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PRESS RELEASE

February 21, 2020

Officials Introduce Innovative Healthcare Model

Mercy donates building and 1 million dollars toward a sustainable approach to rural healthcare.

Bourbon County and City of Fort Scott officials are committed to improving the quality of life for each member of the community, increasing access to affordable quality healthcare, and remaining vigilant stewards of taxpayer dollars.  For years Fort Scott, KS was renowned for its healthcare.  Mercy Hospital was an integral part of our health system from primary care to community benefit to leadership involvement.  What remains today are the caring professionals, ambitious leaders, beautiful hospital campus, and the engrained culture of ensuring community health needs are addressed appropriately.

Bourbon County Commission will be partnering with our community healthcare partners, The Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas and Ascension Via Christi, and higher education partner, Fort Scott Community College, in transforming our approach to rural healthcare.  Bourbon County will be taking ownership of the previous Mercy Hospital Building.  With Ascension Via Christi and CHC/SEK occupying a portion of the facility, the county is working with other health service agencies to supplement the community’s health care needs by housing them in the remainder of the move-in ready space.

For the common good of the community, the building will be repurposed into a collaborative effort that will be here for decades to come.

Ascension Via Christi President, Randy Cason, states, “This is exciting news for Fort Scott and the surrounding communities. Ascension Via Christi is eager to continue working with our community partners here to help to find solutions for the healthcare needs of this more rural area.”

Mercy Health Southwest Missouri/Kansas Communities has submitted a draft donation agreement to donate the building and one million dollars to Bourbon County for use of building maintenance and operations.  This donation allows healthcare entities to lease space in the healthcare mall at market rate.  A standardized market rate lease has led to discussions with healthcare organizations to expand services not otherwise offered.

Administration from Bourbon County and The City of Fort Scott will work together, develop a regulatory board and long-term lease agreements moving forward.   “This project is much more than just saving a building,” Jody Hoener, Economic Development Director, “Preserving this asset allows our community to no longer be victims of circumstance, but to assume responsibility for our community’s healthcare destiny. It creates a sustainable healthcare model under one roof.”   There is little doubt in the concept’s success with the right amount of support and will be used as a model shaping rural healthcare policy across the nation.

Contact information:

Jody Hoener, Bourbon County Economic Development Director

jhoener@bourboncountyks.org