Bingham Memorial Hospital

    BLACKFOOT — Bingham Memorial Hospital officials announced Wednesday they have been awarded two different grants.

    The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility grant will allow hospital staff to create a national model for improving patient outcomes, while the 2013 Idaho Healthcare Preparedness Program grant will allow for the purchase of new equipment and fund training for public health emergency preparedness in the amount of $17,667.

    “As a rural facility, research and grant funding make an important difference in the hospital’s ability to provide for the needs of area residents in the event of an emergency,” said Louis Kraml, chief executive officer and Bingham Memorial Hospital administrator. “Preparedness of this nature is always a high priority, and we are pleased to receive this grant to help our facility offer the public a haven during a public health emergency.”

    He continued: “Bingham Memorial now has the ability to provide training and acquire the necessary equipment to have on hand in case a need arises, which should provide peace of mind for those this hospital serves.”

    The grant awarded by those with the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response organization is provided to hospitals and supporting health care systems to deliver coordinated and effective care to patients during public health emergencies.

    As a result of this funding, Bingham Memorial will acquire equipment and complete training to assist in natural disasters, terrorist events or other  emergencies.

    “This funding will provide resources for emergency preparedness that might not be otherwise available. We are now able to solve a problem we couldn’t solve before,” said Dr. Bernadette Howlett, director of research at the hospital. “In a public health emergency, we will now have specialized training and the right equipment to successfully handle a problem and be an even better resource for people in this community.”

    This is one of several grants the hospital has applied for and received through its research department, which identifies and seeks opportunities to improve the care for area residents through research and grant funding. This federal program was created in response to the events of September 11, 2001 to boost regional preparedness nationwide.

    The Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant is worth $19,818 and was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Overall, the intent is to increase quality and performance improvement activities, stabilize rural hospital finance, and integrate emergency medical services into health care systems.

    “We are very pleased to be awarded this grant. Facilitating access to national indicators systems creates better healthcare for patients in south east Idaho while improving healthcare on a national level,” Kraml said. “Access to this grant will now enable us to build a national model for rural hospitals using funding to improve patient outcomes.”

    He went on to say: “As a Critical Access Hospital, we take what may appear to be small infusions of grant money to some institutions and drive significant, positive impacts in terms of outcomes-that-matter. We look forward to helping rural hospitals, like us, around the nation provide the best possible patient care.”

    The Flex grant funding joins Critical Access Hospitals, EMS providers, clinics and health practitioners to encourage the development of cooperative care systems in rural areas. 

    Bingham Memorial Hospital’s grant approval rate is above average, and as such, has established the goal of applying for $5 million in federal grants to facilitate the continual improvement of patient care, supporting quality improvement projects, increase its number of positive patient outcomes, and to collect valuable objective data, ultimately enabling the hospital to create a blueprint for rural hospitals around the nation to learn how to effectively use funding to improve patient outcomes.

    The hospital’s research department has generated a total of $598,500 in revenues through research and grant activities in 2012.

    Howlett says new revenue at this level provides a significant boost to the hospital, and the local community through employment opportunities and additional business and commercial activity.

    “In addition to the direct impact Flex grant funding will have to improve our ability to drive patient outcomes-that-matter, the successful application for this grant qualifies Bingham Memorial Hospital to apply for another, larger grant,” Howlett said. “We are currently working in collaboration with the Institute of Rural Health at Idaho State University to apply for a federal grant through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for up to $600,000 in funding to support a quality improvement project. We are thrilled to receive the Flex grant and look forward to the results of other research and grant funding pursuits.”

    The Flex grant is the second quality improvement award Bingham Memorial Hospital has received this year. The Small Hospital Improvement Program grant was awarded earlier, which provides $9,033 in funding, enabling Bingham Memorial Hospital and Idaho Doctors Hospital access to the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators system.

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