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Hospital Week shines light on HaysMed, employees

5/15/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

As Ellis County health care providers celebrate National Hospital Week, it underscores the local health industry's effect on the well-being of residents and the economy.

Health services account for approximately 13 percent of the total income in the county, according to Kansas Rural Health Works' website. It compares to the national average of approximately 8 percent.

The 1,458 employees in the hospital industry indirectly create 861 jobs. Other businesses receive 30 cents for every $1 of income earned within the sector.

The 207 beds in Hays Medical Center hold a wide variety of patients. The facility is the regional destination for surgical, cardiac, neonatal, cancer, joint and other care services. DeBakey Heart Institute draws in heart surgery patients from the western half of Kansas.

The hospital recorded 6,696 admissions and 173,321 outpatient procedures in 2013 as the specialty and rural health clinics received more than 145,464 office visits, according to its website. Births totaled 721, and the emergency department treated 13,644 visitors. The Center for Health Improvement, the hospital's fitness center, boasts a membership of 2,000.

The figures translate to a 90-percent market share in the community.

Shae Veach, HaysMed's vice president of regional operations, said the "dedication" of employees has positioned the hospital as a leader in the region. Hospital Week is an opportunity to reflect on the efforts of the facility's staff, he said.

"It's really the recognition and celebration of hospital associates here at HaysMed and the physicians and board and administration, everything that makes up an integrated health care system," Veach said.

The hospital is marking the week with activities to reward staff and contribute back to the community. Plans include a food drive for the food banks in Ellis, Hays and Victoria, a basket drawing with proceeds going to United Way of Ellis County and HaysMed Foundation, and free pizza for employees.

Mayor Henry Schwaller IV said he appreciates HaysMed's "multi-faceted" contributions to the community as a health care provider and a top employer.

"Its regional presence is very strong, and its emphasis in cardiac care, oncology, radiation and all the other areas, all the other specialities," Schwaller said. "That's important to not only our community, but all of northwest Kansas."

Aaron White, executive director for the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development, said health care availability is a significant factor in economic success. Surrounding businesses also can tap into the influx of patients.

"Having good health care leads to a good quality of life, and that is a key component when trying to look to get companies to invest in a community," White said.