Helmsley Awards Over $30 Million to Rural Hospitals for Cutting-Edge Diagnostic Tool

Sioux Falls, S.D.—The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust today announced $16 million in new grants for 41 hospitals in the rural, upper Midwest to purchase new, 32-slice or higher computer tomography (CT) scanners. Since 2015, the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program has awarded over $30 million to outfit 78 of the region’s hospitals with state-of-the-art CT scanners to help them provide the best care to patients close to home.

“Our goal is to ensure that people who live in rural America have access to quality healthcare as close to home as possible,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “To achieve this, rural hospitals need to be viable and they need to have up-to-date equipment, so patients can receive essential healthcare services locally. This initiative is one of many that aims to improve healthcare access and health outcomes across the upper Midwest.”

CT scanners provide essential diagnostic images of structures inside the body. A new CT scanner will allow for faster scans that produce high-quality images, allowing medical staff to quickly determine health status and course of treatment while giving patients access to up-to-date healthcare technology close to home.

"We're incredibly grateful to the Helmsley Charitable Trust for this grant,” said Mike O'Neal, CEO, George C. Grape Community Hospital in Hamburg, Iowa. “By acquiring a new, state-of-the-art CT scanner, the people in our region will have access to the highest quality of CT scans. This will lead to more effective diagnosis and treatment, and eliminate the need for people in our communities to travel to larger facilities for this service."

The funding initiative was the result of a survey of Critical Access Hospitals in the Rural Healthcare Program’s seven-state funding region. Capital equipment, particularly CT scanners, was identified as a top need by many hospitals. In addition, a new Medicare policy that went into effect January 1, 2016, reduced reimbursement for certain studies on CT scanners that do not meet specific radiation dose requirements.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health and select place-based initiatives. Since 2008, when Helmsley began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1.8 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $300 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.