Preserving Healthcare in Lyon County
On November 21, 2023, at a meeting of the City of Emporia Zoning Commission, alterations to local regulations have been requested by the administration of Newman Regional Health.
The citizens of Lyon County/Emporia are encountering a topic of significant impact to healthcare.
Our goal is to increase understanding of the important services that Newman Regional Health offers, and the impact of bringing more of the same healthcare services to our community that we already provide.
Newman Regional Health is a community asset, owned by Lyon County, which provides essential and elective healthcare services to our local communities. Essential services include emergency, inpatient, and obstetrical services. These patient care services come at a loss of $6 million dollars a year to our community hospital. Outpatient services such as lab, imaging, and elective surgical services generate revenue that offsets our loss and allows us to continue providing our essential services. We ensure that ALL individuals have access to quality healthcare services close to home, both essential and elective.
A few months ago, Newman Regional Health’s leadership team met with Stormont Vail’s leadership team. At that meeting, Stormont Vail shared their intentions to build an ambulatory surgical center in Emporia that aligned with their strategic growth plan. They shared plans to specifically provide elective services, including Cardiology (e.g., Cath Lab procedures), Gastroenterology (e.g., colonoscopy), Orthopedics (e.g., total joint replacement), and Advanced Imaging services.
Newman Regional Health opposes Stormont Vail’s plan, as we currently already provide all of these elective services within our own community hospital. We view this as a serious threat to the public health and well-being of our community for the following reason:
With the addition of a Licensed Medical Facility such as an Ambulatory Surgery Center, our community hospital would become dependent on the taxpayers of Lyon County to make up for the loss of revenue projected to be $6.7 million dollars annually.
To protect against this happening in our community, Newman Regional Health has requested that the City of Emporia approve the published text amendments to the City’s Zoning Regulations. These amendments would allow local control and the ability to evaluate requests made by outside healthcare facilities to build in Emporia. This evaluation would include an assessment and evaluation of unduly duplicative services and the impact on our community hospital’s ability to provide the essential services of emergency, inpatient, and obstetrical care.
We are grateful for the loyalty of our community. The ability to treat and care for the needs within our area is a great privilege and responsibility. We are united under one common goal, and that is the health and wellness of our citizens and customers. By taking these proactive measures, we can ensure that our community hospital remains a place of hope and healing for generations to come.
Letter of application to the City of Emporia
October 2, 2023
City of Emporia
Planning and Zoning Department
522 Mechanic Street
Emporia, Kansas 66801
Re: Text Change of Medical Facilities Zoning
Newman Regional Health (NRH) is writing to request that the City of Emporia, whether through the City Commission or the Planning Commission, initiate and consider for approval certain text amendments to the City’s Zoning Regulations regarding zoning for community health facilities that will promote the public health and well-being of our community.
Our community hospital has been a vital institution for over a century, providing essential healthcare services to our residents. These essential services include emergency, inpatient, and obstetrical services. Our proposal (attached to or enclosed herewith) increases local control by allowing city governance to evaluate healthcare entities’ duplicative elective services which negatively impact essential healthcare services.
In recent years, we have witnessed large health systems acquiring smaller community hospitals and medical practices. It has become evident that some of these acquisitions are driven by profit motives rather than a commitment to improving patient care and community health. Large health-system uses of land that prioritize elective revenue over provision of necessary services threaten community hospitals’ financial solvency, and can easily result in duplicative uses of land, vacancies, and overdevelopment. This weakens the community hospital’s ability to provide essential services, compromising the health and well-being of the affected community. Protections afforded by the proposed zoning text amendments will allow a regulatory pause for economic impact and services evaluation.
NRH has played a crucial role in ensuring the health and well-being of our residents, particularly those who are disadvantaged and vulnerable. We strongly believe that our community hospital deserves the full support of City governance. We urge you to adopt the text amendments to ensure the hospital’s sustainability.
By taking these proactive measures, we can ensure that our community hospital remains a place of hope and healing for generations to come. Supporting our zoning text amendments is a crucial step that protects the health and well-being of our community.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the NRH Board of Trustees,
“Pimple believes the zoning changes would ensure local control over healthcare services, as well as safeguard against the “duplication of services” that might jeopardize essential care offered by Newman Regional Health.”
“We’re looking to preserve the quality and accessibility of healthcare services for our community,” she said. “ … Duplication of services in healthcare, especially in the rural settings, more actually equates to less. And we have to, as a community, be aware of what we might be saying yes to.”
“What we really want is to bring awareness to the future of Emporia and what has happened in other communities. Lawrence and Newton allow their city governments to have local control of possibilities, and that’s a necessity to us given the landscape of healthcare.”
Patient Care Services at Newman Regional Health (2022)
Newman Regional Health employs more than 643 individuals and provides labor income of more than $53,520,000 annually.
Newman Regional Health supports an additional 382 jobs in the non-healthcare sector.
Every $1,000 in current hospital wages and salaries sustains an additional $483 in income for employees of grocery stores, restaurants, gas and electric utilities, and other industries used by hospitals and their employees. Newman Regional Health’s contribution is $25,850,160.
Newman Regional Health provides $6,873,000 annually in uncompensated care.
Newman Regional Health offers financial assistance programs and treats all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.