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A Letter to Citizens of Southeast Kansas
Article Categories: COVID-19, General News
Article Tags: Press Release

Dear citizens of Southeast Kansas:

August 16, 2021

As the doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, chief nursing officers, and CEOs of Fredonia Regional Hospital, Wilson Medical Center, Labette Health, Coffeyville Regional Medical Center, Girard Medical Center, and Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center, we ask for your help during this healthcare crisis - a crisis much bigger than COVID-19.

Last week, a doctor in southeast Kansas had to call 21 different hospitals in our region to find a hospital bed for a patient critically ill with non-COVID related respiratory failure. While working for nine hours to transfer this patient to an ICU, the doctor and medical team managed the patient on a ventilator before finally being able to transfer him to a larger hospital with medically necessary ICU resources. 

This scenario is not unique to a single hospital in southeast Kansas.  Our organizations have been working together throughout the pandemic, helping each other as best we can.  As we discussed our most recent challenges in a virtual meeting this week, we found that our southeast Kansas hospitals are experiencing staffing shortages, an inability to transfer patients to larger hospitals, the need to care for sicker patients than we normally would, shortages of life-saving medications, and inadequate beds and supplies to care for routine but significant medical conditions because we are overwhelmed by the number of COVID cases in our communities. 

Our hospitals, clinics, providers, and staff are well equipped to treat you and your families for the vast majority of medical conditions, and we are honored to provide you top level services. However, our ability to care for the sick and injured in our own hometowns has been severely strained with the recent rise and rapid spread of COVID cases over the last few weeks.

We are being stretched thin as COVID continues to spread and we care for more and more sick patients. We are nearing a crisis point with our capacity to take care of routine conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, and broken bones that arrive at our emergency departments, conditions that are outside of the realm of COVID.

The impact of COVID is not isolated to our communities. We are seeing surrounding hospitals in larger cities reach capacity as well. Our rural and urban hospitals depend on each other to provide care to all who need medical attention. While our providers and staff have worked tirelessly to care for you and your loved ones through the last year and a half, our facilities across almost all of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas are at breaking point shortages of hospital beds, staffing, medications, and supplies. 

While we do everything in our power to treat people with every condition that walks through our doors, healthcare has always required teamwork. This disease is spreading faster than ever and requires you, our community members, to be part of the team. 

We ask that you help us dampen the spread of COVID by taking these actions now:

  • Wear a mask in public settings
  • Get vaccinated
  • Stay home if you are ill or exposed
  • Social distance when possible
  • Avoid large gatherings
  • Get tested

We all want this pandemic to be behind us, but with the current spike of Delta variant cases and the risk for more variants in our future, we need your help to ensure we can care for all medical conditions - both COVID and non-COVID. As a citizen of southeast Kansas, you have the power to make a difference in the health of our communities. Reducing the spread of COVID will help us make it through this pandemic and allow us to provide optimal care to your families and loved ones.


Fredonia Regional Hospital
Ashley Houser, DO – Family Medicine – Chief of Staff
Jennifer Bacani McKenney, MD – Family Medicine – Wilson County Health Officer
Johnathan Durrett, CEO
Brooke Romans, RN, Chief Nursing Officer
Kim Smith, RN, Infection Preventionist
Oswaldo Bacani, MD –General Surgery
Tonya Hill, MD – Internal Medicine
Lacey Spohn, APRN – Family Medicine
Jessica Evans, APRN – Family Medicine
Britni Stewart, APRN – Family Medicine

Wilson Medical Center
Joseph Meier, MD – Family Medicine – Medical Director for Rural Health Clinics
Dennis Shelby, CEO
Heather Hyler, RN, Chief Nursing Officer
Janice Chenoweth, Infection Preventionist
Frank A. Moorhead, MD – Family Medicine
Sarah Baker, APRN – Family Medicine
Toni Adams, APRN – Family Medicine

Labette Health
Ben Legler, MD, Vice Chief of Staff
Shawn Southwick, DO, ER Medical Director
Brian A. Williams, President
Kathi McKinney, Chief Nursing Officer
Catrina Fickel, RN – Infection Preventionist
Manish Dixit, MD, Board Member

Coffeyville Regional Medical Center
Michelle McGuirk, MD - General Surgery – Chief Medical Officer
Shravan Gangula, MD – Family/General Medicine – Montgomery County Medical Director
Brian Lawrence, MHA, CEO
Sarah Hoy, RN, BSN, Chief Nursing Officer
Carrie Kaminska RN BSN, Infection Preventionist
Brock Juffs, MD – Hospitalist/Internal Medicine
Tejaswi Thippeswamy, MD – Hospitalist/Family Medicine
Aaron Russell, MD - General Surgery
Perry Lin, MD - OB/GYN
Stephen Miller, DO - OB/GYN
Landon Vinson, MD – Emergency Medicine
John H. Carson, MD - IM / Peds
Baba Abudu, MD – Anesthesiology
Chris Hogan, CRNA – Anesthesiology
Susan Jenkins, CRNA – Anesthesiology
Julia Moses, CRNA – Anesthesiology
Paul Gelven, MD – Pathology
David Gutschenritter, MD – Interventional Radiology
Akin Ogundipe, MD - Oncology/Hematology
Nathan Uy, MD - Radiation Oncology
Ann Taylor, DO - Family/General Medicine
Stephanie Adee, APRN – Wound Care
Judy Carpenter, APRN - Family/General Medicine
Allison Littleford, DNP - Family/General Medicine
Barbara McCartney, APRN - Family/General Medicine
Chad McCready, PA-C – Business & Industry
Heather Pollet, APRN - Family/General Medicine
Bridget Vargas, APRN - Neurosurgery

Girard Medical Center
Ruth Duling, CEO
Mindi Garner, DO, Chief of Staff
Adam Paoni, DO, Emergency Department Medical Director
Lisa Salvador, MD
Douglas Brown, MD
Jay Yost, MD
Chandroutie Latchman, MD
Jeannie Peterson, CRNA
Simon Howayek, APRN
Erin Battagler, APRN
Lynieta Leisure, APRN
Stormy Carter, APRN
Kathy Flora, APRN
Tanya Brokob, APRN
Pam Murphy, APRN
Kim Burns, APRN
Mary Beth Newkirk, APRN

Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center
Dennis Franks, FACHE, CEO
Dr. Stephanie Clark MD, Pediatrician, Chief of Staff
Jennifer Newton, MSN, RN,  Chief Nursing Officer
Kristy Bunker, Infection Preventionist
David Guernsey MD, Family Medicine
Brian Kueser MD, Emergency Department
Elizabeth Troilo MD, Family Medicine
Bruce Lee, DO, Family Medicine
Marty Dillow, MD, Family Medicine
Robert Thomen, MD, Family Medicine
Greta McFarland, MD, Pediatrician
Charlie Van Houden, MD, General Surgery
Matthew Leroy, MD, General Surgery
Jason Robinson, MD, Urology
Kari Hamlin, MD, OB/GYN
Cathy Mih-Taylor, MD, OB/GYN 
Beckie Manahan PA, Employee Health
Mallori Jacks PA, Family Medicine
Beth Nothern PA, Family Medicine
Kathi Yockum APRN, Family Medicine
Candi Morris, APRN, Emergency Department

Article Categories: COVID-19, General News
Article Tags: Press Release