Mercy Hospital’s President Reta Baker signed an agreement with Ascension Via Christi on Jan. 27 to provide emergency room services at the hospital that ends for Mercy today, Jan. 31.
“It is an agreement that Mercy will provide lease space and provide the necessary equipment and furnishings to provide the services of an emergency room,” Baker said.
One issue: there is a gap between the Mercy closing date and when Via Christi will get regulatory approval to provide emergency room services.
“Before Via Christi can operate ER services in this setting and building, they have to have a license from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment,” Baker said. “It takes time. It has steps…I think all the parties engaged will work as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
She is estimating a few weeks, but it could be more, she said.
Baker said the ambulance service will take patients to area emergency rooms in the meantime.
“If they call 911, they will take the patient to the closest appropriate ER,” Baker said. “Or if a person wants to take themselves, they could choose which ER they can go to. Pittsburg, Girard, Nevada, Iola, Olathe, Overland Park…all the ER’s are aware of the need.”
The Mercy ambulance service continues under Mercy operation until April 1, then Bourbon County will become the owners, she said.
Baker also addressed the following questions:
What about the hospital pharmacy?
“The pharmacy will continue to operate under Mercy until April 1, then operate under the Community Health Center.”
“Mammography is under CHC.”
“Radiology will be available under Via Christi.”
The administration wing of the hospital will be a Mercy hub work-site, Baker said. “There will be 15 employees working out of the building. (They will have)An assortment of responsibilities to support the business functions of Mercy Regional .”
The patient room wing of the hospital has been partitioned off to prevent the public from entering the area, she said.
Even though it is a sad time, it is an exciting one, she said.
“It’s an exciting new opportunity,” Baker said. “And a new model of care for the community.