(June 7, 2019) – Many of you are familiar with the Kansas Hospital Education and Research Foundation (KHERF), but you may not know that KHERF is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. KHERF's objective is to facilitate collaboration and innovation to improve health delivery for Kansas communities with a focus on effective leadership, shared knowledge and leveraged resources. Since its founding in 1969, KHERF has played an important role in many projects important to Kansas hospitals.
For example, as the old "EACH/RPCH" evolved into the current Critical Access Hospital program, KHERF was in a leadership role in partnership with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. That leadership has continued in the form of the Kansas Rural Health Options Project (KRHOP), another partnership between the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Bureau of Community Health Systems and KHERF (the foundation of the Kansas Hospital Association). KRHOP offers technical support, information, networking opportunities, funding and other resources to Critical Access Hospitals and other rural providers. KRHOP demonstrates the power of coordinated efforts by public and private sectors at the state, regional and local levels. Funding for the KRHOP initiatives is provided by the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (FLEX) grant awarded to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration.
A very successful program under the KHERF umbrella is QHi. During its 14 years, this benchmarking program has supported quality and financial improvement initiatives in more than 500 hospitals and clinics in Kansas and across the country.
Another important focus of KHERF over the years has been the Health Care Scholarship Program. In this competitive award, the Foundation assists deserving individuals interested in improving their abilities to provide quality care in Kansas. Now in its 17th year, the scholarship program has assisted nearly 500 deserving students.
KHERF is and has been involved in many other important projects over the years, including collaboration with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment on issues affecting Kansas hospitals such as broadband access, leadership in the development of healthcare delivery models, and new hospital CEO support and mentoring.
We are grateful to the many people who have played a leadership role in KHERF over the last fifty years. We are especially grateful to two retired KHA employees, Larry Shaffer and Melissa Hungerford, who managed KHERF for most of its existence and whose leadership helped develop the foundation into the important organization it is today.
Congratulations to the Kansas Hospital Education and Research Foundation for 50 years of making a difference!