First Care Health Center in Park River, N.D., a Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota Rural Health Grant recipient in 2006, was recently featured in a national Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association video celebrating the fact that Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans now have 100 million members. The video was shown November 14 at a dinner in Chicago celebrating the 100 million-member milestone.
In 2006, BCBSND awarded First Care Health Center a $65,000 grant for a computerized radiography (CR) system. The machine produces digital images that can be sent electronically to be evaluated. "It's like having a radiologist on site," said First Care Health Center CEO Louise Dryburgh. "We can send the digital pictures out immediately and get results in just minutes." Previously, the hospital had to mail X-rays to a hospital and wait for a radiologist to mail them back with their diagnosis.
On October 30, a BCBSA film crew from Minneapolis was in Park River to tape a video segment on the hospital and Dryburgh. The crew arrived, transformed an emergency room into a set, and an interviewer asked Dryburgh several questions, including what the information technology grant has done for the small-town hospital and what she thinks about a health care company that has a program to award grants. "For BCBSND to offer the grant opportunity for the rural facilities is a tremendous boost," Dryburgh said.
First Care Health Center opened in Park River 55 years ago. Because it is a rural facility, the hospital faces many challenges, including working with a small budget. BCBSND's information technology grant allows the hospital to use equipment larger hospitals have. "Blue Cross Blue Shield has helped this community take a step into the future," Dryburgh said.
On November 14, BCBSA held a dinner in Chicago celebrating the 100 million-member milestone. The event included a video with stories of how Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies reached this milestone and the various lives the Blue plans have touched over time. The segment shot in Park River was part of that video.
BCBSND's Rural Health Grant program has been in existence since 2001. BCBSND partners with the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota's School of Medicine and Health Sciences, which administers the grants.