By Randy Fogg
The Ledger Staff
MOUNDRIDGE – U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., had not been on a tour of Moundridge’s Mercy Hospital for several years. Since he was heading to the Kansas State Fair, in Hutchinson, he decided to tour the facility Saturday, Sept. 17.
Hospital Administrator Doyle Johnson and Dr. Marla Ullom-Minnich took Moran on the tour.
Moran noted McPherson County was in an unusual situation for most rural counties in Kansas with three hospitals. Along with Mercy, there is McPherson Hospital and Lindsborg Community Hospital.
“I have toured all 127 hospitals in Kansas,” Moran said.
Moran said making certain Kansans have access to affordable, quality health care has been one of his priorities.
Johnson showed Moran photographs of the doctors and physician assistants who provide medical care at the hospital.
“That’s a young staff,” Moran said. “It doesn’t look like any of them are near retirement age.”
He noted Mercy and Partners in Family Care have an unusual relationship when compared to other facilities in Kansas.
The doctors at PIFC – Kathryn Hayes, James Ratzalff, Marla Ullom-Minnich, Paul Ullom-Minnich, Aron Fast and Annie Fast – as well as the physician assistants – Tami Werner, Ashlee Pauls and Sara Blackman – staff the hospital.
“Forty percent of physicians in Kansas are employees of hospitals,” Moran said.
“We have a good working relationship,” Ullom-Minnich said.
Moran asked Johnson if the one percent sales tax in McPherson County was helping Mercy.
Johnson noted Mercy has been receiving about $25,000 a month as its portion of the sales tax.
“We lost less money this year than we did the previous year,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the hospital was last remodeled about 10 years ago.
Johnson and Ullom-Minnich showed Moran the hospital’s operating room.
“We have a surgeon from Newton who comes down here,” Johnson said.
He noted the local doctors occasional perform procedures – such as a colonoscopy – in the surgery room. It is also used for Caesarean deliveries for babies.
Moran was shown the X-ray area.
Ullom-Minnich said the clinic has CT (computerized tomography) scan equipment. She noted hospital patients can be taken to the clinic when tests are needed.
Moran was shown the emergency area. Johnson noted Moundridge has its own ambulance service.
“We have two long-term nursing homes in Moundridge,” Ullom-Minnich said.
Residents of Pine Village and Moundridge Manor, and occasionally from Inman’s Pleasant View Home, come to Mercy, as well as residents from Goessel, Galva, Inman and Hesston.
Moran asked Johnson about the patient census at Mercy.
“It varies,” Johnson said. “We usually have seven or eight patients a day.”