Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is proceeding with what will ultimately be a $10 million investment in their newly renovated building in Fort Scott that they are fully funding, according to Krista Postai, CEO and President.
The renovation project is located at the former Price Chopper building at 2322 S. Main.
“We are on schedule to be in the new building in December as planned,” she said. “We did discover tunnels underneath the former grocery store that we weren’t expecting which came as quite the surprise, but are addressing the situation especially in those areas which will be supporting heavy equipment such as the CT Scanner and Mammography Unit.”
CHC currently is housed in a portion of the former Fort Scot Mercy Hospital on Woodland Hill Blvd. but their lease is up in December 2022.
Postai Provides Impact Studies
CHC/SEK and Fort Scott were featured in a national case study focusing on the transition of the Mercy Clinics to CHC/SEK, Postai said.
Postai attached the case findings plus the information compiled on the economic impact on the community, which were completed by Capital Link. Capital Link is a national, non-profit organization that has worked with community health centers and
primary care associations for over 25 years to plan for sustainability and growth, access capital, articulate value and improve and optimize operations and financial management, according to info in the study.
The current CHC project value to the community is shown to have both temporary impacts during construction and ongoing impacts from expanded operations including economic, employment and tax impacts.
To view the detailed study:
The introduction to the case study:
“When Mercy Hospital Fort Scott (Mercy) closed its doors in Fort Scott, Kansas, after 132 years in operation, the rural community of 7,800 was left without a hospital. In the tumultuous aftermath of this closure, Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK or CHC), a Federally
Qualified Health Center based 30 miles away in Pittsburg, Kansas, stepped forward to take over two of the closed
hospital’s primary care clinics, providing a range of primary and preventive care services in Fort Scott, partially
filling the gap left by the hospital’s closure.
The circumstances leading up to the hospital’s closure and its impact on the community have been well-
documented by Sarah Jane Tribble in NPR’s nine-episode podcast, “Where it Hurts, Season 1: No Mercy.” This
case study focuses on CHC’s response to the closure and its efforts to restore access to primary care in Fort Scott,
while the community grieved the loss of its hospital.
Through interviews with CHC/SEK’s leadership, Capital Link explored CHC/SEK’s response to Mercy’s closure,
the subsequent impact on the community and the current state of the situation, in order to highlight lessons
learned for rural centers in similar situations.”
To view the entire case findings in detail:
Question on Property Taxes
Recently on social media there was a comment that CHC had neglected paying property tax on their building at 902 Horton Street that currently houses some of their staff and a Veteran’s Administration local office.
Postai responded with the following:
“CHC/SEK is a non-profit 501(c)3 and, like the Mercy Health System, Ascension and most other healthcare organizations is exempt from property taxes,” Postai said. “Fort Scott Community College is also exempt, as is the Veterans Administration who currently occupies the Horton Street Building along with CHC/SEK staff.”
“Appropriate paperwork has been filed and is working its way through the system and we were advised by the county to hold payments pending final determination, which is what we’ve done.”
“We had actually mailed a check to the county for the taxes, who returned it to us because they anticipate our tax-exempt status will also apply to this building and they’d just have to refund our payment,” she said.
“In the meantime, we’re proceeding with what will ultimately be a $10 million investment in our newly renovated building (on Main Street) in Ft. Scott that CHC/SEK is fully funding itself.
“Any money from the sale of the Horton Street Building will be utilized toward the redo of the former Price Chopper building (on Main Street) which will also include classrooms for use by Fort Scott Community College at no cost to them.
“A portion of the funds will also be used for scholarships at FSCC.
“We will be in the new facility by the end of December and are looking forward to expanding services, recruiting additional professionals and serving all regardless of ability to pay.
“I am always available to answer any questions and can be reached at 620-235-1867 or on my cell at 620-249-9936. My email is [email protected]. Krista Postai, CEO, CHC/SEK.