St. Mary's County Health Dept. Program Wins 2007 Rural Impact Award

ANNAPOLIS (October 6, 2007) - Six rural Maryland leaders and organizations, including one from St. Mary's County, will be recognized for their outstanding efforts to improve the quality of life in rural communities during the Annual Rural Impact Awards Luncheon, which will be held during the 10th Annual Maryland Rural Summit on Thursday, October 18, on Solomons Island in Calvert County.

The St. Mary's County Health Department's Medical Transportation Program is the winner of the Outstanding Rural Health Program Award. The award is given for promoting and providing effective community-oriented rural health care delivery which excels in service to rural people, directly or indirectly.

The Medical Transportation Program helps remove barriers to health care by providing safety-net, non-emergency medical transportation to the county's Medical Assistance recipients who have no other means of transportation to their medical appointments. Services are provided within the tri-county region as well as to the Washington and Baltimore areas, linking residents to areas outside the county for specialized are services.

The county provides several modes of transportation under this program. For instance, the program will provide bus tokens to those who live on a public bus route or gas vouchers to those who have a friend or family member who can take them but need help with fuel costs. For those in the more remote rural areas, the program uses its own vehicles and drivers.

To make the program efficient and successful, the county has entered into numerous partnership the county's public bus system, nearby nursing facilities, surrounding counties, local courts, among others. Many county residents would not receive needed medical care without this service.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot will address the Rural Impact Awards luncheon and help distribute awards to the recipients.

Award winners are nominated by their colleagues from across the state and selected by a panel of reviewers representing the Rural Maryland Council, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Rural Health, the Tri-County Council of Southern Maryland, the Upper Shore Regional Council, and the Maryland Rural Health Association.

The tenth annual Maryland Rural Summit runs from October 17-19, 2007. For more information, see:

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