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.