By Jim Misunas
LARNED — The Pawnee Valley commissioners and Larned Mayor Bob Pivonka celebrated the two-year quest for Pawnee County to operate a locally-owned hospital.
Each public figure explained a step or process they believed was valuable during Sunday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the $18.3 million Pawnee Valley Community Hospital.
Kathy Bowman, Pawnee County commissioner, recalled how Pawnee County relied on State Senator Janis Lee and State Senator Jerry Moran, current U.S. Senator, for support and advice.
“We accomplished it because everyone joined the cause,” she said. “It shows what a community can do when it binds together.”
She appreciated the loyalty of employees and doctors who hung through the two-year transition.
“Thank you to the employees and the doctors who stuck with us,” she said.
HaysMed, Inc., Hays, stepped forward to form a partnership with Pawnee Valley Community Hospital.
“HaysMed was the one hospital that helped us,” she said. “They’ve been invaluable to us.”
Bowman said the turning point was when Pawnee County citizens chose to support PVCH by choosing to get medical services locally.
“Please continue to use this hospital,” she said.
Pivonka said HaysMed officials were supportive from the first time PVCH officials sought advice.
“They asked, ‘How can we help?’ Pivonka said. “They provided guidance and were a source of inspiration. Our partnership with HaysMed has been a key for profitability.”
Pivonka said securing the critical care access license for PVCH was crucial. Through the efforts of Pawnee County Attorney John Settle and Steve Six, Kansas attorney general, PVCH eventually achieved its goal of maintaining the critical care access license with the hospital.
“A small hospital cannot be profitable without a critical care license,” he said. “Pawnee Valley Community Hospital will be a great asset now and into the future.”
John Haas, Pawnee County commissioner, introduced guest speaker U.S. Senator Jerry Moran, who was welcomed with a standing ovation.
After a thoughful invocation by Pastor Wyan Webster, Larned Assembly of God Church, Donna Pelton, Pawnee County commissioner, introduced a list of people invited to officially perform the groundbreaking ceremony for the Pawnee Valley Community Hospital.