By Jim Misunas
LARNED — Tom Bell, Kansas Hospital Association president, appreciated the hard work that culminated in a ribbon-cutting Sunday for Pawnee Valley Community Hospital.
Bell backed up support from John Haas, Pawnee County commissioner, for Matt Heyn, Pawnee Valley Community Hospital administrator.
“You have a good one in Matt Heyn,” Bell said. “You recognize that.”
Bell related a conversation with Senator Jerry Moran regarding Heyn on Friday.
“(Moran) told me that if I ever needed to twist my arm about something, I should have Matt Heyn ask because I’m not sure I could say no to him.”
Bell said the most people consider healthcare a local issue because how far someone has to travel for quality healthcare is important.
“It’s hard for me to think about a more impressive example about healthcare being local and community involvement than what you’ve accomplished. We have the result right here.”
• The hospital was prevented from closing
• The hospital retained a critical care designation
• A community partnership was forged
• A plan for a new hospital was developed
• Payment for the hospital was developed and built
“You did this in a very short period of time and I want to congratulate you for that,” Bell said. “This was done in the current healthcare environment. There is more uncertainty, anxiety and disagreement about policy and than ever before.”
Bell said the value of the hospital cannot be overstated.
“The truth is, it is not what it is without very important people — the physicians, nurses and other people who work here and provide care for their neighbors,” he said. “They really make the hospital what it is.”
Bell said taking local control over healthcare is vital to a secure future.
“As a community, we are taking control over our healthcare future,” Bell said. “We will embrace the future with the hospital. We recognize that heathcare is changing. We will provide this community with a stable healthcare home. We are the safety net for this community. We are going to take care of our friends and neighbors. We are an economic anchor and will attract and keep people in this community.”
Bell said everyone in the community is positively affected by progressive healthcare.
“I pat you on the back for your major accomplishment,” Bell said. “Congratulations.”