Helmsley Charitable Trust Announces Nearly $14 Million in Grants to Rural Hospitals


Sioux Falls, SD—To help healthcare providers in the rural, upper Midwest offer the best care to patients close to home, the Rural Healthcare Program of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust is granting nearly $14 million over the next six months to support the purchase of 37 new, 32-slice or higher computed tomography (CT) scanners to the region’s Critical Access Hospitals.

“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, 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.”

The funding initiative was the result of a survey of Critical Access Hospitals in the Rural Healthcare Program’s seven-state funding region. The Trust surveyed hospitals to learn about community health, capital and workforce needs. Capital equipment, particularly CT scanners, was identified as a top capital need by many hospitals. In addition, a new Medicare policy will go into effect January 1, 2016 that may reduce reimbursement for certain studies on CT scanners that do not meet specific radiation dose requirements. Critical Access Hospitals with a 16-slice or lower CT scanner were invited to apply for grant funding to purchase new CT scanners. From the 102 letters of intent submitted, 37 facilities have been selected to receive grants. 

"We are extremely grateful of the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s generosity and support of rural healthcare,” said Greg Maurer, CEO for Sheridan Memorial Hospital in Plentywood, MT.  “Without this type of support, staying current with rapidly advancing technology and providing necessary healthcare services for our rural community would be very difficult.” 

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.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust 

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, place-based initiatives, and education and human services. Since 2008, when the Trust began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1.5 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. The Trust’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 $267 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana. 


Laura Fahey, lfahey@helmsleytrust.org, 212-953-2814