Opinion Columns & Blogs

Good health integral to Wichita economy

Health care is a major component of the cost of doing business for Wichita-area employers. Finding ways to lower the cost of health care is not an easy task.

If we want to see our community move forward, it is vital that our business leaders take on the challenge of addressing both health and health care. Poor health saps our productivity, lowers job performance and increases absenteeism. Money spent as a result of poor health is not available for innovation and growth. And high-quality effective care can actually result in lower health care costs.

As we look at health and health care in Wichita, it is easy to focus on the cost factor. But perhaps we can reframe the issue: How can good health and good care be an integral part of building a vibrant Wichita economy?

A strong link exists between economic development and community health. Successful communities improve the health of their residents, and healthy people contribute more to a vibrant economy.

Focusing on how we can create a healthy community, including how our health system supports good health as well as excellent care, may be an important step in the right direction.

The Wichita Business Coalition on Health Care is a forum to engage business, health and community leaders. Coalition members engage in dialogue and activity that bring the key stakeholders together to collaboratively address the many challenges and opportunities represented by health and health care in our community.

The coalition’s focus is best captured by a triple aim: better health, better care and lower cost.

The coalition is an important force for raising the level of discussion about health and health care in our community. Four years ago, business leaders created the coalition as a way to change the conversation.

The need for such leadership in our community exists now as much as ever. Business and community leaders should put a priority on good health and excellent care. The topic of health needs to be included in conversations about economic development, construction of buildings and public spaces, transportation and investments.

Declaring that good health is an important community goal may not be typically associated with business leadership. But leadership that recognizes the importance of good health and good care can play an essential role in moving Wichita forward.