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August 29. 2013 12:11AM

Valley Regional Hospital receives federal grant

CLAREMONT — A $14,400 federal grant has been given to Valley Regional Hospital to help the hospital replace broken emergency room and surgery room equipment.

The grant comes through the U.S. Department of Agriculture via the Community Facility Grant program, which assists rural town and organizations in the development of essential facilities.

Hospital officials plan to use the money to supplement an approximately $47,000 project to purchase an ultrasound system for the surgery and emergency departments, said hospital spokesperson Rolf Olsen on Wednesday.

The hospital has received similar grants from the USDA over the past several years, he said.

"Like many small hospitals our capital budgets are small and keep getting slimmer so this funding was very welcome," Olsen said. "In this case it has supported the acquisition of a medical imaging device for the hospital."

The project is replacing equipment that had stopped working, he said.

The ultrasound equipment is used for the placement of catheters and other tubes and lines for other procedures such as blood draws in the two departments.

"As a small rural hospital we struggle financially. We've been very lucky to break even for most of the last many years," Olsen said.

Valley Regional has a considerably high percentage, 60 percent, of Medicare, Medicaid and self-paying patients which makes funding capital project like this difficult, Olsen said.

"None the less we're obligated to provide the care," he said. "We work with patients to at least help them pay off what they can."

mpierce@newstote.com



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