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CKMC board members address upcoming changes
biz slt CKMC Bob-Holt

The two newest members of the Central Kansas Medical Center Board of Directors accepted their positions because of the big role the hospital has played in their lives.

Bob Holt and Judy Fox acknowledge that the decision to change CKMC from a hospital to an ambulatory and surgery center was difficult and noted they are honored to serve CKMC and the community as board members.

"CKMC played a large role in bringing my parents to Great Bend in the mid-1960s when my dad established his 25-year medical practice here," Holt said. "It is where my three children were born.

"CKMC has served the Holt family and the community with quality health care for many years," he added. "I saw the board position as an opportunity to give back in a small way."

Fox noted that CKMC has been a part of her life since 1962.

"I watched the new building go up and felt like it would be an important part of the community," she said. "I am privileged to now serve on the board."

In addition, Fox has been a volunteer at CKMC’s Gifts from the Heart gift shop for a decade.

CKMC announced early this year that it would focus on its many out-patient services and discontinue overnight stays in April or May. In light of this development, Holt and Fox answered questions about the upcoming changes.

Q. How are you responding to critics of the board’s decision?

A. HOLT: Health care nationwide has seen many changes the past 10 to 15 years. With new technologies, medicines and treatments, one of the bigger trends is the drastic increase in out-patient vs. in-patient care. With the opening of the new regional hospital, it is evident that Great Bend cannot support two in-patient care facilities. When 80 percent or more of your services are out-patient, maintaining an in-patient facility is not a viable option.

A. FOX: Things had to change and this is the best solution for right now. The board had to face reality. When you listen to the statistics, it is obvious that things couldn’t continue as they have.

Q. Can you comment on how difficult this decision was for you and other board members?

A. HOLT: As a new member, I wasn’t involved in the early discussions but it quickly became evident that changes had to be made. Sure it is difficult. Current and past board members have long-standing ties to CKMC and appreciate what it has meant to our families and this community. What eases the difficulty is knowing that the administration and board of directors of the new St. Rose Ambulatory and Surgery Center, along with Catholic Health Initiatives will do everything possible to work with community leaders and the regional hospital to provide quality care.

A. FOX: It breaks my heart and I know others on the board and in the community feel the same way. That being said, I am excited about recruiting more specialists for our clinics and expanding telemedicine opportunities. We also have to keep in mind that out-patient surgeries, the Biggs Family Imaging Center, Heartland Cancer Center, the accredited laboratory, Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice, out-patient rehab and the sleep lab are still here. These are just some of the wonderful services that will continue.

Q. What does CKMC’s health-care ministry mean to central Kansans?

A. HOLT: CKMC evolved from the need for a hospital in 1902. The Dominican Sisters responded and established St. Rose Hospital to provide quality health care through faith, commitment and integrity. While growing up, I watched CKMC expand to become a leading health-care provider for all of central Kansas. CKMC’s 100-plus years of service, in conjunction with the Dominicans’ ministry, speaks for itself. The continued commitment of the Sisters and CHI accentuates the need for CKMC today and tomorrow.

A. FOX: The CKMC core values say it all. Those values are reverence, integrity, compassion and excellence. I have been here for many years and everybody you talk to at CKMC keeps these values in mind as they care for and treat the sick and injured, regardless of ability to pay. These values always come up in our conversations.

Holt, who works at Venture Corp., has a business administration degree from the University of Kansas. In addition to many professional affiliations, he is a member of the Great Bend High School Booster Club, a past member of the Holy Family School Commission, and coached several sporting teams, including the Salvation Army Youth football squad.

Fox, a retired elementary school teacher, has been involved with Youth Friends at Riley and Park schools for 10 years. She also is the corresponding secretary of the Pilot Club and a member of the Barton Community College Foundation Board.