Letter to The Editor: Drew Talbott

Drew Talbott. Submitted photo.

Submitted by Drew Talbott, President Ascension Via Christi Hospital, Pittsburg

Here to serve for as long as we are needed

Noble Health recently announced its plans to open an inpatient hospital in Fort Scott, but without a concrete timeline.

Since February 2019, we have provided Fort Scott residents with vitally needed emergency, imaging, lab, and primary care services and our plan is to continue to do so as long as our services are needed.

We stepped in to fill the gap created when Mercy Hospital closed its doors on Dec. 31, 2018. We did so because ensuring access to close-to-home care is in keeping with our mission as a non-profit Catholic healthcare system.

Like other health systems, we recognized that the patient volumes were not sufficient to sustain a full-service community hospital. However, as a department of our Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg, we have demonstrated that we could operate an ER and supporting services in a financially sustainable manner.

So in partnership with the community, we launched a new model of care and over the past three years have made a significant investment in the imaging and laboratory equipment needed to maintain a 24/7 physician-led Emergency Department.

Today, we have a self-supporting model of care. More importantly, we witness every day the importance of our caregivers’ contribution to patients and families and to the growth and development of the community.

We support Bourbon County leaders’ desire to explore the viability of returning to a community hospital model. However, based on our lived experience as the community’s emergency care provider, we believe the volumes are too low to sustain a community hospital without federal or local taxpayer funding.

We plan to continue to offer our services in Fort Scott for as long as there is an unmet need.

Rest assured, we came to Fort Scott to support our neighbors in their time of need and that commitment will not change.

6 thoughts on “Letter to The Editor: Drew Talbott”

  1. I sincerely appreciate Via Christi involvement and support in our community. My husband and I have continued our care with Dr. Burke, so we utilize the lab and x-ray department. Knowing the ER is here is a comfort to us. We thank-you for being here.

  2. A very gracious response from Via Christi towards a competitor; I wonder too whether Noble Health can handle a low volume of patients.

  3. Thank you Via Christi for coming to Fort Scott to provide our emergency room needs. I appreciate your opinion, too. It will be interesting to see what model of community care will be developed.

  4. Does anyone know what salary Mr. Talbot makes as President of Via Christi? I’m assuming since they are (as he points out) a non-profit entity, that it’s likely very meager.

    Surely it would be cynical of me to assume that this letter is *really* borne out of being worried that Via Christi will lose out on the lucrative transfers they currently get from Bourbon County to their facility in Pittsburg should Noble succeed.

    1. According to ProPublica.org, Mr. Talbot made $206,150 as a VP in 2020. The president at that time (the position Mr. Talbot now holds) made $418,280 in 2020.

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