Since the late 1800s, Wichitans and their fellow Kansans have relied upon Via Christi Health for access to quality care provided in the compassionate and dignified manner that everyone deserves.
Today, as part of Ascension’s national ministry, we continue to play a critical role in the health and economic vitality of our community. In keeping with our mission, we serve as the community’s safety net, providing more than $100 million in statewide community benefit – including $79 million in Wichita – in fiscal year 2017.
We remain committed to caring for the vulnerable and those who are struggling financially. That commitment is demonstrated through outreach initiatives such as our collaboration with community partners to provide a day of free health care through our Medical Mission at Home, which will be held this year on April 14 at Mueller Aerospace Magnet Elementary School.
It is also evidenced by:
▪ Our human trafficking response program, which has helped us recognize and reach out with support to 74 victims in Wichita alone.
▪ Our advocacy on behalf of hard-working Kansans who earn too much to qualify for KanCare, but too little to be eligible to get financial help to purchase private insurance.
▪ Our collaboration with our local Robert J. Dole Veterans Administration Hospital to ensure that those who have risked their lives to protect ours have timely access to the specialized care they need through Ascension’s Veteran’s Choice program.
At the same time, we are a major contributor to the economic health of our community. The Wichita area is home to approximately 6,000 of our more than 8,000 Via Christi associates statewide. Economists estimate that each of these jobs create or support another 0.6 jobs.
Finally, we continue to partner with physicians, bedside caregivers, local businesses and other community organizations to develop more efficient and effective ways to deliver care.
We have developed transitional care programs designed to help hospitalized patients understand and follow their plan of care once they return home. For example, we recently launched a Community Paramedic Program in partnership with Sedgwick County that is funded by an innovation grant from Ascension. This program, like our other Transitional Care programs, is helping to improve participants’ quality of life and avoid unnecessary re-hospitalizations.
Our accountable care organization – a smart, coordinated network of doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers – is working with the city’s largest private employer to improve the health of its more than 10,000 employees and their dependent family members.
We also are nearing completion of the first phase of Project Renewal, a more than $50 million renovation project that when completed next year will convert Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph to private rooms and offer an expanded complement of inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services on one campus.
So while we will be adding Ascension’s name to our own in the coming months, rest assured that our dedication to the mission of our founders and the community remains strong.
Mike Mullins is president and CEO of Via Christi Health, as well as senior vice president and Kansas market executive for Ascension