In April, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust http://helmsleytrust.org provided $16 million in new grants to help 41 hospitals in the rural upper Midwest. The Helmsley Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use IT to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel.
To date, the Rural Healthcare Program has awarded more than $300 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana.
The April funding will enable the hospitals to purchase new 32-slice or higher Computer Tomography (CT) scanners. The new CT scanners allow for faster scans that produce high quality images, allowing medical staff to quickly determine health status and the course of treatment while giving patients access to up-to-date healthcare technology.
The need for equipment particularly CT scanners has been identified as a top need by many hospitals. In addition, a new Medicare policy that went into effect January 1, 2016 reduced reimbursement for certain studies on CT scanners that do not meet specific radiation dose requirements.
Since 2015, the Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program has awarded over $30 million to outfit 78 of the region’s hospitals with state-of-the-art CT scanners to provide care to patients close to home. The funding initiative was the result of a survey of Critical Access Hospitals in the Rural Healthcare Program’s seven state funding region.