Access to behavioral health services remains a critical issue for far too many Kansans, particularly those living in rural areas, where specialized support is often difficult to find.
Sunflower Foundation has long supported innovative efforts to modernize the state’s behavioral health care delivery system and improve access to services, and we believe that integrated care – when primary and behavioral health care providers collaborate to provide a team-based continuum of care for patients – is one way to accomplish that.
In 2011, Sunflower Foundation launched its Integrated Care Initiative, supporting safety net clinics in mostly larger communities whose goal was to move toward an integrated care model. Now, through a partnership between Sunflower Foundation, the Eugene S. Farley Health Policy Center and Practice Innovation Program at the University of Colorado and the Health Innovations Network of Kansas, the foundation is supporting a new phase of integrated care designed to bring that whole-person approach to a patchwork of rural communities in northeast Kansas.
The foundation is providing $350,000 in support to the initiative. Participating clinics include: Amberwell Atchison Primary Care, Amberwell Hiawatha Primary Care, Coffey County Medical Center in Burlington, Heartland Health Care Clinic in Abilene, Holton Family Medicine, MCH Medical Clinic in Council Grove, Onaga Medical Clinic and Seneca Family Practice.
HINK, a consortium of hospitals and clinics in northeast Kansas committed to strengthening access to quality health care in the region, will serve as the hub and convener for a 12-month integrated care learning network for the participating clinics. The Farley Center, a national leader in integrated care research and implementation, will offer technical assistance and immersive, in-depth educational sessions to help the rural clinics assess their capacity and readiness to integrate behavioral health and primary care.
Sunflower Foundation is excited and proud to support this new effort in integrated care as we continue to strive to be a catalyst in improving access to behavioral health care for all Kansans.
Read more about the Northeast Kansas Rural Health Clinic Integrated Care Learning Collaborative at https://tinyurl.com/y4mpycrs.