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Memorial Hospital board announces

new model for health care in Larned

LARNED – The Central Kansas Medical Center (CKMC) and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital Board of Directors announced June 10 that St. Joseph Memorial Hospital and its long-term care unit in Larned will close Sept. 30, 2009.

The St. Joseph Family Medicine Clinic will remain open in its current Larned location to continue serving many of the outpatient health care needs of the people of Pawnee and Barton counties. CKMC is exploring expanded clinic hours and providing enhanced services at the clinic.
“We serve too few patients and residents to support the size and scope of St. Joseph Memorial Hospital’s operation,” said Ron Koelsch, board chairman. “The board of directors and the leadership team have worked hard to sustain and strengthen our health ministry in a tough economic and increasingly competitive environment. We carefully evaluated many options, hoping to avoid closing the hospital.”
The board made the decision after years of financial losses at St. Joseph. The hospital serves on average three or fewer overnight hospital patients per day and 18 long-term care residents. St. Joseph is licensed for 25 acute care beds and has capacity for 30 long-term care residents.
“For many years, St. Joseph Memorial Hospital has lost money, and more and more community members have chosen to leave Larned for hospital care. We simply cannot sustain these losses,” said Sister Diane Traffas, board vice chair.
“Maintaining St. Joseph Family Medicine allows us to continue meeting many of the health care needs of the Larned community in a way that is financially sustainable,” Koelsch said.
St. Joseph Memorial Hospital employees, physicians, auxiliary and Larned community leaders were told of the decision June 10. Letters are being sent to patients and long-term care residents and families. “We will work together with the community to achieve a smooth transition for patients, residents, employees, physicians and auxiliary,” Koelsch said.
Patient hospital records will be transferred to CKMC in Great Bend, and hospital and specialty care will be available there.
“We recognize and are grateful for the dedication and hard work of the employees, physicians and board of St. Joseph Memorial Hospital,” said Sharon Lind, president and CEO of CKMC. “We sincerely appreciate the community for their support over the years and acknowledge how devastating this can be to loyal community supporters. By maintaining our St. Joseph Family Medicine clinic, it provides access to care for many community members in a way that is financially viable.”
St. Joseph Memorial Hospital employees are being encouraged to pursue employment with St. Joseph Family Medicine Clinic and CKMC, and will receive preferential consideration for openings there. Employees not transitioning to open positions will be provided with severance pay, benefits through the severance period and outplacement assistance.
CKMC leadership, along with St. Joseph Memorial Hospital staff, will assist long-term care residents and their families to transition residents to new nursing home facilities. We expect this transition to take place over the next three months.
The St. Joseph Memorial Hospital building and land are property of Catholic Health Initiatives and no decision has been made regarding future use.
“The decision to close St. Joseph Memorial Hospital and its long-term care unit was certainly not an easy one,” Lind said. “Maintaining the St. Joseph Family Medicine Clinic in Larned, with the support of the St. Rose campus of Central Kansas Medical Center in Great Bend, allows us to continue to support our mission and meet many of the health care needs of the people of central Kansas.”
CKMC and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital will continue to share information as it becomes available, Lind said.

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