Category Archives: Health Care

CHC/SEK Now Providing Mammography Services


Pictured from left: Mammography Technicians Jennifer Dugan and Suzanne Quick. Together. they have 15 years experience and look forward to serving the women of Bourbon County and the surrounding area.

 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 64 years who do not have health insurance and otherwise qualify. More information about the program can be found on the Kansas Department of Health website


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 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

Ascension Via Christi’s Fort Scott Emergency Department will open Monday, Feb. 18

Ascension Via Christi’s Fort Scott Emergency Department will open Monday, Feb. 18

Fort Scott ER door

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.

Governor Comments on Oswego Hospital Closing

Governor Kelly’s statement on the Oswego Community Hospital closure


The following statement is from Governor Laura Kelly regarding the closure of Oswego Community Hospital:


“Once again, we see the consequences of failing to expand Medicaid. Another Kansas hospital, this time in Oswego, has closed its doors. Studies show about 30% of our state’s hospitals are considered financially vulnerable. In small communities across our state – these facilities are at serious risk of closure.


“Just by expanding KanCare – the state’s Medicaid program – we can help keep these important facilities open and provide affordable health care to 150,000 more Kansans – no matter where they live. It is time to put politics aside and do what is best for the families and communities of Kansas.


“I look forward to legislators following through on their pledge to move our agenda through the committee process and allow for a full floor debate on our Medicaid expansion proposal.”

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Introduces New Radio Show

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) introduces the “Health Matters” radio show on Wednesday mornings at 7:45 a.m.
The show will feature local healthcare providers speaking about health topics that matter most to you, your family,
and our community.
Tune in to KOMB 103.9 each Wednesday at 7:45 a.m.!
Submitted by the Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce

New EMS Vehicles Dedicated Feb. 12 At Timken

This is the oldest member of the Emergency Medical Services transport vehicle. It is a 2001 model, which is housed at the Fort Scott Fire Department. A ceremony is planned to dedicate a new addition to the EMS fleet.
There will be a  Mercy Health Foundation dedication ceremony to add to the local Emergency Medical Services transportation fleet, 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12 at the Timken  Company, 4505 Campbell Drive.


Timken is located at 4505 Campbell Drive, in Fort Scott’s Industrial Park, just off Hwy. 69.
The community is invited to attend this special presentation and may contact the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce at 620-223-3566 or with questions
or for more information.
The Timken Foundation, Canton, Ohio, donated $25,000 which helped purchase an EMS vehicle.
The purpose of the Timken Foundation is to support entities such as hospitals, recreational, educational, cultural, social, and other charitable institutions, according to information provided by Rachel Pruitt, City of Fort Scott Economic Development Director.
An EMS transport vehicle costs approximately $100,000, according to Mercy Foundation President Jared Leek.
Additional funds were raised by fundraising events and private donations.
The new transport ambulance will be owned by Bourbon County and managed by the City of Fort Scott, according to a link provided by Dave Bruner, City of Fort Scott.
A transport ambulance looks more like a van than a traditional ambulance but has better longevity, fuel economy, easier service and maintenance than a traditional ambulance but comes with all of the same equipment, according to the link.
On April 1, the operation of the local EMS will transition from Mercy Hospital to Bourbon County EMS. Mercy Hospital closed in December 2018.


” We currently have four ambulances staffed 24-7  during the period that the emergency room is closed,” Bruner said.

Currently, there are eight full time and 16 part-time employees in the EMS, according to Bruner.

This includes paramedics, who have two years of schooling and have advanced life support certification. There are also Emergency Medical Technicians, who have six months of school, then must pass national certification, EMT Clint Lawrence said.
“We have to have a minimum of two people for each vehicle on duty,” Lawrence said. “Right now we have four vehicles because each of our patients has to go out of town to another hospital.”



Fort Scott Emergency Room Gap In Service: Area ER’s Will Be Utilized

Mercy Hospital Fort Scott signed an agreement with Ascension Via Christi to provide equipment and furnishings for emergency room services.

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.

The Mercy Emergency Room waiting area, January 2019.

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.

Reta Baker. Courtesy photo.

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.


City of Fort Scott On Health Care Transitions

The emergency room operations have been assumed by Ascension Via Christi.

The City of Fort Scott has been anxiously awaiting an announcement regarding the Emergency Room.

We are fortunate to have Ascension Via Christi provide Emergency Room services in our community.

In October of 2018, a task force was quickly pulled together to work on three priorities:   1) Primary Care to maintain our medical staff with no disruption of service; 2) Ambulance Service, and 3) Emergency Room.

The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas will be assuming operations of Mercy Convenient Care Friday, February 1. The most noticeable change will be a new sign reading CHC/SEK Walk-In Care. Hours of operation will remain the same – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Telephone numbers remain the same; the majority of the original staff have been retained. Patients still should enter through the main hospital door. The pharmacy will continue to operate as usual.

The main clinic located within the hospital building will be closed Friday, February 1, to change out phone and computer systems and will reopen Monday, February 4 at 8 a.m. Hours of operation are expanding with the clinic open Monday through Thursday until 6 p.m. Friday hours will remain the same which are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

CHC/SEK will also be providing Mammography Services beginning in mid-February following completion of all licensure requirements.

Specialty clinics will continue and expand to add specialists from Kansas City, Joplin, Pittsburg and Iola. Previously located in Mercy’s building on Horton Street, these are being moved into the main clinic to make it more convenient for patients. A full listing of all visiting physicians will be published next week. The VA Clinic will remain in the Horton Street Building.

CHC/SEK has also initiated discussions with potential oncology providers to reopen the Cancer Center as soon as possible.

As with any transition, some glitches should be expected and appreciate everyone’s patience during this period.

As a reminder, the current EMS contract with Mercy remains in place through the end of March.  The City/County EMS partnership will begin April 1st The current EMS staff has been preparing for this provider transition for several months.  The EMS service remains fully operational during the transition.

City Manager, Dave Martin, has maintained a close relationship with executives from Via Christi and Mercy to ensure the future of healthcare services in our community.  Martin heard from Randy Cason, President of Ascension Via Christi and discussed future healthcare opportunities earlier today.  Cason said he looks forward to a new partnership and providing services to Fort Scott.

 “Fort Scott has a chance to be a role model for the future of rural healthcare,” said Martin.  He added, “The task force will begin establishing a relationship with Via Christi and continue to partner with CHC/SEK to provide the best solution for future healthcare in our community.”

  As always, the City of Fort Scott remains committed to the needs of the citizens and will continue to monitor healthcare throughout these exciting changes.

Via Christi To Operate Fort Scott Emergency Room

Ascension Via Christi will Operate Fort Scott Emergency Room

January 29, 2019

PITTSBURG, Kansas – Ascension Via Christi has an agreement to operate Fort Scott’s emergency room, diagnostic imaging and laboratory services, as soon as it can get regulatory approval to do so.

As planned, Mercy Hospital will close the emergency room in Fort Scott at midnight on Jan. 31. Therefore, there will be a gap in service while regulatory inspections to operate under new management are obtained.

During that time, ambulance service will continue to be available to respond to 911 emergency calls. EMS’ well-trained staff is aware of all options for treatment and will have two crews available to respond to calls and transport, as may be necessary to the four hospitals located within an hour drive, including Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg.

Under the agreement, Ascension Via Christi will lease approximately 16,000-square feet of clinical space from Mercy and Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg will manage the emergency and outpatient services in Fort Scott.

Mercy announced the closure of its Fort Scott hospital in October, along with plans to pursue opportunities to transfer certain services to other area providers. Under the agreement, Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg will manage emergency and outpatient services at the Fort Scott hospital location.

“We have worked diligently to retain the staff working at Mercy Fort Scott and are in the process of recruiting and onboarding the clinical and non-clinical associates we’ll need to staff services in Fort Scott,” said Randy Cason, president of Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg, adding that having an emergency room is critical for the residents of Fort Scott and surrounding communities.

“Taking on emergency room and outpatient diagnostics responsibilities is a continuation of our mission to care for the residents of Southeast Kansas,” Cason said. “Mercy has agreed to transfer its emergency, laboratory and radiology equipment on-site to allow for a smooth transition of services.”


Fort Scott’s Cancer Center to Close Jan. 31

Cancer Center of Kansas, located in Mercy Hospital Clinic, Jan. 21..

In connection with the closure of Mercy Hospital at the end of 2018, the Cancer Center of Kansas, which was located in the hospital clinic is closing.

The last day of operation for the center in Fort Scott is Jan. 31.

The center is offering the same service in Chanute and Parsons for its patients, said Dr. Yoosaf Abraham, Chief Operating Officer for Cancer Center of Kansas, Wichita.

The reason for the closure?

“We can not provide services to our patients, without ancillary services,” Abraham said.

Services such as  a labratory and surgeons are no longer available at Fort Scott, Abraham said.

Dr. Phu Truong and Dr. Nassim Nbbout, the current doctors in the Fort Scott Cancer Center of Kansas, can be seen at the Chanute and Parsons Cancer Center of Kansas facilities, he said.

The two nurses currently employed at the Cancer Center in Fort Scott are employees of Mercy Hospital, Abraham said.

“This will affect many in our community,” said Karen Endicott-Coyan. ” I currently take weekly chemo treatments at the center…this is extremely disheartening. I take chemo weekly with no end in sight, as there is no cure for my disease.”


Health Department to Move

This building. at 6th and Horton, will be the new site of the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department.

The Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department, with a location currently behind the Bourbon County Courthouse, is moving.

More privacy for clients and more room for future health care collaborations are the reasons for the move said Bourbon County Commissioner Jeff Fischer, who is also a member of the SEKMCHD board.

The site chosen is the former Mercy Hospital facility at 6th and Horton.

“We needed more space to provide more services,” Fischer said.

“SEKMCHD began looking at updating their current facility that is a modular office building on the courthouse square two years ago,” said  Fischer. “SEKMCHD considered the Bourbon County Court Annex, the decommissioned jail and other properties on the market two years ago. Late this summer the Cornerstone Bible Church offered their building to SEKMCHD which was purchased in December 2018.”

The SEKMCHD received a building permit on Jan. 17. They will meet as a board on Jan. 22 for further discussions of the project.

“We are aiming for an April 1 date to move,” Fischer said.

“Moving into a structure that is more than twice the size of their existing facility presents some interesting opportunities,” Fischer said. “There are ongoing discussions on how to leverage this space to improve access to healthcare and – or provide other services that complement the mission of county health departments. This may include leveraging the Craw-Kan Fiber Optic Network and support Tele-health studios available to the public.”

“At this point, a building permit has been granted to modify the western side of the building, replacing interior walls and providing the ability to secure the SEKMCHD space from the commons areas that include the waiting room and reception area,” Fischer said. “There are no definite plans on how to best utilize the eastern half.”

“The project consists of replacing and installing approximately 120 linear foot of insulated 2X4 framed walls on a structure that was built by Mercy in 1992 to provide health care services,” Fischer explained. “In addition, the installation of nine doors to create three new office spaces and two examination rooms. The framed walls shall be covered with approximately 240 ft., 50 boards of half-inch sheetrock.”

“The plumbing portion involves replacing sinks and moving an existing sink to facilitate access to the restroom from one of the exam rooms,” he said. “The plumber will also extend a gas line to the vicinity of the generator set placed outside adjacent to the electrical service entry.”

“The electrical portion involves installing wiring for outlets, switches, dedicated circuits for critical equipment,” Fischer said.  “In addition, it involves the installation of communication wiring. The installation of a generator set and appropriate automatic transfer switches will also be furnished.”

The Bourbon County Health Department provides adult and childhood immunizations and physicals, pap exams, birth control, blood lead screening, hemoglobin and blood sugar screening, hearing screening, blood pressure checks, STD screening and treatment, disease investigations, emergency preparedness,  and labs such as CBC, Chem Panel, TSH.
“The costs depends on which service they choose, but we accept Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance, Cigna, United Healthcare, and Kancare Insurance associated with Medicaid- Amerigroup, Etna, and United Healthcare,” said Alice Maffett, the nurse at the SEKMCHD in Bourbon County.

 For more information, contact Alice Maffett, Nurse, Bourbon County,620-223-4464 , or Jeff Fischer, board member, 620.223.6633 or Chardel Hastings, Director SEKMCHD 411 North Washington ~ Iola, 620-365-2191.

Fort Scott to Topeka Veterans Administration Shuttle Begins Feb. 5


From left: Darrell Spencer, Army; Stephen Dean. Army; Myra Jowers. Air Force, all vets themselves will be shuttle drivers. Not pictured Carl Jowers.

The Fort Scott to Topeka VA shuttle service will have its inaugural run to the Topeka VA Medical Center on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.

Many thanks to Patricia Neeland, Social Worker at the Fort Scott VA Medical Clinic and local Veterans Stephen Dean, Carl Jowers, Myra Jowers and Darrell Spencer for working together to make the Fort Scott – Topeka VA shuttle service a reality.

There is no cost to the veteran to ride the shuttle.

The VA shuttle holds five passengers and riders must preregister for a seat. Seats on the shuttle are open to any area veteran on a first come, first served basis.

At this time, the shuttle is operating only on Tuesdays. As more drivers are cleared by the Topeka VA Medical Center, the shuttle service will expand service to other days.

The shuttle will depart from First Southern Baptist Church parking lot (on South Main Street, near Pizza Hut) at 6:15 am and will return to Fort Scott after the last rider has completed their appointment in Topeka.

The rider must be at the designated departure point by 6:10 am or risk losing their seat to a standby.

The shuttle does not accommodate wheelchairs or pets. Only certified service dogs are permitted on the shuttle. Oxygen tanks are not permitted on the shuttle. Oxygen concentrators are allowed.

Family members may not ride with the veteran on the shuttle. Those veterans who need a caregiver to accompany them must have a signed note from their doctor attesting that the veteran requires a caregiver to accompany them to and from their appointment.

To register for a shuttle seat, the veteran must

·         Have an appointment at the Topeka VA Medical Center between 9 am and 1 pm for the day they schedule their shuttle seat.

·         Call 785-925-0261 to schedule their seat. All seat reservations must be scheduled by 5 pm, the day prior to their appointment in Topeka.



I Am Rehab Replaces Health For Life At Mercy Hospital

From left: David Shank, Janet Smith, Denny Gillard, Sarah Moore, and Hugo Dahlstrom.

I Am Rehab LLC is the new business that replaces Mercy Hospital’s Health for Life at 405 Woodland Blvd as of Jan. 1.

Hugo Dahlstrom is the occupational therapist. David Shank, Denny Gillard,  and Janet Smith are the physical therapists.  Sarah Moore is the office assistant.

I Am Rehab owners are  Gillard,  Shank, and Dahlstrom.

The rehab and fitness center is located on the lower level, north side of Mercy Hospital which will transition to Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas on Jan. 31.

“The fitness center is up and running,” Dahlstrom said. “People are coming in for occupational and physical therapy.”

The fitness center portion is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with the purchase of an individual membership of $30 per month for individuals and $40 per month for families, he said.

To get an access key to the center, one needs to come to the office between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Rich Wallace will continue to provide personal training, but is not employed by I Am Rehab LLC, Dahlstrom said.