Krista Postai, President and CEO of Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, said they expanding services.
Mercy Hospital announced in October 2018 that they would be closing December 2018.
CHC/SEK then assumed responsibilities, securing physicians and staff to provide a clinic to the community at the Mercy Hospital site, 401 Woodland Hills Blvd.
The CHC/SEK is currently planning to build a new facility on the Horton Street side of the former Mercy Hospital site.
“We have selected an architect for our new Fort Scott clinic,” Postai said. “It’s Zingre and Associates from Ft. Scott and we are in the midst of designing the new facility.”
“We only have a two-year lease for our current space which Mercy clearly indicated is not renewable,” Postai said. “We knew from the beginning that we would have to build a new clinic, which we’ve shared publically to the various groups we’ve talked with, including the city and county. To help make our startup affordable in Ft. Scott and give us time to plan, Mercy discounted the rent amount for us and everyone in there, which is greatly appreciated.”
“Overhead (electricity, gas, etc.) is extremely expensive in the existing space, as is ongoing maintenance on the building,” Postai said. ” So there is no way we could assume the financial burden of a 177,000 sq. ft. building that is only being minimally utilized. Others who have evaluated ownership of the building came to the same conclusion. We know Mercy recognizes that and have evaluated options including demolition although, to my knowledge, no final decision has been reached.”
“CHC/SEK is planning on expanding its services to include dental care, mental health care, a women’s center, more accessible pharmacy, etc. which can’t be accomplished in the existing space we now occupy without a major investment in renovation in a building with a uncertain future,” Postai said. “Our model of care also supports integration of services. For example, children coming in for their well child check may also have a visit with the dentist or someone struggling to manage their diabetes may meet with a therapist or a patient educator as part of their medical visit. Numerous support staff also coordinate care or work with special populations (e.g. expectant mothers) which requires space within the clinic. So, we’re working with our Ft. Scott staff to determine what they want and need in a new building built specifically to support our ‘one-stop’ approach or, as our vision says, ‘Healthcare The Way It Should Be.'”
In addition, CHC/SEK also will assume responsibility of Mercy’s clinic in Columbus in January 2020, Postai said.
” We will be combining our existing Columbus clinic with Mercy’s clinic,” Postai said. “Mercy will continue to manage the hospital in Columbus which is owned by the city.”
Postai said CHC/SEK is also extending its reach into Oklahoma.
“CHC/SEK was one of 77 health centers in the U.S. to receive grants to open new health centers and we will be doing so in Miami and Wyandotte, Oklahoma,” she said. ” Our center in Miami is currently operated by Mercy who asked us if we would assume responsibility and we agreed to do so. The one in Wyandotte is in a school and will primarily serve the students, their families and school staff. We will have the clinics open before the end of the year.”
The organization is also working to secure future doctors for the area, and former Mercy Hospital CEO Reta Baker was selected to administer the program to do just that.
“We also are working with the University of Kansas School of Medicine to establish a family practice residency program in southeast Kansas,” Postai said. “To provide administrative oversight of this program – and all of our clinical education students – is Reta Baker, former hospital CEO in Ft. Scott. She has been named VP/Clinical Education and her office is located in CHC/SEK’s system office in Pittsburg.”
With all the outreach activity of CHC/SEK, “We are nearing 500 full-time employees,” Postai said.
CHCSEK offices are located at 3011 N. Michigan, Pittsburg, KS 66762. The phone number is 620-235-1867.
The CHC/SEK Clinic in Fort Scott’s number is 223-8040.