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.”
Certified Diabetic Educator Nancy Evans, RN/BSN will lead the next meeting of Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas’ Diabetic Education class on Tuesday, July 9 at 6:30 PM. The meeting will be held in the diabetic education room at CHC/SEK, 3011 N. Michigan in Pittsburg. Special guest Brenda Brennan, ARNP will also be present to answer your diabetes-related questions. There is no charge to attend, and the meeting is open to anyone interested in learning more about managing diabetes. For more information, contact Nancy Evans at (620)240-5027 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is considering its options looking to the future of the Fort Scott center. They currently have a two-year lease with Mercy Hospital.
“We did formally request land from Mercy behind the existing hospital facing Horton Street and they have tentatively agreed to provide us space for a new 25,000 sq. ft. building,” Postai said. “Nothing formal has been signed but I understand the Mercy attorneys are working on it. This news has been shared with staff and we’ll start working on the design late in June.”
“We hope to fund it with a USDA low-interest loan they make available for rural communities like Ft. Scott,” she said. “It will have space for medical, dental, behavioral health services and a pharmacy. We hope to have it completed by January 2021.”
Recruitment is ongoing for the health center, she said.
“We do continue to work on staff recruitment for another physician and a psychologist or LSCSW, so if anyone has a relative that wants to move home we have a good opportunity for them,” Postai said.
David R. Shepherd Elected to CHC/SEK Board of Directors
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) is pleased to welcome David R. Shepherd as its newest elected member of its board of directors. Shepherd is a longtime Fort Scott businessman and owner of Bourbon County Cars, Inc. He becomes the 14th member of the governing body of the health center.
“By design, health center board members must be representative of the communities we serve,” says Krista Postai, President & CEO of CHC/SEK. “Upon establishing our Fort Scott clinic, David stood out as an obvious board candidate with his volunteer work with both faith-based and community boards. His involvement with Presbyterian Village, Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas and as a mentor and facilitator of “Next Steps” (assisting families living in poverty)” clearly indicated he shares similar values with our organization.”
Shepherd said, “When I was approached by CHC/SEK about serving, I wasn’t sure I wanted to serve on another board or committee after being on so many over the past 45 years. However, after giving the matter much thought and learning about their mission in the communities they serve, I decided what they are doing in the Fort Scott area is something so important that I needed to do what I can to help. Among the many things I like and appreciate about the organization is the fact that every patient CHC/SEK serves receives the same level of high-quality care and services, regardless of their financial means or ability to pay.”
CHC/SEK board chairman Dr. Dan Minnis commented “David brings to the board a vast knowledge of business, community affairs, finance and banking, as well as his involvement in so many organizations focusing on improving life for the people of Fort Scott and Bourbon County. “His skills, insight, and dedication to his community are in perfect alignment with the spirit and mission of our organization.”
Shepherd has previously served in various Mercy Health System committees and boards, Bourbon County United Way, Fort Scott Rotary Club, Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, the Mo-Kan Area Council, Boy Scouts of America; KS State Historical Society, and as a trustee, Chairman of Board, Deacon, and Elder at First Christian Church, Fort Scott.
Since Mercy Hospital closed in December 2018, many changes have happened at the former facility.
One of those changes is the pharmacy, it has transitioned to operating by Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas personnel.
“The Fort Scott (Mercy) Pharmacy officially transferred to CHC/SEK on April 1,” Krista Postai said.
“We participate in the federal government’s 340B Drug Discount program which allows us to purchase medications at the lowest cost possible,” Postai said. “This makes it possible for us to make sure that cost is never a barrier for people to get their medicines.”
“As a result, we are only allowed to fill prescriptions for patients of a CHC/SEK clinic. Prescriptions from out-of-town specialists may also be filled if they were referred there by one of our physicians and it is documented in their record. Our pharmacists can help with working through that if needed.”
Income from the pharmacy helps cover medicines for those who can’t afford them.
“It is worth mentioning that any income from the pharmacy is redirected back into patient services and helps covers the cost of vouchering medicines for those who can’t afford them, patient navigators, case managers, patient transportation, etc. – resources many patients need but are not reimbursable from other sources,” Postai said.
The staff remains the same.
“Same staff, although we added an additional pharmacist – Julie Pellet – a long-time Mercy employee who had, most recently, worked at the now-closed pharmacy located in Price Chopper,” Postai said.
“Same hours as in the past and delivery as usual,” she said. “Patients can also utilize the drive-through located on the emergency room (south)side of the hospital.”
There have been rumors that CHC/SEK will be leaving the facility in the near future.
“CHC/SEK’s lease for the current clinic in the hospital is for two years, after which we are planning on relocating,” Postai said. “Everything is in the discussion stages, but we know we will need about a 25,000 sq. ft. facility. An initial discussion has been on construction of a new building but we’re not even close to determining which direction we should go yet. We should know more in about a month.”
The past month has been busy for the new Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas staff’s move to the former Mercy Hospital Clinic.
“As expected, we had a few glitches with technology but believe we have internet and phone systems now working well…so thanks to everyone for their patience,” said Krista Postai, CEO for CHC/SEK.
“Patients have been great about getting us signed consents to transfer records – so great, in fact, that we are backlogged….but working through the stack as fast as possible.”
“We also have been very appreciate for all the kindness we’ve been shown…many folks have gone above and beyond.”
“We did get mammography back up and running and are now working at restoring wound care services.”
“We’ve also approached three organizations about the possibility of offering cancer care in Fort Scott to replace the Cancer Center of Kansas who closed their clinic with minimal notice. We’ve had some interest but no commitments.”
“As in the past, we are providing comprehensive primary care including obstetrics. Dr. Burke is now on staff at Via Christi and doing deliveries; Dr. Seals is also doing deliveries at Via Christi and Nevada Medical Center.”
“With the addition of the new clinics, CHC/SEK now employs about 420 – about 40 of these are in the Ft. Scott clinics and about 30 staff are in Arma, Pleasanton and Mound City. We still have openings to fill in registration and nursing, as well as behavioral health where we are looking for a LSCSW or a psychologist (PHD),” Postai said.
“Convenient Care – now Walk-In Care – transitioned Feb. 1; the main clinic on Feb. 4.
“The pharmacy will formally transfer to our ownership April 1. In the interim, Mercy continues to operate it and have contracted with us for the 340B drug discount program which makes it possible for us to provide medications at very low cost for those who are uninsured or have limited finances.
“As we’ve mentioned in the past, our lease in the hospital building is for two years so we continue to explore long-range options. We will need about 20,000 sq. ft. which will allow us to offer more services including dental and behavioral health. Expect to have a decision on the direction we’ll take by May 1.”
“We are working to recruit a pediatrician to Ft. Scott and have interviewed one candidate; also interviewed a dentist with an interest in returning to the area.”
“Phone numbers remain the same. Hours of operation have expanded at the main clinic to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.”
Introducing the Chief Executive Officer of CHC/SEK:
Postai, an original founder and former board member of CHC/SEK. She serves as Chief Executive Officer, according to the CHC/SEK website.
Prior to joining the organization in November 2004, she was vice president of planning and development at Mt. Carmel Regional Medical Center. During her 23 years with Mt. Carmel, she was instrumental in the development of several key programs including the regional cancer center, the $17.5 million outpatient expansion completed in 2004, the creation of a physician recruitment and retention program and several mission-directed services including CareVan (a transportation service), Congregational Health Ministry, and the Wesley House Dental Clinic. She served as secretary to the Mount Carmel Foundation and as liaison to the Mt. Carmel Auxiliary.
She attended Pittsburg State University and is a graduate of Kansas University in Lawrence with a Bachelor’s of Science.
Women needing mammography services in Bourbon County and surrounding areas can once again schedule appointments for the procedure close to home. As part of the transition of services from Mercy Health System to the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, the hospital’s 3D Mammography equipment was donated to CHC/SEK. It remains in its original location and staffed by the experienced staff who have been responsible for the service for more than 15 years.
The equipment – considered the most advanced breast screening technology available – was funded when it was originally acquired through a gift from the Mercy Health Center Foundation.
“We all agreed that the women of southeast Kansas – regardless of their ability to pay – should have continued access to this service,” said CHC/SEK Chief Executive Officer Krista Postai. “In our discussions with staff and community members, we found that many women in the region had come to rely upon its availability.” As in the past, regardless of where a woman goes for primary care, she can make an appointment for a mammogram in Ft. Scott.
“We were surprised at how many women have used this service locally saving – for many of them – a trip to Kansas City or elsewhere,” Postai said. “That certainly speaks well for the quality of the program and staff.
“We will now be able to extend this resource further making it more accessible to low-income women through special programs and discounts based on ability to pay,” she said. “Every woman has the right to quality screening and thanks to Mercy, the Mercy Foundation and CHC/SEK that will continue.” Postai went on to add the Foundation has contributed funding toward covering the cost for those in Bourbon County who otherwise would not be able to afford it.
Among the benefits of 3D mammography are more accurate detection resulting in fewer call backs for additional tests. Because of the use of multiple angled images, 3D mammography may help detect cancers earlier than conventional 2D mammography and is especially effective with women with dense breast tissue. It also can help reduce anxiety from false alarms while also delivering a minimal amount of radiation.
Mammography Technicians Jennifer Dugan and Suzanne Quick, well-known to area women, will be managing the program and look forward to continuing to serve women throughout the area.
“We chose to become a part of CHC/SEK because we love their mission and the opportunity to continue serving patients in the community that we have grown to love, as well as reaching out to a whole new group of women,” said Jennifer Dugan.
“It was their obvious commitment to helping women that convinced us that we should continue this service,” said Postai, who described her first meeting with the two technicians as inspirational. “I have never met anyone more dedicated,” she said. “They were far more concerned about their patients than themselves after learning of the hospital’s closure.”
Despite CHC/SEK’s lack of experience with mammography, Postai was confident the two women would make it work. “We’ve all spent the last two months learning the legal, technical and practical aspects of offering this service,” she explained. “Our staff worked closely with the organizations that approve mammography and despite all the hurdles were able to get all approvals within a week of transitioning the equipment to CHC/SEK ownership.”
Finding qualified radiologists to read the mammograms was also a challenge since this equipment is usually located in a hospital or a physician-owned service.
“Fortunately, Alliance Radiology based in Kansas City had originally provided this service to Mercy Fort Scott when it was started and were willing to reconnect,” said Postai. The technicians were very familiar with Alliance and had confidence they would meet local needs.
“This was definitely a team effort and it would not have been possible otherwise,” said Postai adding that the community – and CHC/SEK – owe a thank you to Jennifer and Suzanne for putting their patients first.
On February 6, Connie Jackson, a local resident and former Mercy employee, became the first person to have her mammogram at CHC/SEK. “I was scheduled for a six month follow up after having been diagnosed originally with breast cancer in January 2016. The technicians were so caring and considerate and put me at ease,” she said, urging other women to schedule this live-saving test.
In order to schedule a mammogram, it is not necessary to have a local physician. Women may call 620-223-8040 to make an appointment and test results will be sent to the physician of their choosing. Mammograms can be scheduled between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday with expanded hours on Wednesdays to 5:30 p.m. to accommodate work schedules. Additional benefits offered through CHC/SEK include the ability to offer mammography at a lower cost with increased access.
Like Mercy, CHC/SEK is a participant in the Kansas Early Detection Works program with free mammograms available to women between the ages of 45 and 64years who do not have health insurance and otherwise qualify.More information about the program can be found on the Kansas Department of Health website www.kdheks.gov/edw.
CHC/SEK also offers financial assistance and accepts all patients regardless of their ability to pay along with commercial insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare. For additional information on CHC/SEK’s financial assistance program go to their website at www.chcsek.org or call 620-231-9873.
The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is a Federally Qualified Health Center dedicated to providing quality health care to everyone regardless of income or insurance status.CHC/SEK is a patient-owned and operated organization serving more than 50,000 children and adults annually.CHC/SEK employs more than 400 professionals and support staff at 15 clinic sites in Bourbon, Crawford, Cherokee, Labette, Linn, Montgomery, and Allen counties and is governed by a 13- member Board of Directors which includes patients and community representatives.
FOR QUESTIONS CONTACT: Carla Farmer, senior marketing advisor, 620-224-6500
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.