3 area health departments receive $365,000

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Health departments in Bollinger, Cape Girardeau and Perry counties will receive grants totaling more than $365,000 from the Missouri Foundation for Health. The grants, announced Friday, are intended for infrastructure improvements so the county health departments can use their money on community programs and services.

The Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center received $199,438. According to a news release, the money will be used for renovations, furniture and equipment.

In Perry County, the health department plans to use its $88,999 on computer upgrades and diagnostic equipment.

Juanita Welker of the Bollinger County Health Center said the center's grant of $75,883 will be used on monitoring and diagnostic equipment, TV or DVD players for community outreach initiatives and other overhead costs. This is the first grant the health center has received from the Missouri Foundation for Health.

"Our local agencies are underfunded. With rising costs, it takes more. We're thankful to get it," Welker said.

About $13.1 million will be distributed to 84 health departments across Missouri. A base of $50,000 was given to each department in the foundation's service area, plus $2.10 per resident. The foundation covers 84 Missouri counties and the city of St. Louis.

The Missouri Foundation for Health was established in 2000 following a lawsuit and the conversion of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri from a not-for-profit to a for-profit.

The Missouri Foundation for Health began with a base of money of $1.3 billion and is required to give away 5 percent of its assets every year, according to spokesman Scott Beck.

lbavolek@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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