The Bourbon Country Commission transferred ownership of the former Mercy Hospital Building at 401 Woodland Hills on November 17, 2022 to Legacy Health Foundation.
The agreement document was originally sent by the Bourbon County Clerk to fortscott.biz for publication on Nov. 17 but an email from the clerk said her office was just notified that there was an error in the document and was asked to pull the document off of the Bourbon County site. Fortscott.biz also pulled the document out of the story until the corrected document was available.
Here is the corrected agreement document between the county and Legacy Health Foundation.
“We have been in negotiations with them for six months,” Commissioner Clifton Beth said. “We transferred the building to them to develop. The building is the responsibility of Legacy Health Foundation as of today.”
In addition, the commission gave Legacy Health Foundation a combined $2 million dollars, he said. Mercy Hospital gave the commission the building and $600,000 after the hospital closed in December 2018.
To view a prior press release:
The rest of the money given the Legacy Health Foundation is from American Rescue Plan Act funds.
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1319
This bill provided additional relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses.
Jennifer Massey is the local contact for Legacy Health. On her Linkedin profile is stated that she is a self-employed hospital operations executive, since July 2022.https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-massey-msn-rn-70a3b0147/
Her skills are listed at healthcare consulting, healthcare improvement, healthcare management and process improvement.
She works for Legacy Health Foundation full-time now, she said in an interview, and her title is Chief Clinical Operations Officer.
“The Legacy Health Foundation was created to bring health care back to Bourbon County,” Massey said.
She has an office at the former Mercy Hospital building and lives in St. Charles, Missouri, she said.
Ascension Via Christi will stay in place as the emergency department, she said.
“Members of the community will be part of the foundation,” Massey said. “We will be having community meetings, and more info will be forthcoming.”
TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation’s public charity, RF Catalytic Capital and Project Access to Covid Tests (Project ACT), is providing a second round of free at-home COVID-19 tests to households in all Kansas communities. All Kansas households can now visit AccessCovidTests.org to place an order for an additional five at-home COVID-19 test kits. Amazon will deliver the test kits directly to your house.
Testing before holiday gatherings is one way to prevent spreading COVID-19 to family and friends. Frequent testing is especially important for those with more exposure outside the home, such as kids in school or people who spend time in a group setting. By visiting AccessCovidTests.org, Kansans will be able enter their zip code to order free, rapid, at-home COVID-19 test kits.
Kansans who need more support in ordering can call 866-534-3463 (866-KDHEINF).
If you need additional testing, please visit KnowBeforeYouGoKS.com to find a free testing site in your community.
John and Pat Neff lived in Fort Scott decades ago, but were impacted by the Sisters of Mercy and decided to give back to the community.
“I was told that John grew up in the area and then they lived here early in their marriage…and adopted two children from Mercy Hospital,” Carla Farmer, Fort Scott Area Community Foundation (FSACF) member said. “Pat reached out in the 1990s and wanted to give back to the local Sisters of Mercy, who helped them adopt two children. That’s the basis of them wanting to give back to the community. This was a couple that was touched by our community decades ago. This was where they raised there children.”
“The Neff’s created an annuity that paid them until they passed away,” FSACF Chairman Craig Campbell said.
John Valentine Neff and Patricia Renfro Neff were married 69 years until his death, according to Pat’s Neff’s obituary. Pat died in July 2022.
Upon her death the annuity money went to the Mercy foundation, and now to the FSACF for distribution into the community for future health care funds.
TOPEKA – Influenza season is here in Kansas. While activity remains low, influenza cases have already been seen in Kansas.
The flu vaccine remains the best way to prevent flu illness and serious flu complications, including those that can result in hospitalization and death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends receiving the vaccine before influenza activity begins in your community, ideally by the end of October.
“Early indications say the flu may hit a little harder this year, so it’s very important to start thinking about getting the vaccine,” said Dr. Joan Duwve, State Health Officer at KDHE. “The good news is you don’t need two separate appointments; you can get your flu and COVID vaccines at the same time!”
KDHE monitors flu activity, including the percentage of emergency department visits and deaths attributable to influenza. During the 2021-2022 flu season, influenza was a contributing or direct cause of death in 44 deaths. Pneumonia, which often develops with influenza infections, was a contributing or direct cause of death in 1,200 deaths. Severe influenza infection and symptoms may be avoided with vaccination.
“The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly everyone six months of age or older. Being vaccinated against influenza is especially important for anyone at high risk of complications, including babies and young children, pregnant women, older persons and people with certain chronic conditions,” said Duwve.
Kansans can start getting their vaccine from their health care provider, at local pharmacies, health departments and some medical clinics.
Getting vaccinated also protects people around you. Getting vaccinated is important for persons caring for young children, adults over 65, and those caring for persons with certain medical conditions. Most people who get the flu recover within a few days to less than two weeks, but some people can develop complications like pneumonia which could lead to hospitalization and be life-threatening.
Walmart Provides $3,500 Grant to Bourbon County EMS to address the need for workout equipment for employees.
Grant Presented to Bourbon County EMS During a Check Presentation Ceremony at 405 Woodland Hills Blvd, Fort Scott, KS 66701
Fort Scott, KS October 18, 2022– Walmart announced today a $3,500 grant to Bourbon County Emergency Medical Services to address the need for workout equipment for employees. The grant was presented to Paramedic Supervisor Jon Lowery and EMS Director Teri Hulsey at a check presentation ceremony at Bourbon County EMS, 405 Woodland Hills Blvd, Fort Scott, KS 66701. The grant was facilitated by Bourbon County Regional Economic Development, Inc.
Each year, Walmart U.S. stores and clubs award local cash grants ranging from $250 to $5,000. These local grants are designed to address the unique needs of the communities where they operate. For Walmart of Fort Scott, it’s about making sure our local EMS has access to the tools and equipment needed to keep our community members safe, including Walmart employees and shoppers. The mission of Bourbon County EMS is to provide a 24-hour operation to reduce the loss of life and property and to protect the environment. The highest priority is to protect Bourbon County residents from all hazards by providing and coordinating resources, expertise, leadership and advocacy through a comprehensive, risk-based emergency preparedness program of mitigation, management, response and recovery.
Through the grant, EMS will purchase a weight bench, barbells and plates, a dumbbell set, a squat cage, a bike and a treadmill. Having this grant allows equipment to be purchased without using funds from Bourbon County or Fort Scott.
Supervisor Jon Lowery states that EMS is a physically demanding job, and it is imperative that employees have access to equipment that allows them to be in top physical shape. Staying in top physical condition reduces injuries that could be sustained by crew or patients while moving or lifting patients, stretchers, equipment or other activities that could present in crisis situations such as fire or car accidents.
Bourbon County EMS has responded to 1,927 calls so far this year. These calls range from 911, transfers and dry runs.
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About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts that draw on the strengths of Walmart in the arenas of sustainability, economic opportunity, and community. As part of our commitment to creating a more sustainable food system worldwide, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States. They recently exceeded a $2 billion goal to fight hunger one year ahead of schedule and have donated more than 1.5 billion pounds of food to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit www.foundation.walmart.com.
On November 21, Dr. Katrina Burke will be under the auspices of Girard Medical Center of Fort Scott and will begin seeing patients at the same office in downtown Fort Scott where she has been located for two years.
“All of Dr. Burke’s staff will be staying on, including nurse practitioner, Kristi Harbit,” said Ruth Duling, Chief Executive Officer of Girard Medical Center.
“We really want to emphasize that the clinic is in the same location!” she said. ” Dr. Burke is not leaving the Fort Scott medical community. She loves her patient population there and she and her staff will continue to provide the same great service they always have.”
“There will be a few days between the last day for Ascension Via Christi and the first day for us, as we will need a few days to reset and get computers in place, etc,” Duling said.
“Patients can call the office to ask that their records be transferred from the Via Christi Clinic to the GMC Clinic,” she said. “It’s just a matter of getting their records from the Via Christi electronic health record system to ours, but patients do have to request for that transfer to be made.”
The office number is 620-223-7008.
Hours of operation will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
“We are extremely happy to have the opportunity to bring Dr. Burke and her staff into the Girard Medical Center family,” Duling said. “It’s no secret that Dr. Burke is well respected by her patients, her colleagues, and the medical community.”
“Girard Medical Center is fortunate to have family practice clinics in Girard, Frontenac, Arma, Cherokee, and in another Bourbon County community, Uniontown,” she said. “We do family practice well! We’re excited to have a physical presence in Fort Scott and we’re equally excited to have Dr Burke’s patients become more familiar with Girard Medical Center.”
“Rest assured, we are doing everything we can to make a smooth transition and to ensure that Dr. Burke, Kristi and the staff are able to continue to provide the same great service they always have and it’s an added plus to be in the exact same location,” Duling said.
Ascension Via Christi will be closing its Family Medicine clinic in Fort Scott as of Nov. 11.
On the heels of that closing, Girard Medical Center is planning to reopen its practice in Ascension Via Christi clinic’s current location at 109 S. Main St, which will be staffed by Katrina Burke, MD, the clinic’s current physician provider.
“Our goal when we established the clinic was to ensure Fort Scott residents’ access to primary care services,” says Drew Talbott, president of Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg. “This transition of the clinic to a new owner does that, which is in keeping with our overall goal of using our resources to ensure rural Kansans’ continued access to close-to-home care.”
To receive care at the Fort Scott clinic after Nov. 11, patients will need to call 620-232-0453 to request a transfer of their medical records.
“Our Fort Scott Ascension Via Christi Emergency Department, established almost four years ago when the Fort Scott hospital closed, will continue to provide 24/7 Emergency Care,” says Talbott.
About Ascension Via Christi
In Kansas, Ascension Via Christi operates seven hospitals and 75 other sites of care and employs nearly 6,400
associates. Across the state, Ascension Via Christi provided nearly $89 million in community benefit and care of
persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2021. Serving Kansas for more than 135 years, Ascension is a faith-based
healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to
persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the leading non-profit and Catholic health system in
the U.S., operating more than 2,600 sites of care – including 145 hospitals and more than 40 senior living facilities –
in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.ascension.org.
Jason Anglin, CEO of NRMC, announces that after many months of discussions and planning that Nevada
Medical Clinic is to become a part of Nevada Regional Medical Center.
At the August meeting, the Nevada Regional Medical Center board of directors voted to approve the
Nevada Medical Clinic becoming a hospital clinic and to consolidate operations with the clinic and its
physicians. The decision was made after months of research and detailed analysis.
In early 2022, Drs Jennifer Conley and Heather Russell, of the Nevada Medical Clinic approached hospital
administration with their intent to change their business model. They explained that they had explored
options for their future including: closing the clinic and finding new positions elsewhere, acquisition of
the clinic by an outside health system, and acquisition by Nevada Regional Medical Center.
“The medical delivery system and financial structure have changed significantly over the years. Now,
government payments are extremely unfavorable for independent physicians and dramatic increases in
medical liability and health insurance premiums have made continued private ownership of Nevada
Medical Clinic no longer financially viable,” said Dr. Conley.
Nationwide, the percentage of physician–owned practices has steadily declined as more doctors are
seeking employment. “More than half of all physicians in the United States are now employed,” said
Holly Bush, Chief Quality Officer at NRMC. “And that number continues to rise every year.”
“Those physicians who were recruited to Nevada Medical Clinic in the past fourteen years left after
three to five years for employment models,” said Conley. “A large number of local physicians retired
from their practices between 1999 and 2015. This has caused the workforce to decrease from as many
as twelve physicians to the current five. There is no real prospect for adding more physicians without a
change in structure.”
Presented with this dilemma, hospital administrators worked with outside consultants to research the
risk associated with losing the neighboring clinic and to develop a financial analysis to determine the
feasibility of saving the practice.
“What we found in our assessment was that the loss of the Nevada Medical Clinic and its physicians
would be detrimental to healthcare in our community. Strategically, working together with Nevada
Medical Clinic is critical to NRMC. We had to find a way to keep these services here,” said Anglin.
“Acquisition by an outside health system would require the physicians maintain outpatient–only
practices with cessation of obstetric services. Maintaining OB services is essential for NRMC to continue
to qualify for the disproportionate share hospital program (DSH) and for the pharmacy 340B program.
Together those programs provide over $5 million to NRMC every year. A loss of these programs
jeopardizes NRMC survival. Working together with Nevada Medical Clinic physicians allows NRMC to
continue to maintain these essential programs.
From a community service perspective, OB is vital to our community as all of the nearby hospitals have
closed their units. Without OB in Nevada, our residents would have to travel a significant distance to
deliver their babies. It is time to recruit new obstetric physicians for NRMC, but this process is lengthy,
challenging, and very expensive. We cannot let the doctors we have here go, stated Anglin.” The clinic
would also provide NRMC with added space for recruitment of other physicians.
Currently, the long–term care facilities in Nevada rely on the clinic physicians for medical care and
medical directorships. Loss of this coverage could be detrimental to these, already struggling, entities.
The financial pro forma that was developed and presented to the board showed that addition of the
clinic and employment of its physicians and staff is possible for NRMC, even under their current state of
“We will be able to designate the Nevada Medical Clinic as a Hospital Based Rural Health Clinic like our
other campuses,” said Dana White, Chief Financial Officer at Nevada Regional Medical Center. “That
designation is what makes the payment system from Medicare and Medicaid more favorable for a
“Despite our financial position, we are compelled to make this transition with the Nevada Medical Clinic
as we believe it is vital for the future of both organizations,” said Bob Beaver, Chairman of the NRMC
board of directors. “Given the state of today’s healthcare system, this should help sustain great doctors
in our community for many more years and give us the space to recruit more.”
Anglin stated, “We intend to move forward with as little disruption to the patients as possible. We found
that Nevada Medical Clinic was a lean organization that operates very efficiently, which is what made
this possible. It is our intention to continue with what works.”
Nevada Regional Medical Center and Nevada Medical Clinic are targeting for the transition to occur
A program geared to all aspects of a mother and young child’s life will start weekly appointments in Fort Scott, next Wednesday.
The Women’s, Infants and Children (WIC) federal program is for low-income pregnant women and follow up care, and also for children five years and under who are at nutritional risk.
The program will start on October 5 by appointment in Fort Scott at the Southeast Kansas Multi County Health Department, 6th and Lowman Street.
- Supplemental nutritious foods. Examples of WIC foods include milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, juice, fish, whole grains, cereal, peanut butter, beans (dried or canned), fresh fruits and vegetables, infant formula and baby food.
- Nutrition education and counseling at WIC clinics.
- screening and referrals to other health, welfare and social services.
“WIC has been available to the county for years now by the Crawford County Health Department, but will be now located in one location rather multiple locations,” said Becky Johnson
Administrator/SEK Local Health Officer at the SEK Multi-County Health Department. “Since the Bourbon County Health Department moved to a much larger building, we have been working to acquire other services here at our new location.”
“Previously WIC was at Buck Run Community Center, Mercy Hospital and for the last couple of years it has been at our new location about three days a month,” she said.” We are excited to have it housed in one location and are very glad to be able to provide this program to our residents.”
“We also will be starting training for a new service next month which is the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program through WIC,” she said. ”
“Breastfeeding Peer Counselors (BFPC) are women in the community with personal breastfeeding experience similar to WIC participants including: age; language; similar ethnic/cultural background; current or previous WIC participation; and an enthusiasm for breastfeeding. Peer Counselors provide education and support for WIC mothers. Programs vary but in general peer counselors are available to WIC clients both inside and outside usual clinic hours and the WIC clinic environment,” according to https://www.kdhe.ks.gov/1433/Breastfeeding-Peer-Counselor-Program
“Our Breast Feeding Peer Counselor, Holly Fritter, has been working for us since 2019 as the Home Visitor for Bourbon County,” Johnson said. “Home visiting for families with young children is a longstanding strategy offering information, guidance, risk assessment, and parenting support interventions at home.”
“The typical ‘home visiting program’ is designed to improve some combination of pregnancy outcomes, parenting skills, and early childhood health and development,” Johnson said. “Holly works out of our Fort Scott office, but will also cover Allen, Anderson and Woodson Counties for the BFPC Program. These programs are an asset to our counties, as it is free to the clients, and provides much needed support and guidance to mothers and families. ”
The Bourbon County Health Department (524 S. Lowman, Fort Scott) will be the location where WIC (Women, Infants, Children) Program will be held at in Bourbon County from here on out. It is every Wednesday, starting October 5th. If anyone has questions, we’d be happy to help and our number is 223-4464.
We do have flu shots available now as well as the new COVID-19 Bivalent Booster shots.
Submitted by Becky Johnson
Administrator/SEK Local Health Officer
SEK Multi-County Health Department