Larry Watts, M.D., has become a familiar face to the staff at St. Rose Health Center but in upcoming months he will be introduced to many others in the community.
Dr. Watts, chief medical officer at Hays Medical Center, will be one of the more visible representatives of HaysMed in Great Bend.
HaysMed recently became co-owner of St. Rose with Centura Health.
When he first started visiting St. Rose regularly last year, Dr. Watts said he noticed local residents are dedicated to the legacy of the Dominican Sisters who opened the first St. Rose facility here almost 112 years ago; that was followed by the opening of Central Kansas Medical Center in 1964.
“There is this strong commitment to maintaining a quality health-care facility on the old Central Kansas Medical Center campus,” Dr. Watts said. “No one wants the legacy of CKMC to disappear. And that includes all of us at HaysMed.
“We quickly learned that Great Bend and other central Kansas residents are proud people,” he added. “They love their community.”
The new alliance with HaysMed will bring numerous benefits to patients and families, including an integrated health system, Dr. Watts said.
“Our system is unique to central Kansas because it is integrated,” he said. “The medical records at St. Rose will be accessible to the physicians in Hays when a patient is referred to us. This will enhance the coordination of care between the primary care physician in Great Bend and the specialist.”
The chief medical officer plans to be in Great Bend at least twice a month and to be active in the Rotary Club. “I also hope to attend as many community events as the schedule allows,” he said.
Dr. Watts was a practicing OB-GYN for 25 years in the Kansas City area. He earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a master’s of health service administration from the University of Kansas.
St. Rose Administrator Leanne Irsik said Dr. Watts brings a wealth of experience to the new St. Rose.
“He provides continuity and open communications between our two facilities,” Irsik said. “Because of his background as a practicing physician, he understands how our primary-care practitioners will collaborate with the many HaysMed specialists who offer services here in Great Bend.
“When there is good communication among the health-care professionals, patient care is enhanced,” Irsik added. “And that is what it is all about.”
St. Rose Health Center specializes in primary care, and prevention and wellness. Services include Urgent Care, St. Rose Family Medicine, Great Bend Internists, imaging, infusion clinic, WellnessWorks, one-day surgical procedures and a comprehensive Specialty Clinic. St. Rose is co-owned by Hays Medical Center and Centura Health.