For their support and impact on the local business community by providing quality care for children, the Great Bend Children’s Clinic was named the 2017 Business of the Year from the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development. The providers and staff from the local health-care facility accepted the award during the Chamber’s Annual Meeting & Banquet on Saturday at the Great Bend Events Center.
For years, Dr. Marta Edmonds has had a sign hanging in her clinic that says, “When God’s people need help, you be the one to help them.” That saying is more than just a sign on the wall to Dr. Edmonds, and her patients and staff vouch for that. The local pediatrician founded the Great Bend Children’s Clinic in 1991 in a small office located at 3520 Lakin Avenue.
“On my first day open, we had 20 patient appointments scheduled, and we didn’t even know how to answer the phones,” Dr. Edmonds said. “I used to regard this business as my little lemonade stand. In residency, they teach you a lot about medicine, but nothing about running a business. Over the years, you figure that part out, and God has always made a way because we keep our focus on serving others.”
At that point, the hospital wasn’t set up for a pediatrician, so Dr. Edmonds forged the way to improve the services and equipment available to babies and their mothers here in Central Kansas.
A couple years later, the clinic moved to the historic post office building at 1924 Broadway in downtown. “Since then, the field of medicine has really evolved,” Dr. Edmonds said. “I remember when I could tell how busy the day was by how many books were piled up on my desk. In rural medicine, you don’t have an expert in every specialty right down the hall. You have to advocate for your patients and really get to know them.”
The practice continued to expand and in 2003 Dr. Ryan Williams visited Great Bend to see if this would be a good fit for he and his growing family.
“That sign about serving God’s children really stood out to me. I could tell it was more than just a saying,” Dr. Williams said. “We had planned on being closer to Kansas City, but there was just something about this practice and something about Marta’s philosophy that struck a chord and we’ve been here ever since.”
The practice moved to its current location at 1021 Eisenhower in 2009, and then welcomed Dr. Mahefa Ratsimbason in 2014. The practice also employs two nurse practitioners, several registered nurses, and a few support staff. Over the years, the Children’s Clinic has helped provide job shadowing for more than 500 nursing students and 40 medical students, with some of their own nursing staff continuing their education to become advanced practitioners during their employment.
“All of our nursing staff are RN’s, and all of them could find a job making more money somewhere else,” Dr. Edmonds said. “But the team we have now all shares our passion for helping people, and it helps when those people are adorable little children.”
Over the years, the Children’s Clinic has seen a lot of patients, some of which are now returning with their own children as patients. Even Tammy, the practice office manager, met Dr. Edmonds when her son was born 8 weeks premature at Central Kansas Medical Center.
“Dr. Edmonds was one of the first people to hold my baby, and she made the call for him to be flown to Wichita for neonatal care,” she said. “It wasn’t until a few years later that I started working for her, but I always remembered that experience and how kind she was to our family.”
The Great Bend Children’s Clinic is more than just a doctor’s office for the thousands of patients who frequent the growing practice. For some, it has been a lifeline in times of need. “We love to sit with new parents and educate them, encourage them on how well they’re doing, and build their confidence,” said Dr. Williams. “For others, the way we help them is by pulling strings to get a patient a heart transplant or putting together a fundraiser to help a child with a terminal diagnosis. Our nurses spend hours doing things for our kids, but not because they’re asked. Just because they care.”
Dr. Edmonds’ commitment to building a legacy for excellent care and putting others’ needs before the bottom line has earned the loyalty of many in her career. But she says it’s not just about her. “I hope that by bringing in Dr. Williams and Dr. Ratsimbason and our exceptional team of health-care professionals, we can create a legacy that will live on long beyond my time at the Children’s Clinic,” Dr. Edmonds said. “It hasn’t always been easy, but one of my favorite quotes says that ‘When you understand God’s plan to give you future grace, you have access to what is arguably God’s most potent salve against worry and fear.’ We’ve gotten through a lot of ups and downs, and it always comes back to helping people.”
The Great Bend Children’s Clinic is open five days per week, with extended hours on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Their facility features 12 exam rooms, separate waiting areas for sick and well patients, and a kid-friendly atmosphere with murals on many of the interior walls. Learn more at www.greatbendchildrensclinic.com or follow them on Facebook.
Business of the Year Criteria
“Business of the Year” is an annual award presented by the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce to showcase companies that demonstrate excellence in customer service, growth, and response in positive ways to adversity. Businesses must also show community involvement and demonstrate innovative business practices by improving products, services and programs.
Previous Business of the Year Recipients
2016 Countryside Veterinary Associates
2015 Eagle Media Center
2014 Great Bend Co-op Association
2013 Great Bend Regional Hospital
2012 Rosewood Services Inc.
2011 Tim Miller Enterprises
2010 Kustom Floor Designs Inc.
2009 Eldridge Fencing Inc.
2008 Business Management Inc.
2007 Great Bend Tribune
2006 Central Kansas Medical Center