September 30, 2011

Rahall, Rockefeller, Manchin Announce Funding for Expanding Healthcare in West Virginia

BECKLEY, W.Va. – U.S. Representative Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), along with Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin (both D-W.Va.), Friday announced federal funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to promote capital investments in health care providers and to increase access to preventive dental services.

“Working together in public-private collaborations can help bring more accessible, quality health care to the children and families who need it most,” said Rahall, who is the top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee with jurisdiction over the Appalachian Regional Commission. “This funding can help to leverage local funding to stretch federal dollars further and ensure their maximum benefit.  By investing in preventive care, we can provide more cost effective health care and a bigger payoff for working West Virginia families.

"I've always been committed to making sure all of our children have opportunities at a healthy start in life," said Rockefeller. "Children in rural parts of the state deserve the same access to oral health care as those in more urban areas, and this funding will help make sure all of our kids get the care they need."

“Dental problems are at the root of a wide range of health care ailments,” Manchin said. “In these tough economic times – and as we work toward rebuilding America – we must be investing in ourselves and our health, so that we have a strong and productive workforce. Making investments in dental care and promoting good dental health were high priorities for me as governor, and I am proud to continue supporting the work of the Appalachian Regional Commission on this cause. These projects are a perfect example of what we can accomplish when the public and private sectors work together.”

The Center for Rural Health Development, Inc. was awarded $526,000 for its Strengthening Healthcare Enterprises in West Virginia program, which provides financial and technical assistance and facilitates capital improvements for West Virginia's health care providers.  The federal funding is expected to leverage $3 million of additional financing, resulting in the creation or retention of 60 jobs. 

The Robert C. Byrd Center for Rural Health at Marshall University was awarded $150,000 for its Community Partnerships for Children’s Oral Health program.  The funding will be used to create 17 school-based, oral health collaboratives in West Virginia, which link school and community partners in providing dental services.  During the next year, the new collaboratives are expected to serve 25,000 elementary students with dental screenings, fluoride varnishes, and other preventive services in a school or community setting.