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University Park, Pa. – St. Luke’s Miners Rural Health Clinics received the 2016 Rural Health Program of the Year Award presented by the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health (PORH) on Nov. 16 at St. Luke’s Miners Hospital in Coaldale, Pennsylvania.

The Rural Health Program of the Year Award recognizes an exemplary health program that addresses an identified need in a rural community; uses unique, creative and innovative approaches; ensures access to the community it serves; includes statewide resources as part of the planning and evaluation process; and demonstrates a significant benefit to the target population.  Lisa Davis, director of PORH and outreach associate professor of health policy and administration at Penn State, presented the award to Bill Moyer, president of St. Luke’s Miners Campus of the St. Luke’s University Health Network.

The nomination, submitted by Kelly Malone, Executive Director of the Schuylkill County United Way, described the St. Luke’s Miners Rural Health Program as a unique, creative, and innovative approach to providing accessible care to an underserved population.  The program is a result of the collaboration of community leaders from Schuylkill and Carbon counties that meet regularly as the St. Luke’s Miners Community Health Initiative Team.

The St. Luke’s Miners Rural Health Program provides access to high-quality primary care integrated with preventive, specialty, and acute care services.  It provides more than 12,000 face-to-face primary care visits, on-site diagnostic and therapeutic mental health services, and transportation for patients regardless of insurance or ability to pay.  The transportation service, or “Miners Loop,” is a shuttle to specialty services within the medically underserved area such as cardiology, orthopaedics, general surgery, gynecology, pain management, urology, oncology, sleep medicine, and infectious disease.

In her nomination, Malone noted that in addition to these services, this rural health program integrates community and preventive health initiatives including tobacco cessation, physical activity programs, a diabetes education and support group, and a Parkinson support group.  All 14 staff members of the program are trained in the Flinders Chronic Condition Management Program, which is used to measure and improve outcomes for 85 of their diabetes patients.

PORH was established in 1991 to enhance the health status of rural Pennsylvanians and strengthen the delivery and quality of care in the communities in which they live.  Each year, the organization presents awards to recognize rural health programs and individuals who have made substantial contributions to rural health in Pennsylvania.  To learn more about the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, visit porh.psu.edu.

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Editors:  For additional information, please contact Terri Klinefelter, Outreach Coordinator, Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health, at 814-863-8214 or tjc136@psu.edu.