Utahns wanting to receive health care at home got a $1,021,596 shot in the arm this week with the announcement that Utah will receive that amount from the federal government to help ailing children and adults.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, whose legislation established a $5 million grant for such home health care, said Utah was the top financial recipient of five states that were awarded grants."This is a real plus for Utah's home health program," Hatch said. "Utah competed with 17 other applicants, and of the five states which were awarded grants under the act, Utah was the top financial winner, which means we can help more citizens to receive health care in their own homes."

More than 100 different organizations requested information, indicating a wide range of interest in the grants. The five winning states were Utah, Hawaii, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Utah will serve between 20 and 30 children and between 40 and 50 adults. The state will supervise how the funds are to be used through criteria developed through the Utah Department of Health.

"The present system in America is biased toward more costly care to individuals because to be reimbursed, the patient must be hospitalized," Hatch said. "Through home health care grants, such as the ones being awarded today, the same patient's cost can be substantially reduced."

Legislation enacting the grants is part of the Older Americans Act that provides home health care services to people with catastrophic or chronic illnesses.

Hatch said there is a good possibility of each of the states receiving more than the announced grants.

"Since the total of each of the five applicants was below the $5 million grant, it's possible that each state will be awarded an additional $90,000," Hatch added. "The Department of Health and Human Services will determine that at a future date."

Hatch said with this new money, home health care in Utah is on its way.

"Long-term care is vitally important to everyone. Medical planners will be watching Utah's first year," he said. "Results from this program can be essential to making real progress in solving the problem."