Officials at the Heart of Texas Memorial Hospital were notified late last week that it has received one of two requested grants that will total over $32,000. The funds will provide for the complete installation of a new nurse call system in patient rooms at the local hospital. The grant comes from the Rural Health Facility Capital Improvement Loan Fund that was created under House Bill 1676 and utilizes funds derived from the tobacco settlement won by the State of Texas. This endowment set aside $50 million to be used specifically for public hospitals in counties with a population of less than 150,000 residents. The endowment yields approximately $2.2 million annually, which can be used for various projects aimed at improving health services and healthcare infrastructure in Texas’ rural communities, specifically those described above. Some examples of projects that the funds are designed to provide for are: updating ER/trauma facilities, updating nurse call systems, replacing diagnostic equipment, updating plumbing or electrical systems and replacing telephone systems. “These funds will give the hospital a new call system that will improve the confidentiality of the patient rooms and allow for a quicker response time by nurses,” said assistant hospital administrator Clay Vogel. The funds received came from one of two grant proposals submitted by Vogel to the Center for Rural Health Initiatives (CRHI). According to Vogel, hospitals are traditionally only awarded one grant during each calendar year from this particular entity. In all, there were 89 grant proposals turned in for review. Of the 89, 13 grants for less than $50,000 were awarded and five requests for more than that amount were awarded. According to the bylaws of the CRHI, grants up to $50,000 require no repayment while grants more than that amount require a percentage payback. The total amount of funding available is determined by the office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts for the State of Texas.