PITTSBURG – Labette Health is moving swiftly to fill the gap in medical services left by the abrupt closure of Oswego Community Hospital, the company announced Thursday.

“We’ve already hired some of their staff, so things are moving pretty fast,” said Kerri Beardmore, marketing director for Labette Health. The company said it is working with Oswego’s mayor as well as private citizens to ensure that medical services remain available and “to meet the needs of Oswego, Chetopa and the surrounding area.”

Oswego Community Hospital, along with the affiliated Oswego Community Clinic and the Chetopa Community Clinic, unexpectedly announced the closures of its facilities Thursday, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.

“It has been an honor and privilege to provide services to and care for our friends and neighbors in our surrounding communities,” Oswego Community Hospital, owned by Kansas City-based Empower HMS, part of The Empower Group, reportedly posted to its Facebook page.

Labette Health, which operates a 99-bed medical facility in Parsons, however, is already in the process of arranging for a temporary clinic to be set up in Oswego “within the next couple of weeks” according to a press release.

“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the employees and their families,” Brian Williams, Labette Health president and CEO, said in a release. “Their hospital was very important to them and to their community.”

In addition to the temporary clinic, Labette Health also plans to either build a new permanent clinic or buy an existing facility in Oswego, Beardmore said. The location of that new clinic will be announced soon, according to the company.

“Rural hospitals are an integral part of the country’s healthcare landscape,” Labette Health Board of Trustees Chair Perry Sorrell. “Southeast Kansas is a tight-knit community that has a right to quality healthcare and that’s what we’re committed to doing.”

Other area hospitals and medical facilities will also continue to serve the community as it deals with the impact of the sudden closure.

“Mercy Clinic Family Medicine in Oswego will continue to serve the Oswego community as it has for over 30 years,” Mercy Media Relations Specialist Ellis Kmetzsch said in an email. “Our local providers offer primary care services, diabetes care, sports physicals and E-visits.”