Category Archives: Mercy Hospital

Kansas Renewal Institute Opens First Location

Members of the Fort Scott community showed up to hear the announcement at the Legacy building (formerly Mercy Hospital).

Kansas Renewal Institute is opening its first location at the Legacy Building (former Mercy Hospital)at 401 Woodland Hills.

Jonathan Gross the CEO of JG Healthcare Solutions spoke for a few minutes about KRI opening their first location in Fort Scott.  He said that KRI is a behavioral health company licensed for service to both adults and adolescents, and that they plan to bring a number of jobs to the community.

Fort Scott will be their first location.  He said to visit their website for more details and job listing. While it wasn’t mentioned as part of the announcement, people close to the project say that it will be an inpatient clinic taking up a significant portion of the old hospital and is backed by JGHealthcare Solutions.

Below is a recording of the announcement that can also be viewed on Facebook here.

The following is some additional information about the company behind KRI along with links from public sources.

Jonathan Gross is the CEO of JGHealthcare Solutions which is the parent company to Kansas Renewal Institute. According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Gross founded his namesake company nine months ago. Before that, he spent nine months as the founder of Revelare Recovery in Atlanta. Prior to founding Revelare, he worked for 4 years as both a director and vice president of Discovery Behavior Health.  Discovery is a Behavioral Health business based in California that, according to Linked In, employs over 1,000 people with clinics in 15+ states. They have 21 active job openings according to Linked In.

JG Healthcare Solutions’s Linked In profiles lists them as being located in Golden, Colorado  located on the West side of Denver, says they have 5 to 11 employees, and list 3 LinkedIn in profiles that are affiliated with the company. That was not an address on their website, but Bizapedia lists an LLC in Golden by that name. The company was formed April 27th 2023. They are listed as being in good standing with the state of Colorado and show and address of 1015 Golden Park Pl Apt D. The location can be seen from Google Street view as shown.

 

FS Quarterly Downtown Meeting: Events, Projects, Updates

Fort Scott Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lindsey Madison opens the FS Downtown Meet and Greet.

There are several community projects happening in Fort Scott.

At the Quarterly Downtown Meet and Greeton July 11, facilitated by the Chamber of Commerce, leaders of several  of the projects gave updates. The event was hosted by Lyons Realty Group office.

Lindsey Madison, Chamber Executive Director, gave a summary of the upcoming events and promotions:

  •  July 15: Christmas in July Sidewalk Sale
  •  July 18: Patty LaRoche will present a book talk at Hedgehog.INK! from 7 to 8:30 p.m. LaRoche’s new book, A Little Faith Lift…Finding Joy Beyond Rejection  will be featured.
  • August 4-6: Sales Tax Holiday Weekend, where participating businesses give customers a 9.4 percent discount on purchases.
  • Sept. 8-9: Town-wide Garage Sale
  • Sept. 9: Art Crawl by the Bourbon County Arts Council, the Artificers and more, from 2-6 p.m.
  • Sept. 16: Author Miranda Collins, Chanute, writer of Action Detective Mystery will be at Hedgehog.INK! at 2 p.m.
  • Sept. 21: Downtown Fall Fest, stores open until 8 p.m. for fall food snacks and shopping.
  • Oct. 28: Halloween Parade. Festivities start at 10 a.m., children’s downtown parade on Main Street at 11 a.m.
  • Nov. 9-11: Holiday Open House, kick off on Thursday from 5-8 p.m. with continued open house on Friday and Saturday.
  • Nov. 25: Shop Small Friday/Saturday in Fort Scott.
  • Nov. 30 Candy land Christmas with parade and festivities downtown.
  • Bailey Lyons gave an update on the splash pad project: Concrete is being poured this Thursday on the big splash pad. On July 15-16 volunteers are needed to help with landscaping projects: bring gloves and tools. The group has raised approximately $325,000 for the project nearing completion.
  • The new historic mural that will be created on Skubitz Plaza will be unveiled in coordination with the Gordon Parks Celebration on Oct. 6. The mural was approved by the city’s design review board this week, Jerry Witt, owner of the mural site building  said.
  • The multi-purpose pavilion to be on Skubitz Plaza is in the works, Madison said. The Farmers Market group will use the facility “and anyone else.”
  • The welcome arch to the city is being worked on by the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team and will go to the city’s design review board.
  • The Chamber Golf Classic is this Friday July 14 at Woodland Hills Golf Course. They are still accepting raffle items.
  • The Special Olympic Golf Tournament is July 29 at the same course.
  • The mountain bike race, the Marmaton Massacre Festival, will be Sept. 16 in Gunn Park.
  • The annual Naturalization Ceremony at the Fort Scott National Historic Site will be on a  Friday in September to be announced.
  • Grants available to businesses: E-Community at http://www.networkkansas.com and Grow KS.

Updates from attendees:

Bourbon County Commission Chairman Jim Harris said it is asphalt laying season in the county, “please be cautious of workers.”

“Since 2019 we’ve lowered the mill levy by 9.6%…I will not vote for a mill levy increase,” he said.

There is a new format for speaking at the commission meetings, he said: People must sign up and they get 5 minutes each to speak. “We want peoples input,” he said. “It’s OK to disagree but be professional.”

Harris said there is a request for proposals for the overpass project on the south side of Fort Scott. The commission will be applying for state and federal funds for the project.

Rob Harrington, Bourbon County Regional Economic Development Director, said they have been working on a Star Bond and TIF project south of town, and it will be “huge to the community.” His office is at the former Mercy Hospital building,  now owned by Legacy Health Foundation.

Kari West, Lead Customer Solutions Manager at Evergy, said the utility company hasn’t had an increase in five years and they are requesting one. Evergy purchased property north and west of their current location on Skubitz Plaza with plans to move to that site.

The Fort Scott Quarterly Downtown Meet and Greet at Lyons Realty Group,, 8 E. Wall, on July 11.

Mental Health Center to Move Into the Former Mercy Building

401 Woodland Hills Blvd. May 2023.

Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center in Fort Scott has recently signed an agreement with Legacy  Health LLC for the center to move into the former Mercy Hospital Building at 401 Woodland Hills.

The building was recently vacated by Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas who moved to another Fort Scott building.

The former Mercy Clinic Suites C and D, at 401 Woodland Hills, will be renovated by the Southeast Kansas Mental Health Clinic and move in will be thereafter.

“We don’t have an official date for the move as we need to secure a contractor for some renovations but are hoping this summer,” said Holly Jerome, SEKMHC’s director of marketing and human resources said. “Once a move date has been set, we will be notifying clients and the community.”

“We are certainly not new to Fort Scott,” said Jerome. “We were established in 1961! But due to our growth after becoming a Certified Community Behavioral Healthcare Clinic ( in 2022) we are outgrowing our current building which is located at 212 State Street.”

Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center, Fort Scott.

“We will continue offering our current and expanded services,” Jerome said. “This new space will allow us to continue adding to our team!”

“SEKMHC is one of the first five community mental health centers to earn certification,” CEO Nathan Fawson said in a press release https://fortscott.biz/news/legacy-health-partners-with-southeast-kansas-mental-health-to-expand-services. “The CCBHC model of care concentrates on the overall health of a client, not just their mental health. We have expanded our care to integrate holistic care approaches, connect people with care coordination, and increase accessibility to services throughout our sixcounty catchment area. Looking into the future, we are striving to provide each client with a much more individualized experience by assisting clients in recoveryoriented ways in their homes, in our communities, or via telehealth whenever possible. We know that recovery is possible when you treat the person, not just their mental health challenge.”

According to its website https://www.sekmhc.org/ the services  they provide to the community are:

  • Substance use and addictions counseling
  • Clinical therapy and counseling
  • Community support and groups
  • Crisis intervention
  • Psychiatric and medication management
    They have locations in:
  • Allen County
  • Anderson County
  • Bourbon County
  • Linn County
  • Neosho County
  • Woodson County

Last year they served over 4,000 clients, according to its website. The staff provide school based therapy and case management in 12 school districts. They have 15 team members in the crisis department and 10 in the psychiatry department.

Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center is in transition to become a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC), according to its website. A CCBHC provides comprehensive behavioral health services, while also focusing on physical health and whole person wellness.

What the transition means is, the following is added:

  • Patient navigation services
  • Comprehensive behavioral health screening at intake
  • Primary health screening including gathering health metrics (height, weight, and blood pressure)
  • Primary health resources and referral

What won’t change is:

  • Access to counseling and therapy
  • Access to crisis services
  • Access to medical services and psychiatry
  • Community-based services for adults and children
  • Services and programs previously provided, unless otherwise noted

Upcoming Community Self-Care Event:

A Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center Self-Care Fair will be held on May 23, from 5-8 p.m. at the Fort Scott Middle School, 1105 E. 12th.

For more information:

https://www.sekmhc.org/selfcarefair/

For questions about the self-care fair, contact: Dawne Burchett at 620-496-8702 or Vicki Wright at 620-212-9391.

About Legacy Health

Legacy Health has a mission to bring development and healthcare to rural communities through sustainable and proactive approaches, according to the Legacy Health press release. Legacy believes that for a project to be successful, it is necessary to understand the needs of the community and the people.

Legacy Health LLC was registered on  June 7,  2022 as a Limited Liability Company – CA company type incorporated at 269 WEST BONITA CLAREMONT, CA 91711. according to /https://ca.ltddir.com/companies/legacy-health-llc/

Troy Schell is the Legacy Health Chairman of the Board, according to the press release.

Chief Clinical Officer is Jennifer Massey and  she is the contact person at [email protected]

Chief Strategy Officer is  Merrill Eisenhower.

 

Locally, Matthew Wells is Legacy Healthcare Foundation Director of Plant Operations at the 401 Woodland Hills site. His duties are technical and equipment maintenance. Wells recently helped the building receive joint hospital accreditation, which is necessary because of the patient care given in the Ascension Via Christi Emergency Department that is also housed in the facility, he said.

The Legacy Health Foundation received the building from the Bourbon County Commission in November 2022. In addition to the building, the commission gave Legacy Health Foundation  $2 million dollars from funds received from Mercy Hospital and American Rescue Plan Act Funds to develop the property, according to a prior story.

To view the prior story:

https://fortscott.biz/news/bourbon-county-transfers-mercy-building-to-legacy-health-foundation

 

Another Story on Noble Health Corp Following Hospital Closures In Rural Missouri

Editors Note: This story from Kaiser Health News features a story on Noble Health that the Fort Scott City Commission and the Bourbon County Commission signed a contract with in July 2021 to facilitate Noble Health Corp’s feasibility study of reopening the former Mercy Hospital building as an acute care hospital.
In June 2022, Journalist Sarah Jane Tribble wrote an article on Noble Health:

Noble Health: History of Failed Health Care For Patients

Noble Health did not reopen the hospital in Fort Scott and the Bourbon Country Commission transferred ownership of the former Mercy Hospital Building at 401 Woodland Hills on November 17, 2022 to Legacy Health Foundation.

To view that contract:

View the Bourbon County/ Legacy Health Foundation Agreement

 

Yesterday, Tribble published another article on Noble Health failure aftermath and here it is.

 

Legal Questions, Inquiries Intensify Around Noble Health’s Rural Missouri Hospital Closures

Audrain Community Hospital in Mexico, Missouri, is one of two rural hospitals in the state that Noble Health shuttered in March 2022. A year later, both remain closed. (Matt Kile for KHN)

A year after private equity-backed Noble Health shuttered two rural Missouri hospitals, patients and former employees grapple with a broken local health system or missing out on millions in unpaid wages and benefits.

The hospitals in Audrain and Callaway counties remain closed as a slew of lawsuits and state and federal investigations grind forward.

In March, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey confirmed a civil investigation. He had previously told local talk radio that there was an “ongoing” investigation into “the hospital issue.”

Bailey’s comment came weeks after the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration notified executives tied to Noble Health, a startup, that they had violated federal laws and asked them to pay $5.4 million to cover unpaid employee health insurance claims, according to a 13-page letter detailing “interim findings” that was obtained by KHN.

The January letter confirms KHN’s previous reporting, which was informed by employees and patients who described missing paychecks; receiving unexpected, high-dollar medical bills; and going without care, including cancer treatment. According to the letter from federal investigators, the Noble hospitals and their corporate owners collected employee contributions for medical, dental, and vision insurance in 2021 and 2022 but then failed to fund the insurance plans.

The owners and executives were “aware of the harm to participants and, in some cases, were attempting to resolve individual participant complaints,” the letter states, adding that “despite the volume and gravity of complaints and bills received,” they failed to respond.

A photo of a two-year-old boy with spina bifida in a walker.
Ryder Hagedorn was born with spina bifida. His parents have struggled to pay for specialty care since claims were denied by a health plan his mother, Marissa, was offered through her employer. She is one of several former employees of Noble Health who say they were left with substantial medical bills after the company shuttered its two rural Missouri hospitals.(Marissa Hagedorn)

‘Tomfoolery’ and Doing ‘Everybody Dirty’

Marissa Hagedorn, who worked as a hospital laboratory technician, has spent much of the past year starting a new job, caring for her 2-year-old son who was born with spina bifida, and haggling over unpaid medical bills. She told KHN the family owes at least $8,000 for son Ryder’s specialty care in St. Louis, with $6,000 of that in collections. As a Noble employee, Hagedorn said, she was told repeatedly that her employee health insurance would cover Ryder’s care. It didn’t.

Noble has “done everybody dirty,” she said. “We just would like for some responsibility to be taken by this company that didn’t feel the need to get their act together.” Hagedorn’s story of unpaid bills, which was first reported by the local newspaper, the Mexico Ledger, is common among former Noble employees a year after the hospitals closed.

A former employee of the Fulton hospital has filed a class-action lawsuit intended to represent hundreds of employees from both hospitals.

The Jan. 13 letter from federal officials called for responses by Jan. 27 from Noble corporate and hospital executives as well as Platinum Neighbors, which last April bought the hospitals and assumed all liabilities. The letter instructs executives to contact the agency “to discuss how you intend to correct these violations, fund participant claims, and achieve compliance.”

Former employees say their claims have not yet been paid. A Labor Department spokesperson, Grant Vaught, said the agency could not comment on an ongoing investigation.

Separately, the Kansas Department of Labor is reviewing Noble and Platinum’s failure to pay wages and severance to corporate employees. Agency spokesperson Becky Shaffer confirmed that hearings took place in early February on a half-dozen cases totaling more than $1 million in claims for unpaid wages and severance.

Dave Kitchens was among those who filed claims against Noble Health. Kitchens worked briefly as a contract employee and then was hired in October 2021 as a corporate controller, an accounting role in which he was responsible for financial reporting and data analytics. Kitchens provided an audio recording of his hearing to KHN and hopes to eventually get paid more than $90,000 in lost wages, benefits, and severance pay. During the hearing, Kitchens told the administrative judge: “I would just like to be paid what I’m owed.”

Kitchens, who is also named as a fiduciary on the federal investigation, said he was not on Noble’s executive team. When asked by Kansas Administrative Law Judge James Ward whether he expected Noble or the secondary buyer Platinum to pay his wages, Kitchens responded he had “no idea who was in charge.”

“I believe there was some tomfoolery,” Kitchens said.

A ‘Rabbit Hole’ of Responsibility

Noble launched in December 2019 with executives who had never run a hospital, including Donald R. Peterson, a co-founder who prior to joining Noble had been accused of Medicare fraud. Peterson settled that case without admitting wrongdoing and in August 2019 agreed to be excluded for five years from Medicare, Medicaid, and all other taxpayer-funded federal health programs, according to the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

By March 2022, the hospitals had closed and Noble offered explanations on social media, including “a technology issue” and a need to “restructure their operations” to keep the hospitals financially viable. In April, Texas-based Platinum Neighbors paid $2 for the properties and all liabilities, according to the stock purchase agreement.

Despite receiving approval for nearly $20 million in federal covid-19 relief money before it closed the hospitals — funds whose use is still not fully accounted for — Noble had stopped paying its bills, according to court records. Contractors, including nursing agencies, a lab that ran covid tests and landscapers, have filed lawsuits seeking millions.

In Audrain County, where community members still hope to reopen the hospital or build a new one, county leaders filed suit for the repayment of a $1.8 million loan they made to Noble. Former Missouri state senator Jay Wasson also filed suit in September, asking for repayment of a $500,000 loan.

Two Noble Health real estate entities filed bankruptcy petitions this year. One Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing names the Fulton hospital property in Callaway County as an asset and lists nearly $4.9 million in liabilities. A third bankruptcy filing by FMC Clinic includes Noble Health as a codebtor.

In the U.S. District Court of Kansas, Central Bank of the Midwest is suing Nueterra Capital over a $9.6 million loan Noble used to buy the Audrain hospital. The bank alleges Nueterra, a private equity and venture capital firm that in 2022 included Noble as part of its portfolio, signed off as the guarantor of the loan.

Federal investigators listed nearly a dozen people or entities connected to Noble Health as fiduciaries who they say are personally responsible for paying back millions in unpaid medical claims. The letter also detailed Noble Health’s ownership for the first time. The owners included William A. Solomon with a 16.82% share, Thomas W. Carter with a 16.82% share, The Peterson Trust with a 19.63%, and NC Holdings Inc. with 46.72%.

NC Holdings is also listed on the stock sale agreement with Platinum along with several signatures including Jeremy Tasset, chief executive of Nueterra Capital.

Tasset did not respond to a request for comment for this article. In an email to KHN in March 2022, the Nueterra Capital CEO wrote, “We are a minority investor in the real estate and have nothing to do with the operations of the hospitals.” In May 2022, Tasset wrote in an email to KHN that “everything was sold (real estate included) to Platinum Neighbors, a subsidiary of Platinum Team Management.”

It is unclear who owns and controls The Peterson Trust, which federal investigators identified. Peterson, who is listed on Noble’s state registration papers as a director and in other roles, didn’t respond to requests for comment for this article. He previously told KHN that his involvement in Noble didn’t violate his exclusion, in his reading of the law.

He said he owned 3% of the company, citing guidance from the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Federal regulators may exclude companies if someone who is banned has ownership of 5% or more.

In March 2022, Peterson created Noble Health Services, which federal investigators note in their letter was “established to restructure the ownership of multiple Noble entities.” Peterson dissolved that company in July 2022, according to a Missouri business filing.

In September, Peterson posted on LinkedIn that he was “sitting in the Emirates Air lounge in Dubai” to finish up due diligence on “launching a new business.”

A 2013 OIG advisory states that “an excluded individual may not serve in an executive or leadership role” and “may not provide other types of administrative and management services … unless wholly unrelated to federal health care programs.”

KHN examined the federal system meant to stop health care business owners and executives from repeatedly bilking government health programs and found that it failed to do so.

The OIG keeps a public list of people and businesses it has banned from all federal health care programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid. KHN’s review found a system devoid of oversight and rife with legal gray areas.

In the wake of KHN’s reporting, Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat who is the chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, said “it’s imperative that federal watchdogs can ensure bad actors are kept out of Medicare.” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the government needs to do more and “it’s also up to private-sector entities to do a better job checking against the exclusions list.”

“We can’t just depend on one or the other to do everything,” Grassley said.

In recent months, the Missouri hospitals appear to have been sold twice more, according to public records. Oregon-based Saint Pio of Pietrelcina notified state officials of a change of ownership in December and requested an extension of the hospital licenses, which was denied. In January, Audrain County officials, in its lawsuit, revealed another owner named Pasture Medical, which registered as a Wyoming company on Dec. 27, 2022.

“We haven’t come out of the rabbit hole on this one,” said Steve Bollin, director of the division of regulation and licensure for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Bollin’s agency, which conducts inspections and approves hospital changes in ownership, said he would support his agency doing financial reviews.

“It’s probably not a bad idea that someone takes a little bit deeper dive. We don’t have that many changes of ownership, but we would need appropriate staffing to do that, including some really good CPAs [certified public accountants].”

View the Bourbon County/ Legacy Health Foundation Agreement

The Bourbon County Commission room, at the courthouse.

The Bourbon Country Commission transferred ownership of the former Mercy Hospital Building at 401 Woodland Hills on November 17, 2022 to Legacy Health Foundation.

 

Editors note

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.

Donation-Agreement-Corrected

 

 

“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:

Bourbon County Takes Ownership of Former Mercy Hospital Building

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 from her Linkedin profile.

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHC Move Delayed Until February 2023

Krista Postai. Submitted.

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas at Fort Scott is pushing forward the opening date for their new facility.

They moved into the former Fort Scott Mercy Hospital in February 2019 and will move into the former Price Chopper building in February 2023 as plans now stand.

The Price Chopper building, 2322 S. Main.

“Due to delays in receiving some materials, including most of the doors and pieces of the heating/cooling system, and some unanticipated design changes, it now appears that CHC/SEK’s opening of our new facility in the former Price Chopper building will be delayed until sometime to February 2023,” CEO Krista Postai said.

“We will be combining both the main clinic and Walk-In Care Clinic into the same facility along with our pharmacy, complete with drive-through window,” she said. “We are especially excited about the installation of a new CT scanner in this facility along with 3-D mammography, conventional x-ray, ultrasound and bone density testing equipment making it one of the best-equipped health centers in the country.”

“Once fully relocated, we do expect to sell our Walk-In Care building, which is being listed with a local realtor,” Postai said. “Proceeds from the sale of this building will be directed toward the cost of renovating the new clinic.”

Mercy Hospital Fort Scott closed in December 2018.

To view information on the transition of Mercy Clinics to CHC view:

CHC/SEK Finalizes Plans for Transition of Mercy Clinics

New Staff

Meanwhile new additions are being added to the CHC staff.

“Recruitment for an additional psychiatric provider in Ft. Scott is also underway, with plans to also add therapy and addiction treatment services once the new clinic opens,” she said.

“We were pleased to welcome Dr. Frank Miller, a well-known and respected chiropractor, to CHC/SEK,” she said.

Dr. Miller was owner of Back to Health Chiropractic in Ft. Scott and in making the move, Dr Miller said, “With the collaboration of other medical disciplines, I believe I will be able to serve my patients with a higher quality of care. The mission of CHC/SEK is right in line with my own and I also believe that I will be able to serve a larger segment of the community than I could in private practice.”

“Toward that end, our new facility will have an expanded area for Wellness Services including Dr. Miller’s practice,” Postai said. “He is now accepting appointments at our Main Clinic; former patients are most welcome.”

“Also joining us in Ft. Scott in our Walk-In clinic is APRN Michael McNellis,” she said. “Originally from Overland Park she received her BSN from MidAmerica Nazarene University and her MSN from Rockhurst University.”

 

Transportation Services

“Effective November 1, CHC/SEK assumed responsibility for Ascension/Via Christi’s Care Van service,” Postai said. “We’re spending the first few weeks getting familiar with their vehicles and new scheduling software we acquired and will be expanding the service – which is transitioning to state-supported public transportation. This means it will take riders other places besides medical facilities. Starting in Crawford County, it will be available in both Bourbon and Cherokee counties as soon as our additional vehicles become available. We will publicize its availability through the media including our Facebook page once we expand.”

New Clinic In Garnett

Also, November 1, CHC opened a new clinic in Garnett, Kansas. Dr. Ross Kimball MD, former owner of Pheasant Ridge Family Medicine in Garnett, transitioned his practice over to CHC/SEK full-time this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noble Health: History of Failed Health Care For Patients

Sara Jane Tribble, a journalist from Kaiser Health News, visited Fort Scott following the closure of Mercy Hospital and wrote a comprehensive story on the impact to the community.

She sent this story to fortscott.biz, just completed, on Noble Health that is a contender corporation for reopening a hospital in Fort Scott, at the former Mercy site.

Buy and Bust: When Private Equity Comes for Rural Hospitals

MEXICO, Mo. — When the new corporate owners of two rural hospitals suddenly announced they would stop admitting patients one Friday in March, Kayla Schudel, a nurse, stood resolute in the nearly empty lobby of Audrain Community Hospital: “You’ll be seen; the ER is open.”

The hospital — with 40 beds and five clinics — typically saw 24 to 50 emergency room cases a day, treating patients from the surrounding 1,000-plus acre farms and tiny no-stoplight towns, she said. She wouldn’t abandon them.

A week later Noble Health had the final word: It locked the doors.

Noble, a three-year-old startup that acquired Audrain and nearby Callaway Community Hospital, offered explanations on social media, including “a technology issue” and a need to “restructure their operations” to keep the hospitals financially viable.

The company should have had plentiful resources to keep them afloat: Noble was launched in late 2019 by Nueterra Capital, a venture capital and private equity firm that has raised millions of dollars to back dozens of health care companies, according to Nueterra’s portfolio and federal filings.

What’s more, in addition to Medicare and Medicaid funds, Noble had received nearly $20 million in federal covid relief money in the 18 months before it closed the hospitals — funds whose use is still not fully accounted for.

Private equity investors, with their focus on buying cheap and reaping quick returns, are moving voraciously into the U.S. health care system; investments increased twentyfold from 2000 to 2018, and have only accelerated since. Financially distressed rural hospitals like Audrain are targets, putting vulnerable communities at the mercy of firms whose North Star is profit, rather than patient health. A recent report found that 441, more than 20%, were at risk of closing or losing services.

The saga that followed Noble into these towns may well serve as a warning flare from the rolling wheat and corn fields between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Noble acquired the hospitals after charming local leaders desperate to save beloved local institutions. And federal regulators did nothing to block or thoroughly vet the acquisition, despite red flags.

Noble’s directors had little health care experience. The one who did was Donald R. Peterson, whose previous foray into the space, an infusion company, ended with charges of Medicare fraud. Just months later, he became one of two directors of Noble, along with Nueterra’s chairman, Daniel R. Tasset, according to a state filing.

In an emailed response to questions from KHN, Peterson said the startup was meant to do good: “We created Noble to save a rural hospital that was about to close.” Tasset could not be reached for comment.

Audrain had struggled before Noble came calling, said Dr. Joe Corrado, a longtime surgeon at the hospital: On an average day in 2019, 40% of beds were empty, as more treatments moved to the outpatient setting and some patients drove an hour to larger hospitals for specialty care.

Things grew worse rather than better under the new private equity owners, according to Corrado as well as state and federal documents, gained through months of public records requests, and dozens of interviews with community leaders, health officials, and residents.

Once Noble owned Callaway and Audrain, the hospitals stopped paying their bills, according to lawsuits filed by contract nurses, security guards, and others. Inspection reports from the state workers coordinating with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services were alarming, listing 135 pages of deficiencies that put patients “at risk for their health and safety.”

Corrado saw his hospital being whittled away. Supplies for surgery disappeared, crucial medicines went unstocked, paychecks never came, he said. Just days before Noble suspended operations, he told management: “We don’t have the ability to do the things we need to take care of patients.”

When state health department surveyors arrived at the Callaway hospital in late summer 2021, only three patients remained, all in the geriatric psychiatry unit.

Inspectors reported they witnessed a suicidal 77-year-old stab her own leg with an ink pen, that an 85-year-old missed his medicine over the weekend because a pharmacist was unavailable, and that nurses waited five minutes to provide oxygen after surgery because the machine malfunctioned.

Ambar La Forgia, a Columbia University assistant professor who studies private equity in health care, said the business model, in general, is “all about creating short-term returns for shareholders.” The emphasis on profit, she said, is “not necessarily great for the patient.”

That, La Forgia said, raises hard questions for rural America: “Is a bad hospital better than no hospital?” And how should federal regulators who approve hospital purchases and monitor their performance thread that needle?

Hospitals Hollowed Out of Drugs, Supplies, and Salaries

Audrain was once a 247-bed regional destination for care, with more than 4,300 admissions in 1992, according to a county bond report. Internal medicine doctors, orthopedic surgeons, and pulmonologists competed to admit the most patients.

By 2019 it was a shadow of that former self. Yet patients like Dee Tate, diagnosed with cancer in 2020, relied on it. She got blood tests, scans, port placement, and chemotherapy to put her into remission — all at Audrain.

So she was shocked when her oncologist, Dr. Shahid Waheed, told Tate he couldn’t perform her scheduled infusion this January.

“If I don’t take this treatment, the likeliness of this kind of cancer coming back goes way, way up,” she said.

The medication, Rituxan, was not in short supply nationally. Noble could not stock it because the hospital purchasing department did not have the money for it, according to a former hospital employee who spoke on condition of anonymity. Ultimately, the person said, the staff bought it directly from the supplier.

Tate’s infusion was five weeks late. “It came from Indiana,” she recalled. Tate, along with about 500 other patients, now must travel at least 40 miles for cancer care.

In the operating suite, Corrado said he could never be sure supplies like anesthesia medicines, bandages, and catheters would be available for surgeries, from mastectomies to emergency appendectomies.

Management determined who would be paid on a week-by-week basis, he said: “On one Friday, they would pay the employees, and they couldn’t buy anything else. And another week they would be able to maybe buy supplies.”

Money troubles were not new to the hospitals. Despite federal subsidies, rural hospitals often struggle because their patients tend to be on Medicare or Medicaid or have no insurance, providing less revenue than commercial insurance.

The year before Noble bought Audrain, the hospital reported an $18 million loss for patient services on $44 million in patient revenue. The Callaway hospital had eked out a $170,000 profit from patient care while still owned and operated by Nueterra.

The next year, under Noble’s management, Callaway reported a nearly $6 million loss on patient services, its 2020 Medicare cost report showed. On paper, financial filings show, it had spent 43% more than the year before.

But much of the money was not spent on delivering health care, said Ge Bai, a professor of accounting at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, who reviewed Callaway’s most recent Medicare cost reports for KHN. She noted that the hospital received millions in covid relief that it reported as miscellaneous income.

The hospital’s spending on laboratory, medical supplies, contract nursing, and care all increased, as is expected in a pandemic, Bai said. But she questioned other line-item cost increases.

For example, spending on the non-salaried employee benefits climbed 273%, to $1.4 million. Callaway’s 18-bed hospital nearly doubled its spending on administration, adding $1.1 million in fees paid to Nueterra subsidiaries NueHealth and Noble in 2020. The hospital also paid Noble a $38,000 lease in 2020, a statement filed with Callaway County showed.

“These dramatic increases raise a red flag,” Bai said. “To whom did the money go?”

Noble executives repeatedly declined requests for comment or interviews to clarify such questions. In late March, Noble spokesperson Nancy Mays said they did not have time to answer questions because they were “talking to potential buyers and figuring out how to best serve employees right now.”

A Sales Pitch Heavy on Charm

Audrain County officials were easy prey for investors. Noble was the only bidder for the failing hospital, said Lou Leonatti, the longtime local attorney, and many in Mexico, a town of 11,000 and the county seat, “believed we were saved.”

Dana Keller, the head of Mexico’s Chamber of Commerce who felt a hospital was essential to keeping business in town, said she set up meetings so Noble’s executives could “talk about their philosophy for rural health care.”

Leaders who called themselves “Progress Mexico” tried to evaluate the startup. “At the time we looked at it, Nueterra had an ownership interest, Don Peterson had an ownership interest, Drew Solomon, and Tom Carter,” Leonatti said.

But there was much they didn’t know or overlooked. None of Noble’s three founding owners had run a hospital or navigated its regulatory demands. Only Peterson — a serial entrepreneur who spent decades investing in workstation and information technology businesses — had worked briefly in health care, and that ended badly.

In 2012, he created IVXpress, now called IVX Health, with infusion centers in 10 states. Peterson left IVX in 2018 after a whistleblower accused him of altering claims, faking drug purchases, and paying a doctor kickbacks. Peterson settled the resulting Medicare fraud charges with the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General without admitting wrongdoing.

Such OIG settlements are “in essence the federal government saying that we don’t trust you,” said Robert Salcido, an attorney who specializes in health care fraud.

Jeff Morris, Peterson’s attorney, said in a letter to KHN: Peterson’s five-year voluntary “exclusion applies to health care programs only, this precludes him from making any claim to funds allocated by federal health care programs for services — including administrative and management services — ordered, prescribed or furnished by Mr. Peterson.”

Morris said Peterson had been “diligent in complying with his exclusion,” which began Aug. 5, 2019. Peterson agreed to pay $334,800 in restitution. According to the terms, violating the agreement could bring criminal prosecution and as much as $4.5 million in penalties.

Within months of the settlement, Peterson signed Noble’s filing to register in Missouri as a director — as well as its secretary, vice president, and assistant treasurer. In April 2020, he ordered medical supplies for the Callaway hospital, according to a receipt obtained through a public records request.

Pandemic Relief and Unpaid Bills

As in much of rural America, the pandemic was slow to emerge in Callaway and Audrain counties, but covid-19 cases were climbing by fall 2020. The hospitals hired contract nurses for help and when possible transferred patients to larger, urban areas.

Callaway saw a surge in late 2020 and closed its general inpatient care in January 2021. Audrain, the larger hospital, dealt with a surge of daily cases in that span.

Noble pursued all forms of coronavirus-related funding. On its watch, Callaway and Audrain hospitals attested to receiving about $11 million in federal relief, which rolled out after the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was enacted in March 2020. Noble’s hospitals also took in $4.8 million in loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program that have been forgiven.

Hospital cost reports from 2020 indicate that the millions should have helped: Audrain’s health care staffing costs were $3.5 million, and Callaway’s were $562,000.

Noble also turned to state and local officials. Missouri distributed $1.1 million to Noble from its CARES funding, mostly to Callaway for covid testing.

Callaway County drew from two of its own federal allocations for the hospital. As of February, leaders had approved more than $14,000 for covid testing, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. In addition, invoices provided through a public records request show that the county used CARES Act funding to pay Noble’s hospital nearly $364,000 for covid testing, operations, and marketing.

Noble sought Audrain County’s help last fall to pay contract nurses after pandemic costs soared. Its commissioners approved a one-year $1.8 million loan using ARPA money. The loan is due in September, at a 2.5% interest rate. If Noble defaults, the rate climbs to 5%.

Even as the hospitals looked flush with federal money, contractors were pulling out, according to lawsuits that allege more than $2 million in unpaid bills.

In one suit filed April 21, Moberly Anesthesia Associates said the Audrain hospital failed to pay nearly $214,000 for services provided.

Among other lawsuits:

Noble Health executives Carter and Solomon declined to comment on the lawsuits.

Nueterra Capital CEO Jeremy Tasset, the son of Daniel Tasset, said in a March email that “we are a minority investor in the real estate and have nothing to do with the operations of the hospitals.”

Callaway County records show Noble owes more than $72,000 in unpaid property taxes and penalties.

Audrain and Callaway counties’ records confirm that Noble kept hospital operations and real estate assets separate — a common move, experts said, from the private equity playbook, when profits are expected from property value rather than medicine.

Said Rosemary Batt, a management professor at Cornell University: “That’s a tipoff that they must be doing something to monetize the real estate to make money.”

Patients ‘At Risk for Their Health and Safety’

Eileen O’Grady, research manager at the nonprofit Private Equity Stakeholder Project, said private equity’s focus on strong, speedy returns makes it a risky business model for health care. “In rural hospitals,” O’Grady said, “there are very few ways” to boost revenue and cut expenses “without having an impact on patient care.”

Indeed, by late summer 2021, federal and state inspectors found alarming deficiencies at the Callaway hospital and gave Noble 23 days to fix them.

Noble took some corrective actions, so inspectors cleared the hospital to admit patients and receive funding. But it was not exactly a clean bill of health.

The September checklist of deficiencies spanned 16 pages, compared with 135 the month before. Some lapses, such as not staffing an overnight ER doctor, were unaddressed.

At the Audrain hospital, inspectors found “ineffective management.” Its electronic medical record system did not keep patient information. Its behavioral health staff did not retain records or footage of an alleged patient assault, and inspectors found long electrical cords next to beds, a risk for strangulation.

Meanwhile, the three men who ran Noble were shopping for more hospitals to buy.

Solomon and Carter pitched Noble’s services to officials in Fort Scott, Kansas, whose hospital had closed in 2018. City and county leaders on July 23, 2021, paid $1 million from their American Rescue Plan Act funds for Noble to study the feasibility of reopening. The money was paid to a new company Peterson founded in June, Access Medical Advisors.

Solomon, president of Noble’s real estate company, told the county in late March of an “incredible” finding from the study — Fort Scott’s hospital building was worth $19.6 million, which “could present the borrowing basis or the bonding basis for a really great viable community project to move forward.”

Solomon’s discovery came as Noble’s hospitals in Missouri remained closed, staffers looked for new jobs, and patients traveled even farther for care.

It came as Noble Health appeared to be unraveling. In late March and April, the Kansas City attorney who registered the company, its hospitals, its real estate entities, and Access Medical Advisors — Philip Krause — informed state officials he had resigned his positions with all of them.

Peterson’s LinkedIn page said he has retired from Noble Health. In March he incorporated a new company, Noble Health Services, based at his home address — a half-million-dollar brick colonial in a leafy Kansas City suburb. Its purpose: “healthcare administrative services.”

As for Noble’s failed hospitals, Texas-based Platinum Team Management executive Cory Countryman said it would buy and reopen them. “We have equity investors,” said his colleague Melissa Upshaw, as well as “traditional financing” and “a portfolio of our own.” Countryman does have recent health care experience: In 2017, as CEO, he abruptly shut down Walnut Hill hospital in Dallas.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

Some elements may be removed from this article due to republishing restrictions. If you have questions about available photos or other content, please contact [email protected].

Noble Health Announces Reopening a Hospital in Fort Scott

Artist rendition of the new entrance area at Bourbon County Community Health.
Officials and community members gathered in the McAuley Center at the former Mercy Hospital building on Jan. 31, 2022, to hear Noble Health’s announcement to reopen a hospital.

Fort Scott will get a new hospital.

The Fort Scott City Commission and the Bourbon County Commission signed a contract in July 2021 to facilitate Noble Health Corp’s feasibility study of reopening the former Mercy Hospital building as an acute care hospital.

Today, the decision was announced by Noble Health Corp. to move forward with the project.

Bourbon County, the City of Fort Scott, and other government officials and members of the community gathered in the McAuley Center at the former Mercy Hospital this morning to hear the announcement.

Rob Harrington, Bourbon County Rural Economic Development;  Drew Solomon, Noble Health Corp.; Clifton Beth, Bourbon County Commissioner; Fort Scott Mayor Kevin Allen;  Merrill Atwater, Noble Health; Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt; U.S. Senator Jerry Moran; and  U.S. House of Representative Jake LaTurner all spoke at the event.

The facility will reopen as Noble Health Bourbon County Community Hospital.

Harrington said that approximately 100 jobs will be available in the new hospital and that a Request for Quote will go out in a couple of weeks for the first phase of the construction process.

The whole process could take a year to complete, he said.

The building is located at 401 Woodland Hills Blvd. on Fort Scott’s south side, just west of Hwy.69.

Mercy Hospital closed its doors in December 2018, following declining patient numbers and shrinking reimbursement for services.

The building currently houses the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas clinic and the  Ascension Via Christi Emergency Department. Fort Scott Community College has used the patient rooms on the west side of the facility for student housing for the last few years. On the ground level is I Am Rehab Physical Therapy and Fitness and a hair salon, Diamonds in the Marketplace.

“Ascension Via Christi will be staying for a longer period and is currently working out the details of a long-term lease with Noble,” Harrington said in a later email. “CHC’s lease will be expiring at their current location (December 2022), however, they will be continuing services at their new location at the old Price Chopper building after build-out. Also, CHC has been told that they have as long as they need to stay at their current location if the build-out takes longer than expected.”

Background of the Project

Noble Health Corp., Kansas City,  announced on June 25, 2021, the contract for the study.

To view the Noble Health Corp. announcement:

Reopening An Acute Care Hospital In Fort Scott Being Explored by Noble Health

The city contributed $200,000, the county contributed $800,000 towards the feasibility study,  according to the contract. The local government entities used American Rescue Plan money from the federal government for the project, according to Bourbon County Commissioner Clifton Beth.

The American Rescue Plan Act 2021 can be viewed at ARP Act SxS – as of 02.22.21.pdf (house.gov)

The feasibility study investigated the condition of title to the development property, the physical condition of the property, the zoning, the economic feasibility, and all matters relevant to the acquisition, usage, operation, valuation, and marketability of the property and the project, as the developer deemed appropriate

The county government agreed to contribute at least $2,000,000 to finance certain costs and expenses related to and associated with the project, according to the contract.

Continue reading Noble Health Announces Reopening a Hospital in Fort Scott

Former Mercy Hospital Building Reopening Process Moves Forward

Robert Harrington. Submitted photo.

Noble Health Corporation announced yesterday that in the near future they will be deciding whether it is feasible to reopen a hospital at the former Mercy Hospital facility, according to Rob Harrington, Director of  Bourbon County Regional Economic Development Inc.

“There will be two more meetings with the (Bourbon County) Commission and then they will begin talking with the public about the outcome of the feasibility study,” Harrington said.

“Today was a good day for Bourbon County and we are excited to see the process continue,” he said.
“The next phases will be dedicated to renovation costs and I believe labor,” he said.
“The study has been completed, however, it contains information that at this time needs to remain confidential until after the property is transferred to Noble by the county,” Harrington said. “We are hopeful that this will happen in January and February when they begin doing their town hall meetings.”

 

Noble Health Corp. announced in June 2021 that it would explore the possibility of reopening the acute care hospital facility in Fort Scott, according to a previous press release from the corporation.

The corporation, a Kansas City company, engaged in a cooperative agreement with Bourbon County to conduct a feasibility study that could lead to the reopening of the former Mercy Hospital building, located at 401 Woodland Hills Blvd., according to the press release.

The building is located just off Hwy. 69 on Fort Scott’s south side.

Mercy Hospital Fort Scott closed in December of 2018.

Mercy Hospital before it closed in December 2018.

Since that time Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas has leased a portion of the building, and Ascension Via Christi Hospital, Pittsburg,  has leased the emergency department. Those leases end in December 2022. Fort Scott Community College has leased the western part of the building for student housing.

 

To view the prior features on Nobel Health in Fort Scott:

Pharmacist Craig Campbell Retires

Craig Campbell at his desk. His office has been housed in a wing at the Community Health Center since the closing of the former Mercy Hospital.

Craig Campbell is retiring from his 39-year career as a pharmacist on June 30.

A chance conversation with a relative changed the course of his life when deciding on a career.

“By chance, I was visiting with my great uncle who was a pharmacist,” he said. ” Willard Higbee, he was the brother of my grandma, Bernice Campbell.”

“I confided in him that I was working on a chemical engineering degree but did not think I could get through the math requirements,” Campbell said. “He said I would love pharmacy, so I visited with Ken Asher and Bob Tuchscherer, local pharmacists at the time, and they agreed that pharmacy was a wonderful profession.”

Technology advancement has changed his job as a pharmacist.

“Technology has advanced so much with the electronic medical record,” Campbell said.  “It brings into view so much more information that lets you know more about the patient, not just in the present moment but what has gone on before.”

“Prescriptions are so much safer now that we do not have to figure out the doctor’s handwriting,” he said.  “Sorry doctor friends. Pharmacists are an integral part of the patient care team now, since when I started in the fall of 1982.”

He has most recently been Mercy Health System’s Director of Pharmacy Performance, St. Louis, since November 2014. But his office is located in a wing of the former Mercy Hospital, although during the COVID-19 pandemic, he has worked mostly from home, he said.

From 1999-2018  Campbell served as Mercy Hospital Fort Scott’s Pharmacy Director, before that from ’92-’99, was a staff pharmacist at Mt. Carmel  Hospital (now Ascension Via Christi) in Pittsburg.

Campbell worked from1983-1992  for four pharmacy’s starting with his first job in Texas.

Campbell completed a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, OK, and an associate of arts degree in pre-pharmacy from Fort Scott Community College.

For Campbell,  the best part of his career was being a part of patient care teams, which come up with the best plan to improve patient health, he said.

“That has been rewarding,” Campbell said. “While at Mercy Fort Scott…my hometown, I was able to care for a lot of friends and family.”

“I once went into the room of an elderly teacher I had in the seventh or eighth grade,” he said. “The patient taught math. The patient said I must have been a student, but could not recall my name. I told who I was. The patient asked what I did for a living and  I said I was a pharmacist. The patient smiled and said, ‘I must have been a pretty good teacher.’ Yes, the patient was a good teacher.”

The COVID-19 Pandemic has been the biggest challenge of his career.

“In the six years I have worked for Mercy at the system level, the main responsibility is to make sure each hospital has the medications they need when they need them,” Campbell said. “COVID was the most difficult time as we were competing with every hospital in the country to have enough meds to treat patients, especially those on ventilators. There were many 20 hour days in April and May 2020.”

What is on the horizon for you?

My wife (Jane) says I am trading one OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) for another,” he said. “I would really like to help the city and county improve the overall quality of life through organizing volunteer groups to help our neighbors with whatever they need.”

Campbell is chairman of the Good Neighbor Action Team, which helps people with work on yards, house painting, etc.

“The community has three big events coming up next year with Big Kansas Road Trip in May, Good Ole Days, and the Fort Scott High School all-class reunion next June. We really have an opportunity to show off our great town and county.”

“We will also travel some and see more of the grandkids’ activities,” he said.

Campbel has four children: Ryan (who is deceased); Brett and wife, Kayla,  Pittsburg; Trevor and wife, Jami, Overland Park; and Jenna  Campbell and her fiance Devin,  Fort Scott. His grandkids are Mackenize Campbell,  Spokane, WA; Brecken and Landry Campbell,  Pittsburg and  Kennadie, Rush, Austyn,  and Larkin Campbell,  Overland Park.

Bourbon County Government to Receive Former Mercy Building

The Bourbon County Commission room in the courthouse, September 2018.

The Bourbon County Commission will be receiving the former Mercy Hospital building at 401 Woodland Hills Blvd. and $600,000 from Mercy as a donation to the county, Rob Harrington, Bourbon County Economic Development Director said in an email.

Robert Harrington. Submitted photo.

Mercy Hospital Fort Scott closed in October 2018.

The Sisters of Mercy had served the community since 1886.

Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas has had a clinic at the building since Mercy closed, but is moving when its’ lease is up at the end of 2022.

They have purchased the former Price Chopper store, 2322 Main Street, for their new facility.

The emergency department at the former hospital building also has a lease that will be up in 2022.

The county commission has been working on a solution to keep the building viable, as opposed to tearing the two-decades-old building down.

“Today is the beginning of a process, “Bourbon County Commissioner Clifton Beth said. “The attorneys will be going through the process of accepting the donation and the $600,000.”

Clifton Beth represents District 3. Photo from Facebook.

“We are in conversation with different entities that could potentially have use for that building,” Beth said.

The Bourbon County Commission is comprised of Beth, Lynne Oharah and Jim Harris.

First District Bourbon County Commissioner Lynne Oharah.
Jim Harris, Bourbon County Commissioner, District 2.

Beth said credit needs to go to Harrington who has been working to find entities that are interested.

“A lot of behind-the-scenes work is going on,” Beth said.

“We are trying to save the building,” Beth said. “My main priority is to have an Emergency Room in Bourbon County.”

“At the end of the day, the end users for that building, if they can use it, great,” Beth said. “If not, we’ll look at other options.”

“My goal is to be sure we have an ER,” Beth said. “Ascension Via Christi has one-and-one-half years left on their (current) lease. In conversations with them, they are planning to stay.”

Ascension Via Christi operates the emergency department at the former Mercy Hospital building.

To see more info on Ascension Via Christi:

Via Christi To Operate Fort Scott Emergency Room

Ascension Via Christi/Fort Scott Celebrates Opening of Emergency Department

Fort Scott News