Mercy Hospital Fort Scott Discernment Task Force Holds Update Meeting

March 19, 2015

The Mercy Hospital Fort Scott Discernment Task Force met March 17 to hear an update from Mercy Health leadership regarding progress on solutions including partnership with other hospital systems.

Although the process is taking longer than expected, the task force and Mercy leadership are committed to finding the best solution to keep health care services in Fort Scott sustainable and viable well into the future.

“The task force will continue to discuss ways to keep Mercy Hospital Fort Scott services intact,” said Dr. Randy Nichols, Mercy Clinic primary care physician.

St. Luke’s Health System has ceased discussion with Mercy. Mercy leadership continues dialogue with Via Christi to research any potential collaborative relationships. Continuing to serve the community as Mercy is also an option. 

Some strategies that might stabilize services at Mercy Fort Scott and strengthen the relationship with Mercy include:

  • Increasing patient volumes at Mercy Hospital and Mercy Clinic Fort Scott 
  • Building a stronger referral pattern from Mercy Fort Scott to Mercy Joplin by boosting the flow of patients needing critical care to the new, state-of-the-art Mercy Hospital Joplin opening on March 22
  • Exploring revisions to health care insurance plans and coverage in the Mercy Joplin market
  • Researching and identifying different models of care to make Mercy Fort Scott viable for years to come

The discernment process began in Fort Scott in April 2014, in response to escalating challenges that are impacting all health care providers who serve predominately rural areas, including population trends, utilization patterns and reimbursement changes.

“What we have known as the standard delivery of health care in the past is evolving,” said Reta Baker, Mercy Hospital Fort Scott president. “Although how we provide care to our market may look very different in the future, I remain confident that health care will stay in Fort Scott and that we will continue to serve our patients and communities with the best care possible.”

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