KDHE receives $1.7 million to improve health conditions that contribute to severity of COVID-19

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 11:26 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has received over $1.7 million to help improve health conditions that contribute to severe illness and death as a result of COVID-19.

U.S. Senators Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) say the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded the Kansas Department of Health and Environment over $1.7 million to address health disparities and ensure access to COVID-19 services including testing, contact tracing, immunization services and to improve community health resiliency.

“COVID-19 has altered our relationship with health care and exposed existing vulnerabilities in our public health infrastructure. This is a chance not only to help people protect themselves from COVID-19 but also improve the overall health of every individual,” said Senator Marshall. “In Kansas, health care organizations and KDHE have found community health workers to be a trusted resource for underserved areas by providing education and other services that improve an individual’s health and self-sufficiency. This funding will support our health care heroes throughout the pandemic and improve our public health infrastructure for the future.”

“Training and deploying community health workers across Kansas will help make vaccines, medical treatment and educational resources more widely available, both during this pandemic and in the future,” said Senator Moran. “This grant will help train medical workers to provide patients in underserved areas with preventative services that could save their lives.”

According to the Senators from Kansas, the funding was provided through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its health impacts by training and deploying more community health workers. Specifically, community health workers will be trained to engage with state and local public health initiatives to manage COVID-19 in underserved patient populations at a higher risk of severe illness and death.

Additionally, the Senators said community health workers will play a role in connecting local residents to healthcare services, increasing access and frequency of health appointments, reducing the need for emergency and specialty services and improving health recommendations like healthier eating habits.

While community health workers have shown a positive impact, Sens. Moran and Marshall said state and local governments have seen a shortage of trained workers to meet existing public health needs. The project will begin on Aug. 31 and will run for 3 years. In total, they said the KDHE received $1,765,609 for the 2021 budget year.

According to the CDC, the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 is higher in those with underlying health conditions. Some of these conditions are preventable by maintaining healthy habits and following recommendations from a doctor.

The Senators said the funding for the project is authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act of 2020. Both Senators supported the passage of the legislation co-sponsored by Marshall.

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