Governor Kelly Visits John Parolo Education Center on “Healthy Workers, Healthy Economy” Tour

Today, Governor Laura Kelly toured the John Parolo Education Center located on the campus of the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas in Pittsburg. Governor Kelly was joined on the tour of the educational facility by members of the health center’s leadership team and their Board of Directors, who discussed how Medicaid expansion could help address Kansas’ health care workforce shortage.  

“Expanding Medicaid would help put an end to our health care workforce shortage by offering better benefits to hardworking Kansans,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “Ensuring our hospitals and clinics are well-staffed is a critical part of increasing access to essential care. The Kansas Legislature has the responsibility to move our state forward by allowing a debate and vote on Medicaid expansion when they return on April 26.”  

The John Parolo Education Center is designed to prepare the next generation of health care professionals. The facility provides training for student physicians, nurses, and other health professions, as well as hands-on educational experiences for K-12 students. Medicaid expansion would equip the Center with additional tools to train and grow the health care workforce.  

“The vision of the John Parolo Education Center is to inspire individuals of all ages to pursue health care professions, create learning opportunities and to support educational endeavors,” said Jason Wesco, Founder of the John Parolo Education Center. “We are pleased Governor Kelly shares our goals of improving health outcomes, facilitating sustainable communities, and strengthening our health care workforce in rural Kansas.”  

Failure to expand Medicaid has come at a particularly high cost to Southeast Kansas with the closure of several nearby hospitals, clinics, and most recently the Fort Scott Emergency Department. Missouri, which borders this area, has already expanded Medicaid, and therefore can offer health care workers higher pay, exacerbating Kansas’ workforce shortage. 

“Governor Kelly’s recognition of our efforts to inspire, motivate, and support our children’s pursuit of medical education – especially in the most economically challenged region of the state – is very much appreciated,” said Krista Postai, CEO of the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas. “While Governor Kelly came to tour our new education center, her visit represented far more than simply a visit to a building. It was a demonstration of her understanding and awareness of the challenges rural Kansans are facing especially in health care and what Medicaid expansion can do to address them.” 

Legislators representing Crawford County and the surrounding areas were invited to attend the tour. Kansans can find contact information to ask their local legislator to support Medicaid expansion here. 

Photos from today’s event, for media use, are available below: