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Government

Sedgwick Co. Provides Additional Funding To Project Access

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The Sedgwick County Commissioners voted Wednesday to restore some of the funding they cut from Project Access earlier this year.

The nonprofit coordinates donated medical care for uninsured patients.

The county will provide an additional $25,000 to Project Access this year, bringing the county’s contribution to the program up to $200,000.

In January, the commissioners unexpectedly cut the program’s funding, even though it was already approved in the county’s budget.

Project Access is funded by the county, the City of Wichita and the United Way of the Plains, as well as private donors.

The vote was three to two, with commissioners Richard Ranzau and Karl Peterjohn voting against the proposal.

Peterjohn says the county has a lot of other fiscal priorities as it heads into the budget cycle.

"I struggle with where's the optimal amount of funding in this type of area and this type of program because there are so many entities both public and private that are involved here," Peterjohn says.

Commissioner Jim Howell says it’s time the county moves away from using property tax revenues to fund Project Access.

"Wichita has used grant dollars, as well as Sedgwick County has used property tax dollars to fund this," Howell says. "Ideally we would see an equal share that comes from similar sources."

Howell says the county will apply for grants to help cover funding for Project Access in 2016.

In June, the city used money from the sale of a building to provide a one-time funding allocation of $25,000 for Project Access.

Facts about Project Access:

  • The Central Plains Health Care Partnership administers the Project Access Program.
  • Project Access began in 1999 and has an $800,000 annual operating budget.
  • Project Access provided $170 million in donated medical care to more than 12,000 people during its 15 years in service.
  • Project Access provided about $9.5 million in donated medicine since 1999.
  • 630 physicians, 12 dentists, and eight hospital systems, including Via Christi Health and Wesley Medical Center, participate in Project Access.
  • About 65,000 people in Sedgwick County do not have insurance.
  • The Kansas Health Foundation donated $50,000 to Project Access.