Houlton hospital to get $55,000 in federal funds

Posted May 28, 2010, at 10:49 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:55 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — Patients at Houlton Regional Hospital will benefit from upgraded services in the facility’s radiology department thanks to a sizable donation of federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced this week that the hospital will receive $55,000 in Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to renovate the radiology department and install updated scanning equipment.

The funds represent one of 145 investments in 37 states announced Thursday. According to the USDA, the $167.8 million in Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects are funded through the USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Program and will be matched with $60 million from other sources.

Members of the state’s congressional delegation praised the announcement and the benefits patients will see because of the funding.

“This investment will allow Houlton Regional Hospital to update their facilities, better meet the needs of area residents and spur economic activity,” Maine 2nd District Rep. Mike Michaud said in a press release.

U.S. Sens. Olympia Snow and Susan Collins said in a joint statement, “Rural communities have unique characteristics and special needs, and their hospitals and health care professionals face challenges as they work to provide high quality health care. This funding will allow Houlton Regional Hospital to provide improved care and services to its patients by replacing outdated equipment and by making significant improvements to its radiology department.”

Plans for the department are part of an ongoing effort to expand and renovate the hospital to better care for patients. The hospital began its expansion in 2004, when the facility’s pediatric suite was enlarged to allow more room for staff to work and to provide separate waiting rooms for sick and well children.

The hospital recently expanded the emergency room by 710 feet and outfitted it with a new entrance and a new waiting room. The goal of the expansion was to make it easier for ER employees to keep track of patients and to give patients more privacy.

Improvements to the radiology department will address privacy and space concerns by providing separate rooms for the necessary tests and a larger work area.

The Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law last February by President Barack Obama. It provides $787 billion nationwide for a wide range of federal programs, including measures to modernize infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care and provide tax relief.

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