The Harper and Anthony hospital boards are committed to creating a new model of health care delivery for Harper County and the surrounding area – one that will ensure access to high quality, cost-effective care for years to come. Subsequent to special meetings on August 4, the two boards are pursuing the merger of Hospital District #5 and Hospital District #6 of Harper County through a petition of registered voters.
Since mid-January, the boards have been leading a work group comprised of local, state and national experts including Cerner, a health care technology company; Via Christi Health; the Kansas Hospital Association; the National Rural Health Association; and two nationally known healthcare consulting firms.
One of those consulting firms, Leavitt Partners, conducted a comprehensive financial analysis of Harper County’s hospitals’ operations. This report, funded by a private donor with ties to Harper County, was shared at a joint meeting of the Harper and Anthony hospital boards in April.
The comprehensive report made clear that:
- With the increasing cost of providing hospital care and projected decreases in hospital reimbursement, Harper County’s current model of care will not be financially sustainable over the long term.
- To remain financially viable in the near term and sustain Harper county residents’ access to quality health care, we must proactively work together to plan for the future.
- There is significant work to be done to determine what may be the best model to ensure continued access to close-to-home care for those who live and work in Harper County.
At a joint board meeting on July 30, the boards examined the legal options for merger, listed exploration topics, and identified potential grant opportunities. The next joint board meeting will be August 27 at 7 pm at Chaparral High School as the boards begin creating a clearer vision of the new health care model for Harper County using information presented in the Leavitt analysis. Plans to garner provider and staff input are being implemented.
“The goal is to develop a financially sustainable model that ensures access to the care we need without an overdependence on property and sales tax,” said Alan Patterson, who serves on the Anthony Medical Center board. “If we can accomplish this goal, we will protect health care for our neighbors and positively contribute to the economic health of our entire region.”
Kimberly Schrant, who serves on the Harper Hospital Board, agreed, “We have an opportunity to help create long-term, sustainable healthcare services that could serve as a model for rural communities nationwide.”
As the boards move forward with the development of the health care model for Harper County, public input is welcome, especially as focus groups are formed to assist in the determination of the important aspects to be included in that new standard for rural health care. However, patience is also requested. While the possibilities are many, so are the vital decisions that must be made along the way.
THE LEAVITT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY