Rising health care costs and declining
patient volume are hurting rural hospitals across Kansas.
Hospitals in Halstead, Andover, Augusta and elsewhere have
closed or cut back for just those reasons.
The South Central Kansas Regional Medical Center in Arkansas
City may be the next to close. Chief executive Joe Jirinec is
hoping financing will come through to break ground on a new 25 (m)
million-dollar hospital this fall. Otherwise, the town of about
12-thousand may be without a hospital.
On a typical day, the South Central Kansas Regional Medical
Center has only about 13 or 14 patients and about the same number
of doctors on staff. Lately, it's been losing patients to Wichita
hospitals and specialty clinics.