Kiowa hospital opens in Kan.
Critical-access facility destroyed in 2007 tornado
The tornado that ripped through Greensburg, Kan., on May 4, 2007, devastated more than just bricks and mortar, such as Kiowa County Memorial Hospital. It also tore apart the healthcare provider community in the town, said Mary Sweet, the hospital’s administrator. So the challenge wasn’t only to rebuild a hospital, but also a provider community, she said.
The new Kiowa County Memorial Hospital opened this month, less than three years after the tornado that destroyed more than 90% of Greensburg and about 17 months after ground was broken. The 15-bed critical-access hospital’s emergency department will have full-time laboratory and diagnostic imaging support, including a 16-slice CT scanner, Sweet said.
The new hospital also takes steps toward rebuilding a base of other healthcare services. The building includes a rural health clinic and space for a retail pharmacy, Sweet said. The pharmacist who used to run a retail pharmacy in Greensburg moved away after the tornado, so the hospital has to recruit a new one, she added. There is also an area for specialists to set up shop, such as an eye doctor and a cardiologist, and the hospital hopes to offer minor surgeries, Sweet said. The hospital also features an on-site daycare for its employees.
The hospital also was designed to seek out the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, platinum designation, Sweet said. If granted, Kiowa County Memorial would be the first LEED platinum criticalaccess hospital, she said. A wind turbine provides about 30% of the electricity the hospital needs. The amount of electricity is kept low by the availability of natural light and other efficiencies, she said.
The hospital cost about $19 million to build and another $6 million to equip, Sweet said. A variety of financing sources contributed to the $25 million, she said. Insurance, donations and grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its Kansas equivalent covered all but $4.2 million of the cost, and then the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided the rest, split equally between a grant and a loan, Sweet said.