News Releases

(Washington D.C.) -- U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) today announced more than $2,656,000 in federal grants to coordinate health care for uninsured working families in thirteen rural Washington counties. The grants will allow a network of local and community providers to expand efforts to meet the health care needs of those without insurance.

"After months of fighting for this important health care funding, I am pleased that we are taking a major step forward in helping thousands of low-income working families get the health care they deserve," said Murray. "Washington's rural communities face special challenges in caring for the uninsured, and I know these grants will make a difference. I am troubled that President Bush's budget calls for the elimination of this program in the future."

The grants are authorized under the Community Access Program (CAP) through the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Murray fought hard to fund CAP grants during the last year's budget negotiations. The grants will help coordinate health care in the following areas:

OLYMPIC PENINSULA & SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON CHOICE Regional Network $850,524 A consortium of seven public and not-for-profit hospitals, 750 practitioners, and five public health departments serving Thurston, Grays Harbor, Mason, Pacific, and Lewis Counties.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON Community Choice PHCO Network $889,439 A provider network of six public and not-for-profit hospitals and 85 practitioners serving the Central Washington and Columbia Basin regions including Chelan, Okanogan and Douglas Counties.

EASTERN WASHINGTON The Health Improvement Partnership of Spokane County $916,641 A non-profit organization which has launched the Inland Northwest in Charge initiative serving Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln and Spokane Counties.

These three Washington state organizations will reduce health care costs by spending less on administration and more on direct services and prevention. They plan to establish telemedicine links to rural health clinics, to enroll eligible populations on subsidy insurance programs, and to integrate care management solutions for all regional residents.

"This funding will help us find ways to care for our own at the community level," said Daniel Baumgarten, Executive Director of Health Improvement Partnership based in Spokane.