The Journal Record Health Care Briefs: April 6, 2010

Article excerpt

Health Insurance Assistance Program receives funding

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced the first installment of funding to the Oklahoma State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

The grants are continuation funds available to 54 State Health Insurance Assistance Program organizations. The funding is available for the grant year ending March 31, 2011.

The Senior Health Insurance Counseling Program will receive $603,034, part of the nearly $41.6 million being distributed to SHIPs as part of the total $45 million that is available to SHIPs in 2010 for direct grants and support contracts. Performance awards will be distributed to SHIPs in September.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expects the SHIPs to use the funding to provide counseling and conduct targeted community- based outreach.

SHIPs are expected to increase their efforts to provide outreach and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers, reach people who are most likely eligible for Medicare's low-income subsidy and may be able to benefit from lower prescription drug costs, beneficiaries with disabilities, and diverse racial and ethnic groups, particularly those individuals with limited English proficiency.

OCCC program receives accreditation

Oklahoma City Community College's Emergency Medical Technician- Paramedic Program has received continuing five-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

The program has been accredited since 1995.

OSU Center distributes grants to Okla. hospitals

The Oklahoma State University Center for Rural Health at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa has presented 60 Oklahoma hospitals with grants of $9,100.62 each from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources & Services Administration Small Hospital Improvement Program.

The university received $546,037.20 in 2009 to distribute equally among the hospitals. The grant program helps small hospitals pay for computer software and hardware, educating and training hospital staff on computer information systems and to offset costs related to the implementation of prospective payment systems.

"With the strong push for all hospitals, including small rural hospitals, to adopt an electronic health record system, it is even more critical that these hospitals have SHIP funding to update their computer systems," said Val Schott, director of policy and advocacy at the OSU Center for Rural Health. …