KANSAS CITY, KAN. — A $12.5 million, 3-year federal grant was awarded today to a coalition of hospitals to improve care for heart disease and stroke while reducing medical costs in Western Kansas.
The grant was awarded to The University of Kansas Hospital, working with Hays Medical Center, ten Critical Access Hospitals and rural primary care providers serving Western Kansas.
The program will use telehealth technology, health data exchanges, preventive health screening, and care management to keep patients healthier closer to home.
The program calls for educating high risk populations to take steps on their own to prevent a health crisis and learning to immediately access care if a heart attack or stroke does occur.
The rural clinically integrated network (the coalition of hospitals and doctors) will work together to standardize treatment for heart disease and strokes, with clear standards for when providers need to transfer patients to a higher degree of care.
Barbara MacArthur, vice president for cardiac services at The University of Kansas Hospital, noted 5,321 Kansans died of heart disease and 1,333 Kansans died of cerebrovascular diseases in 2011.
“The highest mortality rates were in rural communities. Many deaths and long term disabilities of heart disease and stroke can be prevented if the right standards of medical care are accessed immediately. Under this program, hospitals working together can provide a continuum of high quality care with much better outcomes,” said MacArthur.
MacArthur also notes the patients addressing risk factors at home, combined with focused care by rural physicians and hospitals working together can bring down the total cost of care in the targeted areas.
More importantly, MacArthur noted the goal of the program is to reduce deaths in the targeted region from heart attacks and stroke by 20 percent.
Participating Critical Access Hospitals are:
· Cheyenne County Hospital
· Citizens Medical Center
· Gove County Medical Center
· Ness County Hospital District 2
· Norton County Hospital
· Pawnee Valley Community Hospital
· Phillips Counts Hospital
· Russell Regional Hospital
· Sheridan County Health Complex
· Trego County-Lemke Memorial Hospital
Other participating healthcare organizations include:
· The First Care Clinic, the federally qualified health center serving Northwest Kansas.
· HaysMed Great Bend Healthcare Center in Great Bend, Kansas.