The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded a $25,000 grant to the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Foundation to go toward the cost of a new bone density scanner project to address prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, a bone disease that can result in fracture, back pain and deformity.
“This grant from The Appalachian Regional Commission is a major step forward in the Foundation’s efforts to help the hospital fund this vitally needed program for our community demographics,” said Robin Taylor, Executive Director of the Hospital Foundation. “We are very pleased that the board of the ARC recognized the importance of the role of this new equipment in meeting real medical needs in our community.”
A large portion of the aging population served by Highlands- Cashiers Hospital (HCH) is at risk for Osteoporosis. The needs for prevention, early detection and monitored treatment of this oftentimes debilitating disease will be addressed by having an on-site scanner as well as support programs for exercise and nutrition through HealthTracks.
The Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry, or DEXA, scanner will provide patients bone density measurements conducted in the Hospital’s own Radiology Department. With onsite convenience, patients will no longer have to wait weeks for appointments, weeks for results or travel off in the mountain for other locations.
Test results will also be stored electronically on the hospital’s PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) system that can be virtually sent to the patient’s primary care physician and stored year to year for comparisons.
“Local access to an on-site bone density scanner provides the most comprehensively validated test to detect and prevent fracture outcomes, said Hospital President and CEO, Craig James. “Ultimately, the surrounding communities will benefit through reduced risk of life threatening hip fractures, chronic back pain and deformities which commonly occur when osteoporosis goes undiagnosed and untreated”.
The remaining cost of the equipment and installation will be funded through contributions from community members to the Campaign for Community Healthcare Excellence. To date an additional gift of $10,000 has been donated by Wicke and Rufus Chambers through the Cullasaja Cares Fund.
The new equipment is expected to begin serving patients at HCH in early 2012.
“Our Foundation, strives to assure that the Hospital has the latest in diagnostic equipment to provide the highest possible standard of care to our communities. We are deeply grateful to the ARC, as well as our generous community donors who come together to help us keep pace with stateof- the art technology for our patients. We are also fortunate to have our medical staff of board certified physicians and registered technologists who are vital to the quality of care provided here,” she added.
The Appalachian Regional Commission is a regional economic development agency that represents a partnership of federal, state, and local government. Established by an act of Congress in 1965, ARC is composed of the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair, who is appointed by the president. Local participation is provided through multi-county local development districts.
Each year ARC provides funding for several hundred projects in the Appalachian Region, in areas such as business development, education and job training, telecommunications, infrastructure, community development, housing, and transportation. These projects create thousands of new jobs; improve local water and sewer systems; increase school readiness; expand access to health care; assist local communities with strategic planning; and provide technical and managerial assistance to emerging businesses.