Atlanta ~ Atlanta - Thirteen rural hospitals in Georgia have been awarded a total of $6 million in grants this week as part of the Dual Track Rural Hospital Support program, announced Governor Brian P. Kemp. The program, administered by the Department of Community Health's State Office of Rural Health (SORH), offers funding for both new and existing graduate medical education (GME) programs or direct hospital support through a single application process.

Governor Kemp stated, "Since I took office, my administration has worked to deliver on the promise that we would work with state and local partners to develop Georgia's rural communities, including efforts to improve our rural healthcare systems." He added that these awards will provide further support to hospitals serving rural Georgians and communities in need.

The grant recipients have the option to choose between funding for GME programs or direct hospital support. Graduate medical education funds are used to support additional training for physicians who have completed medical school and are interested in a specific specialty. Direct hospital support funds can be used to increase access to healthcare, ensure adequate staffing, and make financial and operational improvements.

The selected hospitals were awarded between $250,000 and $1 million each to strengthen access to quality care for Georgia's rural communities. DCH Commissioner Russel Carlson stated, "Proactively working to address healthcare disparities within rural communities continues to be a priority for the agency." He added that this grant is just one way they are strengthening healthcare access in underserved regions and investing in Georgia's healthcare workforce.

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The Dual Track Rural Hospital Support Grant is funded through the state's Rural Hospital Stabilization Grant, which was established in 2014. Since its inception, it has awarded more than $40 million in grant funding for Georgia rural hospitals.

Joel Presley, executive director of the State Office of Rural Health, expressed his commitment towards addressing the healthcare needs of rural hospitals and providing effective solutions. He said, "These grant awards reflect our commitment to addressing the healthcare needs of rural hospitals and providing effective solutions. These funds will provide support to initiatives that address critical needs for both Georgia's rural hospitals and citizens. I'm excited to see how these grants will help drive quality healthcare in these communities."

Governor Kemp has been working with the Georgia General Assembly to improve healthcare access and affordability in the state, especially in rural areas and underserved communities. Some of the steps taken include passing the Patients First Act, which has resulted in a drop in insurance premiums by an average of 11 percent and an increase in marketplace enrollment from approximately 458K to 1.3 million Georgians.

The expansion of the Rural Physician Tax Credit through HB 82 aims to attract more doctors and dentists to serve rural communities by offering a tax credit of $5,000 for each 12-month period of employment for up to five years. Additionally, HB 872 provides service cancelable loans for dental students who agree to practice in rural areas.

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The recipients of the 2024 Dual Track Rural Hospital Support Grant are as follows:

Graduate Medical Education Funding:
  • John D. Archbold Memorial Hospital (Thomasville, GA) - $1M
  • Colquitt Regional Medical Center (Moultrie, GA) - $1M
  • Coffee Regional Medical Center (Douglas, GA) - $250,000
  • Memorial Health Meadows Hospital (Vidalia, GA) - $250,000
  • Fairview Park Hospital (Dublin, GA) - $250,000

Hospital Support Funding:
  • Atrium Health Navicent Baldwin (Milledgeville, GA) - $500,000
  • Emanuel Medical Center (Swainsboro, GA) - $500,000
  • Effingham Health System (Springfield, GA) - $500,000
  • Putnam General Hospital (Eatonton, GA) - $500,000
  • Washington County Regional Medical Center (Sandersville, GA) - $500,000
  • Jefferson Hospital (Louisville, GA) - $250,000
  • Upson Regional Medical Center (Thomaston, GA) - $250,000
  • Union General Hospital (Blairsville, GA) - $250,000

For more information about the grant recipients and the announcement, please visit the grants announcement page on the DCH website.

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