A local health department and a hospital located in Haskell County, Kansas, are pooling resources in order to make a larger impact on health. By working together, they are able to deliver public health services effectively and efficiently.
Haskell County, a rural county in Southwest Kansas, experienced a tuberculosis (TB) outbreak in the early 1990s. County commissioners decided to form a local health department in order to manage TB and other public health concerns. They decided to contract with a local hospital─the Satanta District Hospital─to operate the health department. The partnership is still in force today.
The arrangement has proven to be beneficial for all parties. The community benefits because more services are offered through the collaboration than most small health departments can offer on their own. The county government benefits because the hospital provides a number of services to the health department, including billing, purchasing, information technology and human resources. The hospital benefits through reduced uncompensated emergency room visits because the health department connects eligible patients to sources of insurance and care in the safety net.
The Kansas Health Institute has prepared a case study about the Haskell County collaboration because it provides a good example of how counties can partner with other organizations, like hospitals, to deliver public health services effectively and efficiently.