Pittsburg & Parsons Receive $93,000 in Rural Grants - KOAM TV 7

Pittsburg & Parsons Receive $93,000 in Rural Grants


UnitedHealthcare awarded two grants totaling $93,000 to local community organizations that are improving access to health care for Kansans living in rural areas.

Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D., and Kevin Sparks, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas, presented a $48,000 grant to the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, Inc. (CHC/SEK), and $45,000 to the Southeast Kansas Independent Living Center (SKIL) at a ceremony today in Pittsburg, Kan.

The grants are part of the Frontier Rural Health Care grant program established earlier this year by UnitedHealthcare to fund organizations and programs aimed at improving health resources and programs for people living in rural areas of Kansas. The program is awarding more than $230,000 to community-based organizations statewide.

“Many Kansans who live in rural areas have to travel long distances to see a health care provider or they have limited access to preventive, specialty and emergency care,” said Lt. Gov. Colyer. “Grants like these enable us to strengthen quality health care and resources in remote communities across Kansas.”

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, located in Pittsburg, Kan., will use the funds to advance its prototype telemedicine system to a fully functional program for all its patients. This program provides access to care for people who do not live close to a health care provider, lowers the cost of care and reduces wait times for specialists like dermatologists or neurologists.

“This grant will help us eliminate access barriers by bringing affordable care to our most vulnerable patients, using smart technology maximized by a group of mission-focused medical providers,” said Krista Postai, president and CEO, Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas. “This will be life-changing – and potentially life-saving – for the people we serve throughout Southeast Kansas.”

Southeast Kansas Independent Living Center, located in Parsons, Kan., will use its grant to teach 70 people with diabetes, or who are at-risk for diabetes, how to monitor and improve their health with portable mHealth computers. This technology has been adapted for people with disabilities and supports patients with health tracking, health education webinars, one-on-one goal setting and peer support.

“Southeast Kansas Independent Living Center is excited to receive this funding to help us expand the possibilities of connecting health care and technology in rural communities,” said Shari Coatney, president and CEO, SKIL. “The possibilities are endless when we can pull resources together and look at innovative ways to meet people’s needs.”

“Telemedicine and virtual diabetes monitoring are examples of the kinds of innovative programs UnitedHealthcare looked for when awarding these grants,” Sparks said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support the work these organizations are doing to help Kansans live healthier lives, especially in rural areas.”

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, approximately 30 percent of Kansans live in rural or frontier areas, with more than 80 counties established as areas with shortages of primary care health professionals.

UnitedHealthcare will present two additional Frontier Rural Health Care grants in Wamego and Minneola, Kan., tomorrow. A fifth grant will be presented in Hutchinson, Kan., later this month.

To learn more about the distinctive health care needs facing people who live in rural communities and innovative ideas and solutions for quality, cost-effective care in local communities, visit Modernizing Rural Health Care.

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