The Sedgwick County Commission approved funding and renewed its partnership with the Project Access health care program Wednesday.
Project Access coordinates medical care and the supplies needed to treat people who are low-income or don’t have insurance. Doctors donate their time to treat eligible patients, hospitals donate the use of their facility, and thousands of dollars worth of medical equipment and prescription medicines are donated as needed during treatment.
Sedgwick County partners with the City of Wichita and the United Way of the Plains to provide the majority of the program’s over $800,000 budget. Central Plains Health Care Partnership administers Project Access.
This year, the commissioners agreed to provide $175,000 from the county, the same amount as last year. The vote was 5-0.
Commissioner Jim Howell said he’d like to see the program’s fundraising efforts expanded.
"It doesn’t change our commitment to Project Access in any way," Howell said. "I think it would be great for that to be diversified as much as possible and those efforts expanded if possible."
Commissioner Richard Ranzau agreed.
"Project Access is a good program," Ranzau said. "I will continue to say that this can, and should be, funded entirely by the private sector."
Project Access added more than $690,000 to its budget through gifts from community organizations and fundraising efforts over the past five years.
Program Director Ann Nelson says more than 1,000 Sedgwick County residents received care through the program last year. All told, Project Access has served more than 13,000 people since it began in 1999.
Nelson says the value of the donated hospital care in 2016 was $4.5 million, and the value of the donated physician care was $2 million.
She says approximately $390,000 worth of purchased and donated medications were dispensed in 2016. About $33,000 worth of medical equipment was provided to those under Project Access care.
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