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SCKMC Restructures Intensive Care Unit

April 13, 2016

When hospital officials from South Central Kansas Medical Center stood before the City Commission in February they presented several cost reducing measures as a result of failing to make the payment for the construction bond of the hospital. One of the items listed at that time was “restructure of advanced care services.”

When hospital officials from South Central Kansas Medical Center stood before the City Commission in February they presented several cost reducing measures as a result of failing to make the payment for the construction bond of the hospital. One of the items listed at that time was “restructure of advanced care services.”

     “Advanced care is a general term used for patient services that would be required beyond the standard inpatient stay,” said Clayton Pappan, SCKMC’s Chief Operations Officer. “For us advanced care includes patients that would require your traditional intensive care services. It also includes those who require specialized monitoring of their condition, referred to as ‘step down’ care.”

     Earlier this week SCKMC enacted its plan to restructure both the hospital’s intensive care and step down units. In a statement released to all hospital staff, SCKMC Chief Executive Officer Virgil Watson stated that the changes were a result of a “history of underutilization” with the department unoccupied 91% of the year.

     “We are currently evaluating options for developing elective ICU care and step-down models, based upon past utilization trends and the organization’s current financial position. All ICU staff have been offered other positions within the organization,” Watson said.

    With the new format all patients who present to SCKMC requiring critical care will be transferred to accepting facilities. Scheduled events, such as post-operative surgical patients, will still be provided care through the ICU, and “step down” care patients will be admitted through the medical surgical department.

    The medical center’s administrative staff see this as a step in the right direction for a facility that has failed to break even for several years. However, it could be a step that is eventually reversed should the need for local advanced care services increase. A need that Watson believes could be impacted by the arrival of internal medicine and cardiology physician, Dr. Willie Posey. Dr. Posey began practicing at SCKMC less than one month ago.

     “The addition of Dr. Posey to the medical staff brings the potential for increased volume of advanced care patients, and fresh insight into our current in-house hurdles which lead to patient transfers. Unfortunately, there are no easy options. However, by working together we can ultimately develop a program that benefits our community, limits transfers to outside facilities, and provides a sustainable care model to the organization as we go forward,” Watson said.