MINNETONKA, Minn. – UnitedHealthcare awarded more than $200,000 in grants last month to improve access to care—in some cases, through technology—for members living in rural areas of Kansas.
For Community Health Ministry, the $45,000 grant it received will allow the agency to explore how remote patient monitoring can help area seniors stay healthy at home.
“In Kansas, we’re behind the curve for things like telehealth and virtual visits,” said Rick Hernandez, CEO and executive director of the nonprofit social services agency, which serves thousands of people in two Kansas counties.
CHM currently helps seniors get set up with remote patient monitoring devices and other personal emergency response systems, and helps them find ways to afford those technologies through local and national resources. CHM also assesses the living situations of the people it serves and finds solutions to health and daily living issues.
With grant funds in hand, Hernandez said CHM will begin to look at video monitoring solutions for some of its clients.
“It’s hard to put eyes on what’s going on in the home when someone just can’t be there in person,” he said.
The Frontier Rural Health Care grants, established by UnitedHealthcare earlier this year, are designed to improve health resources for people living in rural Kansas towns.
Grants were also awarded to: Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas to advance its prototype telemedicine system to a fully functional program; and Southeast Kansas Independent Living Center to teach 70 people how to monitor and improve their health with portable mHealth technology adapted for people with disabilities.
“Together we are improving access to care across our state,” said Kevin Sparks, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas, in a statement announcing the grant awards.