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The REACH Foundation is continually impressed with the bright ideas that come from our partners, and we want to share these smart ideas with others. Read about how the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) has expanded its focus on wellness for employees and patients.
The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, a federally qualified health center, provides approximately 220,000 patient care visits annually through its 15 sites. Five years ago, the health center opened a fitness center for patients at its Pittsburg, KS, location but an interview with a fitness trainer sparked an idea to extend the original concept to address broader health and wellness needs of patients along with employees. From its small start, the wellness center has expanded its facility and services to include two physical therapists, a medical fitness trainer, a dietitian and a chiropractor. Jason Wesco, Executive Vice President, said the focus is on addressing wellness beyond what occurs in the traditional healthcare setting.
Wesco said CHC/SEK’s approach to health is to continuously explore avenues to address whole-person health.
“While the initial idea was to open a patient fitness facility, we saw the opportunity to broaden the concept,” said Wesco. “Over a three-year period, we’ve grown from one trainer to six health staff who work with patients and staff to help with rehabilitation, pain management or, more simply, to live a healthier and more active lifestyle.”
Additionally, Wesco said, the wellness center and staff have been working to build a culture of health at CHC/SEK through healthy cooking demonstrations, workout groups and staff fitness challenges.
Primary care providers, addiction treatment providers, behavioral health and other health staff refer patients and employees can self-refer to wellness staff to address pain management, strength and mobility, and dietary issues. CHC/SEK deployed a mobile app accessible by smartphone that provides a personalized, customized program of exercises that can be done at the wellness center or with minimal equipment at home.
The wellness center is currently operational at the Pittsburg location, but Wesco said some wellness staff provide services on site at the Fort Scott clinic. The success of the program has propelled CHC/SEK leaders to think about other expansion opportunities. “The wellness center has been transformational in Pittsburg and we see the potential to replicate it for patients and staff throughout our system,” Wesco said.
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