Governor Laura Kelly Announces State-Allocated Funds will Increase Access to Telehealth Statewide
Topeka, KS (STL.News) Governor Laura Kelly today visited Konza Prairie Community Health Center in Junction City to announce that the Community Care Network of Kansas has been allocated Coronavirus Relief Funds to help its federally funded Community Health Centers increase access to care through telehealth.
18 of Community Care Network’s health centers benefitted from $3 million in State-allocated CRF dollars, purchasing over 44,000 devices to be distributed to patients and enhance the value of telehealth. These devices, including blood pressure monitors, glucometers, pulse oximeters, thermometers, and scales, are in the process of being distributed. This will allow patients and their doctors to monitor their chronic conditions from the safety and comfort of their home.
“While COVID-19 underscored the importance of increasing telehealth capabilities, growing these services will benefit Kansans long after the pandemic is over,” Governor Kelly said. “I’m pleased that Community Care has used these Coronavirus Relief Funds to bolster telehealth services and increase access to health care for all Kansas. My administration is committed to supporting these efforts now and into the future.”
Community Care’s network of Health Centers used funds allocated by the State of Kansas to purchase the necessary equipment to reach more than 20,000 at-risk patients remotely.
“90% of the health center patients report incomes less than 200% of the federal poverty line,” Terri Kennedy, Director of the Health Center Controlled Network (HCCN) Program, said. “So when the pandemic hit we knew we needed to ensure access to healthcare for our patients.“
In 2019 alone, Community Care health centers saw more than 80,000 patients with chronic disorders, including diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. These patients would previously need to frequently travel to clinics to monitor their conditions. With the onset of the pandemic, this became increasingly difficult.
“This is why we decided to focus on telehealth,” Trish Harkness, Health Information Technology and Systems Specialist at Community Care, said. “It truly gives you an opportunity to meet patients where they are, especially when you’re talking about underserved populations who face a number of challenges to get access to care.”
“Our initial goal was to benefit 10,000 Kansans,” Denise Cyzman, Chief Executive Officer at Community Care, said. “Based on the blood pressure monitor order alone, 21,147 patients could benefit. And we know our health centers can make a positive impact in the lives of many Kansas.”