By Jessica Reynolds Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — A.O. Fox Hospital President John R. Remillard said Wednesday that a recent grant will enable the hospital to provide better services to patients.
The grant, announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last Tuesday, will provide two local hospitals with considerable amounts of money.
According to a press release from the governor, $3,031,209 will be given to Fox Hospital, and $221,650 will go to UHS Delaware Valley Hospital in Walton.
The grant is part of Cuomo’s Dec. 3 announcement that more than $45 million in funding will be given over the next three years to 37 facilities in New York for the Vital Access/Safety Net Provider Program.
Included facilities were selected because of their serious financial condition and critical role in providing services to New York State’s fragile, elderly, and low-income population, according to the press release. The grants will ensure that the vulnerable communities where these 37 facilities are located will be provided with the best health care.
“This new support will give elderly and low-income New Yorkers expanded and better health care service for years to come,” Cuomo said. “The Vital Access/Safety Net Provider Program is yet another key component in the work of the Medicaid Redesign Team and our ongoing efforts to transform the state’s health care system to better care for New Yorkers and deliver for taxpayers.”
The VAP program was established by the Medicaid Redesign Team, according to the press release. The State Department of Health received $182 million in grant money to be used in 2013-2014.
Remillard said Fox will use the funding for four major areas. First, the grant money will be used to expand primary care by recruiting more doctors, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants.
The money will also aid in the establishment of a discreet observation unit at the hospital, Remillard said.
According to Remillard, there has been a recent trend toward more outpatient care and less inpatient care. To keep with this trend, he said, Fox will use the funding to transition to fewer acute-care beds.
Remillard said the grant money will also be used to maintain continuation of Fox’s maternity program.
UHS Delaware Valley Hospital’s Director of Community Relations, Dotti Kruppo, said the hospital was pleased to hear of the funding. She said the funding will be used to bring in specialty services that will fill the most need, such as cardiology, gynecology, general surgery and orthopedics. This way, she said, patients will not have to travel far to get these services.
“We continually try to assess the needs of the community,” Kruppo said. “Because we are small, we have to be mindful of what services would be utilized most.”
Kruppo said the hospital will also be recruiting primary physicians and pediatricians with the funding. The money will help offset some of the start-up costs for specialists or primary physicians, Kruppo said.
According to a press release, the DOH expects to release the funds to the facilities at the beginning of February.