Kansas Initiatives to Address Medically Underserved Communities

Kansas Initiatives to Address Medically Underserved Communities
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92 of the 105 counties in Kansas are considered medically under-served. That includes Bourbon, Cherokee, and Crawford county.

“Probably the hardest thing that we have found is recruiting of primary care physicians right now. That’s the biggest shortage that we are facing,” Via Christi physician recruiter Kayla Joy said. Via Christi short up to 6 primary care physicians, and needs specialists as well.

“About 5 to 8 specialists that we’d like to recruit,” Joy said.

The struggle to recruit contributes to Crawford County’s medically underserved designation; which also applies to every Southeast Kansas county immediately surrounding Crawford, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“There are a shortage of people going into primary care and there are a shortage of training slots right now,” Joy said.

Governor Brownback’s plan is to provide $5 million for new doctor training programs at Kansas hospitals and create a task force to establish a privately funded school to train osteopaths. Joy believes the more medical professionals being trained in Kansas, the more that will end up practicing in Kansas.

“Any additional training that we have in the state of Kansas would just help, you know, our hospital, and all hospitals in the state of Kansas,” Joy said.

Via Christi hopes Brownback’s initiatives address the areas of most need at the hospital, which is primary care and psychiatrists. Via Christi officials say its joint venture with Mercy to build a facility for primary care providers in Pittsburg should help with the patient-to-care provider ratio.