• January 5, 2016

BCBSND Rural Health Grants funding collaborative programs

Tenth grant cycle provides rural health providers and their communities opportunities to benefit health

(January 5, 2016)—Supporting innovative solutions to benefit the health of rural North Dakotans—through collaboration with health providers—is the idea that spawned the Blue Cross Blue Shield Rural Health Grant Program in 2001. The program, funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) is an example of how collaboration can result in innovative solutions that overcome size and location. A total of 82 different grants have been awarded since the program was first initiated by BCBSND in 2001 as an effort to strengthen the rural health delivery system across North Dakota. The grants awarded for 2015 - 2016 had to focus on endorsing and supporting activity and wellness for all ages.

"Applicants for these grants continue to raise the bar – and demonstrate the need – for collaboration that puts ideas into action. The result is creating opportunity and awareness that positively benefits the health of our rural members," said Tim Huckle, President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

From the many applications received during the tenth grant cycle, seven were selected to receive funding for programming running through February of 2016. The grant applicants had to demonstrate collaborative efforts involving rural providers and their communities, as well as endorse and support activity and wellness for all ages either through the purchase of supplies or through programs or events. As in prior years of the program, applications are reviewed by an external grant review committee, with preference given to provider applicants with participating status with BCBSND.

The 2015 – 2016 grantees are:

  • Heart of America Medical Center, of Rugby, purchased equipment that promotes physical activity for kids at their employee daycare center for year round use.
  • Carrington Health Center (CHC) and its Carrington medical staff partnered with seven additional healthcare providers in Carrington, the Foster County Fairgrounds, and SuperValu Foods to implement a worksite wellness program at CHC.
  • City-County Health District in Valley City, through its Let's Walk Valley City: Healthier People-Building Communities project, is helping people become aware of and use the expanding multi-use path system in Valley City.
  • Ashley Medical Center, of Ashley, has hosted a 5K Color Run and purchased equipment and supplies to update their weight room at the fitness center housed in the Ashley Public School.
  • Sakakawea Medical Center, in Hazen, partnered with Coal Country Community Health Center, Knife River Care Center, Custer Health District and Mercer County Ambulance to host a Jump Start to Wellness program that kicked off in May and concluded with a community Color Run.
  • St. Andrew's Health Center, of Bottineau, has partnered with Bottineau County Economic Development Corporation to purchase playground equipment for the Building Blocks Day Care, LLC.
  • Jacobson Memorial Hospital Care Center, of Elgin, has implemented a Fitness for Life program offering free health screenings to the public during a health fair and providing multiple fitness-related activities throughout the year.

Through the agreement with BCBSND to help develop and administer the program, the Center of Rural Health (CRH) at the University of North Dakota, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, facilitates the application process and review, notifies the grantees of their award determinations, plus monitors each program's progress through the year and releases the grant funds. CRH has administered the program since its inception. A complete listing of the recipients from each cycle of the program is available on the CRH website, www.ruralhealth.und.edu/projects/bcbs.