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McHugh secures federal funds for ECH

ELIZABETHTOWN - Elizabethtown Community Hospital is getting notable support from the area's representative in Congress.

Representative John McHugh, R-Pierrepont Manor, has announced the securing of $998,000 in funding for health care centers and hospitals in the 23rd Congressional District.

The federal funds are included in H.R. 1105, otherwise known as the Omnibus Appropriations Act, which passed in the House of Representatives Feb. 25 by a vote of 245 to 178.

Elizabethtown Community Hospital is one of six North Country health care centers mentioned in the bill, and is slated to receive $190,000.

"Ensuring that residents in our rural communities have access to quality, affordable health care is a top priority, and I'm extremely pleased that funding for six health care institutions in the 23rd District was included in the legislation passed by the House today," said McHugh. "These funds would ensure that our health care facilities have the resources to purchase needed equipment, make the necessary expansions, and serve patients more effectively."

McHugh was one of only 16 Republicans to vote in favor of the bill, which totals $410 billion and funds the federal government through the remainder of 2009.

Among the spending for health care is $289 million for rural health nationwide, a $27 million increase over 2008.

ECH administrator Rod Boula said, "We are very grateful to Congressman McHugh for his continued support of Elizabethtown Community Hospital as we move forward with our hospital's vision to create a healthier community."

Boula pointed to the hospital's plans to implement an Electronic Health Record System that will allow doctors to access their patients' health information with greater ease, improving both efficiency and safety.

"With this new system, individual health records can be accessed no matter where a patient receives care at our hospital, whether they are in our clinics, emergency room or our inpatient unit," he said.

The legislation must now go to the Senate and President for approval. So far, the bill has received heavy scrutiny from many senators who claim it includes too many earmarks.

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