The Mercy Health Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organizaiton, has been working to distribute the assets of the foundation to the community, since the closure of Mercy Hospital-Fort Scott in December 2018.
The following responses are from an interview with the foundation board president, Jared Leek, regarding those distributions.
“Following large contributions to secure Community Health Center-Southeast Kansas($300,000) and Ascension Via Christi Emergency Department ($200,000), the purchase of two transport ambulances, the remodel of the (Bourbon) County’s Ambulance Barn and donations to specific program areas, the remaining Mercy Health Foundation assets will be transferred to the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas,” Leek said.
A motion was made at the May 24, 2019 foundation board meeting to transfer the remaining balance of unrestricted funds to the community foundation as un-endowed funds.
Funds will be used to support healthcare needs in the community, Leek noted.
“The account with the Community Foundation has been set up and funds should be transferred from the Mercy Health Foundation to the Community Foundation in the near future,” Leek said.
Will the Mercy Foundation be dissolved?
“The Fort Scott Mercy Health Foundation will not be fully dissolving at this time, but the board has been reduced down to three members. These three members will be responsible for fulfilling the duties assigned to them until the board can fully dissolve. The Foundation is the beneficiary of a few annuities and charitable trusts established years ago, and the smaller board has been directed to transfer the funds to the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation once these items mature.”
The current officers of the Mercy Foundation Board are Leek, president; Bryan Holt, treasurer; and Darcy Smith, secretary.
These three will form the managing board under the umbrella of the Community Foundation Board to manage these funds.
Other members of the foundation board at the hospital’s closing were Jolynne Mitchell, Colleen Quick, Alysia Johnson, Becky Tourtillott, Mark McCoy, Chris Petty, and Bill Michaud. Leek, Holt and Smith remain members.
Corporate Members from Mercy with no voting rights were Jim Barber and Reta Baker.
Recently, the Gordon Parks Museum received the Parks art collection which was donated to Mercy by Parks in 2002.
” The Fort Scott Mercy Health Foundation was honored to donate our collection of Gordon Parks’ photographs and poems gifted to the foundation. We hope that the members of the community and tourists will continue to enjoy these works of art for many years to come at the Gordon Parks Museum Foundation.”
“Thetransfer of the artwork to the Gordon Parks Museum Foundation stipulates the collection must remain in Bourbon County and be made available to loan out to organizations in Bourbon County based on approval of the Executive Director.”
Bourbon County also received a donation from the Mercy Health Foundation?
“Bourbon County Commission and Mercy Hospital reached an agreement to transfer/donate/sell the ambulance barn located east of the hospital. The foundation was not included in this discussion, because the property was not owned by the foundation. The foundation did agree to assist the Bourbon County Commission with the remodel of the ambulance barn; the board approved a $26,000 donation to update the ambulance barn.”
” The $7,527 in the restricted ambulance fund (remaining after the purchase of two new transport ambulances; gifted to Bourbon County) will be moved to the general fund to assist with this funding.” Taken from Mercy Health Foundation Minutes, February 25, 2019.
Leek provided the following as the purpose of the Mercy HealthFoundation taken from the Mercy Foundation articles:
“To receive gifts and grants of unrestricted funds, and to use the unrestricted funds in a manner that is recommended by the Member (Mercy Hospital); provided that such use and distributions are for the Corporation’s (board of the Mercy foundation) proper purposes and activities that qualify as exempt under Code Section 501(c)(3) and are proper under the provisions of this Article VI;
“To review and approve of the receipt and acceptance of gifts and grants of restricted funds, and if the restricted funds are approved for receipt and acceptance by the Corporation, to use the restricted funds for their intended purposes; provided that such use and distributions are for the Corporation’s proper purposes and activities that qualify as exempt under Code Section 501(c)(3) and are proper under the provisions of this Article VI;
“To fund health-related capital expenditures using the unrestricted funds as recommended by the Member;
“To coordinate the development of new health programs and services as recommended by the Member, which include funding the ongoing operation of such programs;
“To coordinate health-related educational programs as recommended by the Member;
“To coordinate and conduct health-related research as recommended by the Member.”
Ascension Via Christ came to Fort Scott to fill in the void of emergency care, following the closure of Mercy Hospital.
The following is an update on the facility options for the Fort Scott Emergency Department, from Randy Cason, president of Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg. Ascension Via Christ opened the local emergency department on Feb. 28, 2019.
“Ascension Via Christi stepped forward to meet the Fort Scott community’s immediate need for close-to-home emergency, laboratory and diagnostic imaging and we continue to explore and discuss options beyond our two-year lease agreement,” Cason said in a press release. “Our goal is to establish a sustainable model of care that best meets the needs of all the patients and families we serve in Ft. Scott and Southeast Kansas. However, we are still in the beginning stages of the exploration process of potential facility options.”
The facility is operating out of the former Mercy Hospital building currently, which is located at 405 Woodland Hills on Fort Scott’s south side, just off Hwy. 69. The emergency department faces the south side of the building.
Ascension Via Christi took over operations of the emergency department in February 2019, following the closing of Mercy the end of December 2018.
Mercy Health Foundation Donates $200,000 to Ascension/Via Christi for Continuation of Emergency Services in Fort Scott
Access to numerous health care services has remained intact following the closure of Mercy Hospital in December 2018, due in part to substantial donations from Mercy Health Foundation Fort Scott, according to a press release from Mercy Hospital Foundation.
In their continued support of healthcare in the community, the foundation board agreed to donate $200,000 to the Ascension/Via Christi Emergency Department, Ft. Scott to ensure the continuation of essential health care services for residents of Fort Scott and Bourbon County.
Emergency care, lab, and radiology services are currently available at the prior Mercy location, 403 Woodlands Blvd., south of Fort Scott, just off 69 Hwy. and are being provided by Ascension/Via Christi. The funds are intended to facilitate technology and equipment for the emergency services.
Funds donated by Mercy Health Foundation will assist Ascension/Via Christi with costs associated to support a lab interface with the electronic health record and documentation system, a Lucas chest compression system, space lab patient monitors, iStat lab equipment, EKG TC 70 wireless, and a CT power injector, according to the Mercy Foundation press release.
Earlier this year, Mercy Health Foundation donated $300,000 to Community Health Center, who now provides clinical services in the former Mercy Hospital Clinic. That CHC clinic includes a primary care physicians office area, laboratory, x-ray and mammogram services. In addition, it provides convenient care at the location at 1624 S. National Avenue.
Mercy Health Foundation—Fort Scott, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and the following are members: Jared Leek, chair; Chris Petty, vice chair; Bryan Holt, treasurer; Becky Tourtillott, secretary; Alysia Johnston, Mark McCoy, Bill Michaud, Jolynne Mitchell, Pat Neff, Colleen Quick and Darcy Smith, according to the website:
Becker’s Healthcare recognizes Ascension Via Christi Hospital president
Randy Cason, Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg president, was named one of 60 rural hospital and health system CEOs to know in 2019.
Cason ensures the 550-employee Ascension Via Christi Hospital provides care to the entire tri-state area. Stepping into the president role in 2010, he led the hospital through a brand change and then a major remodel. Mr. Cason is also active in Pittsburg’s government, serving as a past Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce chairman of the board and current Kansas Hospital Association board member.
Becker’s Healthcare accepted nominations for this list and considered leaders making a positive impact on their organizations. The CEOs featured lead hospitals consistently recognized by the National Rural Health Association, American Hospital Association and HIMSS as top institutions. Others sit on local chamber of commerce boards and serve state hospital associations.
A ceremony of speeches, prayers, cookies and punch, and tours of the new Ascension Via Christi Emergency Department took place in the former cafeteria of Mercy Hospital on Feb. 28.
Ascension Via Christi assumed operations of the closed Mercy Hospital Emergency Department on Feb. 1, 2019.
On Feb. 18, the new department began operations in Fort Scott.
The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was the celebration of the emergency department opening.
Randy Cason, president of Ascension Via Christi in Pittsburg said it “was no small feat to open up an emergency department and lab services” and acknowledged the help of the Mercy Hospital administration team and others (a city/county collaboration) who “worked hard to make sure health care will move forward in our community. We understand the need.”
“We opened on the 18th at 7 a.m. and we had our first patient at 7:15 a.m.,” Cason said. “It’s been 24/7 service since then.”
“It’s the most mission based thing we have done,” he said. “I am proud of our team pulling it together.”
In addition to the move to Fort Scott, Via Christi had a name change, “a unified brand move” Cason said. “On Feb. 14, we officially became Ascension Via Christi.”
There are 40 employees at Fort Scott, including emergency, radiology and laboratory services, said Michelle Kennedy, Ascension Via Christi Senior Marketing Specialist.
“We worked hard to see the former employees staying on,” Kennedy said.
The operation of the emergency department will be like any other, she said. “We’ll put patients in categories and the level of care they need.”
“Depending on the urgency, they would be stabilized and transported to another facility for advanced care.”
The facility chosen would depend on hospital availability and the condition of the patient, Kennedy said.
Ascension Via Christi’s Fort Scott Emergency Department will open Monday, Feb. 18
FORT SCOTT, KS – Ascension Via Christi’s Emergency Department in Fort Scott will open its doors at 7 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 18. In addition to the ED, Ascension Via Christi will provide diagnostic imaging and laboratory services at the Fort Scott campus.
“Our team has worked diligently over the past 60 days to get Fort Scott’s emergency department up and running as soon as possible,” said Randy Cason, President of Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg. “We passed all of the regulatory inspections and certifications, and successfully completed our physician agreements and associate onboarding.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our Ascension Via Christi team for their hard work and we look forward to continuing our mission of caring for the residents of Southeast Kansas, including Fort Scott and the surrounding communities.”
Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg announced on Feb. 1 that it would assume operations of the emergency department in response to Mercy Fort Scott’s October 2018 announcement that it would close the hospital. Diagnostic imaging and laboratory services can accept orders from any physicians or health care providers in the area. Call 620-232-0447 for scheduling.
Mercy Hospital’s President Reta Baker signed an agreement with Ascension Via Christi on Jan. 27 to provide emergency room services at the hospital that ends for Mercy today, Jan. 31.
“It is an agreement that Mercy will provide lease space and provide the necessary equipment and furnishings to provide the services of an emergency room,” Baker said.
One issue: there is a gap between the Mercy closing date and when Via Christi will get regulatory approval to provide emergency room services.
“Before Via Christi can operate ER services in this setting and building, they have to have a license from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment,” Baker said. “It takes time. It has steps…I think all the parties engaged will work as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
She is estimating a few weeks, but it could be more, she said.
Baker said the ambulance service will take patients to area emergency rooms in the meantime.
“If they call 911, they will take the patient to the closest appropriate ER,” Baker said. “Or if a person wants to take themselves, they could choose which ER they can go to. Pittsburg, Girard, Nevada, Iola, Olathe, Overland Park…all the ER’s are aware of the need.”
The Mercy ambulance service continues under Mercy operation until April 1, then Bourbon County will become the owners, she said.
Baker also addressed the following questions:
What about the hospital pharmacy?
“The pharmacy will continue to operate under Mercy until April 1, then operate under the Community Health Center.”
“Mammography is under CHC.”
“Radiology will be available under Via Christi.”
The administration wing of the hospital will be a Mercy hub work-site, Baker said. “There will be 15 employees working out of the building. (They will have)An assortment of responsibilities to support the business functions of Mercy Regional .”
The patient room wing of the hospital has been partitioned off to prevent the public from entering the area, she said.
Even though it is a sad time, it is an exciting one, she said.
“It’s an exciting new opportunity,” Baker said. “And a new model of care for the community.