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Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center receives COVID-19 relief funds
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Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center receives COVID-19 relief funds

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MATTOON — Funding from a relief program will help Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center with the cost of testing for COVID-19 and other expenses related to the coronavirus disease, a hospital official says.

A meal program and support for those with no health insurance are other ways SBLHC will be able to use the $125,000 allocation, hospital Vice President of Medical Affairs Jim Hildebrandt said.

The funding was from the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund. It was the latest round of allocations from the fund and is supposed to focus on the part of the state’s population that’s most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic, according to SBLHC.

Hildebrandt said SBLHC’s share of the funding will primarily go to cover costs of testing for those who can’t otherwise afford it.

The tests SBLHC conducts on-site are analyzed at another location and there’s a fee associated with that, he explained.

The recently allocated state funds come at a time when other public funding for COVID-19 testing is ending, he said.

Hildebrandt said the money will also help with the cost of the Peace Meal home meal delivery program, which he said has “ramped up” because of the social restrictions in place with the virus outbreak.

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Meal recipients might have less access to food because they can’t leave their homes because they’re at high-risk for the disease, he said.

The funding also means SBLHC won’t have to divert other resources to help cover the uninsured or to maintain other programs and services, he added.

According to information from SBLHC, the response program, which is privately funded, has allocated a total of $23.65 million to 87 different organizations.

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Amy Card, SBLHC foundation director, said the hospital is “terribly grateful” for the funding, which will “defray the cost of keeping our patients and employees safe.”

“It allows us to continue to focus our available funds to care for the community,” she said.


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Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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