester Regional Healthcare Authority will create a telehealth program to provide a safe alternative way for patients to see doctors during the pandemic. The implementation of virtual visits will provide an alternative to coming into the hospital or clinic, while decreasing no show appointments. 

In addition, McAlester Regional Healthcare Authority will use $151,100 to purchase hospital laboratory equipment. The new equipment, including an analyzer with automation system and two chemistry systems, will allow the hospital to test for SARS CoV-2 antigen and antibodies, metabolic chemistries, therapeutic drug monitoring and immunoassay test.