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Morning Sun
  • CHC-SEK breaks ground on expansion

  • Sunday’s groundbreaking at Community Health Center-Southeast Kansas (CHC-SEK) in north Pittsburg was all about blessings.



    First, CHC-SEK CEO Krista Postai said it was a blessing that the temperature was only 88 degrees, a far cry from the predicted 105 temperature.

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  • Sunday’s groundbreaking at Community Health Center-Southeast Kansas (CHC-SEK) in north Pittsburg was all about blessings.
    First, CHC-SEK CEO Krista Postai said it was a blessing that the temperature was only 88 degrees, a far cry from the predicted 105 temperature.
    Second, Postai said CHC-SEK was blessed when the county offered nearby land so the organization could expand.
    And most importantly, Postai said the new, $5.3 million expansion of an organization that already reaches more than 25,000 patients will be a blessing to the residents throughout the region.
    “Six years ago, somewhere out there, I told the CFO that this was the last building we would ever need,” Postai told the crowd at the groundbreaking ceremony.
    Little did she know that six years later, CHC-SEK’s Pittsburg location would be just one of many, let alone that it would be in such need for expansion.
    The current location, just 15,000 square feet at 3011 N. Michigan, is so full that staff members have turned closets and bathrooms into offices. The line for the waiting room bathroom is always crowded, too.
    The current facility includes a pharmacy, overcrowded exam rooms, mental health facilities, and more. The new expansion will nearly triple the number of exam rooms, allow CHC-SEK to expand into eye and dental care, and simply be able to fit the incredible demand.
    Cathy Harding, Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved executive director, told the crowd just how bad the need is for a community health center like CHC-SEK.
    “When you talk to the staff and talk about the hard work, and say, ‘Why do you do it?’ It’s because of a mission. They genuinely care about every person that walks through these doors. If you look at the maps of Kansas about poverty by county or health disparity by county, the southeast corner of the state is always the darkest color,” Harding said. “There are a lot of challenges, but you also have the people to help with them here at CHC-SEK.”
    Sen. Jerry Moran spoke at the event about the impact of community health centers.
    “If you are the most conservative politician, and you are so interested in teh bottom line, you ought to be in favor of community health centers,” Moran said. “And if you are the most liberal and caring person, and you see good things in everybody’s lives, you ought to support community health centers.”
    The project is expected to take about a year and a half, wrapping up in December 2013/January 2014.
    Postai couldn’t wipe the smile off her face, as the $5.3 million expansion is aided by a federal grant through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (also called Obamacare). The land came from a donation from the county, who owned much of the land, for the cost of $1 and building access to the county’s remaining property. The cost of building access to the county’s remaining property comes through a forgivable loan from the City of Pittsburg for creating at least 42 new josb over the next four years.
    Page 2 of 2 - But no matter where the funds came from, the expansion is a blessing for the people of SEK, Postai said.
    “Groundbreaking ceremonies mark the beginning of great things,” Postai said. “Today, we’ve invited our community, friends and partners to celebrate with us as we break new ground  for a facility that will truly enhance our ability to see more patients, and efficiently deliver more services to those who lack sufficient access to health care.”
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