New grants expand services at PMC

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 7:51 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) -Pikeville Medical Center announced two new grants Monday, both awarded from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

According to a statement from PMC, the Telehealth Network Grant Program (TNGP) will provide $1,153,087 over four years for an enhanced tele-psych program, implementing a system for individuals with possible mental health needs to seek care through the PMC Emergency Department.

The grant will allow access to mental health care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through partnerships with Mountain Comprehensive Care Center and The Ridge, without having a mental health specialist physically present in the ED.

“Being able to provide mental health services will go a long way to help improve emergency medical outcomes for this rural, underserved community,” said Dr. John Fleming, PMC Director of Emergency Services. “Establishing tele-psych services will allow us to offer much-needed access to mental health professionals. Hospitals without this technical capacity routinely transfer patients with complex needs to larger medical centers for care.”

The second grant, a Rural HIV/AIDS Planning Program grant, will provide $83,165 to collaborate with a regional network of health care providers.

“Our office is excited to see Pikeville Medical Center receive funding through these two grant programs. PMC has a long history of serving the communities of Eastern Kentucky, and these funds will help them continue to do so in two vital areas -- HIV care and treatment, and telehealth,” said, Ernie L. Scott, Director of Kentucky Office of Rural Health (KORH).

That network, according to PMC, is about better, more open access for patients in need.

“PMC will lead an extensive community HIV/AIDS health needs assessment survey to profile the health of the residents and the issues affecting them,” said Medical Director of Infectious Disease Dr. Fadi Al Akhrass. “The goal is to plan and develop a formal, integrated effective, evidence-based, scalable, and sustainable rural HIV/AIDS network of regional care providers. This will help us to address the needs, gaps, challenges, and opportunities identified in the needs assessment for Eastern Kentucky.”

The Pike County Health Department is also a partner.

“The collection of data will allow those who work with the HIV community to move from data to evidence-informed action and to align services. This will hopefully bring about change and community collaboration,” said Pike County Public Director Tammy Riley.

PMC CEO Donovan Blackburn said the new grants will help the medical center better serve the region.

“Thank you to HRSA for generously funding these two initiatives for a population of our region who, historically, has faced many challenges in getting the medical care they need and deserve,” Blackburn said.

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