Mercy Hospital has been serving the Fort Scott Community for the last 132 years, so with the announcement that 2018 will be the hospital's final year, KOAM/Fox 14 turned to the Fort Scott community for their thoughts.
"I think it's going to be a little bit of an inconvenience for some or probably most of the population here. You'll have to drive for an hour and a half over to Joplin or Nevada, and some people can't do that, and I think it's a bummer," said Fort Scott resident Clint Szuwalski.
"Where are they going to go then? If somebody gets hurt, there ain't no other place to go. Wal-Mart?" said Fort Scott Resident Davey Kanackstedt.
"Well, it was definitely surprising and saddening news. We use the hospital for a minor emergency or a major emergency. Our youngest boy has allergies combined with asthma, and so the presence of the hospital has been a life saver. And the idea that it may be cutting back on the services, especially in regard to operations and emergencies, is definitely discomforting," said Fort Scott Resident Jim Kemmerer.
"Certainly hate to see Mercy close its doors. As a small town, many family and friends work out there at Mercy that may be affected, but when one door might close, another one might open," said Executive Director of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, Lindsay Madison.
The executive director of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is referring to an agreement Mercy has with Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, based out of Pittsburg. Mercy says a plan is in place to continue providing physician services in the area. Mercy also says that primary care physicians have agreed to practice in the area, as part of the agreement with Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas.
As for why the hospital is closing, Mercy says it was a result of declining patient numbers and shrinking reimbursement.
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