A Message From Our CEO
One night back in the winter of 2006, a few of us were working quite late on a snowy night on the second floor of a 90-year- old school building in what had been a 5th grade classroom and was then our “Administrative Offices.” Our clinic – a double-wide trailer with three exam rooms – was down an icy fire escape – just off the playground. We were working on a grant application to open another site in a nearby county considered the least healthy and most underserved in Kansas. Something we really had no business doing because we were barely making payroll for our 20 employees. Whenever the wind blew, we’d lose our internet connection which consisted of a wire from the clinic strung through the trees starting to get heavy with ice. The heat in the building came and went and the large classroom windows leaked cold air to the point we were working with coats on and tops of mops stuffed in the window cracks. As it got later and colder, one of the staff mumbled something about how hard this all was and my reply – out of nowhere it seemed – became a part of us forever. “No one said saving the world would be easy,” I said. A photograph taken by the CFO later that dark night of the building with only the lights of our office on captured that moment in time when we all realized we were indeed on a mission far more critical than we ever realized.
Today, we are one of the largest rural community health centers in the Midwest. We care for more than 43,000 patients seen at 12 unique sites throughout the 5,250 sq. miles of southeast Kansas. Our outreach program is the largest in Kansas screening 33,000 children every year. Many of our well-equipped clinics are one-stop with integrated medical, dental and behavioral health care provided regardless of someone’s ability to pay. We were an early adopter of electronic records and we have a dedicated high speed fiber network connecting all of our sites and staff dedicated to keeping both working. We are recognized nationally for our care integration and for its quality as one of only 45 in the nation designated a National Quality Leader. We are the only NCQA-recognized Patient Centered Medical Home in the region and the only certified diabetes education center by the AADE. We now employ more than 300 including those who wrote that grant on that snowy night long ago. Health outcomes are improving in this region directly as a result of what CHC/SEK staff has done. We haven’t saved our world….yet….but we have made it healthier and happier.
I always tell people – no matter what position they’re interviewing for – this will likely be the hardest job they’ve ever done. I also tell them it will be the most satisfying. Come see what healthcare should be….and stay if you want to be a part of it.
Chief Executive Officer