U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Bob Corker (R-TN), and U.S. Representatives John Tanner (D-TN) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today praised the announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that a partnership between Haywood Park Community Hospital and Hardeman County Community Health Center will receive $750,000 over two years in federal grant funding to improve access to non-emergency medical care for Medicaid beneficiaries. As authorized by The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, CMS will issued a total of $50 million in competitive grant awards to help state Medicaid programs provide primary medical care alternatives to costly hospital emergency room visits. Priority was given to alternatives that focused on rural and underserved areas or those that partnered with local community hospitals.
Through this grant funding, the partnership will establish a satellite primary care clinic to be located at Haywood Park Community Hospital in Brownsville. This clinic will provide non-emergent medical care to patients referred from the hospital’s emergency room, serve as a health care home for participants and assist patients with establishing a primary care home at another location.
“Tennesseans need to have access to quality, affordable health care, and a big part of that is making sure that there are enough facilities to meet the growing demands of patients in our state,” Alexander said. “This funding will help ensure that Medicaid recipients in the Brownsville area will have better access to non-emergency medical centers. I’m glad that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have recognized this need in Tennessee, and I will continue to work with the rest of our congressional delegation to make sure Tennesseans are getting the health care they need.”
“The overuse of emergency rooms by patients seeking routine medical treatment puts strains on our health care system, increasing costs for everyone and preventing patients from receiving better care at a facility more equipped to meet their needs. This funding will provide Medicaid patients in the region with greater access to primary, non-emergent medical care in a more efficient and cost effective manner,” Corker said. “Finding a way for all Americans to have access to affordable, private health care remains a top priority of mine and programs like this one that make health care work better for patients are a step in the right direction.”
“This is an important partnership that will drastically enhance the opportunities for improved health care for patients in and around Haywood County,” Tanner said. “Doctors and hospital staff will be able to work with more patients, especially when care may not be available in other facilities, which will help many Tennessee families who rely on community health centers."
“I am pleased that the President provided critical funding to expand community health centers in Tennessee, which continue to provide invaluable service to address the needs of the medically underserved,” Blackburn said.
Funding under this federal grant program is directed for establishing new community health centers, extending the hours of operation at existing clinics, educating beneficiaries about new services and providing for electronic health information exchange between facilities for better coordination of care.
Medicaid programs in 20 states received awards including: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Washington. Tennessee will receive a total of $4.4 million over two years for three projects including Nashville Medical Home Connection and an initiative involving Erlanger Health System.