Category Archives: Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas

Postai: CHC Expansion Impacts Fort Scott Positively

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.”

Renovation began Feb. 2022 on the future CHC/SEK Fort Scott Clinic in the former Price Chopper building on South Main Street.
The Price Chopper building, 2322 S. Main.

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.

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, 403 Woodland Hills Blvd.

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:

Capital Project Value Impact of Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Fort Scott-1

 

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:

CHC SEK Case Study – FINAL-1

Question on Property Taxes

The CHC building at 902 S. Horton will soon be the Fort Scott Community College Nursing Department. March 2023 is the scheduled transfer.

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.

 

 

 Who says breast cancer awareness is only for October? 

Sliding fee discounts and financial assistance is available to eligible patients, as stated on the front door of the CHC/SEK Clinic in Fort Scott.

CHC/SEK Fort Scott to host mammogram screening event

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is hosting Mammo Mania, a mammography screening event for women age 40 and older who have not received a recent mammogram.

The event will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17 at the Fort Scott main clinic located at 401 Woodland Hills Blvd Fort Scott.

Women in Southeast Kansas rank far below state and national averages in receiving this life-saving screening, and having the service available within the clinic helps remove barriers many women have in receiving timely breast cancer screenings. Likewise, the walk-in event will give patients an option on when they can arrive.

Because CHC/SEK believes every woman should have the best quality mammogram available, every patient receives a 3D exam.  A physician’s referral is also not required. The screening is available to eligible women regardless of ability to pay.

CHC/SEK uses the Hologic Genius system that screens the breast in 4 seconds for a much less compression time, with less radiation exposure than many conventional mammography machines. The Genius exam is also superior for denser breasts, that that can hide early signs of cancer in a traditional mammogram. 

In addition, the Hologic Genius scans potentially reduce patient callback by up to 40 percent compared to 2D, sparing the emotional and economic toll of additional testing, including biopsies when there could be nothing wrong.

For more information people can call 620-223-8484.

                                                                

FSCC Nursing School to Move Location

The future FSCC Nursing Department will be located at 9th and Horton, just a block southeast of its current location on Burke Street.
A letter of intent  is signed for Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas to sell the building at 902 S. Horton to Fort Scott Community College.
Fort Scott Community College President Alysia Johnston.
“We plan to move nursing there,” FSCC President Alysia Johnston said. “The time-line is to take possession in March of 2023 and begin the program there in August of 2023.”
The future of the former nursing department building on Burke Street is uncertain at this time.
“The board will have to decide, but we are thinking we will sell it,” she said. “We will not be out of the building until summer of 2023.”
 The proposed sale of the property at 902 S. Horton, is for $482,870 which is the appraised value by Bourbon County, according to the letter of intent.
The CHC building at 902 S. Horton will soon be the Fort Scott Community College Nursing Department.
CHC will provide the title to FSCC on March 1, 2023.
CHC will look for opportunities to expand their affiliation with the community college, including scholarships and educational programs, according to the document.

CHC/SEK awarded $1 grant toward transportation facility  

 

 

During a Facebook Live event on Thursday in Salina, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas as the recipient of a $1 million grant which will go toward the construction of CHC/SEK’s Regional Transportation Facility. 

“As the largest healthcare provider in the region, CHC/SEK has long recognized that the lack of transportation is a significant healthcare disparity,” said Karlea Abel, CHC/SEK’s executive director of Building Health, Inc. Building Health, a subsidiary of CHC/SEK established in 2020, is responsible for managing CHC/SEK’s growing transportation program. “Today’s funding announcement is a big step for CHC/SEK to grow its transportation program and this will help meet Southeast Kansas’ growing transportation needs.” 

Of the 65,000 patients served by CHC/SEK, approximately 20 percent of those patients experience some form of transportation barrier to healthcare. Creating a transportation system will remove that barrier for many. 

“From public data, internal data, and numerous testimonies and anecdotes, it is clear that we’re missing community members who need more from us,” Abel said adding that a large portion of maintaining good health is beyond the doctor’s office. “If you can’t get to doctor appointments, it’s also likely you’re having trouble getting to a grocery store, or even a place of employment.” 

Specifically, the grant will create a dedicated space to house vehicles, sustain and grow the transposition program by creating space for dedicated staff, and strengthen transportation resources for all. 

This transportation facility will be located in Pittsburg and most immediately benefit Crawford and Bourbon counties …but its benefits will be felt throughout all of the neighboring counties it serves, Karlea said. 

With dedicated space and staff, CHC/SEK hopes to collaborate with other regional transportation partners with shared dispatchers, shared dispatch software, and joint marketing and public awareness, as well as supply purchasing and maintenance efforts to ensure all state-funded transit vehicles are being utilized to their maximum potential, and those needing rides are receiving them. 

 

2nd COVID-19 Boosters available at all CHC/SEK locations

Covid-19 vaccinations and boosters are available at all CHC/SEK walk-in clinics and by appointment. There are no out-of-pocket costs to receive a vaccination.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend adults with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19 receive a booster if it has been at least 4 months from the first booster or anyone who received J&J/Janssen for both of their primary and first booster dose, if it has been at least 4 months from the first booster.

This is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19 as they are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time.

Research suggests that for those with people with a moderately or severely weakened immune system, getting a second booster dose can decrease their risk of infection and severe illness with COVID-19.

High-risk medical conditions include: age 65 years and older, cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, chronic lung disease, cystic fibrosis, dementia or other neurological conditions, diabetes (type 1 or 2), other disabilities, heart conditions, HIV, immunocompromised, mental health conditions, overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, pregnancy, sickle cell or thalassemia, smoker (current or former), organ or stem-cell transplant, stroke, substance use disorder and TB. 

COVID-19 booster doses may be given at the same time as other vaccines, including the flu vaccine. When getting a booster dose, you are encouraged to bring your COVID-19 vaccine card to show the vaccine provider. To date, more than 1.5 million Kansan’s, about 61 percent, have gotten at least their first dose of one of the three safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Eligible individuals are encouraged to stay up to date on vaccinations, including booster doses that provide extra protection.

Those wishing to schedule a booster shot appointment may call 620-231-9873 or their local clinic numbers.

Letter to The Editor: Krista Postai

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas was one of the largest providers of testing in southeast Kansas, completing 91,621 tests (as of this March 22) since March 2019. Of these, 21, 221 were positive results making 70,400 negative.  We have been one of the largest immunizers in the state for all adult and childhood vaccines — since our founding. We have always done this regardless of ability to pay.

As a non-profit, community-owned entity, we provide the services our communities need and request.

When we became one of the first health centers in the nation to receive vaccines, we got more than 3,000 calls in the first hour after we publicized we had vaccines,  which actually crashed our phone system. Some people drove more than 300 miles, one way, to get vaccinated.

Our physicians – many of whom provide inpatient care at local hospitals – were devastated at the number of patients we lost prior to the availability of the vaccine. We all lost people we knew and, in some cases, loved.

Up until recently, we were conducting COVID testing more than 1,100 hours per week. All 700 of our staff were exhausted dealing with all aspects of COVID-19.

This past week, when it was announced that there would no longer be payment for the uninsured to be tested for COVID, we did share (through a press release) our policy to continue to provide testing regardless of ability to pay. We do that for all diseases – flu, diabetes, hepatitis, etc.

We are committed to ensuring that everyone gets the same care because they deserve it. And, many folks are still required to demonstrate they don’t have COVID – to travel to another country, to stay in school, etc.

And, just like there are rules to drive big trucks (our staff provides Department of Transportation physicals, etc.),  we will continue to offer these services to EVERYONE,  whether they have the resources to cover the expense or not.

The public can visit with any of our staff personally to see if they’ve been encouraged in any way to “doctor” the results – most of which were originally all sent to major laboratory services who were paid the same for both negative and positive tests. As are we – when we do get paid from insurance companies and CMS – which has been less than our actual costs.

Our staff are feeling hopeful – this last week, we only had requests for 340 tests and only 12 of these were positive.

It would appear that we’re near the end of this horrible pandemic – at least for now — which resulted in delayed care for many of those with any medical problems and all but depleted our healthcare workforce.

Krista Postai, CEO and President of Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas.

CHC/SEK continues testing, vaccine for uninsured

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) will continue to test and vaccinate under-insured, or patients without insurance for COVID-19 even though the federal program that reimburses hospitals, clinics, doctors and other service providers for COVID-19 care for uninsured people is coming to a close.

“COVID-19 is still with us,” said Jason Wesco, President & Chief Strategy Officer at CHC/SEK. “If uninsured individuals in our communities hesitate to get care because of the cost, we’ll likely see more cases, and the consequences those cases might cause.”

With lack of additional funding, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) announced this week that the program that reimburses hospitals, clinics, doctors and other service providers for COVID-19 care for uninsured people is ending. “The lack of funding for COVID-19 needs is having real consequences,” Martin Kramer, a spokesman for the Health Resources and Services Administration, said in a statement. “We have begun an orderly shutdown of the program.”

COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are down dramatically across most parts of the country, however with another Omicron variant surging in Europe, some scientists are concerned that another US surge could be on its way.

Wesco says CHC/SEK wants anyone who thinks they might be ill to be tested and treated.

“It’s important not only for your health, but for the health of your family, friends and neighbors,” he said. “Continued testing and vaccination are the right thing to do, and the key to putting this pandemic behind us.”

CHC/SEK Update: $8 million Reno Has Begun

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas has begun the renovation of the old Price Chopper store at 2322 S. Main, which will be fully operational by December 31, 2022.

“We have completed the interior design of our new clinic in the Price Chopper building and renovation started,” CHC/SEK  Cheif Executive Officer Krista Postai, said.

Krista Postai, President and CEO of Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas. Submitted photo.
A graphic floor plan of the new CHC/SEK Fort Scott Clinic. Submitted.

 

Postai sent a graphic on the reconfigured building and explained the color designations.

In the above graphic the entrance is shaded pink, with the CHC Walk-In Care area in the space where the Price Chopper Donut Shop was, she said. Walk-In Care has its own entrance and waiting area.

Behind the walk-in area is the Wellness Center, which will have offices for staff including a chiropractor.

“That space will also have a shower,” Postai said. “Walk-In staff will also be able to exit the building for drive-in testing and vaccinations with dedicated parking for this purpose, should it still be needed in the future.”

“The main entrance will remain where it currently is with a spacious waiting area with a receptionist and check-in area,” Postai said. “The lab (blue shaded area on the graphic) is immediately inside next to the entrance for those coming in just for lab work.”

“The yellow space will be dedicated to the imaging ( department), including our new 64-slice CT Scanner, 3-D mammography, ultrasound and x-ray,” Postai said. “Our bone density unit will also be housed here. Centrally located it will be easily accessible from Walk-In Care, as well as the main medical clinic, which is the lighter purple shaded area in the graphic. This portion is laid out in pods with exam rooms plus a nursing station for each. There is space for current staff, plus extra pods have been created for the recruitment of additional medical providers.”

The pharmacy (at the bottom) –  will have a large space for over-the-counter items and a drive-through. It will be accessible from the lobby and from an exterior entrance.

“The green area off the lobby will be dedicated to behavioral health services and the blue area behind that for telemedicine/specialty services.”

“To the far right (in light blue) is the back of the building which includes the staff entrance, break room, administrative offices, conference and classrooms, which will be available to Fort Scott Community College Nursing Students,  and storage space,” she said.

“While this is our design, it may be modified as we go if we encounter something unexpected which almost always happens during renovation,” Postai said.

The renovation of the building is still on schedule and is expected to be fully operational by December 31, 2022, she said.

“The estimated cost of the project is $8 million, including the building,  which CHC/SEK is funding itself,” Postai said. “A portion of the equipment has been purchased with American Rescue Act funds which CHC/SEK received in 2021. This is the single largest investment in our history which we feel is critical to adequately handle the needs of our Bourbon County patients.”

The new clinic will be in the former Price Chopper building that left the building empty after a year’s business in Fort Scott failed to produce the income needed to sustain it.

 

FORT SCOTT PRICE CHOPPER TO CLOSE DOORS

The Price Chopper building, 2322 S. Main.

 

Renovation began Feb. 2022 on the future CHC/SEK Fort Scott Clinic in the former Price Chopper building on South Main Street.

On Feb. 23 there were several work crews inside the building at 2322 S. Main.

Jason Nutter, president of Nutter Electric, one of the crews, said his workers were “doing some demo work. Some electric stuff is being disconnected in preparation for walls being built.”

He said his crew will be there for approximately two weeks.

Others working simultaneously are framers, plumber and heating/ventilation/airconditioning crews, he said.

All together Nutter estimated about 16 people were working inside the building that day.

Wound Care Clinic Will Open In March

“The Wound Care Clinic is opening later this month in Ft. Scott,” Postai said. “We are pleased we could bring this service back.”

The current location of the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas is 401 Woodland Hills Blvd.

About CHC/SEK Fort Scott

CHC/SEK Fort Scott provides healthcare to anyone, regardless of their insurance or financial circumstance, according to information received from CHC.

In 2021 they had 71,000 patient visits in their Fort Scott clinics, have provided 1,400 mammograms, filled 57,700 prescriptions, given 8,769 COVID-19 tests and 7,972 COVID-19 vaccines.

They are investing $8 million dollars to create a modern clinic for everyone in Fort Scott.

More than 100 people are employed who live and work in Bourbon County, and have invested $6.3 million in the community in 2021.

 

 

CHC/SEK locations close early Wednesday, delay opening Thursday 

Due to winter weather conditions all Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas clinics, including Walk-In Care, will be closing at 5 p.m. on Wednesday Feb. 2, and delaying opening until 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb 3. 

Closing early will allow CHC/SEK staff to travel home more safely on Wednesday, and the late opening will allow time for clinic maintenance crews to get parking lots and sidewalks cleared of accumulated snow.

CHC/SEK has free N95 masks available for the public  

CHC/SEK has free N95 masks available for the public  
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) is among the first 100 community health centers across the country to receive shipments of N95 masks for free public distribution to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.
The non-surgical N95 masks are available for pick up at all CHC/SEK locations beginning Friday, Feb. 4.  Pending availability, every person is allowed up to three free masks at the direction of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is providing the masks.
The rollout of free N95 masks is part of the Biden administration’s effort to distribute 400 million N95 masks from the Strategic National Stockpile via pharmacies and community health centers. Some of the participating pharmacies include CVS, Walgreens and Kroger.
The masks distribution program is the largest deployment by the Strategic National Stockpile to date and is also the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in U.S. history, according to Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that Americans wear “the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently,” and it notes that different types of masks can offer different levels of protection.
“Loosely woven cloth products provide the least protection, layered finely woven products offer more protection, well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s offer even more protection, and well-fitting NIOSH-approved respirators (including N95s) offer the highest level of protection,” according to the CDC.
Also last week in the fight against the pandemic, the White House and U.S. Postal Service opened the website COVIDTests.gov for Americans to request four free at-home COVID-19 tests.

Government Makes Free N95 Masks Available

A sign on the door of a Bourbon County clinic states a mask must be worn.

The Biden Administration announced on Jan. 19 that N95 masks will be available to the public from the government’s Strategic National Stockpile, which has more than 750 million of the protective masks on hand, according to Free N95 masks: Biden administration plans to give away 400M masks | AP News. The masks will be available for pickup at pharmacies and community health centers across the country.

Currently, Walmart Fort Scott has the N95 masks for distribution, according to a call to their pharmacy on Feb. 1.

Walmart Fort Scott, 2500 S. Main.

A spokeswoman for Fort Scott Walgreens Pharmacy on Jan. 31 said their location will not be allocated these free masks.

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas Fort Scott clinic will have them available on Feb. 4.

“We received five pallets of masks Friday,” Krista Postai, CEO of Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, said. “There is a limit of three per person per the guidance we received.”

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, 401 Woodland Hills Blvd.

“We received a shipment of 20,000 Honeywell adult masks Friday evening,” Robert Poole, CHC  Communication and Marketing Director, Pittsburg, Kansas, said. “We are in the process of getting those redistributed to our clinics.  They should be available to pick up in all of our clinics by (this) Friday.

To view the latest statistics of COVID in Kansas: https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/160/COVID-19-in-Kansas

To view the particulars of the mask: https://www.honeywellstore.com/store/products/molded-cup-n95-face-mask-respirators-dc300n95.htm

Free N95 masks were to be available to pick up at local pharmacies and community health center sites across the country.

Every person is allowed up to 3 free masks, pending availability.

Wearing a mask is a critical way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according  to https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/masks/index.html

Masks and respirators, when worn consistently and correctly, are effective at reducing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

The CDC recommends that one wear the most protective mask that one can and that it fits well over your nose, mouth, and chin.

CHC Fort Scott Summary of 2021

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, 403 Woodland Hills Blvd.

Krista Postai, CEO of Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas sent an update on the Fort Scott clinics for 2021.

“Altogether, at our Ft. Scott clinics, we employ 109 staff,” she said. “We had 71,000 patient visits last year and our pharmacy filled 57,000 prescriptions. We completed 1,400 mammograms.”

Krista Postai. Submitted photo.

COVID-19

“On the COVID front, we completed 8,769 tests and 7,842 vaccinations,”Postai said. “We were approved to receive the COVID-19 Anti-Virals (Merck’s Molnupiravir and Pfizer’s PAXLOVID) at no cost and will be dispensing them, as appropriate, with a prescription through our pharmacies including the one in the Woodland Hills Ft. Scott Clinic.”

“Unfortunately, the initial allocation is very limited but we hope to see that increase as the national supply increases,” she said.

“We have also just been notified that we’re eligible to receive 20,000 N-95 masks from the federal stockpile – recommended for protection from the Omicron variant of COVID — for distribution to the public; we do expect those to arrive by the end of January and we will publicize once they arrive,” she said.

“We also expect another supply of the at-home testing kits for public distribution,” she said.

Preparing to Move Location in Fort Scott

“The design phase continues on our new building ( the formerPrice Chopper building on South Main Street),” she said. “We are still on schedule to be open in December 2022.”

“The CT Scanner – a Hitachi Supria 64-Slice unit – has been ordered, she said. “It is identical to the one being installed this week in Pittsburg. The Board did approve the charges for scans which will be as low as $50 for those who meet financial guidelines

The  CHC/SEK Board of Directors elected new leadership for 2022 including Board Chair Patrick O’Bryan, Vice Chair Jake Letner, Secretary Rose Madison, and Treasurer David Shepherd.

CHC Fort Scott clinic hours remain the same – Walk-in Care is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week; the main clinic is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.