MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Vicki Allendorf is a mother of three sons, however, two of them tragically died three years ago.
Allendorf lost two of her children to a fentanyl overdose. She shared her story on Thursday at the Community Care at the Crossroads annual conference in Manhattan. There, professionals across the state searched for the best way to provide quality healthcare to those in need.
All three of Allendorf’s children were addicted to heroin. She now talks to groups to help parents before they have to go through the same thing she did.
“I have a lot of friends who have had a lot of children who have passed away… and it just continues to happen,” Allendorf said. “We just need to be a lot more vocal, and a lot stronger, and we really need to advocate for this population.”
Allendorf hopes that if a person with a drug addiction overdoses, emergency rooms will better coordinate with clinics to help the patients when they are released.
“Get them connected to the care in the community that they really need, without leaving and having no support,” Allendorf said.
In Kansas, there are a total of 37 community care clinics, all of which provide a variety of services from primary care to dentistry for over 300,000 people who do not have quality health insurance.
However, more money is needed to help those in need, according to CEO of Community Care Network of Kansas Denise Cyzman.
“Medicaid expansion is one of the most important things that the state could do and we’re really hopeful that they’re able to pass that this year,” Cyzman said. “Additionally, we also have a large number of individuals who do have mental health concerns or crisis, as well as substance use disorder.”
The three-day conference drew in professionals from all across Kansas, including legislatures, that were determined to find solutions to these problems.
“A lot of people know that our best practices are in terms of tackling a lot of these community healthcare issues,” Representative Tom Phillips said. “We just lack the resources and the programs to provide the necessary treatments, so again trying to provide money would be important.”
The conference on Friday will hear from Governor Laura Kelly and members of her administration regarding access to quality of care.