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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas enters provider partnership to improve health outcomes

With the new network, a provider will be able to search their community for resources and then refer patients directly.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS), United Way of Greater Topeka and Stormont Vail Health have partnered with Healthify to launch the Northeast Kansas Community Network – a connected network of healthcare and social service organizations aimed at improving health outcomes in Northeast Kansas. 

The Northeast Kansas Community Network is being funded through support from BCBSKS.


The partnership between insurer, provider and the United Way closes the gap between clinical and nonclinical organizations. Through the Healthify platform and the network, providers and community resources are connected to provide whole-person care to the most vulnerable members of the community, the organizations said. 

The overall benefits of the network include stronger collaboration, better ability to measure and gauge impact of services, streamlined care coordination and an emphasis on value-based care.

With the new network, a provider will be able to access the Healthify platform to search their community and surrounding areas for the resources their patients need, and refer them directly to that community organization. Stormont Vail, the leading healthcare provider in the community, will be a key starting point for many of the necessary referrals.

The network currently has 13 signed community partners in Shawnee County spanning key social service domains accepting referrals for more than 180 services. 

The infrastructure of the network will enable community-based organizations, such as Topeka Habitat for Humanity or Meals on Wheels, to enter deeper partnerships with healthcare providers and more easily connect with those in need of assistance.


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is the state's largest insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. Stormont Vail Health is a nonprofit integrated health system that has served Kansas for more than 130 years, and is composed of Stormont Vail Hospital, a 586-bed acute care hospital, and Cotton O'Neil Clinic, a multi-specialty physician group with more than 500 providers, including more than 250 physicians. 


"Our goal is to help reduce as many barriers as possible to accessing the resources needed to live a healthy life," said Virginia Barnes, director of Blue Health Initiatives at BCBSKS. "We know that around 60% of health outcomes are due to social, physical, and environmental factors in our communities. This network will provide a stronger foundation for health that works with – not separate from – the healthcare systems."

"Healthify will assist Stormont Vail Health care teams in completing timely referrals to community organizations to address and assist with the social needs of our patients," said Amy Kincade, vice president, Population Health, Stormont Vail Health. "Using a referral system such as Healthify strengthens our community relationships to improve our patient's health outcomes."

"At United Way, we are committed to creating and cultivating an unbreakable network of support for a strong, healthy and equitable community," said Brett Martin, vice president of community impact, United Way of Greater Topeka.

"The NKCN embodies that effort in a valuable new way and allows us to be a better community partner and grant-maker. This network will connect a range of providers who together will have a greater impact on a client's life than any one of them could have on their own. Ultimately, we can improve client outcomes and ease their journey, improve service delivery, and improve our social service systems to achieve better health outcomes for all."

Twitter: @JELagasse
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