Category Archives: Mercy Hospital

Introducing the Candidates: Jeff Caldwell

This is a part of a series of candidates for the November 6 election.
Governor/Lt. Governor (vote for one)

Kris Kobach/ Wink Hartman P.O. Box 1993 Topeka 66601 Republican

Laura Kelly/Lynn Rogers P.O. Box 2098 Topeka 66601 Democratic

Jeff Caldwell/ Mary Gerlt 4900 W 108th St, Apt. 1202 Leawood 66211 Libertarian

Rick Kloos/Nathaniel Kloos 5339 SW 22nd Pl. Topeka 66614 Independent

Greg Orman/John Doll 18001 W 106th St Olathe 66061 Independent

Name:Jeff Caldwell
Age: 32
Candidate for the position of Governor of Kansas
Place of residence: Leawood, Kansas
Current occupation: Sales
Community involvement: Volunteer for Harvesters, Food Banks, and Food Pantries
Party affiliation: Libertarian
1) What is the biggest issue, if elected, and how do you plan to address it?
The Kansas government spends way too much money and is $3.2 billion in debt. It’s time for Kansas to stop borrowing money from different agencies and stealing from KPERS. I will work with the legislators to responsibly cut government spending, abolish unnecessary agencies like the Board of Cosmetology, and eliminate overburdensome regulations and red tape. I will also look at returning state responsibilities back to local city governments and find ways to have nonprofit organizations take over some services provided by the state.
2)Give your views on food sales tax:
Kansas is one of only seven states in the entire United States that taxes food without a reduced rate or no rate at all. Kansas has one of the highest tax rates on food in the entire United States. Missouri, Nebraska, and Colorado have a reduced tax rate on food. Oregon and Montana have no tax on food. Having some of the highest sales tax on food in the nation is a burden on everyone. My platform includes abolishing the tax on food and water, lowering private property taxes, and abolishing the income tax for the service industry.
3) Give your views on legalizing marijuana:
I am the only Kansas Gubernatorial candidate running to fully legalize cannabis. I am also the only Kansas Gubernatorial candidate running to pardon all nonviolent cannabis offenses. Earlier this year, Kansas passed a $525 million school funding increase. The politicians in Topeka have not told us how they are going to pay for it or how they are going to improve our economic outlook. The unemployment rate in Kansas has been stuck at 3.4% for over 6 months; however, the Kansas legislators are telling us an improving economy will cover the funding. I want to use funds from full legalization of medical and recreational cannabis, hemp, and sports betting to cover the cost.
4) Give your views on health care for our state, including Medicaid:
I am running to keep Medicaid at current levels while cutting government regulations to allow free market solutions to health care [not privatization like Brownback, which created government granted monopolies]. This means more direct primary care doctors, ushering in coverage from insurance companies out of state, allowing more nonprofit organizations to enter health care, and allowing for importation of medicine from other countries. Having more doctors who do not require health insurance allows for there to be more doctors able to perform tasks without charge and have more flexible payments for people who cannot afford treatment. This offsets costs from catastrophic injuries and sickness. If we can cut enough government spending, and Medicaid expansion passes the house and senate, I will sign the bill for expansion. I will work to ensure expansion does not create more red tape and operates closer to a free market than having corporate or government monopolies on health care.
5) Give views on abortion and Planned Parenthood:
I would like to keep abortion laws the same as they are. To stop polarizing politics, I support allowing Kansans to choose where their tax dollars are spent. If a citizen does not want their tax dollars to go to Planned Parenthood, they should not be forced to fund Planned Parenthood. Furthermore, if a citizen believes in funding Planned Parenthood, they should be allowed to direct their tax dollars to Planned Parenthood.

Mercy Home Health and Hospice Merger with Integrity Still on Track

Mercy Fort Scott Home Health and Hospice continues to work with Integrity Home Care + Hospice to transition all home health and hospice services within the next several months. Last Thursday, leaders from Integrity met with the Mercy team in Fort Scott to provide an update and implementation timeline. The goal is to make a seamless transfer of all services complete by January 31, 2019.

In July, Mercy announced Integrity Home Care + Hospice would merge locally-based home health and hospice services. Once finalized, Mercy co-workers will change employment to Integrity.

Not all health care happens in a hospital or a doctor’s office, said Becky Davied, Mercy Fort Scott Home Health and Hospice director. “Patients who head home after a surgery or serious illness often require some time to continue healing at home, and chronically-ill patients must manage their conditions at home daily.”

For patients in either situation, having quality health care in their home can be the key to living their best life.

Our patients in southeast Kansas can find comfort in knowing they have one of the best home health and hospice teams caring for them,” Davied added.

For six of the past eight years, Mercy Fort Scott Home Health has received the HomeCare Elite award for being one of the most successful home care providers in the United States. The award recognizes the top 25 percent of agencies based on performance measures including quality of care, quality improvement, patient experience, best practices implementation and financial management.

As a partner, Mercy will become a shareholder of Integrity and a member of the board of directors. While the company’s name will remain Integrity Home Care + Hospice, the logo will include information about its partnership with Mercy. Together, the two systems will become an even stronger home care and hospice team to serve Bourbon County, Kansas, and Kansas residents within a 50 mile radius of Fort Scott.

Home health and hospice care are important to the entire spectrum of health care services, said Reta Baker, Mercy Hospital Fort Scott president. “We want to reassure our current patients and the area residents that home health and hospice services will continue to operate just under a different name.” 

Community Health Center of SEK New Owner of Mercy’s Clinic

CHC/SEK to Assume Ownership of Mercy Clinics in Bourbon, Linn and Crawford Counties

(Pittsburg, KS) – The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) – a non-profit primary care system serving the nine counties of the most economically disadvantaged and least healthy region of Kansas – announced it will assume ownership of the Mercy clinics in Fort Scott, Pleasanton and Arma beginning January 1, 2019.

“CHC/SEK entered into discussions with Mercy this summer about the need to maintain access to care and they were anxious to preserve the resources they had built in Bourbon and Linn counties,” said CHC/SEK CEO Krista Postai. “As an organization that had grown out of a faith-based health system, CHC/SEK shared their values and their commitment to providing quality, affordable care.”

“We both agreed it was the right thing to do,” Postai said, commending Mercy leadership for their efforts to ensure those they had served so long would continue to receive care from those they knew and trusted. “They are doing whatever they can to make this transition seamless.”

“Everyone recognizes the closure of Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott is a tremendous loss to the community and the state,” Postai agreed, adding she was aware of the efforts the system took to prevent it.

“Healthcare has undergone tremendous change over the last decade and sustainability is becoming a challenge for rural hospitals everywhere.”

Southeast Kansas especially is vulnerable with a median income 25% below the state average, declining population and a much higher rate of chronic disease, Postai explained. “The traditional model of healthcare is disappearing and with it the hometown hospital.”

CHC/SEK – with 12 clinics in five counties – has worked to counter this erosion by stabilizing the medical, dental and behavioral health services in the region. “We provided services to more than 43,000 individuals last year regardless of their financial status,” said Postai, adding that the numbers continue to increase.

“Our purpose is to be where we are needed and ensure our care is high quality and affordable,” she said, adding that CHC/SEK was recognized in 2017 as a National Quality Leader and also achieved the highest level of certification as a Patient-Centered Medical Home.

“We appreciate that the Mercy System trusts us enough to ask us to continue the mission they undertook over a century ago in Fort Scott and, more recently, in Pleasanton and Arma,” Postai said, indicating they hope to retain the medical staff who have served these communities.

“We will be meeting with everyone as soon as we possibly can aware that each member of the Mercy staff will need to make some decisions quickly,” she said, with CHC/SEK staff prepared to devote as much time as necessary to talk with anyone interested in a position over the next 30 days.

CHC/SEK expects to employ about 60 to 70 of the Mercy staff impacted by this announcement.

CHC/SEK currently employs about 340 including about 100 medical, dental and behavioral health providers. The organization’s annual budget is more than $23 million; about 25% of that comes from federal and state funding with the balance from service care delivery.

“We expect to have all sites transitioned by February 1, 2019,” Postai said, explaining that the four clinics will be phased in over a 60-day period to minimize service disruption. Hours and days of clinic operations are expected to remain the same.

CHC/SEK will also continue to operate the pharmacy located within the hospital itself and patients should see a reduction in the cost of their prescriptions.

“We can bring some resources to the community and the clinics because – as a community health center – we are eligible for some special benefits,” Postai said. “We are able to buy drugs at the same price that the Veteran’s Administration pays meaning that we can ensure our patients – especially those on fixed incomes – will be able to afford their prescriptions.”

“Those covered by Medicare may qualify for a discount on their co-pay and, by regulation, their deductible is waived,” she said, adding “As the region’s only Medicare Benefits Enrollment Center, we can assist our older population in identifying all the resources for which they may be eligible.”

Postai added that many of CHC/SEK’s clinics also offer dental and behavioral health services.

“Once we get fully transitioned we will then begin identifying other needs and add resources as we can,” she said. “We really believe in an integrated model of care realizing that those with chronic disease often fight depression and good oral health can impact overall wellbeing.”

“It makes a lot of sense to create a one-stop approach and that’s something we can bring to the community,” said Postai, adding that many are unaware that CHC/SEK services are available to anyone. “We accept all private insurance, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, so our patients are representative of the community as a whole.”

“For those on reduced incomes – which include many of the elderly in the region – we do offer financial assistance.”

“Our mission is to ensure everyone has access to primary care so no one is turned away,” she said. “Our vision is ‘Healthcare The Way It Should Be’ which means person-focused, personalized and compassionate.”

Postai went on to express CHC/SEK’s appreciation for everything Mercy is doing to help make the transition as seamless as possible. “Without their support, this undertaking would have not been possible.”

“Much work lies ahead but we know everyone wants to preserve as many of the health resources as possible in these communities,” she said. “We are honored to be asked and we are committed to making it happen.”

About Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) is a non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center dedicated to providing affordable, high quality medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and outreach services to southeast Kansas and the region. For more information, visit

County Meets at 10 a.m. Oct. 3 to Discuss Mercy Hospital Closing


Bourbon County Commission Room

1st Floor, County Courthouse

210 S. National Avenue

Fort Scott, KS 66701

Regular meetings are Tuesdays starting at 9:00

Special meeting date: October 3, 2018 at 10 a.m.

1st District-Lynne Oharah Minutes: Approved: _______________

2nd District-Jeff Fischer Corrected: _______________

3rd District-Nick Ruhl Adjourned at: _______________

County Clerk-Kendell Mason

10:00 a.m.-Special Commissioners Meeting regarding Mercy Hospital.

Justifications for Executive Session:

          Personnel matters of individual non-elected personnel

          Consultation with an attorney for the body or agency which would be deemed privileged in the attorney-client relationship

          Matters relating to employer-employee negotiations whether or not in consultation with the representative(s) of the body or agency

          Confidential data relating to financial affairs or trade secrets of corporations, partnerships, trusts, and individual proprietorships

          Preliminary discussions relating to the acquisition of real property

          Matters relating to the security of a public body or agency, public building or facility or the information system of a public body or agency, if the discussion of such matters at an open meeting would jeopardize the security of such public body, agency, building, facility or information system

Mercy Hospital Fort Scott to Close

Primary Care Services to Continue through Agreement with CHC/SEK

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (October 1, 2018)In the face of declining patient numbers and shrinking reimbursement, Mercy has made the difficult decision to close Mercy Hospital Fort Scott by the end of the year. The decision was made following months of exploring options for keeping hospital services in the community.

At the same time, there is a plan for continuing physician services in the area. Mercy is finalizing an agreement with the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK), the federally qualified health clinic based in Pittsburg, to maintain primary care services in Fort Scott and other nearby communities in which there are Mercy Clinic locations. All Mercy Clinic Fort Scott primary care physicians have committed to continue practicing in the area as part of CHC/SEK. The two organizations expect to share more information soon.

Mercy Hospital has been privileged to serve Fort Scott since 1886. Like many rural hospitals across the country, we have struggled to remain viable as community needs have changed,” said Reta Baker, hospital president. “We considered – and exhausted – every possibility for keeping our doors open, and ultimately we had to acknowledge that it’s a different era for hospital care in Fort Scott. There are many options in nearby communities for patients seeking hospital care, and there are many challenges we didn’t have in years past. Our hearts are heavy, but it’s the decision we know has to be made.”

The hospital will close by December 31, including all inpatient services, the emergency department and ambulatory surgery.

Mercy first announced the need to explore options for future sustainability in 2014, citing trends that included patients leaving the area to seek health care services in larger communities and declining reimbursement, especially from government payers which make up the largest source of revenue. The announcement was followed by an 18-month discernment process, which ended in 2015 with the understanding that should these trends continue, Mercy would need to revisit plans for the future.

That time came earlier this year, and a new process of evaluating solutions was undertaken,” said Baker. “Unfortunately, the health care environment in Fort Scott has not improved, and in fact we’ve encountered the additional challenge of successfully recruiting and retaining physicians in the community.”

To prepare for closing the hospital, Mercy will undertake the required regulatory and legal notices and procedures, including notifying state and federal agencies and payers.

Mercy is developing plans to support hospital co-workers in through the closure process, and all will be treated with compassion and respect. There may be the possibility for some co-workers to transfer to other Mercy facilities.

Having closed our hospital in Independence, Kansas, in 2015, we know how difficult this news is to hear – not only for our Fort Scott co-workers and the community, but for everyone across Mercy. Our prayers are with everyone impacted by this decision,” said Lynn Britton, Mercy president and chief executive officer. “We also know that the Sisters who served before us had to make similar decisions in light of changing community needs, and we draw strength from their courage.”


Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2018, 2017 and 2016 by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy includes more than 40 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, 800 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 44,000 co-workers and 2,100 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Mercy’s IT division, Mercy Technology Services, supply chain organization, ROi, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients in more than 20 states coast to coast.

supply chain organization, ROi, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients in more than 20 states coast to coast.

Mercy Auxiliary Earns Gold

Pictured accepting the award (left to right): Sally Emerson, 2018 Hospital Auxiliaries of Kansas – District 2 Coordinator; Reta Baker, President, Mercy Hospital Fort Scott; Alice Allen, 2018 Auxiliary President, Mercy Hospital Fort Scott; Diana Holloway, 2018 President, Hospital Auxiliaries of Kansas; and Tom Bell, President/CEO Kansas Hospital Association

The Mercy Hospital Fort Scott Auxiliary Volunteers received a Gold Award of Excellence at the Hospital Auxiliaries of Kansas (HAK) Convention held in Kansas City on September 7. The award is the state’s top honor for hospital auxiliaries that have demonstrated service and commitment to their hospitals and communities.

Auxiliaries who earn this prestigious honor must meet 21 criteria set up by the HAK such as participating in health-related community service activities, giving direct service to the hospital and contributing to health career scholarships.

Mercy Auxiliary holds a variety of fundraising events annually to raise money to purchase small equipment items for the hospital. In 2018, $22,573.88 was given. They also offer five $200 scholarships for students going into the medical field at Fort Scott Community College each semester.

This past year Auxiliary members volunteered 9,214 hours. Auxiliary members are usually the first person a patient sees when they walk in the door, and often times the last person they see. They are an integral part of the hospital, and we are very thankful to have such a dedicated and hard-working volunteer team!


Mercy Hosts Mammogram Mania

Extended hours offered on October 11

Have you put off your annual mammogram? Wait no longer. Get your annual screening with the most-advanced breast cancer detection equipment using Mercy’s 3D mammography.

In conjunction with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the hospital will extend hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for mammogram screenings on Thursday, October 11.

During the extended hours, patients can receive their annual mammogram by either pre-scheduling an appointment or using the walk-in service.

A prescription is not necessary if the patient’s physician is Mercy integrated. Insurance will be billed for the mammogram; however diagnostic mammograms are not included during the special extended hours on October 11.

To schedule a mammogram, call 620-223-7015. Walk-in patients may register at Mercy Hospital Fort Scott’s main registration desk. Please present a copy of the patient’s insurance card, if applicable.

The 3D mammography equipment was purchased and installed in November 2016. The upgrade was made possible by a donation from the Mercy Health Foundation Fort Scott with partial funding provided by the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation (FSACF). FSACF serves to fulfill the philanthropic goals that benefit the common good and improve quality of life by providing leadership and programming that is responsive to the interest and needs of residents of the Fort Scott area.

*If experiencing any breast discomfort or problems, women need to see a physician for an order. Women should refrain from wearing deodorant or powder the day of the mammogram.

Walk To End Alzheimer’s Disease

Mercy Home Health and Hospice team members present at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s: Trista Smith, Chris Comstock, LaShawn Noel, Becky Davied, Kerry Wunderly, Tabitha Stults, Alberta Westoff (Mercy Hospice Volunteer), Kyli and Brecket Gates.

Mercy Home Health and Hospice Team Participates in

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (Sept. 20, 2018) – Members from the Mercy Home Health and Hospice team participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s held on Saturday, September 15, at Gorilla Village, Pittsburg State University. With the help of many other Mercy co-workers, the team raised a total of $1,618.25 by participating in Casual for Cause jeans days. The team also held a garage sale in June to raise the rest of the money donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.   

The goal for this year’s event was $35,000. To date money raised is at $27,586.79. If you would like to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association, it’s not too late.  Contact Cassie Wilson at 913-831-3888 or


Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2018, 2017 and 2016 by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy includes more than 40 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, 800 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 44,000 co-workers and 2,100 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Mercy’s IT division, Mercy Technology Services, supply chain organization, ROi, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients in more than 20 states coast to coast.

supply chain organization, ROi, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients in more than 20 states coast to coast.W

Northeast Scott 4-H Club Makes Hand-Made Blankets for Mercy

Back Row: Ella Maher, Dalayni Foulk, Jasper Allison, Reegan McDaniel, Joe Foulk (tall in the very back), Lily Westoff, Alisa Popp, Sierra Wright, Brennon Popp, Brody Wright. Front Row: Landon McDaniel, Korbyn Allison, Rydale Hereford, Avery McDaniel, Ana Christy, Maverick Wright and Karlee Hereford.

Mercy Home Health and Hospice Receives Gift

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (Sept. 17, 2018) – Members of the Northeast Scott 4-H Club donated hand-made lap blankets to Mercy Home Health and Hospice to be given to patients.

I was so excited to receive the call about the donation,” said Tabitha Stults, Mercy Home Health and Hospice community relations coordinator. “The blankets are beautiful and so soft. Our team look forward to sharing the blankets with our hospice patients.”

The blankets were made during a crafts class under the direction of the craft leader Destiny Foulk.



Mercy Hospice Bereavement Support Group Meets Sept. 20

If you have experienced a loss and need some support, Mercy Hospice Bereavement Support Group is here for you!
This group is open to everyone who has experienced loss.
Dates to attend this support group are September 20th, September 27th, October 4th, October 11th, October 18th, October 25th, November 1st, and November 8th.

New Ambulance Needed By Mercy Hospital

Christi Keating, executive director of patient care services at Mercy Hospital, speaks at the weekly Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce coffee August 30.

A new ambulance is needed at Mercy Hospital.

“It will be replacing a 2013 model with over 210,000 miles,” Christi Keating, Mercy’s Chief Nursing Officer, said.

Mercy Hospital hosted the weekly Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce coffee August 30 which gave Mercy a chance to tell the crowd about the need.

The new ambulance will be an inter-facility transport, Keating said.

The ambulance will ensure a commitment to the health and safety of this community and surrounding counties, according to information provided. It will improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of patient care in emergency situations. And it is a pro-active move to meet the needs of patients and their families.

There is match challenge currently underway to fund the $97,310 ambulance.

Almost $40,000 is currently needed with the hope of an order date of Sept. 10 for a fall delivery of the ambulance.

The match is 1:1 until the goal is reached, Tina Rockhold, Fort Scott Mercy’s Community Relations Manager, said.

To donate, call Rockhold at 620-223-8094 or go online to

Mercy Hospital Fort Scott CEO Reta Baker said the Mercy Health Foundation takes a project each year.

In the recent past, the foundation raised $100,000 for new ultrasound equipment.

“This year, the new ambulance is the project,” Baker said.

She told the Chamber weekly coffee attendees that the foundation is comprised of “younger people than most communities, who are more innovative than most communities.”

The foundation board is made of up of: Jared Leek – Chairman, Chris Petty – Vice Chairman, Darcy Smith – Secretary, Bryan Holt – Treasurer, Alysia Johnston, Mark McCoy, Bill Michaud, JoLynne Mitchell, Colleen Quick, Becky Tourtillott, and Reta Baker.

Baker said she is “excited about the future of Mercy.”

Below are photos of a poster that was part of the presentation given at the weekly coffee.