WELLINGTON–The city of Wellington’s recent agreement with Ascension Via Christi to place an emergency room in the vacated Sumner Community Hospital will make it possible to treat patients locally who would otherwise be transported, Wellington Fire/EMS Chief Tim Hay said.


"There’s quite a few patients that could be treated and evaluated locally that wouldn’t have to be taken to Wichita, Winfield or Derby," Hay said. "They get to choose what hospital they go to within reason."


The City of Wellington, which owns the approximately 50-year-old hospital facility, has approved $700K in the capital improvements needed to renovate the space that will house the ER and associated services. Part of that funding will come from the city's Health Care Authority and the SRMC Endowment.


The ER is scheduled to be open in early 2021.


Without the hospital, which closed in March, "it’s a lot more miles on our EMS trucks," Hay said. "We spend a lot more time on the road with people."


The department did not expect the hospital to close, when making its 2020 budget, Hay said.


"We made adjustments for the 2021 budget," he said. "Hopefully, we’ll be in good shape."


Many people will be able to be treated and released when the ER is open, Hay said.


Under the agreement approved by the Wellington City Council, the ER will re-open in early 2021 as a department of Ascension Via Christi Hospitals Wichita, Inc., which is the legal entity that operates Ascension Via Christi St. Francis and Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph.