Ground breaks on $41M medical center honoring late Cerner CEO Neal Patterson

Construction began Sunday on a 62,500-square-foot, $41 million medical complex in Harper County, Kan., dedicated to the late Cerner CEO and co-founder Neal Patterson, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.

Mr. Patterson died July 9 after an ongoing battle with soft tissue cancer.  Despite his initial cancer diagnosis in 2016, he had remained involved in the company's operations.

The Patterson Health Center is designed to foster a new model for rural healthcare delivery. The center was largely funded through the Patterson Foundation and led by Mr. Patterson, who originally helped conceive the idea.

The center will consolidate healthcare facilities in Harper, Kan., and Anthony, Kan., and will include a 15-bed critical access hospital, health clinic, physical therapy and rehabilitation center, and a wellness center. The facility is expected to be completed in three or four phases, with a spring 2019 completion goal. At that time, Harper Hospital and Anthony Medical Center, both of which have been struggling financially, are scheduled to close.

The $41 million will help supply the hospital and clinic with telemedicine capabilities that will help drive the center's vision for rural healthcare delivery. An "Integrated Care Team" layout will bring patient rooms, staff working areas and service provider offices together to create a centralized collaboration space. 

"Today with information and medical technologies, it is possible to design a rural system with access to almost all of the care standards and specialty skills of a large national integrated health system — a system that helps the right decisions to be made with the right skills at the right time. Simply speaking, lives will be saved, and more healthcare will stay in the community, which brings real economic benefits to the community," Mr. Patterson wrote in a letter to the hospitals the center will replace before his passing.

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