Health Care Grant Targets West Alabama

Demopolis-based Tombigbee Healthcare Authority has been awarded a $1.1 million federal grant to help improve health care education and prescription drug services in that area.

As part of this grant, eighteen of the poorest counties in Alabama, including Sumter, Greene, Marengo and Choctaw counties, will share the funds over a three year period.

"Hopefully within that time the people who will evaluate our product will see fit to fund this for another three years," said Michael Marshall, CEO of Tombigbee Healthcare Authority.

With this initiative still in the very early stages, efforts are underway to establish contact centers in each county that this grant will serve.

Once these centers are in place, church, community and civic leaders within those areas will be able to go to that center and ask for a health care representative to go to their community and provide training on health care concerns.

"We'll actually be utilizing some of our staff and staff from other organizations to teach people the basics, such as how to take blood pressure, do CPR, diet education and the importance of preventative care," said Marshall.

One non-profit agency benefiting from the grant is the Sumter Health and Wellness Center in Sumter County.

"We will be able to build to capacity by increasing the numbers we serve," said Debra Williams of Sumter County Health and Wellness Center.

Williams says this money will mean that her agency will be able to double its client list from 200 to 400 people as it moves forward with efforts to provide prescription drug assistance in Choctaw and Pickens counties as well.

Meanwhile, it's efforts like this that health care providers in west Alabama say will help further move the region in the right direction.

"We're just working together," said Kathy Jordan of Hill Hospital in York. "That's what it's about, working together."

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