For Immediate Release
Date: January 12, 2021
Contact: Ashley King- Director of Communications, Geary Community Hospital, email@example.com
Junction City, KS – Geary Community Hospital announces that they will offer a one-time settlement to any past due accounts with both the hospital and its associated clinics. Any bill received before January 1, 2021 is eligible for this program. Community members will work with either the hospital or an outside collection agency to take advantage of a thirty-five percent (35%) reduction of their bills. The
settlements must be paid by April 30, 2021.
“The hospital recognizes that part of our mission to promote the well-being of those we serve, and this was the best way for the financial side of the house to get involved with doing exactly that,” says Richard Lewis, Chief Financial Officer. “We know that there are residents of Geary County that depend on GCH to take care of them, and this is our way of giving back,” agrees Frank Corcoran, CEO.
If you would like to take advantage of this offer, keep an eye on your mailbox for this offer letter, or call 785-210-3349 to discuss your options with a hospital representative.
When Dr. Marc Felts walks out of Geary Community Hospital on Oct. 31, he will shut the door on a 35-year chapter of his life. He will retire from the same place he started his medical career in 1985, about 175 miles from the small town of Phillipsburg where he grew up.
While looking forward to retirement he approaches it with a little trepidation and touch of guilt. He served most of his time in the emergency department at GCH where he treated and got to know thousands of patients and their families; the past six years he was in family practice.
There was a time, not all that long ago, he said when doctors didn’t retire.
“There’s a little bit of a stigma behind that if you quit to early,” he said. “The old horse and buggy doctors went until they keeled over.”
But times change and the profession is seeing more physicians and providers retiring. He plans on staying in the area and anticipates remaining involved in the hospital in some capacity but there are things to do, people to see, and places to go.
On his list, in no particular order, are trips to see his daughters and brother, travelling with his father, playing tennis and pickleball and reading.
“I don’t tend to get bored,” he said. “I don’t sit around.”
Start to finish at Geary Community Hospital
Felts did his pre-med at Kansas State University then went to medical school at the University of Kansas. During his residency in Salina he started moonlighting in the emergency room at GCH.
“I got to know everybody over here, and I was comfortable and set up practice after I graduated,” he said. “I was in family practice for the first three years, but also covered the emergency room, usually 62 hours on the weekends.”
The workload has changed a bit over the years. In those days they were seeing about 6,000 patients a year in the ER, today they average 15,000. The ED doctor would also deliver the babies, including all of those from Fort Riley, he said.
After he was in family practice at GCH for three years, he moved into the emergency room full time — that’s where he stayed for the next 27 years. Periodically he had recruiters call and tell him about other opportunities. He doesn’t hesitate when pointing to the reason why he never considered moving on —he was happy here and saw no reason to leave what had become a family.
“I was surrounded by a smaller community; surrounded by people who were mentors,” he said. “Dr. Charles Bollman, Dr. Ron Mace, Dr. Tom Craig among others. It was a solid medical staff. It was progressive.”
The progress he has seen has been in the hospital offerings such as the Women’s Center and an expanded emergency department. And in medical treatment and medicine.
“The quality of medicine overall, I believe is better,” he said. “When I started medical school, we were using pork insulin, we didn’t use human insulin. We were actually using a different species of insulin that they derived from pork, and there were a lot of problems with that. if you want to look at diabetes, all the different medications … we had only a few in those days. Medication was probably the single biggest advance.”
There are also new ways to treat illness, and advancements in surgical techniques, which has led to shorter hospital stays in some cases.
Despite the progress in medical care, Felts said his frustration over the past three decades has not been on the medical side.
“The biggest challenge is people that don’t have insurance or cannot afford medical care,” he said.
Working in the emergency department he frequently saw patients who ended up there because it was the only place to go to enter the medical system.
“We don’t realize sometimes just what percentage of people have no access to medical care,” he said. “It would seem that in a country as wealthy as we are, that you can at least provide some basic health care for the average person. It’s been shown that if you can do preventive measures it actually saves the whole society a lot of money in the long run because you eventually have to take care of those problems whether you want to or not.”
For instance, he said, somebody who has diabetes and has not received treatment will eventually have severe complications. By law the hospital cannot turn that person away. The treatment will then be more expensive than if they had received preventative measures early on.
“I’m not advocating anything politically here, I’m just saying it’s so frustrating sometimes to try to get a very simple thing done for a patient,” he said. “You have so many roadblocks in your way. Sometimes it could just be a simple antibiotic, or a medication that they can’t afford that they definitely need.”
For all the frustrations there are numerous rewards, which he sees every time he can help a patient. Sometimes he’ll hear from them later and occasionally he’ll have a memory of someone one and wonder how they are doing. He said he believes his sense of satisfaction is shared by everyone in his profession.
“You look back on your career and you hope you’ve made some positive impact on society or the plight of human beings as a whole,” he said. “I hope I made a difference. Probably the most rewarding thing is you care about somebody and they end up doing better. You’ve made that positive impact, and you can sleep at the end of the day.”
At the end of the day he also knows it is time to pass the mantle to the next generation. What makes his leaving easier on him, is knowing that Dr. Jason Butler is on staff, he said.
“He started practice couple of months ago and I would not have done this, I do not believe, if I didn’t know that there was a competent and personable physician coming in, like Jason,” he said. “I truly mean that. In fact, I have been telling everybody, you can blame my retirement maybe on him.”
That key word was among the many used by Geary Community Hospital Trustee Beth Clark to describe the late surgeon during the virtual dedication ceremony for the Dr. Charles S. Bollman Surgery Center at the hospital. Bollman passed away in 2019, but during his career spent 43 years as a surgeon at GCH.
Clark told the audience at the dedication ceremony which was watched by among others, Bollman’s family members in Florida, that Charles Bollman was a great surgeon, kind, humble, caring, quiet and unassuming. “Charles was beloved.” Clark added Charles would always fix it. “We trusted him and he never ever let us down.”
Video tributes were played during the ceremony.
Lois Fegan noted that Bollman was deserving of having the surgery center named in his honor. For his years of dedicated service to the hospital and surrounding community. I think he would have been humbly honored.” Fegan called Bollman a great mentor adding that he kept current on new procedures, made their job interesting and the hospital very progressive.
Mark Edwards noted that Bollman was a lifelong learner. “He especially loved to learn about new surgical procedures. I can remember many times that he would talk about all the challenges and all the new skills that he was seeking when he would go to conferences. Edwards added. ” Charles loved our hospital. He served it with compassionate enthusiasm and a genuine love of people. His presence will remain with us by renaming this surgical center in his name. It’s a much deserved honor.”
Bollman came to GCH in 1974 after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. He performed thousands of general surgery cases during his tenure at Geary Community Hospital.
There was a ribbon cutting for the surgery center at the conclusion of the ceremony.
If you have a fever, cough, or Shortness of Breath and have been exposed to someone who has tested positive or have traveled from China, Japan, South Korea, Iran, or Italy in the past 14 days. Please do not come to the hospital unless you feel it is an emergency. Please call your primary care provider for further screening and potential testing. If you do not have a primary care provider, please call Alphacare at 785-238-0828 during normal business hours.
Geary County is one of eight Kansas communities recently selected as a grantee in the largest community grant program ever funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. The Pathways to a Healthy Kansas program provides community coalitions like Live Well Geary County with the tools and resources needed to remove barriers and engage the community in ways that enable healthy eating and tobacco-free, active living to become a way of life. The funding for Geary County includes a coordination grant of $100,000, with the opportunity to apply for non-competitive implementation and achievements grants amounting to $400,000, for a total of $500,000, during the next three years.
“We envision Kansans living in healthy communities that provide the highest possible quality of life and well-being. As the state’s largest health insurer, we are well-positioned to understand the barriers to good health that Kansans face,” said Andrew C. Corbin, BCBSKS president/CEO. “The Pathways to a Healthy Kansas initiative is an outgrowth of our commitment to more strategically invest our expertise, time and dollars in helping remove those barriers and build healthy communities in Kansas.”
In addition to the grant dollars, Blue Cross is providing Geary County with technical assistance for planning, evaluation, communications and measurement through partnerships with Kansas Health Institute and the Community Engagement Institute at Wichita State University. Additional technical partners include WorkWell Kansas, The Public Health Law Center and Thrive Allen County.
Also, elementary schools in Geary County will have free access to GoNoodle Plus for the duration of the funding period. GoNoodle is a website with interactive games and videos that get children moving throughout the day. The activities are designed to help children channel their physical and emotional energy for good, improving behavior, focus and achievement.
“The intent of Pathways is to help communities create environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice to make, now and for generations to come” said Virginia Barnes, MPH, director of Blue Health Initiatives and developer of the grant program. “We look forward to working closely with Live Well Geary County to inspire long-lasting, community-wide well-being by focusing on strategies that build community engagement and transform the way residents of Geary County stay healthy as they live, work and interact socially.”