Kansas Governor Sam Brownback proclaimed Aug. 13-19 as Primary Care Safety Net Clinic Week, a time to recognize primary care clinics providing a “safety net” for all, including the most vulnerable Kansans – the uninsured and underserved. In 2016, safety net clinics provided comprehensive health care – including medical, dental and behavioral care – to 1 in 10 Kansans, regardless of their ability to pay.

Safety net clinics are vital assets providing innovative community-based health care that is giving Kansans in need the chance to lead healthy and productive lives. This whole-person approach increases patient choice and access to care and expands the spectrum of behavioral and oral health providers. In some communities, safety net clinics are the only Medicaid provider – sometimes for hundreds of miles.

In addition to providing the valuable services of keeping Kansans healthy and reducing total cost of care and unnecessary emergency room visits, safety net clinics help boost local economies and provide jobs – some are the largest employer in their community.

On behalf of the 44 safety net clinic members (providing 88 locations for care), the Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved wishes to thank the governor, state and local legislators, private foundations and many community leaders who recognize the important role safety net clinics play in the overall health care system in Kansas. As we move into a future where more people likely will need to rely on safety net clinics for their health care, we are grateful for the commitment and ongoing support to the clinics and the patients and communities they serve.

Denise Cyzman, Executive Director of Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved