News From Around the State

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

First Children’s Psychiatric Hospital Opens in Wichita

KVC Hospitals Wichita opened in mid-July at 1507 W. 21st St. N., in a renovated and expanded facility that had once been the Kansas Orthopaedic Center. The new 54-bed psychiatric hospital is KVC Hospitals’ third children’s psychiatric hospital in Kansas and the first hospital in Wichita to serve youth struggling with suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, trauma and substance abuse. KVC Hospitals are also in Hays and Kansas City. Hundreds of patients being served at those two locations had come from the Wichita area, which led to the hospital system undertaking a campaign to provide a facility closer to home, officials say.

“Children and families deserve a treatment experience that’s nurturing and therapeutic in their moment of highest need. We’re here to support the city of Wichita in meeting that demand,” says Juston White, Executive Director of KVC Hospitals. White was formerly Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Kansas for children ages 15–18 and the third leading cause of death for children ages 6–14, hospital officials say. Sedgwick County and Kansas experience suicide rates that continue to climb at a much higher rate than most of the nation.

Patterson Health Center Opens in Harper County

Patterson Health Center, located on a 60-acre campus between the cities of Anthony and Harper in Harper County, was dedicated in July. The new $41 million medical complex is the result of a 2012 community health needs assessment that suggested healthcare services could be improved by integrating the hospitals in each community and eliminating duplication in services since the communities are just nine miles apart. The new facility provides clinical, rehabilitation and hospital services. The majority of the funding for the new facility was provided by the Patterson Family Foundation and Neal Patterson, the Co-Founder of Cerner Corp., a medical information technology provider, in Kansas City. The late Patterson had grown up in rural Anthony. The health center’s service area extends from Wellington to Medicine Lodge and encompasses many small rural Kansas towns. Pat Patton serves as the center’s CEO.

Kansas Supreme Court Lifts Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages

In a ruling issued June 14, the Kansas Supreme Court struck down a key tort law, reversing the court’s 2012 ruling (Miller v. Johnson) that upheld the constitutionality of a cap on medical malpractice damages. With its most recent ruling, Hilburn v. Enerpipe, the court ruled that the state laws that limited noneconomic damages to $250,000 was unconstitutional. The state laws have been on the books since the 1980s, and those in the legal and medical industries predict the new ruling will likely have wide-ranging effects, including increasing the number of malpractice suits and the amount of malpractice insurance premiums.

KMS survey: Prior Authorizations Can Delay Access, Creates Frustration

Results of a Kansas Medical Society survey of its members regarding prior authorization effects mirror those of a similar national survey by the American Medical Association, according to the KMS. In the KMS survey, 91% reported that prior authorization can have a negative impact on patient clinical outcomes, while 97% reported the process delays access to necessary care. On average, 71% of the KMS survey respondents reported waiting at least one day for a prior authorization decision, while 36% wait at least three business days.

Cardiologist Joins Stormont Vail Health

Zia Rahman, MD, has joined Stormont Vail Health as a cardiologist at its Cotton O’Neal Heart Center, 929 S.W. Mulvane St. in Topeka.

Dr. Rahmam earned his medical degree in 2001 from King Edward Medical University, Pakistan. Dr. Rahman’s most recent position was at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, where he had held multiple positions since 2005. In 2016, Dr. Rahman transitioned into a cardiology fellowship at East Tennessee State University, choosing the field because of the prevalence of heart disease and other heart-related illness in the U.S., according to a news release.

Ascension Via Christi St. Teresa Reaccredited by The Joint Commission

Ascension Via Christi St. Teresa hospital has earned reaccreditation by The Joint Commission for another three years. It’s the third consecutive reaccreditation since the hospital opened on a 135-acre campus in west Wichita nine years ago. The Joint Commission accreditation process is the most rigorous assessment of hospital care quality and safety. In March, the hospital’s Emergency Department was recognized for being in the top 10% nationally for overall quality of care by PRC, a leading independent surveyor of patient experiences.

Welsey Promotes Ebersole to CMO

Lowell Ebersole, DO, has been promoted to Chief Medical Officer for Wesley Healthcare.

Dr. Ebersole was hired in January as the system’s first-ever Associate Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Ebersole completed his residency with Ascension Via Christi Family Practice and began his medical career as a hospitalist for Kansas Inpatient Services. He was later Medical Director of Ascension Via Christi’s hospitalist program and served as a hospitalist from 2013–2018. Francie Ekengren, MD, Wesley’s former Chief Medical Officer who is moving toward retirement, is transitioning to the Chief of Staff role.

Two KC Chiropractors Pay Fines in Medicare Fraud Case

Two Kansas City-area chiropractors — brothers Ryan Schell and Tyler Schell — have paid $350,000 to settle allegations they submitted false claims to Medicare, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister.

The Schells operated Kansas City Health and Wellness Clinic in Lenexa. In the lawsuit, it was alleged the Schells claimed they provided treatments for peripheral neuropathy and charged Medicare for procedures that were not medically necessary, not actually provided or not covered by Medicare. The claimed procedures included nerve conduction tests, nerve block injections, ultrasound needle guidance and the purported use of vasopneumatic devices.