Local organizations receive tobacco settlement funds
Four local health-related organizations will receive a combined $198,500 in tobacco litigation settlement funds for the upcoming fiscal year.
The money will be used for smoking cessation programs and hospital and hospice care for Brazos County residents with tobacco-related illnesses.
The nonprofit beneficiaries are Hospice Brazos Valley, the American Lung Association, St. Joseph Regional Health Center and Health For All Inc.
The Brazos County Commissioners Court on Tuesday unanimously approved the allocations as recommended by the Community Healthcare Endowment Fund Review Committee.
The committee oversees disbursements of Brazos Countyâ€™s portion of statewide tobacco settlement funds.
Committee member Ann Anderson said the panel â€œcovered all [their] basesâ€ in this yearâ€™s selections.
â€œOur aim is to prevent the starting of smoking in the young, to encourage smokers to quit, to treat smoking-related diseases and once those diseases can no longer be treated, thatâ€™s where Hospice kicks in,â€ Anderson said.
The largest allocation, $85,000, was to Hospice, which has received money from the settlement funds since the committee was formed three years ago.
The money will pay for nonfunded hospice care for terminally ill patients with tobacco-related illnesses.
Anderson said the committee is impressed by every aspect of Hospice.
â€œHospice is so very well run and the people are very dedicated,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s run on a shoestring. They donâ€™t waste, and they are finding innovative ways to do things.â€
This is also the third year in a row that the American Lung Association has received funding. This yearâ€™s allocation is twice the amount the organization was given last year.
The lung association will receive $62,500 for two programs: Not-On-Tobacco, or N-O-T, a teen smoking cessation program, and Teens Against Tobacco, or T.A.T.U., a youth smoking prevention program.
The Health For All clinic will receive $18,000 for a pharmaceutical program that provides inhalers and prescription aids for smokers ready to quit. It is the second year for Health For All to receive money from the tobacco settlement fund.
St. Joseph Regional Health Center will receive $33,000 for inpatient hospital care and a community smoking cessation educational program. This is the first year the health center has applied for and received tobacco monies.
The five-member committee made its recommendations based on the five applications it received and site visits to the organizations.
Marcy Hosking, who works for the Brazos County Health Department and serves as a liaison between the county and the committee, said the fund is valuable because it is employed to prevent and treat tobacco-related illnesses in Brazos County.
â€œWe all know what tobacco can do to us and how deadly it can be,â€ Hosking said. â€œAs far as prevention, education and cessation in the community, itâ€™s all important.â€