An area legislator has been honored for her commitment to community healthcare. Rep Susan Concannon, who represents the 107th house district which encompasses portions of Cloud, Lincoln, Mitchell, and Ottawa Counties was one of two legislators honored with a Community Care Network of Kansas’ Community Health Champion Award.
According to the Community Care Network of Kansas, every year they establish legislative and policy priorities designed to further improve access to healthcare for underserved Kansans. In order to be successful, however, the organization’s advocacy efforts at the Kansas Statehouse require elected leaders on both sides of the aisle to champion the cause. Such bipartisan support is found regularly on many Community Care priorities. On Monday, during the first day of Community Care’s Annual Conference, two legislators were singled out for their steadfast support of the community health centers and community-based clinics located across the state. Rep. Susan Concannon, R-Beloit, and Rep. Kathy Wolfe Moore, D-Kansas City, were named Community Health Champions for 2021.
“Rep. Wolfe Moore has been a true champion of all of our health center work across the state of Kansas,” said Patrick Sallee, CEO of Vibrant Health in Kansas City, when presenting the award. “She has been an advocate for increased funding for primary care health centers which led to a $2 million increase in our annual grant award. She also has been a champion for our 340B program.”
Accompanying Sallee during the presentation was Lisa Harvey, CEO of Family Health Care, and Geofrey Kigenyi, Executive Director of Mercy and Truth Medical Missions. Both clinics are located in Wyandotte County.
Rep. Wolfe Moore accepted the honor by thanking the clinic leaders instead. “It doesn’t seem fair that I’m getting this award when you all are doing the work during these unprecedented times,” she said.
Rep. Concannon was similarly humble during her presentation at the Salina Family Healthcare Center.
She praised CEO Dr. Robert Kraft and Director of Pharmacy Services Derek Pihl for educating her on issues important to the network and providing her with whatever she needed before walking into a committee room.
“We don’t do what we do for acknowledgment,” Rep. Concannon said, “but when it happens it’s really nice.”
Denise Cyzman, Community Care’s CEO, said both representatives continue to work on healthcare issues even when the Legislature is not in session.
“Both of them were instrumental in helping elevate the importance of the 340B Federal Drug Pricing Program to health centers and other covered entities,” Cyzman said, “and ensured there were ongoing discussions about this.”
This critical discussion will resume when a legislative panel meets this fall to study the program. Both representatives were named to the 13-person panel, and Rep. Concannon will chair the group.
Cyzman said the study “should help illuminate the grave danger the program is under, and the resulting decrease in access to care for underserved Kansans.