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Paducah-based prescription assistance nonprofit receives grant to hire community health workers in Kentucky

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A Paducah-based nonprofit organization providing free prescription assistance to those in need recently received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expand its services in western Kentucky.

HEART USA plans to hire its first three full-time community health workers to cover Ballard, Carlisle, Graves, Livingston, Marshall, and McCracken counties in Kentucky and Massac County in Illinois, as well as strengthen its partnerships with the Kentucky Prescription Assistance Program, Kentucky Department of Public Health, and Mercy Health - Lourdes Hospital.

Cheryl Boyd, executive director for HEART USA, said community health workers will act as a liaison between the primary care, the patient and the community. Most notably, they’ll be able to perform home visits and wellness checks free of charge.

“We not only focus on medical needs but also, ‘Do they need food, do they need transportation?’” Boyd said. “We try to find them answers to several problems, not just their health-related problems.”

Distributed through the Kentucky Department for Public Health, this two-year grant will enable HEART USA to pay the salaries of the community health workers it employs while its other services will remain volunteer-based. Boyd hopes to find a way to maintain these community health workers in the long-term.

HEART USA provided nearly $12 million in prescription medications for its clients last year, between 80% and 90% of which Boyd said was handled through Mercy Health. The organization is in the process of building a website but can otherwise be contacted via 270-538-5828, husa.lourdes@gmail.com, or Facebook.

“We believe that every person — every person — has the right to food, clothing, shelter, and medical needs,” Boyd said. “That’s something we strive to provide for them.”

Dustin Wilcox is a television production student at Murray State University. He graduated from Hopkinsville High School in 2019.
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