Concerns over Noble Health opening Kansas hospital

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BOURBON COUNTY, Kan. –After our story of Noble officials presenting key findings of their feasibility study, former Noble Health employees in Missouri reached out to KOAM, voicing concern about Noble potentially coming to Bourbon County.

The employees we spoke with wished to stay anonymous.

“We started to notice that supplies weren’t coming in…it took months for us to actually get some,” said a former employee of The Audrain Community Hospital in Mexico, Missouri. 

She remembers when she noticed issues with her employer, Noble Health Corporation. 

“No one has been paid since our last pay period.”

Noble Health has suspended all operations in Mexico and Fulton Missouri, now they are looking to take over the old Mercy Hospital building in Fort Scott.

But before that, they are conducting a feasibility study, to see if it will be possible for the county to sustain a hospital in the first place.

“We will end up with a feasibility study that that’s more robust than we’ve ever had…if we can add or hopefully add services to that building, I mean, that that would be our goal is to add services and to have a very small hospital of some kind,” said Bourbon County Commissioner Clifton Beth.

But Commissioner Beth says the building still belongs to the county.

“The county owns the building and the county…nothing has been transferred to Noble Health or any other entity. Bourbon County is still the owner of that building. Noble doesn’t have ownership of that building, so there shouldn’t be a concern there. I know there is because I’ve had people say, well, you gave, no, we didn’t give the building to Noble Health.”

Beth says the original plan was to give the hospital to Noble, but says Noble wanted to conduct the study first. 

“So Noble Health turned it down. So in my eyes, that’s a good thing. they did the right thing. They said, you know, apparently, we have some trouble and we’re not going to add you to it.”

Now, the county is awaiting the results of the study. Beth says as of now, they don’t intend to make any decisions until the study is complete.

“We have no intention of transferring that building at this point to anybody until we see that feasibility studies.”

KOAM also reached out to, Rob Harrington, Executive Director of Bourbon County Regional Economic Development Inc. He sent us back an email that states:

“I apologize, however; I am not going to be doing any more interviews about Noble health. To reiterate what I have said in the past, Noble provides us with a feasibility study only at this time. After we receive the feasibility study we will then make a decision on how we proceed with bringing back a hospital to Bourbon County. Again, Bourbon County paid for a feasibility study to be conducted and one has been and will be finished within the next few weeks. ”

Another former employee, who also wished to stay anonymous says, she worries what happened in Missouri, could happen in Kansas.

“We’re all looking for other jobs because we don’t have a date to come back. And even if we did have a date to come back, most employees would be very leery about going back because you don’t know what you’re going back to, and we still haven’t been paid…Then to see on social media that they are trying to reopen a hospital in Bourbon County that’s been closed for two years, and I saw Tom Boozer do a presentation… it’s despicable.”

We tried to find more information on Noble Health, but their website has been down for the past few days.

KOAM also reached out to Noble’s publicist, Nancy Mays with a series of questions to understand what happened to employees in Missouri, why their website was down, how Noble will prevent what happened in Missouri from happening in Kansas, should their hospital open here. 

The only new information she shared is that their feasibility study will be completed in May.

“Here’s what I can offer now. Thank you so much.

Noble Health was hired by the Bourbon County Commissioners to conduct a feasibility study on the reopening of a hospital. The study will be completed in mid-May and we look forward to sharing it with the community. “