Current Report Articles
President's Perspective – Healthworks Serves Valuable Role for Kansas Hospitals

Healthworks for newsletters (Mar. 8, 2024) – Since 1969, the Kansas Hospital Association's foundation, Healthworks, has played an important role in supporting its mission and vision. While Healthworks shares the same vision of KHA, "Optimal Health for Kansans," it's specific mission is to "facilitate collaboration and innovation to improve health." Healthworks strives to accomplish this in a variety of ways. For the current year, the main priority focus of Healthworks falls within three areas:

  • Health care delivery redesign
  • Workforce supply and capacity
  • Grant support

The Healthworks brand is likely recognizable to you; however, you may not know the breadth and scope of the resources it provides to support Kansas hospitals. As part of its portfolio, Healthworks has been the lead organization supporting QHi, the multi-state, web-based benchmarking tool designed by small rural hospitals and clinics to give executives insight into clinical quality, finance, operations, workforce and patient satisfaction. At present, QHi is being used by 428 hospitals in 12 states. Other Healthworks efforts include the Kansas Health-e Broadband project and multiple projects with Kansas Rural Hospitals Optimizing Performance, known as KRHOP.

A few Healthworks projects I would like to spotlight include its role in helping Kansas hospitals build a sustainable workforce, as well as its work in the area of new models of care. Developing a sustainable, and knowledgeable, workforce pipeline continues to be a primary focus for Healthworks. It works on this goal through many initiatives including the Healthworks long-standing health care scholarships program, now in its 22nd year, as well as newer initiatives, such as support for the Kansas Health Care Virtual Career Day and funding for HOSA-Future Health Professional student chapters in Kansas. These types of workforce initiatives are exposing high school students, and young professionals, to the rewarding aspects of choosing a career in health care.

Another important project Healthworks has been leading for several years includes the exploration of new health care delivery models. While the work in this area has been ongoing for many years, the results of its efforts are starting to be realized. Early on, hospital leaders around Kansas engaged in discussions on developing new and sustainable models of care for rural communities. Initially referred to as a Primary Health Center model, the ideas and concepts gained traction and are largely incorporated into what is now the Rural Emergency Hospital model. Kansas is now home to two Rural Emergency Hospitals, located in Arkansas City (SCK Health) and Moundridge (Mercy Hospital, Inc). Nationwide, this new delivery model has been replicated in more than 20 locations. Healthworks continues to play an important role in this new delivery model by having Jennifer Findley, Healthworks executive director, serving on the National Technical Center's Advisory Committee.

While it takes a talented and dedicated Healthworks team to carry out the projects and initiatives, it also requires visionary leadership from the Healthworks Board of Directors. I want to specifically express my appreciation for the board's leadership and commitment to the vision and mission of Healthworks. The 2024 Healthworks Board is led by Eddie Hermann, Hays Medical Center, Hays (chair), Todd Willert, Community HealthCare System, Inc., Onaga (vice chair) and current board members include Austin Gillard, Clay County Medical Center, Clay Center; Dee Dee Dewell, Pioneer Health Network, Garden City; Ken Johnson, Wichita; Patrick Custer, Morton County Health System; Elkhart; Brian Lawrence, Coffeyville Regional Medical Center, Coffeyville; Stephanie Bjornstad, Rooks County Health Center, Plainville; Claudio Ferraro, Ascension Via Christi Hospitals, Wichita; Janell Goodno, Kiowa District Hospital, Kiowa; and Robert Durrett, DO, Kansas COM, Wichita. Thank you again for your dedication to serving Healthworks.

Be on the lookout for a new Healthworks project launching very soon. This initiative will provide tools and resources to assist hospitals in finding and writing grants to support projects at the local level.
--Chad Austin