Seven new full-time community health workers will improve coordination of local, culturally competent primary care for lower-income, underserved residents in Wyandotte County.
The Community Health Council of Wyandotte County has partnered with Kansas City CARE Clinic to train and manage the community health workers, who provide one-on-one services to address social and health needs. They help individuals and families access community resources for food or housing; apply for and utilize health benefits; find affordable health care and medications; attend doctor appointments; and get motivated to set and reach health goals.
Those served by the community health workers include Wyandotte County's African-American, Latino, refugee and white populations, and individuals are referred to the program by clinical and community partner organizations, and can also self-refer.
The initiative, funded by a $1.9 million grant by United Health Foundation, is part of CHC's Community Health Worker Collaborative. The Collaborative creates and strengthens partnerships with local organizations addressing health care needs in Wyandotte County; provides streamlined, individualized and patient-centered care at the community level; improves health outcomes; and lowers costs.
Through the CHC's partnership with United Health Foundation, the initiative will increase over the next three years the number of community-based caregivers who are able to conduct outreach and reduce barriers to care for Wyandotte County residents most in need of enhanced care coordination.
"With this initiative, we have the opportunity to enhance how health services are received by the people who need them and how they are delivered by medical providers," said Jerry Jones, CHC executive director. "By putting collaboration, discovery-driven learning and integrated decision-making into practice, this partnership with Community Health Council, KC CARE Clinic and United Health Foundation is improving the quality of health care for Wyandotte County residents and inspiring innovation for a better health care system."
"I am blessed to have the opportunity to serve my community and witness the impact we have in people's lives," said Carolina Biagi, a community health worker serving Wyandotte County's English-, Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking populations. "Our underserved community faces many challenges, so it is beautiful to be there to help families connect with resources and be by their side through the process."
A Community in Need, A Collaborative Solution
The community health workers' outreach will give residents access to high-quality health care and local, affordable primary care. Focusing on people with lower incomes and diverse populations, including many immigrants and refugees, the community health workers' goal is to reach more than 10,000 people in need of care across Wyandotte County.
United Health Foundation supports innovative and evidence-based ideas that help the health system work better, and invests in the development of a 21st century workforce that is primary care-based and meeting the needs of patients. The foundation supports partnerships nationwide, like the Community Health Worker Collaborative, that improve care coordination, address critical public health needs and expand access to patient-centered care in local communities.
"Breaking down the barriers to quality health care that many of our low-income residents face is one of the most critical tasks our community must undertake," said Kansas City Kansas Mayor Mark Holland. "I am very pleased to see the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County lead this initiative with support from United Health Foundation and give our residents the opportunity to improve their health through better care coordination."
"One of the ways we help build healthier communities is by partnering with local organizations to make it easier for people to access health care services," said Tim Spilker, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas. "These community health workers are already proving what a tremendous impact their work can have in providing care to help Wyandotte County residents live healthier lives."
The grant was announced at a community event at the CHC offices where Mayor Holland joined community leaders, including Wyandotte County commissioners, local community health workers, project partners and Wyandotte County residents to celebrate the new funding and first year of the program.
"This intensive, community-based approach has been successful in improving the health of communities across the globe and in the Kansas City region for many years," said Dennis Dunmyer, vice president of Behavioral Health and Community Programs, Kansas City CARE Clinic. "United Health Foundation's support presents a great opportunity for KC CARE to expand its work in this arena, and we are honored to be chosen by the Community Health Council to partner on this initiative in Wyandotte County."
About Community Health Council of Wyandotte County
The mission of the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, Inc. (CHC) is to improve health and health care in Wyandotte County by bringing a community perspective and identifying resources for collaboration, planning and implementation of effective community initiatives. The CHC, formed in 2002, is a not-for-profit, public/private collaborative, which exists to improve access to healthcare for the uninsured and the underinsured, to enhance health maintenance and prevention of health problems, and to facilitate coordination of community health services and health education initiatives.
About Kansas City CARE Clinic
The Kansas City CARE Clinic is one of the oldest and largest charitable care clinics in the nation. Founded in 1971, Clinic's clinical services include adult general primary care, HIV primary care, pediatric care, oral healthcare, and behavioral health and prevention services. With a staff of nearly 150 and more than 900 dedicated volunteers, the Clinic provides healthcare, education, and support for more than 9,000 individuals annually with nearly 18,000 clinical patient appointments and more than 45,000 case management, education & prevention and testing encounters. The mission of the Kansas City CARE Clinic is to promote health and wellness by providing quality care, access, research and education to the underserved and all people in our community.
About United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health Foundation has committed more than $300 million to programs and communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at www.unitedhealthfoundation.org or follow @UHGGives on Twitter or Facebook.com/UHGGives.
Kansas City Kan. Mayor Mark Holland addresses attendees at a community event Aug. 10 during which the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, in partnership with Kansas City CARE Clinic, was awarded a $1.9 million grant from United Health Foundation to support its recently launched Community Health Worker Collaborative. As part of the program, community health workers provide one-on-one services to address social and health needs, helping individuals and families access community resources for food or housing; apply for and utilize health benefits; find affordable health care and medications; attend doctor appointments; and get motivated to set and reach health goals. (Photo: Adri Guyer, Fuller Creative, LLC)
Community health worker Claudia Rodriguez-Rios addresses attendees at a community event Aug. 10 during which the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, in partnership with Kansas City CARE Clinic, was awarded a $1.9 million grant from United Health Foundation to support its recently launched Community Health Worker Collaborative. As one of seven new community health workers engaged in the local initiative, Claudia spoke of her passion in supporting Wyandotte County residents in accessing the care and resources to address social and health needs. (Photo: Adri Guyer, Fuller Creative, LLC)