UnitedHealthcare Awards $234,000 in Grants to Improve Access to Care in Rural Kansas

August 18, 2017

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer addressed the crowd during the presentation of two Frontier Rural Health Care grants to Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas and Southeast Kansas Independent Living Center in Pittsburg, Kansas on Aug. 16, 2017. UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas CEO Kevin Sparks, Southeast Kansas Independent Living Center CEO and President Shari Coatney and Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas CEO and President Krista Postai look on (Photo: Mark McDonald Photography).

  • UnitedHealthcare's Frontier Rural Health Care grant program aims to increase access to health care for all Kansans
  • Five Kansas health organizations awarded grants

UnitedHealthcare awarded four grants this week to local community organizations that are improving access to health care for Kansans living in rural areas.

On Tuesday, Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D., and Kevin Sparks, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas, presented a $48,000 Frontier Rural Health Care grant to the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Inc. (CHC/SEK) and a $45,000 grant to the Southeast Kansas Independent Living Center (SKIL) at a ceremony in Pittsburg. The following day, a $45,000 grant was awarded to the Community Health Ministry in Wamego, and a $48,000 grant was awarded to the Minneola District Hospital in Minneola.

A fifth grant for $48,000 will be presented to the Reno County Health Department later this month in Hutchinson, totaling $234,000 in donations by UnitedHealthcare.

UnitedHealthcare established the Frontier Rural Health Care grant program earlier this year to fund organizations and programs aimed at improving health resources available for people living in rural areas of Kansas.

"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," Lt. Gov. Colyer said. "Grants like these enable us to strengthen quality health care and resources in remote communities across Kansas."

The five grant recipients include:

  • Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Inc. ( – The grant will advance its prototype telemedicine system to a fully functional program, providing access to care for people who do not live close to a health care provider.
  • Southeast Kansas Independent Living Center ( – The grant will be used to teach 70 people how to monitor and improve their health with portable mHealth technology adapted for people with disabilities.
  • Community Health Ministry ( – The grant will enable outreach staff to address the health care and wellness needs of Pottawatomie and Wabaunsee county seniors who require assistance to remain living at home.
  • Minneola District Hospital ( – The grant will provide integrated behavioral health therapy services by screening patients for depression and drug and alcohol dependency, as well as inpatient services and implementing post emergency department phone calls for chronic users.
  • Reno County Health Department ( – The grant will fund a full-time community health worker to provide health support services (such as transportation and translation) and weekly educational opportunities for more than 200 people.

"UnitedHealthcare's goal was to seek out innovative, compassionate, hands-on programs when selecting grant partners," Sparks said. "We are grateful for the opportunity to support the work of these organizations that are helping Kansans live healthier lives. Together, we are improving access to care across our state."

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.

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.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at or follow @myUHC on Twitter.