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News Releases - 2017

March 6, 2017

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Seeking Communities for Pathways to a Healthy Kansas Grants

Letters of intent due March 31 for program that offers three-year grants totaling $500,000 each for eight participating communities

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is accepting letters of intent from communities interested in applying for a three-year Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant. Letters of intent must be submitted no later than March 31 in order to receive an application packet, according to Virginia Barnes, MPH, director of Blue Health Initiatives.

Pathways to a Healthy Kansas is the largest community grant program ever funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. The Pathways program provides community coalitions with the tools and resources needed to remove barriers and engage their communities in ways that enable healthy eating and tobacco-free, active living to become a way of life. The grant funding for each community includes a coordination grant of $100,000, with the opportunity to apply for non-competitive implementation and achievement grants amounting to $400,000, for a total of $500,000 per community. The funding period is from Aug. 1, 2017, to July 31, 2020. More information, including dates for two informational webinars and frequently asked questions, is available at bcbsks.com/pathways.

"Pathways to Healthy Kansas is centered on the idea of creating environments where the healthy choice is the easiest choice to make," Barnes said. "Through Pathways, Blue Cross and our technical assistance partners work closely with the funded communities to inspire long-lasting, community-wide well-being by focusing on strategies that build community engagement and transform the way residents stay healthy as they work, play and interact socially. Ultimately, our goal is to cultivate a healthy culture now that is sustainable for future generations."

According to Barnes, eligible communities are required to:

  • Be located in a semi-urban, densely-settled rural, rural or frontier county, or be a community with a population of less than 75,000 in an urban county.
  • Have an active coalition or active Community Health Assessment/Improvement Plan work group.
  • Illustrate commitment from community leaders.
  • Be within the 103-county service area of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte).

A community must submit its letter of intent online at bcbsks.com/pathways by 4 p.m. (CT), March 31 in order to receive an application packet in early April. Applications are due no later than 4 p.m. (CT), May 5; on-site visits for the top 15 applicants will be scheduled from May 30-June 23. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas will notify funded communities by June 30 and will publicly announce the grant recipients July 19 in Wichita.

In addition to the grant dollars, Blue Cross will provide funded communities with technical assistance for planning, evaluation, communications and measurement through partnerships with Kansas Health Institute and the Community Engagement Institute at Wichita State University. Additional technical partners include WorkWell Kansas, The Public Health Law Center and Thrive Allen County.

The eight communities who are currently being funded from Aug. 1, 2016, through July 31, 2019 (local coalition coordinating the program) are: Atchison County (Live Well Live Atchison); Bourbon County (Fort Scott Community Visioning); Crawford County (Live Well Crawford County); Franklin County (Live Healthy Franklin County); Hoisington & northern Barton County (Health for Life); Kearny County (Pioneer Care Advocacy Team Community Coalition); Reno County (HEAL Reno County); and Wichita County (A.I.M. Coalition).

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

For 75 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has built a reputation of trust with its members and contracting providers by providing an outstanding customer experience while quickly and accurately processing claims; fairly administering benefit plans and contracts; offering programs, services and tools to help members improve or maintain their health; and operating under the highest ethical standards while being good stewards of premium dollars. 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. For more information, visit bcbsks.com.

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