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Tulsa Health Leaders To Visit Wichita As Part Of Public Health Sister City Program

Deborah Shaar
KMUW/File photo

A group of health leaders from Tulsa will be in Wichita on Monday to learn about Sedgwick County’s health system. The visit is part of the Public Health Sister City program.

Wichita health leaders and elected officials visited Tulsa back in May, and now it’s Tulsa’s turn to learn about the state of health in Wichita.

Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Jim Howell says there are a lot of similarities between the two health departments, but funding levels are different. He says the Tulsa Health Department spends about twice as much on its services as Sedgwick County.

Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW
Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Jim Howell speaks at a press conference last week.

"One thing I would say about our health department is that we are very efficient. We do a lot of great services and we are doing it for less money, which again, [I think] that is good government," he says. "If you can provide those services for less cost, that’s exactly what I think a lot of conservatives like myself really appreciate."

Howell says overall, local health outcomes are on par with Tulsa.

"We spend about half—maybe a little less than half—of the money they spend, but our outcomes, I believe, are very much on par with the outcomes of the Tulsa Health Department.

Another difference between the two cities’ health systems is that an independent board makes decisions about services provided by the Tulsa Health Department. In Sedgwick County, the commissioners are the governing board of the health department.

The Tulsa delegation will hear from county health leaders and community partners such as the Medical Society of Sedgwick County, Project Access, Wichita State University and Health Alliance.

A grant from the Kansas Health Foundation is funding the sister city program.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

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