The Arkansas Rural Health Partnership, a non-profit organization of 14 rural hospitals spanning South Arkansas, recently was awarded three Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Rural Health grants totaling $4,806,616 to address increasing access to care throughout the region.

“These projects are focused on meeting the healthcare needs of our residents and providing resources to our hospitals and clinics so that they can continue to provide the best quality of care right here at home,” said Mellie Bridewell, CEO of Arkansas Rural Health Partnership and Regional Director for UAMS Office of Strategic Management. “We are working together with our partners to improve and increase healthcare resources in our region. These grants provide us with the resources to continue to address and fund valuable initiatives that will help our patients and our hospitals.”

The three grants, which are detailed below, include a HRSA Delta States grant for just over $3 million, a HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Implementation grant for $1 million and a HRSA Care Coordination grant for $750,000.

“These funds will help ensure our hospitals and providers have the resources needed to continue thriving in our communities and continue delivering the highest quality of care to our patients, said Phillip Gilmore, president of Arkansas Rural Health Partnership. “I am thankful for the hard work of the ARHP team and of our federal delegation who diligently pursue funding like this to help improve health outcomes in our state and region.”

ARSA Delta States grant ($3,056,616) is a three year project to provide healthcare provider education and training both distance learning and on-site simulation, to hospitals, rural health clinics, and community health centers in the counties of Ashley, Arkansas, Bradley, Calhoun, Chicot, Dallas, Desha, Drew, Grant, Jefferson, Lee, Lincoln, Monroe, Ouachita, Phillips, St. Francis, and Union.

ARHP has partnered with UAMS Institute for Digital Health and Innovation and UAMS Centers for Simulation Education to launch UAMS’ health workforce education and training platform into partnering hospitals, rural health clinics, and community health centers for maintaining certification and quality best practices in healthcare. The project also includes expanding ARHP’s prescription assistance, Medicare, and Medicaid enrollment services, Mental Health First Aid, and navigation services for patients and residents through the service area.

HRSA Care Coordination grant ($750,000) is a three-year project that is aimed at building a regional transitional care program designed by the Mayo Clinic that will work with ARHP critical access hospitals, UAMS, Jefferson Regional, and Allevant Solutions to strengthen and promote ARHP Critical Access hospital swing bed programs.

The project is aimed at bringing in resources to hospital partners that will equip them to providing high quality care to patients needing care within the post-acute care setting which will allow patients to come home to recuperate in a quality healthcare setting and ultimately bring revenue to the small rural hospitals.

HRSA Rural Communities Opioid Response Implementation grant ($1 million) is a three-year project that will continue to increase MAT services, community utilization of drug takeback sites, peer recovery specialists, SUD/OUD telehealth counseling services, OUD prevention programs in schools, workforce training, and access to training and supply for Naloxone to 400 first responders, law enforcement, and healthcare workers. Partners in this initiative include the 14 hospital members and the Arkansas Drug Director, Kirk Lane. All three projects are set to begin September 1, 2020.

“I continue to be proud of the leadership team of the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership with these most recent awards,” said Brian Thomas, vice president of the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership. “This funding will go a long way with helping the rural health care providers in this part of the state.”