'We will not have ― or do we need ― a hospital,' Kansas city leader says after closure

Fort Scott, Kan., saw its hospital close in December 2018. Now, a year later, the community is questioning whether it needs a hospital, according to Kaiser Health News.

Mercy Hospital Fort Scott, a 46-bed hospital run by St. Louis-based Mercy health system, closed Dec. 31, 2018. Parent company, Mercy, which operates 40 acute care and specialty hospitals, cited declining patient volumes and shrinking reimbursement as reasons for the closure.

At the time of the closure, City Manager Dave Martin said leaders felt the decision was a betrayal. However, a year later, they've changed their tune. Mr. Martin said, "We will not have — or do we need — a hospital" to care for the city's 7,800 residents.  

That's because up to 95 percent of the healthcare services offered by the hospital are still available to residents, local healthcare leaders told KHN, but through different means. The community, notably, still has an emergency room, operated under a two-year agreement with Wichita, Kan.-based Ascension Via Christi.

Additionally, most of the physicians stayed in Fort Scott and took positions at a regional federally-qualified healthcare center. The center has taken over most of the clinic work Mercy provided, and other services have been added.

Ultimately, leaders told KHN the community will "right-size" its healthcare, adding what is truly needed and learning to let go what was underused.

Read the full report here.

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