PITTSBURG, Kan. — Ascension Via Christi announced Tuesday it will extend its partnership with Sound Physicians, which will now offer emergency medicine services in three emergency departments, effective Nov. 17. The three Ascension emergency locations include Fort Scott, Manhattan, and Pittsburg.

Dr. Tim Stebbins, Ascension Via Christi’s current emergency department medical director in Pittsburg and Fort Scott, will step into a new role as system medical director over all three sites, according to a press release. Stebbins will also be working clinical shifts at all three locations.

In addition to his position at Ascension Via Christi, Stebbins has been serving as Crawford County public health officer since June. It is unclear if his new role with Ascension Via Christi will affect his position with the county.

Any decision about a change in Stebbins’s position with the county “will be between Dr. Stebbins and the county,” Michelle Kennedy, senior marketing and communications specialist with Ascension Via Christi, said in an email. “That won't be for us (Ascension Via Christi) to determine either way.”

A county spokesperson could not be reached for comment by press time.

Dr. Stebbins will be supported in his new system medical director role by Dr. Joel Hornung, Associate Medical Director. Dr. Hornung currently works as a hospitalist in Manhattan. In collaboration with Dr. Stebbins and Dr. Hornung, the three emergency medicine groups will be supported by Regional President, Shweta Patel; Regional Vice President of Operations, David Decolati; Regional Medical Director, Dr. Richard Apke; and Regional Manager, Courtney Jansson.

Sound Physicians is a national health care organization focused on improving quality and lowering cost throughout the acute episode of care within the communities they serve. Sound Physicians currently provides Hospital Medicine services in Ascension Via Christi St. Francis, St. Teresa, and St. Joseph in Wichita.

“With a sharp focus on the entire acute episode of care— from the time the patient enters the emergency department, driving hospitalist and intensivist performance, and providing continuity into the post-discharge period — we can make a meaningful impact in outcomes for both our patients and partners,” Robert Bessler, MD, founder and CEO of Sound Physicians, said in the release.

As part of the expanded partnership, Sound will manage the emergency medicine team of clinicians, which includes eighteen full-time physicians and eight advanced practice providers across the three sites.