April 21, 2021

Manchin, Capito Announce $418K For Rural Healthcare Providers In West Virginia

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced $418,872 from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for two West Virginia rural healthcare providers. This funding is part of the HRSA community-based Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program, which expands and improves rural healthcare by innovative, evidence-based approaches tailored to the specific needs of the local community.

“Every West Virginian deserves access to quality, affordable healthcare regardless of where they live. To provide that access, healthcare providers need enough funding and resources to keep their doors open and provide quality care. For over a year, I successfully urged HRSA to change their classification system that excluded multiple rural West Virginia counties from crucial healthcare funding. Because of these classification changes, six West Virginia counties – including Wirt County – are now eligible to apply and receive additional funding. And last year, I called on the HRSA to support Wirt County Health Service Association proposed project, Food Access through Rural, Medical and Community sYstem (FARMACY), which would help expand food access in Wirt County. I am pleased HRSA is investing in healthcare programs at the Wirt County Health Services Association, also known as Coplin Health Systems, and at Williamson Health & Wellness Center in Mingo County, which will support them in addressing the healthcare needs of their local communities. I will continue to advocate for funding and resources to support rural healthcare providers in the Mountain State,” said Senator Manchin.

“Our health centers provide essential services to West Virginians—especially those living in rural communities. Last November, I led a letter that urged HRSA to revise their definition of ‘rural’ to expand grant opportunities for West Virginia health centers, and I was pleased to see that implemented in January of this year. This revised definition more accurately reflects the realities in so many of our communities—which have the same rural characteristics and logistical challenges as others in the state—but were previously ineligible. The Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program does a great job delivering the resources our community healthcare providers need, while also helping to expand services that would not be accessible otherwise. I will continue to advocate on behalf of this program and work with our health centers in West Virginia to make certain they take full advantage of available programs like this,” Senator Capito said.

“Coplin Health Systems is very excited to be spearheading this multicounty FARMACY program in our region. This program will unite the efforts of health care facilities, social service agencies, local food banks and farmers to reach the most vulnerable populations with healthy produce and education about healthy life choices. The FARMACY is an amazing way to help patients change habits that have negatively impacted their health, while assisting them in overcoming social barriers that contribute to poor choices.  Participants receive healthy food kits during a ten week period and receive comprehensive training on how to prepare and use the food to improve health, incorporating health habits such as exercise into daily routines, and how wellness visits and health screenings can improve disease prevention and management,” said Sarah Barton, Senior Projects Manager at Coplin Health Systems.

“Lifestyle choices can slow down or speed up the discomfort experienced with heart disease. When complications arise, it is costly for families, in more ways than one. We know that healthy eating and active living can go a long way in improving quality of life, and that’s news we hope gets passed along from generation to generation. Williamson Health & Wellness Center will work with Healthy in the Hills Network partners, including Able Families, Appalachian Regional Hospital, Williamson Housing Authority and community residents to create solutions as a joint effort,” said Dino Beckett, CEO of Williamson Health & Wellness Center.

Last year, Senator Manchin called on HRSA to change the Rural-Urban Commuting Areas (RUCA) codes, which is the rural classification methodology and determines a large percentage of grants and awards for rural health providers in West Virginia. Senator Manchin fought to include language in the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations, directing the Economic Research Services and Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to develop an update to their rural classification methodology and submitted comments to HRSA on their proposed changes to six West Virginia counties, including Wirt, in October. In January 2021, Senator Manchin announced the revisions to the RUCA codes which meant the six West Virginia counties are now considered rural, in turn allowing dozens of rural West Virginia health providers to be eligible for funding through HRSA.

Individual Awards Listed Below

  • $218,872 – Wirt County Health Service Association
  • $200,000 – Williamson Health & Wellness Center