Sunflower Health Plan, Centene Foundation, KU Endowment Grant $500K to Kansas Nursing Workforce Center

Sunflower Health Plan (Sunflower), a managed care organization dedicated to providing quality healthcare services in Kansas and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC), along with the Centene Foundation and KU Endowment, have announced a significant partnership. This collaboration involves the allocation of a $500,000 grant to the Kansas Nursing Workforce Center to establish a centralized data collection and exchange system.

This initiative is a crucial component of Sunflower’s broader strategy aimed at mitigating shortages in healthcare workforce staff across various specialties in Kansas, particularly in rural regions where accessing services can be challenging.

Alissa Zerr, DNP, MPH, RN, CENP, Vice President of Population Health at Sunflower Health Plan, emphasized the pivotal role nurses play in healthcare delivery and the overall health outcomes of Kansans. Sunflower Health Plan is proud to support the Kansas Nursing Workforce Center and believes that its collaborative approach and comprehensive plan will significantly advance the healthcare workforce throughout the state in the long term.

The Kansas Nursing Workforce Center, situated at the University of Kansas School of Nursing, will utilize the data warehouse to address systemic challenges related to nurse recruitment, retention, and student access to nursing programs. This initiative aims to modernize information gathering processes, enabling researchers to ask more insightful questions. The collected data will then be utilized to develop dashboards and reports to facilitate better understanding and decision-making regarding the development of the nursing workforce in Kansas.

Upon completion, the data warehouse will assist the Kansas Nursing Workforce Center in developing more accurate models for projecting nurse supply and demand, thereby facilitating both long-term and short-term planning. Additionally, the data will provide insights into patient care and the value of the nursing profession.

Amy Garcia, DNP, MSN, RN, FAAN, co-director of the Kansas Nursing Workforce Center, expressed gratitude for the funding that will enable the establishment of the data infrastructure. She highlighted the importance of creating a central repository for nursing workforce information, addressing the supply and demand imbalance identified in the Kansas nursing workforce.

As part of this initiative, the Kansas Nursing Workforce Center will collect and analyze various data, including nurse licensure data, labor data on nursing jobs and nurses in the workforce, commerce data on pathways to nursing and healthcare in the community, and population-level health outcomes data.

Matt Johnston, Director of Business Operations at Maxim Healthcare Services, emphasized the significant impact nurses make in Kansas on a daily basis, particularly in providing care to severely injured and chronically ill patients. Recognizing the evolving healthcare landscape, he stressed the importance of investing in both current frontline nurses and future nursing professionals.

Sunflower Health Plan, established to deliver quality healthcare in Kansas, is committed to improving the health of its beneficiaries through focused, compassionate, and coordinated care. As a subsidiary of the Centene Corporation, Sunflower believes that quality healthcare is best delivered locally, leveraging local, regional, and community-based resources to achieve this goal.

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