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Ashe Memorial Hospital Equipment Supported by Blue Ridge Energy and Members Foundation
Blue Ridge Energy and its community foundation, The Blue Ridge Energy Members Foundation, are providing funds to support the purchase of 3-D Mammography equipment for Ashe Memorial Hospital.
This equipment gives Ashe County residents access to convenient and potentially life-saving medical services.
To help purchase the equipment, Blue Ridge Energy has provided a $460,000 zero-interest loan from the cooperative’s Revolving Loan Fund. These funds were originally awarded to the cooperative through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG). Federal REDLG funding enables electric cooperatives to support economic and community development projects in their service areas by providing zero-interest loans to qualified entities. It is an important tool in bolstering the economies of rural America, which are typically more challenged in attracting jobs and quality, affordable access to vital resources such as medical care.
Payments on the zero-interest loan will be paid back into Blue Ridge Energy’s Revolving Loan Fund to be used for future opportunities to improve communities in the cooperative’s service area.
In addition, a donation of $75,000 approved by the cooperative’s Board of Directors also helped make the project possible.
“Blue Ridge Energy stands as a pillar in the community that embodies the neighborly spirit of Ashe County through service, support and partnership,” said Brian Yates, CEO, Ashe Memorial Hospital. “We are grateful for the federally funded, zero interest loan provided by Blue Ridge Energy that has made it possible for AMH to expedite the purchase of 3-D mammography equipment,” he said.
This state-of-the-art 3-D Mammography technology can detect breast cancer in its early stages when it’s most successfully treated, Yates explained. It will help local residents avoid traveling outside of Ashe County to seek additional medical providers and avoid unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses.
3D mammography, otherwise known as Tomosynthesis, is the gold
standard in breast cancer screening and prevention. The technology provides more detailed imaging, allowing physicians and radiologists to see more detail in the breast tissue to find small cancers not seen in conventional mammography, leading to earlier detection and treatment.
In addition to the equipment, Ashe Memorial will obtain American College of Radiology (ACR) Accreditation for 3D mammography to ensure patients are provided the highest image quality and safety level.
“The Members Foundation and Blue Ridge Energy are proud to help support this vital service for Ashe County,” said Blue Ridge Energy CEO Doug Johnson. “The cooperative has a long history of helping make life better in our communities. We are excited to be able to leverage the USDA loan funds through additional donations to provide much needed medical services and equipment to enhance the local quality of life,” said Johnson.
Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative serving some 79,000 consumers in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Avery, Alexander and Wilkes counties. Learn more at BlueRidgeEnergy.com.
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