Clara Barton Hospital is a Critical Access Hospital, Skilled Swing Bed Facility, and Level IV Trauma Center, located in Hoisington, KS. The Mission of Clara Barton is to meet the health care needs and improve the quality of life for the community they serve. Under the leadership of Clara Barton Hospital, the Health for Life Coalition further enhances the hospital’s mission to improve the quality of life through education and initiatives that encourage healthy habits, increasing awareness, empowering individuals to take responsibility for their own health and supporting a sense of community. The Health for Life coalition was created out of an effort to improve wellness within the hospital and throughout the community it serves. These efforts will be focused in the rural Northern sector of the county encompassing seven communities with a total population of 3,678.
HOISINGTON— Clara Barton Hospital and the City of Hoisington learned it is one of eight communities in Kansas recently selected as a grantee in the largest community grant program ever funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas.
The Pathways program provides community coalitions like Clara Barton’s Health for Life with the tools and resources needed to remove barriers and engage the community in ways that enable healthy eating and tobacco-free, active living to become a way of life. The funding for Hoisington includes a coordination grant of $100,000, with the opportunity to apply for non-competitive implementation and achievements grants amounting to $215,000, for a total of $315,000 during the next three years.
BCBS chose ‘Pathways’ as the name for this initiative because there are truly many paths which must converge in order for a community to build and sustain a healthy environment for residents.
“When we were being considered for the grant, I remember telling one of the reviewers that we actually got what their message was with this grant,” said Clara Barton CEO Jim Blackwell. “There wasn’t just one specific venue - if you want to impact lasting change, it has to touch on several different areas. These would have to be sustainable to be effective over the long term.”
Now that the grant has been secured, Health for Life members are putting together new pathways that will help local communities and businesses make an impact through healthy eating options, specifically in area restaurants and possibly in convenience stores, Blackwell said. Other areas of initiatives will within Clara Barton Hospital, its rural health clinic, physicians clinic and the work they are doing to become a patient centered medical home.
“We will encourage patients that we have coming into our facility to take part in healthy lifestyle changes,” he added.
In addition to the grant dollars, elementary schools in Hoisington and Northern Barton County will have free access to GoNoodle Plus for the duration of the funding period. GoNoodle is a website with interactive games and videos that get children moving throughout the day. The activities are designed to help children channel their physical and emotional energy for good – improving behavior, focus and achievement.
“Clara Barton is truly passionate about this. We have our own health and wellness initiatives internally and have seen so many positive changes and everyone is embracing it,” said Clara Barton Administrative Assistant Karla Crissman. “This grant came at such a great time, because we were ready to take their initiatives to the next level, reaching out to the community. We’ve had tremendous success here, and we want to share it with out friends and our neighbors and really change the quality of life in our community.”
The coalition now looks to expand its health and wellness initiatives to the community it serves by partnering with local businesses and schools to make health and wellness a way of life. The coalition hopes to improve the quality of life for its community by educating residents of the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle.
“We are very excited about the opportunities the Pathways grant will provide,” said Jim Blackwell, Clara Barton Hospital president/CEO. “Our recent success with this initiative has been impressive and I believe we can use this model as a way to inspire healthy lifestyles into our local communities.”
He added that through these efforts, Health for Life hopes to make a positive impact within the community in order to inspire other rural culture change initiatives and ideas through a collective and unified front.
“Pathways fits our mission, vision and values,” Blackwell said. “Its our responsibility and our duty as a health care organization to improve the lives of the population that we serve.”
That goes beyond providing stellar health care within their four walls.
“If we can improve the health of patients who use our facility, the long term impact to Clara Barton and our community will include less utilization of health care services in areas that really aren’t necessary.”
That means fewer emergency room visits for things that can be avoidable. The effects of issues like diabetes and heart disease can be delayed, and pushed further down the road.
“Through healthy lifestyles, we can ultimately reduce the amount of health care expense down the road, from an insurance standpoint and from a provider standpoint.”