Local Medical Providers Collaborating on New Health Information Program

L-R: Jackie Brown, Jay Brooke, Craig Loveless and Karen Bryant

The four main health organizations in Prowers County are forming an information group to foster community wellness and take steps to counter chronic illness and increasing obesity in the county.  This is being done, according to Jackie Brown from Prowers County Public Health & Environment, as the LiveWell grants are going away over the next 18 months.  She told the County Commissioners, LiveWell would be moved over into a sustainability program.

Jackie Brown , Jay Brooke from High Plains Community Health Center and Craig Loveless and Karen Bryant from Prowers Medical Center met with the Prowers County Commissioners recently to outline the scope of their project and ask for a letter of support.  Although no representative was available for the meeting, Southeast Mental Health Services is also one of the start-up principals in the project.  An independent board will govern the health coalition, comprised of representatives from the local health service field as well as some civic officials and private citizens.

Jay Brooke said that, “Although we haven’t been really good neighbors over the years, this will provide an opportunity for us to start on the same page and move in the same direction,” for health care.  The grant, Brooke continued, “will allow for community strategic planning to determine a series of programs in which all the health agencies can collaborate.”  He said the new group will address the high incidences of chronic illnesses and get people on a wellness program.

The information center will initially stem from the medical campus on Kendall Drive in Lamar.  The grant funded operation will concentrate on cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary disease.  Related partnerships with local groups could include Lamar Parks and Recreation, school representatives, Lamar Community College, some business owners, interested citizens and representatives from local government.  Interim Prowers Medical Center CEO, Craig Loveless said the program will have an independent governing board, not directly tied to the main health care providers.   He added that some of the services could be in-kind, through training, or treatment through mid-level medical providers.  Brown explained that the services will be for anyone in the community, irrespective of who they received their medical care from in the past or their financial ability to pay for services.

The funding will provide for two initial salaried employees who will work to get the program functioning, qualify for 501C3 status and note potential duplication of existing medical services.  Jay Brooke, executive director of High Plains, said his clinic will be the original financial pathway for the project. The grant application has already been issued and an answer on the funding is expected by October.  By that time, the assessments of a health-oriented community assessment will be issued.  Two community needs assessment, health forums are scheduled for July 19 and August 13.

The representatives provided the commissioners with a list of possible programs that could be covered including:  Worksite Wellness, Women’s Wellness Connection, exercise voucher program, Health Living Classes, Colorectal cancer screening, health fairs, nutritional programs, diabetes classes, Get Lean Lamar, the community garden, the Saturday Stroll, obesity prevention, the 5-2-10 childhood obesity initiative, school health coach, smoking cessation program and others.

Brown said this was a needed project, citing recent health assessments for the county.  She stated, “The 2012 county health rankings which were just released, show Prowers County ranked 57 out of 59 for health factors and 53 out of 59 for a health outcome.  This basically reflects our chronic disease rates.”  She added, “This program will help people get into this system and receive the health care navigation they need to make the changes in their life.”

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCityCommissionerscommunityCountyEducationGranadaHealthHollyLamarPublic SafetyWiley


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