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|Living Well to accept grant applications|
The Living Well Foundation will begin accepting grant applications in September for healthcare initiatives throughout the region.
Foundation CEO Paul West expects Living Well will have two grant cycles each year. Grants will be accepted during each cycle and awarded sometime during that time period.
Once grant applications have been received, they will be sent to independent grant reviewers for recommendations, West said.
"Our grant committee will review those recommendations and the board of directors ultimately will make the final decision," West said. "We've had a lot of planning, and we're marching into the next step."
"I think the whole community is excited about this, and we are, too," West continued. "We're all about improving health and wellness in this community and we need the community to be a part of this to make it a success. At the end of the day, it will be the people of the community who will be impacted for the better."
Living Well was founded following IASIS Healthcare Corp.'s purchase of Glenwood Regional Medical Center. Some $46 million generated by the sale of Glenwood was set aside—per state law—to fund a healthcare foundation, Living Well. It is charged with improving healthcare in Ouachita Parish and in other communities in northeastern Louisiana. Living Well will put its money to use by awarding grants for efforts aimed at improving health care in the region.
West discussed Living Well's upcoming grant cycle Tuesday afternoon when the foundation held a ribbon cutting at its new offices at 315 Stella St. in West Monroe.
The first grant cycle will be for healthcare initiatives that address prenatal infant care, West said.
The foundation has three focus points regarding healthcare initiatives. Besides prenatal infant care, the foundation wants to fund initiatives that promote healthy lifestyles and improve the access to healthcare.
West Monroe Mayor Dave Norris, who serves as chairman of the foundation, said the money the foundation spends will focus strictly on activities to improve the healthcare of people in the service area of Glenwood Regional Medical Center.
"We know there is a significant percentage of our population uninsured, and some are insured, but incapable of paying their co-pays because their deductibles are so high," Norris said. "That's becoming more and more of a problem in our area."
Regarding access to healthcare, Norris said the foundation is looking to replicate a program in Baton Rouge called the virtual clinic.
"This is an innovative project, and I think you'll see very significant benefits from this," Norris said, pointing out that more details about the program will be announced at a later date.
In the near future, the foundation plans to begin several pilot programs to determine each one's success rate of improving people's health. This initiative will be part of the foundation's focus on healthy lifestyles, which includes an emphasis on improving the health of children by teaching them better lifestyle habits.
The foundation already funds two school-based health clinics. One is located at Riser Middle School. A second health clinic opened at West Monroe High School last year.
The group plans to start two health clinics in eastern Ouachita Parish. One will be located at Richwood High School, and the other at Martin Luther King School on Nutland Road.