Category Archives: Health Care

Cason: Via Christi Beginning to Explore Facility Options

Randy Cason, Ascension Via Christi Hospital President speaks at the grand opening of the Fort Scott Emergency Department on Feb. 28.

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 door to the Emergency Department in Fort Scott.
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.
From left: Tawny Sandifer, Ascension Via Christi Chief Nursing Officer; Naomi Powers, Director of the Emergency Department in Fort Scott and Pittsburg; Jessica Cobb, RN Nursing Manager, Fort Scott and Pittsburg; Kayla Stewart, RN Coordinator Clinical Program. The photo was taken during the opening of the emergency department in February 2019.
People who are interested in working with Ascension Via Christ can visit

Action Urged For Veterans Of Vietnam War

Readers are asked to notify their government representatives about supporting an act to ensure benefits for illnesses associated with Agent Orange, which was used during the Vietnam War.
“Disability benefits are increased in increments,” according to Carl Jowers, American Legion Post 25 Commander. “Approval of this bill could lead to military personnel who handled Agent Orange chemicals on Guam or stateside to become eligible for Agent Orange disability benefits next.”
The U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which would ensure veterans who served in the offshore waters of Vietnam during the Vietnam War are never denied benefits for illnesses associated with Agent Orange exposure. H.R. 299 would also expand much needed benefits for veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange in Thailand and the Korean DMZ, as well as continue research on Gulf War illnesses.
This important bill now awaits consideration by the Senate, which failed to pass it last Congress.
Take Action:
Do not stand by as veterans suffer. Contact your Senators to demand they pass H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019. The Senate must not delay while Blue Water Navy veterans sicken and die from diseases related to Agent Orange exposure.
Please show your support on social media:
On Facebook (copy and paste): I STAND with the VFW and call on the Senate to pass H.R. 299, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act. Thousands of veterans who honorably served our country and now suffer from the wounds of war have waited too long for benefits they deserve!

CHC/SEK Update by Krista Postai

Krista Postai, President & CEO of Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas headquartered at 3011 N. Michigan, Pittsburg, KS 66762.

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.


Alzheimer’s Patients To Benefit From New Chair

 Integrity Home Care + Hospice, formerly Mercy Hospice Fort Scott, received grant money from the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas to purchase a new Broda chair for the services they provide.

A grant amount of $2,500 was given and the chair is to be used in care for Alzheimer’s patients. 

The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas hosts individual charitable funds, created by donors who have a passion for giving back to their community.

Grants from the funds assist people throughout Southeast Kansas and many charities beyond Kansas.

Call the Community Foundation at 620-231-8897 with questions about this group and its many services available for donors.

Broda creates a line of tilt-in-space positioning chairs which are meant to improve people’s quality of life. They provide patients with a higher level of comfort and a higher quality of life. The chair provides ease of use for the caregiver and enhanced safety for the patient. 

Integrity Home Care + Hospice is a home care company based out of Springfield, Missouri, who employs over 1100 employees, which includes nurses, certified nursing aides, caregivers, social workers, chaplains, and more. Integrity staff is passionate about helping clients navigate every step of the care process. Your Home.  Your Healthcare. Integrity Home Care + Hospice is where proactive care and seamless solutions thrive.  Let us help you chart the path to trusted healthcare wherever you call home.


New Bourbon County EMS Facility

The newly remodeled facility that was donated to Bourbon County EMS by Mercy Hospital, located northeast of Community Health Center at 405 Woodland Hills on May 13, 2019.


The new Bourbon County Emergency Medical Services Station at Woodland Hills is nearly complete.


“A new sign will be coming,” EMS Director Robert Leisure, “It will be seen from the street out front, Woodland Hills.”


“Mercy Hospital donated the building,” Leisure said. “The city runs the day-to-day operations. The trucks and facility are owned by the county.”


Inside the station is housed four EMS vehicles.


“Two duty and two transfer trucks,” Leisure said. “Two ambulances are at the Fort Scott Fire Department (on National Avenue).”


Paramedic Mike Kreiger consults with Bourbon County EMS Director Robert Leisure in the new facilities day room.

There is a dayroom to “relax and get off our feet in between calls,” Paramedic Mike Krieger said.

EMT Katelyn Harper works at the reporting station in the new EMS facility, it is adjacent to the kitchen area.

There is one large room that the main office, day room and kitchen are located in.

The kitchen area of the Bourbon County EMS Station at 405 Woodland Hills. In the background is the hallway to the laundry, sleep rooms, bathrooms and the director’s office.
There are separate bathroom facilities for male and female employees, complete with lockers and shower.
Paramedic Mike Kreiger and EMT Aide Chris Reed in the EMS station dayroom in between calls.
Each shift employee has a sleeping room at the EMS station.


There are four separate sleeping rooms for shift employees.


“The EMS schedule varies on which days are worked,” Leisure said.  “But the goal is two 24 hour’s  (shifts) per week or 48 hours per week.”

Laundry room facilities, with the dayroom/work station/kitchen area in the background.
Three of the four EMS vehicles located at the Woodland Hills Station.


EMS Director Robert Leisure indicated the new ambulance service is doing well.


For an earlier feature on the service, click below:

Bourbon County Ambulance Service Starts Today, April 1


“We’ve seen a month coming in…We started billing to Bourbon County in February…We are making money,” he said. The goal is to break even for the year.


“My operational budget will be in August,” Leisure said. “It was guesstimated using input from Mercy.”


New Ambulance Director: Robert Leisure

Robert Leisure, Bourbon County Emergency Medical Services Director, 2019.

Robert Leisure was chosen as the new Bourbon County Emergency Services Director, with an official starting date of April 29.


“Robert has been a Paramedic/RN with the service for the past 23 years.  Christi Keating had decided that she was no longer going to serve in the capacity of EMS Director earlier in the year,” Dave Bruner said.

EMT Katlyn Harper works at the reporting station at the new Bourbon County EMS facility at 405 Woodland Hills, northeast of the Community Health Center. Bourbon County EMS Director Robert Leisure fields a call in the background.


Bruner is a representative of the City of Fort Scott on a task force that was given the job of transitioning the services from Mercy Hospital. Keating was a representative of Mercy Hospital and there were also representatives from Bourbon County on the task force that was formed following the announcement of the closure of the hospital in October 2018.


“We opened the position up and Robert expressed interest as well as three other candidates,” Bruner said. “Robert was chosen to fill the EMS director position.”


“I was already a Mercy employee and transitioned over to county with the rest of the staff,” Leisure said. “I was asked and encouraged to step up and fill a void left by the late Danny Hall.”

Robert Leisure, Bourbon County Emergency Medical Services Director, 2019.


He has several decades experience in emergency services.


“I’ve been a Kansas paramedic for 23 years or since 1996,” he said. “Most of my EMS career was spent in this general area and mostly with Mercy.”


Leisure is a registered nurse with 16 years of experience with Mercy Hospital.


“Nearly all (nursing experiences)have come in the ER setting with the exception of a brief stint of flight nursing with Eagle Med,” he said.


Leisure believes he has a good mix of employees.


“I’m currently fully staffed with 10 full time and 15 part-time employees” Leisure said. “It’s a good mix of paramedic and EMT’s. Some with vast experience and some just getting started.”


Leisure is learning the director job with help and has been challenged and motivated by this new position in a good way, he said.


“My duties are very fluid to me right now as I’m learning the position which is a new position, with no predecessor to really follow,” he said. “I’m being helped greatly by both Christie Keating and Dave Bruner in this transition. Christie has an extensive background in management mostly inter-hospital. And Dave is very knowledgeable about the inner workings of governmental processes.”


His duties include: “ordering and maintaining medical supplies and medications, ensuring billing of the runs we do is done accurately and on time, ensuring compliance with all state policies and procedures for ambulance operations, configuring a schedule of work for staff that see’s all shifts are covered with two crews on a 24/7 basis,” he said.


In addition, “duties include quality assurance where run reports are reviewed to assure a certain level of care is maintained, hiring and maintaining a full staff, facilitating regular maintenance of the six ambulances, meeting with the medical director and reporting to both county and city commissions since the service is run by the city and owned by the county,” he said.


The partnership between the City of Fort Scott and the Bourbon County administration has worked well.


” I have nothing but great things to say about both commissions as they’ve worked together exceptionally,” Leisure said.


Bourbon County Ambulance Service has a station at 405 Woodland Hills, northeast of the Community Health Center building, and one at the Fort Scott Fire Department on National Avenue.

To view earlier stories on the Bourbon County Ambulance:

Bourbon County Ambulance Service Starts Today, April 1

Ambulance Service For Bourbon County


No Mercy: The First In The NPR Series On The Closing Of Fort Scott’s Hospital

No Mercy

This is the first story in a National Public Radio series that will explore how the closure of a rural hospital, Mercy Hospital Fort Scott,  disrupts a community’s health care, economy and identity.

Across the country,  more than 100 rural hospitals like Fort Scott’s have closed since 2010, under increasing financial pressure.

Because of public response, NPR added a Facebook page for public comments, see the last link in this feature.

Click below for the story:


A Facebook page has been added by NPR because of the tremendous public response:

Health Department Moving Soon And A New Area Director

Rebecca Johnson, SEKMCHD Director.

The Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Department, with a facility currently housed in a modular office building on the Bourbon County Courthouse square, is moving.

“We hope to be completed by the end of May,” Bourbon County Commissioner Jeff Fischer said.

“Every day we are getting closer to moving in,” Rebecca Johnson, SEKMCHD Director said. Johnson assumed the position on April 1, 2019.

“There will be lots of possibilities for health care related agencies to use the facility,” Johnson said. “We are looking into a telemedicine possibility.”

The new location is at 6th and Horton Streets and will provide more than twice the size of the existing building, Fischer said.

The Bourbon County employees will remain the same: Alice Maffet-public health nurse, Kristi George-administrative assistant and head billing clerk, Gayle Green, Healthy Start Home Visitor and Johnson.

“I’ll be working there primarily,” Johnson said.

Chardel Hastings, the previous SEKMCHD director, is stepping into the position of Woodson County Public Health Nurse, Johnson said.


Jeff Fischer, District 2 Bourbon County Commissioner.

In December 2018, SEKMCHD purchased the building from Cornerstone Bible Church. The structure was originally built by Mercy Hospital in 1992 to provide health care services.


A building permit was 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.


Walls and doors were installed to create three new office spaces and two examination rooms, he said.


“Painting is going on right now,” Fischer said. “Once that is done, the electrician and cabinet folks can come in.”


The electrical, plumbing and cabinetry work has yet to be completed.

Fundraiser Benefits Presbyterian Village Residents

Presbyterian Village, 2401 S. Horton, Fort Scott.

The annual Fort Scott Presbyterian Village benefit dinner, auction and vacation raffle is May 15.

The fundraiser is for tenants of the assisted living facility who outlive their funds stored for retirement years.

Ginger Nance, executive director of Fort Scott Presbyterian Village answered the following interview questions.


Who will it benefit from this fundraiser?

“We are a Christian mission, not for profit, independent and assisted senior living community.  As people age, they usually put back money for ‘old age’ thinking it will surely be enough to meet their needs, knowing they will retire and not be able to continue working at some point.

“Life continues and sometimes seniors are faced with the reality that they never dreamed they’d live as old as they may currently be.”

“For example, we had a tenant once who lived in our assisted living who lived to be 104 years old.  She told us,  ‘I never dreamed I’d live to be older than 90!’ A decade later, she was still able to enjoy life and do many of the things she enjoyed so much, such as gardening, but she was not physically able to return to the workforce to earn money for that 14 years that she had not planned for.  Who could?!

“In our Christian mission, we are dedicated to making sure that our seniors needs are met as long as they can continue to physically live in assisted living at the Presbyterian Village, regardless of whether they can afford their care or not.  This is only possible through generous donors who believe in our program and see the wonderful quality of life that their tax-deductible donations can provide. ”


“We accept donations all year-long to support this charitable program, but once a year we hold a live auction and dinner to boost the money raised in order to cover the deficit that some of our seniors have.  For this reason, on May 15th, we will hold our annual Good Samaritan Auction and Dinner and hope to bring in more than $30,000 to cover that need.”


“For the event, we are selling tickets for a 3 piece Chicken Mary’s dinner which includes two sides, a homemade desert (made by many wonderful local bakers), and a bottle of water.  Ticket prices are $9.00 each in advance, or $12.00 at the door.  The dinners will serve from 4:30-6:30pm.  We will also have a drive through service available if you are not able to stay for the live auction that will be held, but would like to simply pick up dinner to take home.  Be sure to get your tickets early though, we usually sell out by the morning of the event and we don’t want anyone to go without a dinner.”


What will be going on that evening?

“A live auction will be held in the parking garages on the back side of the building, held by Nance Auction Service.  Come see all the great items we have to offer!  Everything from a Chevy Malibu car, tools, antiques, collectibles, household furniture, outdoor and hobby items, to knic knacs will be offered.  There is truly something for everyone!  The auctioneers engage the crowd and the fun begins among buyers and spectators.  Most everything will be inside the garages so there will be cover in case of rain.”

“A few premier silent auction items will be inside near the cashiers table, as well.”

“Additionally, we will have a ‘Buy It Now’ area set up at one end of the garage for those who would rather purchase and go.

“If you are not able to attend the auction but would like to leave a bid on an item that you are interested in, please contact Ginger Nance in advance to leave a bid.  We will also have people at the auction to assist if you are nervous about raising your hand to bid, or would simply prefer to have someone else bid for you.


“Last but not least, we are also selling tickets for one lucky person to win a seven-day trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The winner will stay at the beautiful Las Brisas condo which is appointed with all the luxuries of the Southwest that one could want while on vacation from your busy life. The condo is large enough for a family, yet intimate for a romantic get-away and is located within walking distance of the downtown attractions and dining.  Tickets for the opportunity to win are $5.00 each, or 3 tickets for $10.00.  The drawing will take place at the end of the auction and the winner does not have to be present to win.”


“All money raised remains local here at the Fort Scott Presbyterian Village to directly impact the lives of seniors with a financial need,” states Nance.  “The program is confidential, otherwise we would ask a recipient of the program to give their testimony.”

“However, I have been the Executive Director at the Village for 17 years and I can attest that those who are utilizing the program often don’t even realize they are and their life continues unchanged and they continue to live the way they want to live, without interruption or worry.”

“The program is a dignified, loving gift of kindness from supporters, like you and I, and every dollar makes a direct impact on our senior’s lives,” states Nance.


“Join us for a great evening together!  We are located at the Fort Scott Presbyterian Village, 2401 S. Horton, Fort Scott, KS 66701.

Tickets are available at the Presbyterian Village, or at the Chamber of Commerce in Fort Scott.

For more information contact Ginger Nance, Executive Director at (620) 223-5550 or email

To view a partial listing of the auction items visit or come by to preview early on sale day.

Items are being added daily, so there are sure to be surprises on auction day.”

The location and directions to get there?

“Directions:  Take Highway 69 south on the bypass of Fort Scott, KS.  Turn west at 23rd street (at McDonald’s intersection light), then turn south on Horton Street.  We are located directly across the street from the Fort Scott Public Golf Course.

In case of rain, if it’s too wet to park in the grass, we will have people assisting with parking and a shuttle service will run between the Village and the Fort Scott Community College parking lot from 4:30-7:00 p.m.”














Mercy Donates to Via Christi

Holding the check facsimile – Former President and CEO of Mercy Reta Baker and  President and CEO of Ascension Via Christi-Pittsburg Randy Cason;  second row-Kayla Stewart, Via Christi-Bryan Holt, Mercy Foundation-Bill Michaud, Foundation; third row-Nicole Brown, Via Christi-Brooke Newell, Via Christi-Barb Dunlap, Via Christi- Holly Ryan, Via Christi; fourth row- Becky Tourtillott, Foundation-Alysia Johnston, Foundation. Submitted photo, dated April 22, 2019.

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.

Natalie Snyder, RN; Kristi Harbit, RN and Cheryl Koppa, RN, all of Fort Scott are members of the Ascension Via Christi staff in Fort Scott. This photo was taken the day of the grand opening of the Ascension Via Christi Emergency Department, Feb. 28.

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.

Click below for that story:

Mercy Health Foundation Donates $300,000 To Community Health Center


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:

Ascension Via Christi leases approximately 16,000 square feet of space from Mercy, according to the Ascension Via Christi website:

This follows the closure of Mercy Hospital Fort Scott in December 2018.

Under the agreement between Mercy Hospital and Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg, the latter now manages emergency and outpatient services at the Fort Scott hospital location.