Governor Kelly Shares Statement on Closure of Fort Scott Emergency Department

– Governor Laura Kelly today released the below statement in response to the announcement that the Ascension Via Christi Emergency Department in Fort Scott is closing on December 20. 

“I am incredibly saddened by the news that Ascension Via Christi’s Emergency Department in Fort Scott is closing. Bourbon County residents have already had to drive 30 miles to Pittsburg – or, in some cases, 90 miles to Kansas City – for most care since Mercy Hospital closed five years ago. Now, even in emergencies, they’ll have one less place to turn, threatening their health and safety.  

“I’ve been touring the state rallying for Medicaid Expansion for six weeks, and in that time, we’ve seen a rural hospital and now an emergency room close. How much more evidence do we need that rural communities need our support to keep health care affordable and accessible? Enough is enough. It’s time to act.” 

The Kansas Department of Commerce Rapid Response Team is reaching out to Ascension Via Christi leadership and will be sharing resources with employees who are now looking for work. 

Here’s How Medicaid Expansion Would Support Kansas Hospitals: 

  • Rural hospitals in states that have not adopted Medicaid expansion are six times more likely to close than rural hospitals in states with expansion.
  • Researchers have found that hospitals in expansion states, particularly those in rural areas, are better off financially and are less likely to close.
  • 58% of rural Kansas hospitals are at risk of closing, and 28% are at immediate risk of closing.