The Central Peninsula General Hospital Inc. Board of Directors on Thursday decided to support Central Peninsula Health Centers' application for a federal grant to pay for health care for Kenai Peninsula residents who have little or no insurance.
The grant award, which can be as high as $900,000, would provide routine or chronic medical care as well as emergency and acute care, according to hospital Chief Executive Officer David Gilbreath.
Central Peninsula Health Centers could receive the grant by as early as fall, Gilbreath said. Cottonwood Health Center and Aspen Dental Center are administered by Central Peninsula Health Centers.
Officially called Healthy Com-munities Access, the U.S. Depart-ment of Health and Human Ser-vices program provides assistance to communities and groups of health-care providers to develop a network of health-care services to people with little or no insurance.
CPGH would be one of the members of the consortium providing health care and is considered a key member in determining whether Cottonwood gets the grant, Gilbreath told the hospital board.
In its list of those eligible, the grant application says the consortium must include at least one of four entities: a federally qualified health center, a hospital with a low-income use rate greater than 25 percent, a public health department or a health-care provider that traditionally serves medically uninsured or under served.
As one example of the type of help an under-insured person might receive with the help of the grant, Gilbreath described someone who may need to have all of his or her teeth pulled for medical reasons, but does not have the money for false teeth. The Healthy Communities grant could provide it.
"Getting this grant could mean getting 900,000 more health-care dollars that would be spent on the peninsula," Gilbreath said.
In other board action, the directors approved applying for a National Institute of Health planning grant, which could provide up to $200,000 for developing a regional health information implementation plan.
The health information network that could result from such a plan would allow for the secure electronic transfer of patient information between health-care facilities.
During his CEO report, Gil-breath told the board the hospital is poised to get an $18,000 grant for its "10,000 Steps" program, an exercise program that was introduced in the community last year encouraging participants to walk for better health and to keep track of the extra steps they walk.
The program this year would resemble the 2003 edition that provided free pedometers to participants, Gilbreath said.
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