Congressman Faleomavaega today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has awarded $85,000 to the American Samoa Department Health (DOH) under the Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program.
Authorized by Congress under the Public Health Service Act (Title III, Section 330A, 42 U.S.C. § 254b), the purpose of the program is to expand access to health care, coordinate and improve the quality of essential health care services, and enhance the delivery of health care, in rural areas. This year, DHHS selected fifteen recipients for this grant and awarded an overall funding amount of $1,275,000.
Over the next year – May 1, 2011 to April 30, 2012 – this grant will support the American Samoa DOH in laying the foundation of a rural health network by identifying and convening potential collaborating network partners in the community/region, conducting planning activities, and carrying out network activities to promote the network's sustainability.
Though funds cannot be used for direct delivery of health care services, grants typically are used to acquire staff, hire technical experts, and purchase resources to build the network. In addition to the activities mentioned above, for this year’s award, projects can also focus on community needs assessments, HIT (Health Information Technology) readiness and economic impact analyses. After completion of the grant year, successful grantees often apply for the 3 year Network Development implementation grant to continue the work they started under the Network Planning grant.
“I would like to congratulate the American Samoa Department of Health for having successfully secured one of the fifteen discretionary Network Planning grants available this year through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,” Congressman Faleomavaega stated.
“I am pleased that this grant will help our local health care providers to develop formal integrated health care networks and improve the quality of and access to health care in American Samoa,” Faleomavaega added.
“Lastly, I commend Mrs. Elizabeth Ponausuia, recently appointed DOH Director, as well as the staff of DOH for their continuous commitment to improving health care in our territory,” Faleomavaega concluded.