Parish courting free medical service

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 18, 2010

VIDALIA — Concordia Parish is applying for a grant that would help area citizens through military funded medical assistance.

The Innovative Readiness Training Grant allows governing bodies to apply to have military personnel come in and train in local areas while providing free services to the public.

Concordia Parish Economic and Industrial Development District Executive Director Heather Malone said the program could be a big help to the area.

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“The military noticed they were spending all this money on training their personnel,” she said. “They decided they should go into towns to train their personnel, and save resources at the same time.”

The grant would allow the government to bring in their own doctors to train personnel, Malone said.

“They bring their own personnel, and they bring in doctors you request,” she said. “They can either use our facilities, or find one for themselves.”

Malone said the services provided through the grant would include many medical programs.

“People can come in and get checkups, either medical or dental, and they can go to the pharmacy to get medications filled,” she said. “And it is all free to the public.”

Malone said the program also offers training in engineering and transportation along with health care training.

“We decided to not use their engineering training because the timeline on our projects in the town are so far out, it would be too hard,” she said.

Malone said while Concordia Parish could apply for the grant alone, parish officials are attempting to apply for the grant jointly with Catahoula and Tensas parishes.

“If we do apply jointly, we are going to try and have a central location for them to train so everyone can get to the services easier,” she said. “This is a few years out, and so when we turn in the application this year, it will be for 2013.”

Malone said if the parish does not receive the grant, it just means the military is not training in the area at the time the parish requested the services.

“If we don’t receive it this year, we will apply for it again the next year,” she said. “We voted a while back to apply for it, and we would really like to utilize these services.”