Governor Kelly Shares Statement on
Herington Hospital Closure

~~Herington Hospital is now the 8th Kansas Hospital to Close
Since Kansas Has Had the Option to Expand Medicaid~~

Today, Governor Laura Kelly released the below statement in response to Herington Hospital’s announcement that it is closing as of today, October 11. 

“Herington Hospital has been a fixture in the Herington community for over a century. The news of its closure is devastating to the employees losing their jobs, citizens who relied on the hospital and its clinics for essential care, and the nearby businesses the hospital supported. Our Department of Commerce Rapid Response Team has reached out to Herington leaders and will be sharing resources with employees who are now looking for work. 

“This closure makes clear the absolute necessity of expanding Medicaid this upcoming legislative session. Eight hospitals have now closed since we’ve had the option to increase access to affordable health insurance and support our hospitals, and over half of our rural hospitals are at risk of following suit. Kansas legislators cannot continue to turn their backs on the 78% of Kansans—their constituents—who want to expand Medicaid and save their hospitals.” 

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, and 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. 

Here’s What They’re Saying: 

“I’m disappointed to hear about the closing of Herington Hospital. Rural hospitals play an essential role in the livelihood of small towns like Herington by creating jobs and providing necessary care. This loss is a blow to both the residents and local economy. Expanding Medicaid will help prevent other small Kansas communities from losing their hospitals in the near future. Failing to expand Medicaid is just another one of the many attacks on small Kansas communities from state government. That’s why I urge the legislature to pass Medicaid expansion in the next session.”
-Dave Baker, Former Kansas State Representative, District 68, Herington and Junction City 

There are many issues facing rural and urban hospitals across the country, including workforce shortages, financial challenges, stagnant reimbursement, inflation and increasing supply costs, demographic changes and regulatory barriers. These challenges are not limited to hospitals in Kansas. Hospitals in Kansas unfortunately face increased uncompensated care costs due to the lack of Medicaid expansion and a higher number of uninsured patients. In addition, many of our rural areas have an aging and decreasing population which may lead to less volume to cover needed hospital expenses.”
-Chad Austin, President and CEO, Kansas Hospital Association  

“Health care is critical to sustaining our rural communities, which is why it is so important to support policies such as Medicaid expansion that would make it more financially viable to operate a hospital in rural Kansas. It’s tragic to see Herrington Hospital close.  We should do everything possible to prevent future closures.  As a state, with the most financially vulnerable hospitals in the country, we need to come together to advance common sense policies that protect rural hospitals and ensure rural Kansans have access to health care.”
-David Jordan, President and CEO, United Methodist Heath Ministry Fund 

There are a number of things that Kansas policymakers could do to help with the financial stability of hospitals, but one that stands out in particular is Medicaid expansion. Unfortunately, we now have more Kansans who will have to drive further or otherwise struggle to get the health care services they need because of a local hospital closure. It’s time for legislators to take action to protect Kansans, especially those in rural communities who already may struggle to access the health care they need. The longer Kansas refuses to pass expansion, the more likely we are to continue losing hospitals and health care services.”
-Lacey Kennett, Director of Communications, Alliance for a Healthy Kansas