Valley Health Site Memorial Hospital Receives $1 Million USDA Grant to Address Rural Health Challenges

Valley Health Page Memorial Hospital will receive $1 million in funding from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program to address the impact of COVID-19 and improve health and access to care in Page County.

“Rooted in Rural Health Care” is a three-year, multifaceted initiative led by Page Memorial Hospital, a critical access hospital, and its nonprofit parent network Valley Health, in partnership with Page County, Page County Public Schools and the Page Alliance for Community Action (PACA). The project focuses on empowering residents with tools that can transform their care and improve their health.

“Our Valley Health team mobilized in unprecedented ways when COVID-19 arrived in the Shenandoah Valley two and a half years ago,” says N. Travis Clark, PMH President and Vice President of Valley Health. “In a very short space of time we created telehealth options, testing sites and other processes to protect patients, staff and families, and we partnered with the Department of Health and brought together work and care settings to share resources and expertise. We are excited to have USDA’s support to further our work, applying what we learned from the pandemic to address both emergency and chronic health issues in our community.”

The main components include:

  • Remote monitoring systems for about 100 patients, enabling them to transmit vital data (blood pressure, blood sugar, pulse, weight, oxygen levels) for real-time assessment by a community health worker or other provider. This will reduce the need to seek care in a clinic, emergency department or hospital. (Of particular concern if bed space and emergency access is an issue due to COVID-19.)
  • or Telehealth pilot project with Page County Schools for on-demand access to minor illness care, behavioral health and chronic care management. This will reduce the burden of office or emergency department visits, parent/guardian concern, and the need to remove children from school, and develop a network of care around student health. (More than half of Page County schoolchildren receive free or reduced-price lunch.) The pilot schools will include elementary, middle and high schools in the county’s most remote areas.
  • Community health worker– Trained nursing staff will serve as a liaison between the patient and the service provider to help navigate care and provide healthy strategies. Patient support will include health and medication monitoring, nutrition and food preparation, counseling and access to insurance.
  • RAM Clinic (Remote Area Medical) –will return to provide free medical, vision and dental care to uninsured and underinsured Page County residents in a one-day pop-up clinic. (In partnership with Page Memorial Hospital and Page Free Clinic)
  • Community Garden and Food Pilot Program – will help support three existing community gardens in Page County to grow and share produce, educate residents and provide food-based preventative care. The community health worker and hospital staff will provide education on food preparation and the importance of a healthy diet in reducing the risk of common chronic diseases: obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes.

“Page County is an incredible community of caring people, but we have a good number of older and lower-income residents, and our geography presents transportation and technology challenges,” notes PMH Vice President Portia Brown. “Broadband and other infrastructure improvements will help us use telehealth for outreach and monitoring; by working with schools, we can address student health issues more appropriately; and through community gardens and our PMH nutrition staff, we hope to improve access to nutritious foods and prevention strategies for better health outcomes.”


The ‘Rooted in Rural Healthcare’ program is a unique opportunity made possible by USDA to try to connect those who need it most with care,” says Jason Craig, Health Director at Valley Community Health. “We hope that our work will serve as a pilot that we can replicate in other communities we serve where access to care can be challenging.”

The $1 million grant to Page Memorial Hospital was one of $74 million in rural health care projects announced last week by the USDA. “The Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program provides immediate relief to address economic conditions arising from the COVID-19 emergency. It also provides funding to advance ideas and solutions to solve regional rural health care problems to support the long-term sustainability of rural health care.”

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