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Grant To Cut Heart Attack & Stroke Deaths In Rural KS

(photo courtesy of University of Kansas Hospital)

A federal grant of more than 12-million dollars will fund a new, three-year partnership between the University of Kansas Hospital and medical providers in Western Kansas. As Bryan Thompson explains, the money is from an Affordable Care Act program aimed at spurring innovation in health care.

The goal: to reduce deaths from heart disease and stroke in the targeted area by 20 per cent. The plan involves twelve, small critical access hospitals and other providers in west-central and northwest Kansas. They’ll use telemedicine, preventive screenings, and care management to help patients get the care they need closer to home. The providers will offer standardized treatment for heart disease and stroke, with clear standards for when to transfer patients to a higher level of care—at Hays Medical Center, or the University of Kansas Hospital. Barbara MacArthur is vice president for cardiac services at the KU Hospital.

“There’s a very strong community grassroots education component that’s important so we can actually prevent heart attacks and strokes, she says. “Then, the monies also go into education for clinicians, transportation, use of technology, and sharing of information through electronic records.”

MacArthur says in 2011, more than 5,000 Kansans died from heart attacks, and more than a thousand more from strokes—and the highest death rates were in rural communities. She says many of these deaths can be prevented by getting patients the proper care immediately.