There are several advantages to living in the plains of southwest Kansas, such as the peace and quiet, or the rich history. However, there are some drawbacks when it comes to health.

“Kansans who live in rural and frontier areas often have to travel long distances to see a health care provider," Breanne Fritcher, public relations account executive with Page Communications, stated in a press release. “Limited options can make accessing preventive, specialty and emergency care challenging.

“In addition, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, approximately 30 percent of Kansans live in rural or frontier areas, with more than 80 counties established as areas with shortages of primary care health professionals.”

Additionally, according to the 2016 KIDS COUNT data, youth in rural and frontier Kansas have a higher chance of teen violence, tobacco use and binge drinking compared to kids in urban areas.

“In the past year, the number of Kansas children in poverty increased 3.8 percent, according UnitedHealth Foundation’s America’s Health RankingsTM report,” Fritcher added.

On Wednesday at 3 p.m., chief medical officer of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas, Dr. John Esslinger, will be presenting a $48,000 Frontier Rural Health Care grant to the Minneola District Hospital in hopes of lowering this statistic.

“UnitedHealthcare established the Frontier Rural Health Care grant program earlier this year,” said Fritcher. “It was created to fund organizations and programs aimed at improving health resources and programs in rural areas of Kansas.”

During his visit, Esslinger will give a speech and present the check. Following the presentation, there will be a tour of the hospital.

The Minneola District Hospital is located at 212 N. Main St. in Minneola.

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