Mercy Hospital Fort Scott to Close

Primary Care Services to Continue through Agreement with CHC/SEK

FORT SCOTT, Kan. (October 1, 2018)In the face of declining patient numbers and shrinking reimbursement, Mercy has made the difficult decision to close Mercy Hospital Fort Scott by the end of the year. The decision was made following months of exploring options for keeping hospital services in the community.

At the same time, there is a plan for continuing physician services in the area. Mercy is finalizing an agreement with the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK), the federally qualified health clinic based in Pittsburg, to maintain primary care services in Fort Scott and other nearby communities in which there are Mercy Clinic locations. All Mercy Clinic Fort Scott primary care physicians have committed to continue practicing in the area as part of CHC/SEK. The two organizations expect to share more information soon.

Mercy Hospital has been privileged to serve Fort Scott since 1886. Like many rural hospitals across the country, we have struggled to remain viable as community needs have changed,” said Reta Baker, hospital president. “We considered – and exhausted – every possibility for keeping our doors open, and ultimately we had to acknowledge that it’s a different era for hospital care in Fort Scott. There are many options in nearby communities for patients seeking hospital care, and there are many challenges we didn’t have in years past. Our hearts are heavy, but it’s the decision we know has to be made.”

The hospital will close by December 31, including all inpatient services, the emergency department and ambulatory surgery.

Mercy first announced the need to explore options for future sustainability in 2014, citing trends that included patients leaving the area to seek health care services in larger communities and declining reimbursement, especially from government payers which make up the largest source of revenue. The announcement was followed by an 18-month discernment process, which ended in 2015 with the understanding that should these trends continue, Mercy would need to revisit plans for the future.

That time came earlier this year, and a new process of evaluating solutions was undertaken,” said Baker. “Unfortunately, the health care environment in Fort Scott has not improved, and in fact we’ve encountered the additional challenge of successfully recruiting and retaining physicians in the community.”

To prepare for closing the hospital, Mercy will undertake the required regulatory and legal notices and procedures, including notifying state and federal agencies and payers.

Mercy is developing plans to support hospital co-workers in through the closure process, and all will be treated with compassion and respect. There may be the possibility for some co-workers to transfer to other Mercy facilities.

Having closed our hospital in Independence, Kansas, in 2015, we know how difficult this news is to hear – not only for our Fort Scott co-workers and the community, but for everyone across Mercy. Our prayers are with everyone impacted by this decision,” said Lynn Britton, Mercy president and chief executive officer. “We also know that the Sisters who served before us had to make similar decisions in light of changing community needs, and we draw strength from their courage.”


Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2018, 2017 and 2016 by IBM Watson Health, serves millions annually. Mercy includes more than 40 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, 800 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 44,000 co-workers and 2,100 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has clinics, outpatient services and outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. In addition, Mercy’s IT division, Mercy Technology Services, supply chain organization, ROi, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients in more than 20 states coast to coast.

supply chain organization, ROi, and Mercy Virtual commercially serve providers and patients in more than 20 states coast to coast.

20 thoughts on “Mercy Hospital Fort Scott to Close”

  1. What about people that cant afford to go elsewhere or dont have transportation? There are alot of people these days that have problems getting around. Like myself i have two vehicles one is broke down and one wont get up and go on the highway… so i guess me my husband and 3 children are screwed on going to the dr right? This town is going to crap and now the hospital is shutting down just lovely!!!

  2. I’m very sorry to hear it has come to this decision. Fort Scott will suffer with the loss of a hospital. You don’t appreciate what you have until it is gone. Prayers to all the workers and friends at Mercy.

  3. My mother was a nurse aide at the Burke st. Hospital. She retired in 94 I think. She worked with you Rita and was always proud that you went as far as you have. MaryAnn left us in 09. And I’m sure if she was here she would understand as I and my family do.

  4. Having lived in and around Fort Scott and been a patient in the Mercy health system in Missouri I’m glad Fort Scott now has a chance to have a forward looking solid healthcare system to replace the outdated attitude of Fort Scott Mercy

  5. Thank you, Mercy, for being there when my Family needed you. I will always be grateful for the care given, and will always ever speak of this facility with fondness. Through the births of both of my children- through personal bouts of pneumonia – through the fight my oldest had with Mono; thanks for being there for us. I’m so thankful the Docs committed to staying and keeping the clinic open. Thank you, Doctors and Nurses, for continuing to be there for us.

  6. When the new facility was built I figured this town would not be able to keep it open. Millions of dollars could have been saved by building a smaller hospital. I’m sure the upkeep and utilities played a huge part in the decision to close the doors. Now 10 to 15 thousand people in the Ft. Scott area will have to travel for serious health care and treatment. Nevada, MO. will be the next closest hospital with Girard or Pittsburg as other options. Now serious injury or sickness will require larger ambulance fees.

  7. I tried to get a doctor in May of this year and I was told that they weren’t taking new patients unless you had a relative going to that hospital so it seems they weren’t too busy worried about increasing patients to help people when they needed a hospital

  8. I was looking for a new doctor in April of this year and mercy hospital told me they were not taking new patients only patients who had family members already going there it seems they weren’t too concerned with patients in need because they were denying new patients for their hospital

  9. I started going to Mercy ,in the old building, back in 1986. This is sad. But my Dr. Parris retired and I’m a care giver for my mother. I will keep up with Dr. Seals. But for me, not my other 4, I am looking for a Dr. close to home and probably go to establishing and Main Dr. over here. Sorry to hear this…but all Hospitals are changing…hang on….pray even!

  10. This is what happens to any business when its customer base stopping paying for services. Mercy has let customers be seen for years while still having a balance on their accounts. So as usual, those of us that pay our bills are once again going to lose access to a much needed Hospital. Without a hospital in town, you can start closing the doors on all the assisted care homes in town also. Not sure parents will want their kids going away to a college in a town without a hospital either. Is it legal to house prisoners in a jail where emergency medical care cant be provided? See the domino affect people? Guess we shouldn’t expect much more. City Management has done nothing for decades but cater to the “low income” crowd. Reap what you sow City Hall. Sure hope nobody needs an emergency room to save their lives anytime soon. An ambulance ride to Overland Park or Pittsburg might take more time than any of us have…..What a sad day. A town without a hospital is not a town……

  11. So all the rumors we’ve been hearing turned out to be correct. Not to fear folks…Freeman Hospital has recently opened up a clinic for sports injuries, orthopedics and workers’ comp so maybe Freeman or some other hospital will want to occupy the soon to be former home of Mercy? And rumors have been flying around about the Mercy Clinic in Pleasanton getting bought out by another medical group out of Overland Park/ Kansas City so let’s all pray that a new hospital comes to town so we do not become a town without a hospital…

  12. What scares me is that the CITY is working on a solution. Maybe they will create a position of assistant to the city manager in charge of hospital transition so that we will have another overpaid administrator in the bureaucracy.

  13. Rural towns are dying. Adaptation is necessary in 2018, no matter how badly people want to hold tight to their hometowns.

    Fort Scott’s population has been steadily decreasing with each census, and the most recent population estimate (from 2016) is only 7,800 people. This is down from 8,100 people in 2010. That may not seem significant, but when a population is below 10,000 to begin with, 300 people in 6 years is a massive shift.

    The sad fact of reality is this: if a town fails to adapt to modern life, the town will slowly start to break down, and that includes health care, unfortunately.

    I grew up in Fort Scott, and I still have family and friends there. It makes me so sad to see it failing, but backwards mindset and lack of a true economic identity will kill any town.

    I applaud Jared Leek for trying to revitalize downtown, but I have to wonder: what has the city government itself done to attract college graduates to settle there with high paying jobs that will stimulate the economy? What has the city government done to ensure that businesses stay in town, and that students are given a quality education?

    What draw is there for any young person to come, settle in Fort Scott, establish a family, and stay?

    The answer is: nothing.

    You may love small towns, and I understand that. I get nostalgic when I think about getting Sonic drinks in high school, the homecoming games, grabbing cheap tacos at Taco Tico. I was born at Mercy Hospital and I worked there for a short while before leaving the lower midwest.

    I love Fort Scott for what it was, but what it was is no longer enough to sustain a town.

    Until Fort Scottians change their mindsets and start pushing for change in the town, nothing will change. It seems so obvious, but change is hard for many. Hence the Trump presidency – fear of change makes people do and say otherwise unthinkable things.

    I heart you, Fort Scott, and I hope for the best for you. You will always be my hometown and I want to see you thrive. Change things, demand a living wage. Demand city services and upgrades other than a large aquatic center which only offers seasonal recreation and employment.

    Fort Scott – protect your residents. It’s your job.

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