In Kansas today, 1 in 7 adults age 18 to 64 lack health care coverage. And, 1 in 3 do not have dental coverage. For others, the challenge is not having enough health and dental providers close to where they live. KHF supports efforts to address gaps or barriers to access care, to help improve the health of all Kansans.
A key strategy of KHF’s Access to Care impact area is a focus on Kansans having access to affordable, quality health insurance. Statistically, those with health insurance have better access to providers, leading to increases in positive health outcomes. The map below shows the percentage of uninsured Kansans under the age of 65. These statistics come from the 2019 County Health Rankings report.
Currently, KHF is working with a number of partners throughout the state on efforts to expand Medicaid. Other efforts to address care for uninsured Kansans have included working with KU School of Medicine-Wichita and a network of community safety net clinics.
Access to a primary care physician is vital for the health and wellness of Kansans. Primary care physicians are on the front lines of preventive care, as well as the diagnosis and early detection of numerous health issues. While this care may be difficult to obtain for financial reasons, rural states like Kansas also have access issues due to a shortage of practicing physicians. The map below shows, by county, the ratio of number of Kansans per primary care physician. For example, in Morton County, there are approximately 950 Kansans for every one practicing primary care physician. This data comes from the 2019 County Health Rankings report.
KHF continues to monitor the need for primary care physicians, especially in rural states. Increased opportunities through the University of Kansas School of Medicine, as well as a new osteopathic school opening in Wichita, hold promise for addressing these shortfalls.
In addition to traditional primary care, oral health care is also critical to a person’s overall wellness. A lack of preventative oral health care and untreated oral health issues can lead to serious health crises for individuals and families. This care may be difficult to obtain for financial reasons, but rural states like Kansas also have access issues due to a shortage of practicing dentists. The map below shows, by county, the ratio of number of Kansans per dentist. For example, in Ellis county, there are approximately 1,000 Kansans for every one practicing dentist. This data comes from the 2019 County Health Rankings report.
Past efforts by KHF to increase access to oral health care for Kansans have included partnerships with university dental hygiene programs and efforts to pass legislation allowing dental health therapists to practice in rural areas.
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