FORT SCOTT — Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas in Fort Scott has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in computed tomography (CT) for adult and pediatric scans as
the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR).
The location is also accredited by the ACR for mammography.
CT scanning — sometimes called CAT scanning — is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and tailor treatments for various medical conditions. Mammograms are X- ray images of your breasts designed to detect cancers and other changes in breast tissue.
The ACR gold seal of accreditation acknowledges CHC/SEK’s commitment to the highest level of ACR practice and technical standards for image quality, patient safety, staff qualifications,
facility equipment, quality control and quality assurance.
“Having CT in our facility gives the patient access to affordable scans if they don’t have insurance, or if they have high deductible insurance, it gives them the option to receive a CT
scan that they wouldn’t receive because they couldn’t afford it,” said Kimberly Wass RT(R). “On- site CT allows our clinicians to diagnose and treat sooner because it removes hospital
scheduling backlogs and transportation barriers for the patients.”
The same is with mammography. Although breast cancer screening cannot prevent breast cancer, it can help find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat.
Radiologist reports are received quickly and to the doctor, so the patients are notified in a timely manner of what’s going on, Wass said adding, “And, if there’s anything of concern, we’re able to ‘cloud’ our scans to other facilities. We don’t have to worry about creating a disk to be mailed, or carried by the patient if we are sending them on to a specialist or a hospital.”
CHC/SEK has CT and mammography services in Fort Scott and Pittsburg. For more information
about CHC/SEK CT and mammography services call 620-231-9873 or visit www.chcsek.org
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Nurse Practitioner Crystal Garcia, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, AAHIVS, joins CHC/SEK’s Family Physician Julie Stewart, MD, as the second HIV
Specialist at CHC/SEK.
Garcia recently completed her certification through the American
Academy of HIV Medicine.
“I’m so excited to have another HIV Specialist on our CHC/SEK Infectious Disease team,” Stewart said. “Crystal has a heart for the patients and the knowledge to care for them with
excellence. We are blessed to have her expertise on our growing team as we reach more and more patients each day.”
Prior to the inception of CHC/SEK’s Infectious Disease team, people living with HIV had to travel up to three hours to see their HIV Specialist in Wichita or Kansas City or wait up to 12
weeks for an HIV Specialist to come to them in Pittsburg. Now, between Garcia and Stewart, they can stay in their hometowns and get care five days a week.
Garcia also just entered into a year-long training through the Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center’s (MATEC) Clinical Scholar Program with the University of Kansas School of
The program pairs participants with a mentor, provides access to clinical consultations with otherHIV providers, and there are many opportunities to advance their knowledge through live and
virtual meetings and sessions. Garcia’s mentor is Donna E. Sweet, MD, AAHIVS, MACP, a Professor of Medicine from the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita. Sweet has been at the front of fighting HIV and AIDS in Kansas for 30 years. Garcia has monthly meetings with Sweet and will have the opportunity to shadow her in the clinic several times this fall.
“This program offers so many resources and education that I will be able to pass on to patientsthat we serve to improve their retention in care and their overall health,” Garcia said.
HIV specialists provide and have access to wrap around care that includes evidenced based practice knowledge to help those diagnosed with HIV. This increases engagement in treatment,
retention in care and decreases the effects this virus can have if not adequately controlled, Garcia said.
HIV specialists not only diagnose and treat individuals with HIV, but they also work to prevent others from acquiring it, Garcia said, adding that the treatment of HIV has come so far in the 40 years that individuals with HIV when engaged in care with an HIV specialist, can have a very positive prognosis.
“By being able to care for individuals diagnosed with HIV, we often are a ray of hope in someone’s life that they may not have seen on their own,” Garcia said. “This diagnosis can come
with so many negative thoughts and feelings that often individuals are ashamed and would rather not come into care due to fear and the unknown.
“It is beyond rewarding to be able to help people diagnosed with HIV understand their diagnosis and how it is very manageable throughout their lifespan. As a provider for people living with
HIV, there is a very unique connection that occurs and sometimes the person just needs acceptance and to be heard to see their life is not over and their future can look very parallel to what they planned prior to their diagnosis.”
Garcia is also nearing completion of an Internal Medicine fellowship with Stewart, a 12-month program designed to be an internal medicine/infectious disease fellowship within CHC/SEK. She
spent the first three months side-by-side with Stewart for every patient she interacted with, before seeing patients independently at the CHC/SEK Baxter Springs, Columbus, Coffeyville,
Fort Scott, Iola, and Pleasanton clinics.
She also regularly has appointments via Telehealth to
Independence and Parsons. Occasionally, on an emergency basis, she will Telehealth into other clinics, such as CHC/OK in Miami.
“I believe Dr. Stewart and I have built a very solid professional relationship that only adds to
each patient’s care,” Garcia said. “Our patients are aware we are a team and very much operate under this mindset to provide each patient with what they need and want from their healthcare.
“This last year has been a steep learning curve that has forced me to dive deep into myself and hustle for a goal that I truly believe benefits each patient. This fellowship is a huge building
block that enhances my professional ability to improve my practice.”
The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) is helping identify lung cancer in its earliest stages through low-dose CT lung cancer screenings in its Fort Scott and Pittsburg locations.
With a physician’s order, individuals 50-80 years old who currently smoke, or formerly smoked one pack per day for 20 years or two packs per day for 10 years, and who have smoked within
the last 15 years, can receive a noninvasive and inexpensive lung cancer screening.
“Low-dose CT lung cancer screenings are effective, noninvasive, and inexpensive,” says Kimberly Wass, RT, (R). “It only takes a few minutes, causes no discomfort, and exposes you to
a small amount of radiation, the images obtained give us a detailed picture of the patient’s lungs and chest.”
CT scanners combine a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around your body and use computer processing to create cross-sectional images (slices) inside your body. CT scan
images provide more-detailed information than plain X-rays do. The images can help diagnose lung cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages.
In the United States, lung cancer accounts for approximately one-fourth of cancer related deaths because many patients are diagnosed with advanced stages of the disease when treatment options are limited.
According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, tobacco use is still one of the leading causes of preventable death, disease, and disability in the state. Almost one in four
(24.6%) Kansas adults (18 years and older) use tobacco and many chronic conditions related to tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
CHC/SEK Can Help When Quitting Tobacco
CHC/SEK can assist you towards stopping your use of tobacco products. Our team of counselors, healthcare professionals, and peer support can provide individual counseling, group
counseling, nicotine replacement therapy, and other resources to help you along your journey.
For medically qualified patients, nicotine replacements such as gum, patches, and lozenges can help you stop using tobacco products. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) works by supplying
the body with small doses of nicotine without the harmful chemicals found in tobacco. NRT helps reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping the use of tobacco
such as smoking, vaping, and chewing.
At CHC/SEK, we encourage our patients to use KanQuit, a free service for all Kansans that provides counseling, support, and other resources to help you stop using tobacco. KanQuit
provides coaching over the phone or online, text messaging, email support, and quit medication (nicotine patches, gum, or lozenges) to those that qualify.
• The Quitline is free. The cost is paid by your public health department, health plan, or employer.
• Quitline is based on proven strategies. KanQuit has already helped more than 1.5 million people in their quit journey.
• The Quitline is self-paced and customized for each person. You decide the details of your plan such as how often you speak with a quit coach and whether you use quit medications.
• The Quitline is staffed by trained coaches, all of whom have completed rigorous Tobacco Treatment Specialist training.
Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or visit KSquit.org to get started today.
Since August, the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas has offered CareVan, which provides transportation for all people in Bourbon County.
“We started rides the beginning of August taking a few people, then September our new driver completed training and we moved them to be Bourbon County only,” said Dee Yount, CareVan Program Manager, said.
They are storing the vehicle at Fort Scott CHC clinic, located at 2322 S. Main. The dispatch is in Pittsburg.
“Riders can go anyplace in the county, this is not a CHC-only service,” Yount said. “It is first-come-first-served, and we take same-day appointments. Our dispatchers answer and take trips when people call in, we try to find a way for everyone to get a ride.”
“We are trying to cover the entire county, Fort Scott is the point that most rides are from,” she said.
Highlights of the service:
Anyone can use this service
Their rides can go anyplace in the county
Last minute scheduling is available
Dispatch answers all calls or returns them within 20 minutes
It is free
The service is wheelchair accessible.
Transportation hours are Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with dispatch hours of Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Services are based on availability, including same-day scheduling.
To schedule an appointment call 833-228-7433.
The project is funded in part by the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Public Transit Program and the Federal Transit Administration.
Dee Yount Program Manager’s phone number is 620. 215. 9626 or email [email protected]
Many area healthcare providers including CHC/SEK have begun to see an end-of-summer increase in viral
illness such as COVID, influenza and other respiratory illnesses.
Fortunately, for most people the COVID variants and the other viral illnesses are mild and generally resolve
without the need for treatment, says Dr. Linda Bean, Chief Medical Officer at CHC/SEK. However, individuals
who are at risk, either due to age or certain medical conditions, and have been exposed or suspect they have
COVID or influenza should follow up with a medical provider to discuss testing and treatment options.
At this point, do not expect mass testing associated with the 2020 pandemic to return. “With the public health
emergency declarations expiring signaling the end of the pandemic, we have also seen an end to the ability to
do mass testing for COVID,” Bean says. “Most health organizations including CHC/SEK now have less access to
testing supplies, and fewer resources dedicated to testing as we did during the pandemic.”
Additionally, the curbside and in-clinic testing once covered for patients during the public health emergency is
no longer “free,” and home testing kits are readily available through retail stores and on-line.
“COVID variants are always going to be around,” Dr. Bean says. “Now, beyond the pandemic, we need to shift
our thinking around them and other respiratory illnesses to managing our risks the best we can, including
staying up to date on COVID and influenza vaccines, which we believe will be available in the next couple of
What should you do if you develop symptoms or have been exposed to COVID, influenza or other
• Stay home, rest, drink fluids.
• Use over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) for
fever and body aches.
• For most viral illnesses, you can return to class or work when you have been fever-free for 24 hours
and symptoms are improving.
• If you have suspected or confirmed COVID or influenza, it is recommended that you stay home for 5
days from the start of your symptoms.
• Masks can help reduce transmission.
• Cover coughs and sneezes if you must be around others.
When should you be tested or see a medical provider?
• If you are sick and you are at an increased risk of severe illness due to medical conditions such as
asthma, diabetes, or other conditions that lower your immune system.
• If your symptoms are getting worse or you develop trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest,
dizziness or other symptoms that are concerning to you.
Bourbon County residents now have additional access to transportation through the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas CareVan program.
The ride service officially will roll out on Sept. 15, with a van featuring an accessible wheelchair lift designed to enhance the mobility of individuals with disabilities. Plans call to increase the
number of vehicles as they become available.
The project is funded by the KDOT Public Transportation Program.
Ride services are available 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Rides are scheduled by calling 833-228-7433. There is no charge to
patients for the service. Donations to the program are accepted.
“In rural communities, we understand that transportation is critical to an individual’s independence, so we do our best to get residents where they need to go,” says Dee Yount, CHC/SEK’s Transportation Program Manager. “We provide in-county trips to doctor’s
appointments, grocery shopping, work locations, social outings, and more, we want to remove the barriers that the lack of transportation can cause so our communities have every opportunity to thrive.”
Although CareVan provides rides to anyone in need of transportation services, Yount reminds potential riders that unlike an on-demand taxi service, reservations must be made and rides are
available on a first come, first served basis.
Riders who need additional support when traveling receive help from trained drivers who will escort riders with door-through-door service, Yount says. Dispatch and drivers are trained to provide more than just safe transportation, but positive social interactions and sense of community with each ride, Yount added. “Our mission is to provide our guests and the communities we serve with dignity, respect and compassion,” he says.
FORT SCOTT – Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) invites women to celebrate their health at its 3D mammography event. “Celebrate You” will be from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm Wednesday, August 2 at 2322 S. Main St.
For women age 40 to 74 years of age, it is recommended to have a screening mammogram every one to two years. CHC/SEK is proud to offer 3D mammography services to area women. According to the American Cancer Society, several studies have shown 3D mammograms provide more detailed imaging and can detect up to 40 percent more cancers than 2D mammograms.
No appointment or referral is required to attend the event. Most insurances are accepted however, no one is denied care. Those who attend will receive free refreshments and a gift. For information about this event, call 620-223-8484.
FORT SCOTT — Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is hosting a mammography screening event on Aug. 2 at its new clinic located 2322 S. Main St, Fort Scott.
For women aged 40 to 74 years of age, it is recommended to have a screening mammogram every one to two years. Stop by the clinic any time between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to get screened. No referral or order required. Most insurances are accepted, no one is denied care at CHC/SEK.
Today is move day for Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas in Fort Scott, and the facility was buzzing with employees who are helping in the relocating of their new clinic.
The move will allow more space and services in one location, at 2322 S. Main.
More than 120 employees are helping this weekend, but staging for the move began earlier this week, according to a press release from CHC.
“It has been a massive effort and I would like for staff to get recognized for their hard work,” Krista Postai, CEO and president said.
On Friday, April 14, today, the Woodland Hills clinic will close at 1 p.m.
Apothecare Pharmacy at Woodland Hills will follow and be closed all day Saturday, April 15, as staff prepare to relocate.
On Sunday, April 16, CHC/SEK Walk-In Care on National Street will close at 1 p.m. as they relocate to the new facility.
The new clinic will be open to see patients on Monday, April 17,with all CHC/SEK services including Primary care, Walk-In Care, Behavioral Health Care, Pharmacy, and specialty services at the new location.
“It’s finally happening!” said Baily Davis, CHC/SEK Fort Scott Practice Manager in the press release. “The new 43,000-square facility is beautiful and efficient and will provide more room to offer more services,” “And, for the first time, Walk-In Care, Primary Care, and our Pharmacy will all be in one easy-to-find location with more convenient parking. I think our new facility will benefit the community in ways we couldn’t imagine before,” she said.
The relocation realizes CHC/SEK’s plan to create a comprehensive health center with all of its services in one location, according to the press release. The building was purchased in 2021, and with remodeling and new equipment purchases, the health center expects its investment to be $9 million.
The new location offers 36 exam rooms and a larger Walk-In Care Clinic, expanding to eight exam rooms (there were only three at National St.) with services available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.
Patients will have access to the clinic’s advanced diagnostic imaging equipment now all under one roof, including digital X-ray, ultrasound, mammography, bone density, and a newly purchased 64-slice Computerized Tomography (CT) scanner. In an urgent situation, having CT locally allows patients to be scanned quickly to rapidly assess their condition, and having CT in-house makes these scans accessible and affordable.
Outpatients requiring laboratory services will find the new space more convenient with expanded 7a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday. “We want patients to be able to stop in for a quick lab draw and be on their way,” Davis says.
Apothecare Pharmacy, a subsidiary of CHC/SEK, is now open to everyone (non-CHC/SEK patients) providing a full range of prescriptions and open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. every day. It offers a drive-through pick-up window and “to-your-door” home delivery within 15 miles. The pharmacy accepts most insurance plans including Medicare, Medicaid and commercial plans.
The medical staff include Dr. Sarah Bradshaw, Dr. Holly Gault, Dr. Pankaj Gugnani, MD, and Dr. Maxwell Self. Advanced Nurse Practitioners include Amanda Stice, Kayla Tinsley and Whitney Dickerson.
The Apothecare staff include Kelsey Burford, PharmD, Cetra Horton, PharmD, Adam Malone, PharmD Blake Martin, PharmD, Julie Pellett, PharmD, and Darin Treiber, PharmD.
Specialty Care offered within the clinic:
Diabetic Care: APRN Becky French is providing diabetic care and education.
Respiratory issues: Paden Shaffer APRN, sees patients for pulmonology & sleep disorders/CPAP management
Pain Management and Infectious Disease: Dr. Julie Stewart
Wound Care: Dr. Michael Nagle, Todd Carl, APRN
Freeman Orthopedic clinic: Greg King, FNP
Wellness Center: The new facility will allow CHC/SEK to continue to cultivate a culture of health and wellness for both patients and staff. The Wellness Center features cardio and strength equipment and is staffed by Physical Therapist & Pelvic Health Physical Therapist, Jessie McGown, DPT, Registered Dietitian, Patrick James, RD, and Chiropractor, Dr. Dave Miller, DC. The staff offer individualized treatment plans for each patient to best meet their health and wellness goals. Together, they teach and support healthy eating habits, improve overall strength and mobility, and better manage pain.
CHC/SEK INCREASING PATIENT AWARENESS AS MEDICAID UNWINDING BEGINS
On March 31, thousands of Kansans with Medicaid coverage (KanCare) are at risk of losing their coverage as the state moves forward with eligibility redeterminations for more than 500,000 KanCare recipients. The process has been referred to several ways, including “unwinding,” eligibility reviews, renewals, redetermination. The Medicaid unwinding process also affects Medicaid recipients in Missouri and Oklahoma and in all states, the redetermination process begins when the Medicaid recipient receives a letter from their respective state that they must respond to in order to remain covered.
At Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas about 20,000 patients are enrolled in Medicaid coverage and Community Health Workers are working to inform covered patients that renewals are coming back, and to be looking for a letter from their state plan.
At the start of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, Congress enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which included a provision that state Medicaid programs keep recipients continuously enrolled through the end of the month in which the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends, in exchange for enhanced federal funding.
Three years later, the continuous enrollment provision is set to expire on March 31, and states including Kansas are starting to re-determine annual eligibility for all of their Medicaid recipients. All beneficiaries will receive a Medicaid eligibility redetermination letter requesting information that they must respond to in order to remain covered.
Some patients will no longer be eligible due to income, age, or health status change.
“One of our concerns at CHC/SEK is that we know the pandemic displaced many KanCare/Medicaid] recipients from their traditional mailing addresses,” says Leah Gagnon, Director of Patient Engagement. “Our worry is whether or not they thought to notify KanCare or their respective agency of their address change, because if not, they might not know to respond to their redetermination letter.”
Gagnon says there are three important questions every KanCare or other Medicaid patient or their guardian needs to ask themselves They are, “Have I moved in the last three years? If so, did I report my change of address to the appropriate Medicaid agency? And, have I seen an official redetermination letter in my mail box and responded to it? If not, you are at risk of losing Medicaid coverage.” she says.
CHC/SEK has planned an extensive awareness campaign including signs and flyers, text messaging, social media posts and videos to educate Medicaid enrollees of the importance of the coming redetermination letters.
At CHC/SEK clinics, Community Health Workers and Benefits Enrollment Specialists are available to assist patients in the process and can reach them directly by calling 620-240-8919.
Medicaid Recipients can also go to Medicaid.gov and click on their state map, where it takes them to their state Medicaid website to update their address and other information.
Medicaid recipients can also contact their appropriate agencies by telephone. The number for Kansas Kancare is 800-792-4884 For Missouri, the MoHealthnet number is 573-751-3425 and, for Oklahoma the Oklahoma Health Authority/Soonercare number is 800-987-7767.