Category Archives: Health Care

Uniontown Wins A Health Champion Award

Media Advisory: 2020 Kansas Health Champions to be Awarded

 

 

WICHITA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Governor’s Council on Fitness (GCOF) will recognize the 2020 Kansas Health Champions at a luncheon Thursday, January 30 at 11:30 a.m. in Wichita. The awards will be held at the Drury Inn and Suites, 400 W. Douglas Ave in room 132. All media are invited to attend. Award winners will be available for interviews in room 105 following the presentation’s conclusion, estimated to be at 12:45 p.m.

 

The Health Champion Award was developed by the Governor’s Council on Fitness to recognize and promote exemplary contributions to fitness in Kansas. This is the seventh year for these awards. Those recognized include an individual and organization, as well as honorable mentions in each category.

 

2020 winners include:

 

  • Individual Health Champion: Andy Fry, Topeka
  • Organizational Health Champion: Redemption Plus, Lenexa
  • Individual Honorable Mention: Jim Blackwell, Hoisington
  • Organizational Honorable Mention: West Bourbon Elementary School, Uniontown

Award winners will make brief remarks.

 

Presenters scheduled include Dr. Lee Norman, KDHE Secretary, GCOF Chair Miranda Steele and GCOF Awards Chair Candice McField.

 

CHC/SEK: Not Possible To Pursue Mercy Building Repurpose

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) Board of Directors took no action today toward establishing a “medical mall” within the former Fort Scott Mercy Hospital. Prior to finalizing plans for the construction of a new primary care clinic, CHC/SEK had spent the past month assessing the feasibility of remaining in the existing building.

 

“It was our goal,” said CHC/SEK CEO Krista Postai, “to see if we could recruit enough occupants to cover the cost of repurposing the former hospital built in 2002 at the cost of $30 million.”

 

“After analyzing costs over the last year and projecting expenses if the building’s space was fully utilized, we estimated that we would need about $800,000 to $1 million annually to cover utilities and maintenance plus the staff to keep the building maintained and fully operational,” said Postai, adding the bulk of that expense would have to be covered by CHC/SEK and Ascension/Via Christi who together would occupy a large percentage of the overall building.

 

CHC/SEK staff met with multiple people and organizations to discuss their interest including officials from Fort Scott Community College who identified opportunities for space for their nursing department, as well as additional dormitory space. We were especially appreciative of the Bourbon County Commission who had pledged “in-kind” support to take care of mowing, snow removal, etc., as well as the Mercy Health System who had tentatively committed funds for needed and future repairs.

 

“Altogether, we had tentative commitments from about a half dozen interested in being a part of the project which covered about 100,000 sq. ft. of the 125,000 sq. ft. of available space,” said Postai, who explained the entire building is 177,000 sq. ft. but about 50,000 sq. ft. is dedicated to mechanical space that supports the overall building operations.

 

“That was assuming Ascension/Via Christi remained in the existing ER and Diagnostic Imaging area, and we continued to occupy the clinic space plus the pharmacy,” she said.

 

“Unfortunately, we were notified Wednesday that after analyzing their options, Ascension/Via Christi had determined to remain in the existing building on a permanent basis was cost-prohibitive, and it was more fiscally prudent to build a new ER,” said Postai.

 

“We were told the existing ER space would need about $3 million in renovations and that, plus a lease payment adequate to cover the cost of their share of the facility, would make it far more expensive than a new facility,” said Postai. The CHC/SEK Board was prepared to make a go/no go decision at their Board meeting Thursday but after learning that Ascension/Via Christi was moving forward on their own construction, the board determined it was not possible to pursue this project without them.

 

“We all have to make hard decisions about what is best for our organizations and, unfortunately, we all have limited funds and have to maximize our capital investments,” said Postai adding that both organizations remain committed to providing services in Ft. Scott.

 

Both CHC/SEK and Ascension/Via Christi had already started designing new facilities on the existing campus and will proceed on, said Postai explaining CHC/SEK was planning a 25,000 sq. ft. to 30,000 sq. ft. facility facing Horton Street at an estimated cost of about $5 million.

CHC/SEK: Not Possible to Pursue Mercy Building Repurpose

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) Board of Directors took no action today toward establishing a “medical mall” within the former Fort Scott Mercy Hospital. Prior to finalizing plans for the construction of a new primary care clinic, CHC/SEK had spent the past month assessing the feasibility of remaining in the existing building.

 

“It was our goal,” said CHC/SEK CEO Krista Postai, “to see if we could recruit enough occupants to cover the cost of repurposing the former hospital built in 2002 at the cost of $30 million.”

 

“After analyzing costs over the last year and projecting expenses if the building’s space was fully utilized, we estimated that we would need about $800,000 to $1 million annually to cover utilities and maintenance plus the staff to keep the building maintained and fully operational,” said Postai, adding the bulk of that expense would have to be covered by CHC/SEK and Ascension/Via Christi who together would occupy a large percentage of the overall building.

 

CHC/SEK staff met with multiple people and organizations to discuss their interest including officials from Fort Scott Community College who identified opportunities for space for their nursing department, as well as additional dormitory space. We were especially appreciative of the Bourbon County Commission who had pledged “in-kind” support to take care of mowing, snow removal, etc., as well as the Mercy Health System who had tentatively committed funds for needed and future repairs.

 

“Altogether, we had tentative commitments from about a half dozen interested in being a part of the project which covered about 100,000 sq. ft. of the 125,000 sq. ft. of available space,” said Postai, who explained the entire building is 177,000 sq. ft. but about 50,000 sq. ft. is dedicated to mechanical space that supports the overall building operations.

 

“That was assuming Ascension/Via Christi remained in the existing ER and Diagnostic Imaging area, and we continued to occupy the clinic space plus the pharmacy,” she said.

 

“Unfortunately, we were notified Wednesday that after analyzing their options, Ascension/Via Christi had determined to remain in the existing building on a permanent basis was cost-prohibitive, and it was more fiscally prudent to build a new ER,” said Postai.

 

“We were told the existing ER space would need about $3 million in renovations and that, plus a lease payment adequate to cover the cost of their share of the facility, would make it far more expensive than a new facility,” said Postai. The CHC/SEK Board was prepared to make a go/no go decision at their Board meeting Thursday but after learning that Ascension/Via Christi was moving forward on their own construction, the board determined it was not possible to pursue this project without them.

 

“We all have to make hard decisions about what is best for our organizations and, unfortunately, we all have limited funds and have to maximize our capital investments,” said Postai adding that both organizations remain committed to providing services in Ft. Scott.

 

Both CHC/SEK and Ascension/Via Christi had already started designing new facilities on the existing campus and will proceed on, said Postai explaining CHC/SEK was planning a 25,000 sq. ft. to 30,000 sq. ft. facility facing Horton Street at an estimated cost of about $5 million.

Independent Medical Laboratory Coming to Fort Scott Feb. 3

The sign in the front window of the new Mag-Lab office, tells the phone number to call for more information: 620-232-1900.

Mag-Lab, an independent medical laboratory, headquartered in Pittsburg, KS will be opening a Fort Scott satellite office on Feb. 3, 2020.

The office will be located in the building just north of Subway Restaurant at 1711 S. National, Suite C2.

Hours are 7 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.

For more information contact: 620-232-1900.

The Offices, a set of professional office spaces being developed by Legweak LLC.

With specimens taken that morning , the results will be delivered to the doctor that afternoon.

“Complicated testing we send off to a reference lab,” Phlebotomist Sharon Newell said.

“If it’s a body fluid, we can test it,” Newell said.

“We can have anybody out in a few minutes,” she said. “There is not a lot of paperwork hassle. You have to have a doctor’s script if going through insurance.”

Gary and Jeannie Petersen are the owners of the lab.

 

Sharon Newell, the phlebotomist, stands in the doorway of the new Mag-Lab office in Fort Scott.

When one enters the lobby of the set of offices, there is a doorbell on the wall for contacting each of the personnel in the offices.

Currently, Mag-Lab is the only renter, but two more are on the horizon.

Brian Holt, medical technologist and Sharon Newell, phlebotomist stand in the lobby of The Offices, where the new Mag-Lab is located. The doorbell for notifying that clients are in the lobby is located behind Sewell.

Dr. Elias Tawil is the medical director of the lab.

Via Christi Opens Clinic in Downtown Fort Scott Jan. 13

Dr. Katrina Burke, courtesy of Ascension Via Christi.

Dr. Katrina Burke’s first day at the new AscensionVia Christi Medical Clinic in downtown Fort Scott is Monday, Jan. 13.

She will be accepting new obstetrics and pediatric patients.

Burke will also see previous patients but is accepting no new adult patients, according to her receptionist Kristal Farmer.

Dr. Burke said that the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK), her previous employer, did not send out letters, telling of the change to her patients when she left on Dec. 31. She had given CHC a 90 days notice of her intent to leave CHC/SEK.

Hours for the clinic, located at 109 S. Main (north of the Liberty Theater) are 8 a.m to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday.

Thursday afternoon she is out of the office, but is in the office in the morning, according to her receptionist.

To contact the office call 620-223-7008.

109 S.Main is the new location of Ascension Via Christi’s Medical Clinic in downtown Fort Scott. A new sign will be up soon.
Ascension Via Christi employee Niki Bishir mans the desk of the new medical clinic on Jan. 9. She was temporary, while the employees were in an orientation meeting, she said.
Dr. Katrina Burke has already added her personal touches to the new clinic: a hallway lined with a photo of her family and framed degrees she has earned during her career as a medical doctor.

New clinic employees are Farmer, Registered Nurse Rachel Judy, and Medical Assistant Chelsea Harrison.

For more information about the clinic, visit
viachristi.org/ftscott-clinic.

Medicaid Expansion In Kansas

Governor, Senate Majority Leader announce compromise
proposal to lower healthcare costs for Kansas families

Bipartisan agreement paves way for both Medicaid expansion and reinsurance

TOPEKA – After weeks of negotiations, Democratic Governor Laura Kelly and Republican Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning today announced a compromise proposal to expand Medicaid while lowering health insurance premiums for Kansas families.

 

“This process is far from over, as there are still several critical steps to be taken by the Kansas Legislature,” Kelly said. “But today, Senator Denning and I are proud to stand together to propose a bipartisan compromise that will expand Medicaid and lower healthcare costs for Kansas families. This proposal includes elements of my plan, of Senator Denning’s plan, of the 2019 House plan, and of the bipartisan plan that passed both chambers in 2017.”

 

The compromise proposal includes key elements to address concerns raised from both parties, in both chambers:

 

    • Full Medicaid Expansion: The proposal includes a full expansion of Medicaid to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) with a 90/10 match, to be effective no later than January 1, 2021.
    • Reinsurance: Pending Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approval of a 1332 waiver and release of funding by the State Finance Council, the proposal includes a reinsurance program to be effective no later than January 1, 2022. The agreement also requires the Kansas Insurance Department to complete an actuarial study of the reinsurance proposal and submit to the State Finance Council.
    • Medicaid Funding: The proposal includes an annual hospital Medicaid expansion support surcharge of up to $35 million, which has been endorsed by the Kansas Hospital Association, to be effective July 1, 2021. This compromise proposal does not require a tax increase.
    • Promoting Personal Responsibility: The agreement includes a robust work referral program that promotes self-reliance for non-working Medicaid beneficiaries, while limiting costly administrative red tape that drives up overall costs to taxpayers. Enrollees within the expansion population will make a modest contribution for health services through monthly premiums of up to $25 per month, or $100 for a family of four, as proposed in House Bill 2066.  The bill does not contain any lockouts. Instead, it collects unpaid premiums through the state’s debt setoff program. A hardship provision is also included.
    • Rural Health Care Innovations: The proposal creates an advisory committee within the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to support rural hospitals in assessing viability and identifying new delivery models, strategic partnerships and implementing financial and delivery system reform to improve the health of rural communities.

 

“My top priority is to lower the cost of healthcare for Kansans across the board. We want to give as many Kansans health care coverage as we can, in the Medicaid market and the non-Medicaid market,” Denning said.

While this proposal is the most sweeping compromise offered since the debate over Medicaid expansion began in 2013, both Kelly and Denning underscored that more work remains.

 

“We’ll both be working with our respective caucuses in the coming days to get their feedback and buy-in,” Denning said. “But all sides can find something in this bill to like. That means it’s probably about as middle of the road as it can get.”

 

“This compromise was an important first step, but our work is not over yet,” Kelly said. “Legislators, many of whom were here today, have the ability to bring this over the finish line in the early days of the 2020 session. I am calling on them to do just that.”

 

Via Christi Supports Expanding Medicaid In Kansas

Response to today’s announcement of a bipartisan agreement on Medicaid expansion
” Ascension Via Christi extends our appreciation to Gov. Laura Kelly and Sen. Jim Denning for
reaching an agreement on expanding Medicaid in Kansas. Ascension Via Christi, along with the
Kansas Hospital Association and many other healthcare organizations, have been advocating for
Medicaid expansion for the past eight years as a way to make sure that all of our citizens have
access to care.
Expanding Medicaid will bring hundreds of millions in federal dollars to our state, giving Kansans
residents increased access to health care coverage while supporting healthcare providers and our
entire Kansas economy.
Across Ascension’s markets we know that expanded Medicaid has enhanced access to coverage
and care, resulted in more appropriate utilization of services, and has created financial security
among the poor and vulnerable.
Our ministry’s support of Medicaid expansion is rooted in our mission to serve all persons, with
special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable, and to protect and promote the inherent
dignity of all human life from conception until natural death .”
-Submitted by Don King, chief executive officer, Ascension Via Christi

KDHE Offers Healthy Habits to Adopt this New Year

 

Topeka – As 2020 begins, the Kansas Department of Health and Environments (KDHE) offers 10 healthy habits to begin or to continue this new year!

 

“We want to help Kansans live their best lives, so we have compiled a list of simple things every one of us can do starting today,” said Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of KDHE.

 

  1. Move more, sit less. Benefits of regular physical activity include maintained weight, reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduced high blood pressure and reduced arthritis pain. It also reduces your risk for many long-lasting (chronic) conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke and several forms of cancer.
  2. Eat healthy. Good nutrition is key to good health. It can help sicknesses from happening and assist in healthy growth. So, reach for healthy options like fruits and vegetables instead of salty or sugary treats.
  3. Lose weight or keep a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk for multiple, long-lasting (chronic) diseases. People who lose and keep a healthy weight can improve not only their physical health, but also their energy levels, general mood and self-confidence.
  4. Quit smoking. You are never too old to quit. Benefits include: lowered risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer; reduced risk for heart disease and stroke; reduced heart disease risk within 1 to 2 years of quitting; reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath and more money you will save! To get started, call the Kansas Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support.
  5. Rethink your drink. You can substitute water for sugary or alcoholic drinks to reduce calories and stay safe. This simple change can reduce your risk of weight gain/obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities and gout, a type of arthritis.
  6. Get screened for cancer. Regular screenings may find breast, cervical, colorectal (colon) and other cancers early, when treatment is likely to work best. Talk with your health care provider to see which ones you should have. Women, call Early Detection Works, 1-877-277-1368 to see if you qualify for support in paying for breast and cervical cancer screenings.
  7. Keep kids healthy and safe — talk to them about the dangers of vaping. Children develop their habits and behaviors at an early age and those habits can impact their life-long health. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey data, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among both high school and middle school youth. Vaping is putting young people at risk for developing lifelong nicotine addictions.
  8. Get vaccinated. The best way to prevent common illnesses is to get and stay up-to-date on vaccinations. A complete immunization schedule for children and adults can be found at http://www.kdheks.gov/immunize/schedule.htm. For adolescent females, this includes getting vaccinated against HPV cancer.
  9. Get enough sleep. Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep can be a risk factor for many long-lasting (chronic) diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and depression.
  10. Maintain mental health. Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. While everybody has the blues, feels anxious or gets stressed at times, if you cannot shake these feelings, it’s important to get help. Poor mental health increases the risk for long-lasting (chronic) physical conditions like heart disease, stroke and cancer. Call the National Alliance on Mental Illness for resources 1-800-539-2660.

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Ascension Via Christi Welcomes Dr. Katrina Burke

PITTSBURG – Ascension Via Christi is pleased to welcome Katrina Burke, MD, to its medical staff.

Dr. Burke, family medicine with obstetrics, will begin seeing patients in mid-January at the new Ascension Medical Group clinic at 109 S. Main Street in Fort Scott.

Burke most recently served with Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas in Fort Scott.

She is a 2010 graduate of the University of Kansas Medical School and a 2006 graduate of the University of Kansas.

To make an appointment, please call 620-223-7008. For more information about the clinic, please visit
viachristi.org/ftscott-clinic.

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About us
In Kansas, Ascension Via Christi (www.viachristi.org) operates seven hospitals and 75 other sites of care and employs
6,000 associates. Across the state, Via Christi provided $68.8 million in community benefit and care of persons living in
poverty in fiscal year 2018. Serving Kansas for more than 135 years, Ascension (www.ascension.org) is a faith-based
healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. As one of the
leading non-profit and Catholic health systems in the U.S., Ascension (www.ascension.org) is committed to delivering
compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable.
In FY2018, Ascension provided nearly $2 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit
programs. Ascension includes approximately 156,000 associates and 34,000 aligned providers. The national health
system operates more than 2,600 sites of care – including 151 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities – in 21
states and the District of Columbia, while providing a variety of services including physician practice management,
venture capital investing, investment management, biomedical engineering, facilities management, clinical care
management, information services, risk management, and contracting through Ascension’s own group purchasing
organization.

Coping With No Mercy Hospital

Sarah Jane Tribble, a writer for Kaiser Health News, posted another of her series of features on the closing of Mercy Hospital Fort Scott one year ago.

The following is an excerpt:

“A year ago, after Mercy gave a 90-day notice that it would close, City Manager Dave Martin said the betrayal felt by city leaders led to lawyers and calls with other health care systems about taking over the facility. Now, Martin has realized ‘we will not have ― or do we need ― a hospital.'”

For the full feature click below:

: No Mercy: What Happens When A Rural Hospital Closes?

Dr. Grant Hartman, DC, Joins CHC/SEK

 

Fort Scott native Dr. Grant Hartman has joined the staff of Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas in Pittsburg and will be seeing patients starting in January.

 

He will see patients in Pittsburg on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and Wednesdays in CHC/SEK’s Fort Scott clinic at 401 Woodland Hills Blvd.

Appointments can be scheduled by calling 620.240.5679.

 

Dr. Hartman is a graduate of Pittsburg State University with a BS in biology, and Logan College of Chiropractic in Chesterfield, MO.

He has owned and operated Hartman Spine & Joint in Fort Scott since August 2015.

 

“I’m thrilled to be joining the team at CHC/SEK,” Dr. Hartman said in a press release. “I’m inspired by their mission to provide care to all, and their total, holistic approach to health care. Chiropractic medicine provides extensive pain management solutions equipping patients to achieve better health through wellness and it’s very exciting to see CHC/SEK recognize that medications are not always the answer to a patient’s pain. Working in conjunction with the primary care doctors to treat patients with acute and chronic pain will be one of my focuses there.”

 

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Clinic, 401 Woodland Hills, just off Hwy. 69 south of Fort Scott.

 

He will be working within CHC/SEK’s Wellness Department, which also employs a full-time physical therapist, wellness coordinator, and a wellness services assistant, according to the press release. Personalized treatment and exercise programs are designed around each patient’s physical deficiencies or needs, and patients are encouraged to develop goals based on their unique personal requirements.