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The Mid-America Regional Council’s Regional Health Care Initiative (RHCI) operated from 2007 through 2014 with support from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the REACH Healthcare Foundation. In early 2015, MARC incorporated the health care access work into its broader community development program. Regional health care access is focused in three areas in 2015:
Safety Net Health Information Exchange (HIE) Project
Health care providers are adopting use of electronic medical records in a variety of settings, and many have selected a Health Information Organization (HIO)’s exchange technology to support sharing patient data. In 2012, MARC began working with nine safety net providers and public health departments to help them connect to two Health Information Exchanges. In 2014, six mental health centers and an additional safety net provider jointed the project. Participating organizations include:
Safety Net Organizations  
Health Partnership of Johnson County
Heartland Regional Drug and Alcohol Center
Johnson County Health and Environment Department
Mercy and Truth Medical Missions
Riverview Health Services
Silver City Health Clinic
Swope Health Services
Turner House Children’s Clinic
Unified Government Health Department
Wyandot Inc.
Behavioral Health Organizations  
Comprehensive Mental Health Services
Johnson County Mental Health Center
ReDiscover Mental Health Services
Southeast Allen County Mental Health Center
Tri-County Mental Health Services
Truman Behavioral Health

The two participating Health Information Organizations are the Lewis and Clark Information Exchange (LACIE) and the Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN). MARC and its partners selected BluePrint Healthcare IT to support the project. The Mid- America Regional Council has received from the following foundations to support this work: John W. and Effie E. Speas Foundation, Bank of America Trustee; Hall Family Foundation; REACH Healthcare Foundation; Sosland Foundation and Wyandotte Health Foundation. For more information, contact Marlene Nagel at 816-474-4240 or

Behavioral Health
Three groups are meeting regularly, the Metropolitan Mental Health Stakeholders, a Case Consultation group and Trauma Matters KC. The behavioral health and other organizations are working to improve access to behavioral health services and to strengthen the integration of health care services. The Metropolitan Mental Health Stakeholders meets bi-monthly to strengthen relationships among organizations and have focused on housing, the need for increased services for those with persistent mental illness, and the need for better data about mental health needs and services. The Case Consultation group also meets bi-monthly and reviews cases of clients with difficult situations in an effort to identify solutions. Trauma Matters KC is a coalition of area organizations focused on creating a trauma-informed community.
Community Health Worker
A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a frontline public health worker who is a trusted member of the community he or she serves. According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Community Health Workers serve as a liaison/link/intermediary between health/social services and the community to facilitate access to services and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery.  A CHW also builds individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support and advocacy.

MARC’s Regional Health Care Initiative began convening the Community Health Worker Advisory Committee in 2013. The committee worked with Metropolitan Community College to establish a training program, and efforts are underway to refine the curriculum and encourage statewide adoption of a standard training curriculum to ensure a properly trained workforce. The committee has worked to promote the employment of Community Health Care workers by diverse health care organizations, and has established a forum to enable CHWs to learn from one another. The committee is working with the states of Missouri and Kansas to determine a payer framework to ensure that health care organizations are able to employ Community Health Care workers and be reimbursed through Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance for CHW services. 

For more information, contact a member of our staff.