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Governor Fletcher Announces Grants For Local Health Department

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Governor Ernie Fletcher announced today that 24 local health departments around Kentucky have been selected to receive up to $500,000 in grant funding to improve their facilities.

The funding comes from $10 million set aside by the 2006 General Assembly to create the Local Health Department Infrastructure Development Pool. Local health departments will use the funds for construction on new facilities and to upgrade existing ones. The Department for Public Health (DPH) selected the awardees using an intensive application review process.

"These funds address a pressing issue facing the commonwealth - the needs of our health departments. Many of our local public health facilities are aging or are struggling to keep up with their growing communities," Governor Fletcher said a news conference in Corbin announcing the awards. "Our local health departments play a crucial role in the delivery of public health services in Kentucky. For decades, they have delivered programs that have been absolutely vital to lives of Kentuckians."

The awards were made possible with the support of the Kentucky legislature, which approved the $10 million for the Department for Public Health in the 2006-2008 budget. Funding for the grants will come from the sale of bonds.

"This funding will be of great assistance to our local health departments as they work to meet the growing demands of public health in Kentucky," said Health and Family Services Secretary Mark D.
Birdwhistell. "We're extremely grateful to Governor Fletcher and the Kentucky General Assembly for making such a significant contribution to our local health departments."

Of the 45 applicants, 24 projects were selected from around the state based on criteria set by DPH staff. The health departments selected are:

* Breathitt County Health Department, $500,000;
* Cumberland Valley District Health Department, Clay County, $500,000;
* Barren River District Health Department, Hart County, $500,000;
* Floyd County Health Department, $48,750;
* Knox County Health Department, $500,000;
* Estill County Health Department, $500,000;
* Purchase District Health Department, Calloway County, $500,000;
* Three Rivers District Health Department, Gallatin County, $500,000;
* Gateway District Health Department, Bath County, $500,000;
* Gateway District Health Department, Menifee County, $500,000;
* Lake Cumberland District Health Department, Taylor County, $500,000;
* Buffalo Trace District Health Department, Mason County, $500,000;
* Cumberland Valley District Health Department, Jackson County, $38,475;
* Magoffin Health Department, $500,000;
* Monroe Health Department, $500,000;
* Pennyrile District Health Department, Crittenden County, $500,000;
* Kentucky River District Health Department, Letcher County, $500,000;
* Barren River District Health Department, Simpson County, $500,000;
* Purchase District Health Department, Ballard County, $157,500;
* Whitley County Health Department, $250,000;
* Lawrence Health Department, $500,000;
* Gateway District Health Department, Rowan County, $500,000;
* Muhlenberg Health Department, $275,000; and
* Hopkins Health Department, $230,275.

The General Assembly created the Local Health Department Infrastructure Pool to address some of the construction and renovation needs of local and district health departments. Rules established for infrastructure grants require that no more than $500,000 can be spent on a local health capital project. There is a minimum matching requirement of $125,000.

Submissions were judged upon the age of the facility, particularly if a facility was 50 years old or older; how well the health department clinic can serve its clients; whether the facility is meeting the needs of the community; and the health department's capacity to fulfill environmental operations, such as restaurant inspections.

Applicants also received higher scores if their communities have a greater percentage of residents served by the health department and a higher poverty rate. If residents have a low level of access to other local health care providers and a lower capacity to provide funding through the existing local public health tax, additional points were given.

"We believe this funding will enable our local health departments to make significant changes and dramatically improve their facilities,"
said Fletcher. "Ultimately, the communities and residents they serve will reap the benefits."


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