Improving community health in Saline County

More than 80 years ago, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) was created by and for the people of Kansas. We are committed to improving the well-being of Kansas communities through affordability, choice and accountability.  

Our roots run deep in Saline County. In fact, in 1942, Salina Regional Health Center (SRHC) was the first facility to contract with BCBSKS.  

And each of you – our members, our neighbors – continue to be our top priority. We are committed to helping you have access to affordable, quality healthcare and to being strong partners with the communities we serve.  

Here are some of the recent ways we are doing that: 

Live Well Saline County is part of the Pathways to a Healthy Kansas initiative through BCBSKS, joining in 2020. This initiative helps Kansas communities improve active living, healthy eating and tobacco prevention. Grants to Saline County Pathways work have totaled more than $260,000. This money has helped to coordinate the program and keep the work moving forward. Funding has helped the Salina Emergency Aid Food Bank improve accessibility and assisted groups like OCCK, Inc. and Salina Regional Health Center improve their own worksite wellness programs. Programs like these are aimed at helping employees feel and perform at their best.  

That’s why these worksite wellness grants will be so beneficial for the staff at OCCK, Inc. and at Salina Regional Health Center, where they’re working to create a hospital garden and outdoor relaxation spaces – providing spaces where employees can go to take a break and have space from their work, to help them reset and refocus their minds.  

In addition to work through Pathways to a Healthy Kansas, BCBSKS gives back through its own Foundation, corporate giving and volunteerism. 

Physical Activity and Transportation 
BCBSKS helped kickstart KANcycle, a first-of-its-kind rural bike share program, with OCCK, Inc. Transportation in 2019. Since then, more than 2,675 rides have been enjoyed by riders in Salina and surrounding areas. We also recently expanded our commitment to bring a few additional communities into the program with Lindsborg being the first. 

Provider Support 
For many years, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas Foundation has given funding to community mental health and medical health centers across the state. In 2022, the Central Kansas Mental Health Center and Salina Family Healthcare Center both received grants to assist caring for uninsured patients. 
School Support 
Likewise, the Foundation also supports local Kansas nursing programs with scholarship money for local students. In 2022, Kansas Wesleyan University School of Nursing and the KU School of Nursing – Salina Campus both received funds for scholarships.  

Local Organizations 
The Foundation also recently supported the First Tee organization in Kansas, including the Salina chapter, to help empower children to build character and inner strength, self-confidence and resilience.  

Our employees also love to get involved in supporting local organizations through annual employee-giving campaigns, most recently supporting Salina Area United Way, the Kansas Food Bank, which serves the Salina area, and the Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas.  

Community Events 
We’re thrilled to be sponsors of the Smoky Hill River Festival, serving as the presenting sponsor of the medallion quest, and upcoming sponsors of the Crossroads Marathon, encouraging individuals and families to build relationships and healthy communities. 

We are also long-time supporters of the Salina Rescue Mission Benefit Golf Tournament and are also supporting the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Salina’s Night of Influence and the Salina Crossroads Marathon in 2023.  

We invest in healthy communities while being good stewards of our members’ dollars. Group and member premiums do not increase or decrease based on grants given. These community partnerships are funded through ongoing investments and returns. 

Our partnerships help create sustainable change, economic development and provide additional opportunities to support Saline County.  

These public and private partnerships are great examples of how organizations can come together to provide additional opportunities to support each other.  

“Although the members of Live Well Saline County have their own priorities, agendas and goals they are working on individually, the Pathways work brings them altogether with a common mission to improve the health of our community,” said Karen Couch, executive director, Salina Emergency Aid Food Bank. “It has opened up opportunities beyond Pathways to move the needle forward to help our community.” 

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