• Labette to fill Oswego hospital closure void

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  • PITTSBURG — Labette Health is moving swiftly to fill the gap in medical services left by the abrupt closure of Oswego Community Hospital, the company said Thursday.
    “We’ve already hired some of their staff, so things are moving pretty fast,” said Kerri Beardmore, marketing director for Labette Health.
    The company said it is working with Oswego’s mayor, as well as private citizens, to ensure that medical services remain available and “to meet the needs of Oswego, Chetopa and the surrounding area.”
    Oswego Community Hospital, along with the affiliated Oswego Community Clinic and Chetopa Community Clinic, unexpectedly announced closure of the facilities Thursday.
    “It has been an honor and privilege to provide services to and care for our friends and neighbors in our surrounding communities,” Oswego Community Hospital, owned by Kansas City-based Empower HMS, part of The Empower Group, posted to its Facebook page.
    Labette Health, which operates a 99-bed medical facility in Parsons, is already in the process of arranging for a temporary clinic to be set up in Oswego within the next couple of weeks, according to a news release.
    “First and foremost, our hearts go out to the employees and their families,” Brian Williams, president and CEO of Labette Health, said in a statement. “Their hospital was very important to them and to their community.”
    In addition to the temporary clinic, Labette Health also plans to either build a new permanent clinic or buy an existing facility in Oswego, Beardmore said. The location of that new clinic is expected to be announced soon.
    “Rural hospitals are an integral part of the country’s healthcare landscape,” said Labette Health Board of Trustees chairman Perry Sorrell. “Southeast Kansas is a tight-knit community that has a right to quality healthcare and that’s what we’re committed to doing.”
    Other area hospitals and medical facilities also will continue to serve the community as it deals with the effects of the sudden closure.
    “Mercy Clinic Family Medicine in Oswego will continue to serve the Oswego community as it has for over 30 years,” said Ellis Kmetzsch, spokesman for Mercy. “Our local providers offer primary care services, diabetes care, sports physicals and E-visits.”
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