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Independence Mercy closing its doors - KOAM TV 7

Independence Mercy closing its doors

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INDEPENDENCE, KANSAS -

After a failed merger agreement with Coffeyville Regional Medical Center, Mercy Independence will be closing its doors.

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Mercy Independence CEO, Lynn Britton, called this "one of the hardest decisions to ever make". The decision will have an impact on the Independence community as well as Mercy's 200 employees. The employees will begin a severance period with a set amount of time, plus a week per year they have been employed by Mercy. Britton gave credit to employees cooperation in this time.

"I cannot imagine what it's been like to live in such uncertainty and ambiguity for 18 months. They come to work everyday, they deliver exceptional service, high-quality service, and they go home that night not knowing what the future holds. And really, they've just been remarkable," Britton said.

Vashti Goins works PRN at Mercy Independence.  

"I am really concerned about my fellow employees that that is their main source of income, insurance, some of them don’t have vehicles, so that’s a concern to me," Goins said.

The closing process is underway and the last patient will be discharged on Oct. 10th. Some of the clinical services will wind down over time until all properties are closed as of the end of the year. 

Rural hospitals are closing frequently, with 50 being closed in the last several years. 

"Healthcare as an industry is changing dramatically and those market forces have created an environment where its not a viable opportunity for provision of health care services in Independence," Britton said.

The discernment threat looms over the Mercy location in Fort Scott, Kan. as well. However, there is more time to find a solution at the Fort Scott location.

"We don’t have any paths that are looking promising right now in Fort Scott either. So we’re going to have to continue and we’re gonna have to decide," Britton said.

Residents of Independence will now have to travel farther for their healthcare needs, funneling many back to Coffeyville Regional Medical Center, the other hospital in Montgomery County.

Coffeyville Regional Medical Center said in a statement: "Now more than ever, we embrace our role in the region and we'll work tirelessly to provide top-notch patient care to those in our region and ensure the life of remaining rural hospitals."

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