May 1, 2018

Kearny County Hospital Awarded 2017 Gilbreath Award

Kearny County Hospital
Pioneer Care Advocacy Team

2017 Recipient
Janet Sevier Gilbreath Special Project Recognition Award

Morita Truman and David Jordan present Kearny County Hospital CEO, Benjamin Anderson, with the 2017 Janet Sevier Gilbreath Project of the Year award at a May 1, 2018 ceremony in Hutchinson.

Kearny County Hospital and Rural Health Clinic draw patients from a 12-county area across southwest Kansas and western Colorado, an area with populations comprising at least 22 nationalities. The organization’s unique, mission-related recruiting practices have enabled it to expand its primary care provider capacity.   

The organization has instituted a multi-targeted approach to positively affect the health of residents in and around Kearny County.  In 2017 the Health Fund supported the salary of a Masters Level Social Worker enabling the Pioneer Care Advocacy Team to expand its level of care coordination services to the refugee and immigrant population that lives in and around Kearny County, specifically to the sizeable and culturally isolated Somali population.  The Care Coordination Team makes in-home visits, participates in patient rounds of acute care hospital patients and visits with emergency room patients who are triaged by medical providers as non-emergent.  All of these activities help reduce inappropriate emergency room visits while increasing appropriate clinic use.  This work played a significant part in reducing non-emergent visits to the hospital’s Emergency Room by 88% in a single year (from a monthly high of 110 visits down to 14).  In 2016, 168 persons received care coordination services; in 2017 that number expanded to 245.

Additionally, the care coordinators assist patients with Medicaid applications and accessing patient assistance funds so they can receive medications that are otherwise unaffordable.  The care coordination team makes referrals to community-based services and provides some transportation services to enable persons to access behavioral health services or other social services.  

Care Coordinators also advocate for their clients.  In one case an insurance company denied pre-authorized payment for a drug that would prevent a woman, with a history of miscarriage, from going into preterm labor at 22 weeks.  Had that initial denial not been overturned, it is very likely the mother would have delivered early and the newborn might not have survived or would have required hospitalization in a neonatal intensive care unit for many weeks.  That hospitalization would have been very costly to the payer, parents, and hospital. For an approximate $4,000 payment of medication to avoid preterm labor, the insurance payer likely prevented the expenditure of many more dollars for intensive care services. 
For these accomplishments and for the leadership and service provided in rural and frontier regions of Kansas, Kearny County Hospital is presented the 2017 Janet Sevier Gilbreath Special Project Recognition award for the work of its Pioneer Care Advocacy Team.

Representing the project for Kearny County Hospital at the awards ceremony were Benjamin Anderson, CEO; Kendal Carswell, Director, Pioneer Care Advocacy Team; team members Katrina Brown, Karla DavilaMeredith PetersDenise RobinsonSteve Sullivan, and Linzie VanattaBetty Greer, President, Board of Trustees; and Teresa Beaudry, Board of Trustees.

Awarded May 1, 2018

Learn more about the Janet Sevier Gilbreath award

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