With Nevada Regional Medical Center facing the possibility of closing due to outstanding bond payments from back in 2005, a special designation meant the hospital could keep its doors open.
This hospital provides critical healthcare for so many families and that was at risk, so when they first contacted me and said, ‘Hey we need your help to try to support this application to get a Sole Community Hospital designation,’ I said, ‘Absolutely!'” expalined Missouri state representative Vicky Hartzler.
So, Congresswoman Hartzler teamed up with Missouri senator Roy Blunt to draft a letter to CEMA, advocating for the designation.
The Sole Community Hospital designation was created by Congress in 1983 to allow rural hospitals to qualify for higher reimbursements for Medicare expenses.
And, this designation was needed since Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott closed in December, which left many rural Southeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri residents with only one nearby hospital.
“That provided a real gap in the healthcare in this area, which enabled it to now receive this designation, which enabled it to get more federal reimbursement funds, and that will help on the day-to-day expenses here and support the payment for those bonds,” Hartzler continued.
Then, in August, voters went to the polls and showed how much Nevada Regional Medical Center means to the area.
Steve Barnstetter/Nevada Regional Medical Center CEO
“We are so pleased with the community and Nevada for 89% approval rate on our sales tax,” explained hospital CEO Steve Barnstetter. “It really tells us a lot about our community that really wants a hospital here, so it’s really going to help with our bond.”
And now with the approval of the half cent sales tax, citizens of nevada and neighboring communities don’t have to worry about traveling far for health care.
“It’s key to have a hospital and we provide a lot of services here, where people don’t have to go all the way to Joplin or Kansas City–especially with our OB service. People don’t have to go all the way to Joplin or Kansas City to have their babies,” said Barnstetter.
The half-cent sales tax sunsets in 2032, when the bond is retired.
The tax raises about $800,000 a year to help the hospital pay off bonds from improvements made to the medical center back in 2005.