The Medical Society of Sedgwick County is taking on a new community partner that’s a natural fit: The Wichita Business Coalition on Health Care.
The coalition’s board voted July 17 to merge the coalition into the nonprofit Medical Society of Sedgwick County Physician Leadership Alliance. The move was spurred by the retirement of Janet Hamous, WBCHC executive director since 2013, and discussions about ways to ensure the future of the coalition.
Shelley Duncan, executive director of Central Plains Health Care Partnership, and Phillip Brownlee, MSSC executive director, will oversee management of the coalition. The MSSC is a longtime member of the coalition. In addition, one of the coalition’s annual events, the Wichita Business Roundtable on Health Care, was begun four decades ago by the Medical Society.
Founded in 2008, the WBCHC connects local businesses and the health care community to work together to control costs and improve health outcomes. That makes it well suited to come under the umbrella of the MSSC and provides opportunities for better connecting the Medical Society’s physician members with others in the business community.
“It’s a real opportunity to engage with businesses and physicians in health benefit design,” said Duncan, adding that she had already begun to connect with similar organizations nationally and research their efforts.
Brownlee said the coalition fits well with a strength of the MSSC, which serves as a connecting point for community initiatives, physicians and other providers. “Our members are business people as well as doctors, and we look forward to physicians and our business partners working closely together to improve care and control costs.”
Duncan said growing membership of the coalition would be a priority. Its current membership of 40 includes Dillons, INTRUST Bank, Fidelity Bank, the cities of Wichita and Derby, Kansas Health Foundation, Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas, Friends University, Hinkle Law Firm, Foulston Siefkin, Via Christ, Wesley Medical Center, West Wichita Family Physicians, Mid-America Orthopedics and ProviDRs Care.
The coalition is planning an annual Innovation Summit on Nov. 1 at Wichita’s new Advanced Learning Library downtown. Details and registration information are upcoming, so those interested should look to the coalition’s website, www.wbchc.com.
The merger was approved by the boards of both the MSSC and the coalition. Under the merger, the coalition’s board will become an advisory council and the MSSC board will take over governance of the WBCHC.
“The merger helps ensure the coalition’s continued financial and operational viability, while creating opportunities for growth,” said Teresa Rupp, who was the WBCHC’s board chair. “It allows us to focus on the programs and initiatives that are valuable to its members, while accessing the resources of a vital organization like the Medical Society. It will also provide a path to better engage with the physicians in our community.”