Letter from area healthcare providers

Special to the Morning Sun / news@morningsun.net

Dear citizens of southeast Kansas,

As the doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, chief nursing officers, and CEOs of Fredonia Regional Hospital, Wilson Medical Center, Labette Health, Coffeyville Regional Medical Center, Girard Medical Center, Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center, and Ascension Via Christi Pittsburg we ask for your help during this healthcare crisis - a crisis much bigger than COVID-19.

Last week, a doctor in southeast Kansas had to call 21 different hospitals in our region to find a hospital bed for a patient critically ill with non-COVID related respiratory failure. While working for nine hours to transfer this patient to an ICU, the doctor and medical team managed the patient on a ventilator before finally being able to transfer him to a larger hospital with medically necessary ICU resources.

This scenario is not unique to a single hospital in southeast Kansas. Our organizations have been working together throughout the pandemic, helping each other as best we can. As we discussed our most recent challenges in a virtual meeting this week, we found that each of our hospitals are experiencing some degree of staffing shortages, an inability to transfer patients to larger hospitals, the need to care for sicker patients than we normally would, shortages of life-saving medications, and inadequate beds and supplies to care for routine but significant medical conditions because we are overwhelmed by the number of COVID cases in our communities.

Our hospitals, clinics, providers, and staff have the training and experience to treat you and your families for the vast majority of medical conditions,and we are honored to provide you top level services. However, our ability to care for the sick and injured in our own hometowns has been severely strained with the recent rise and rapid spread of COVID cases over the last few weeks.

We are being stretched thin as COVID continues to spread and we care for more and more sick patients. We are nearing a crisis point with our capacity to take care of routine conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, and broken bones that arrive at our emergency departments, conditions that are outside of the realm of COVID.

The impact of COVID is not isolated to our communities.We are seeing surrounding hospitals in larger cities reach capacity as well. Our rural and urban hospitals depend on each other to provide care to all who need medical attention. While our providers and staff have worked tirelessly to care for you and your loved ones through the last year and a half, our facilities across almost all of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas are at breaking point shortages of hospital beds, staffing, medications, and supplies.

While we do everything in our power to treat people with every condition that walks through our doors, healthcare has always required teamwork. This disease is spreading faster than ever and requires you, our community members, to be part of the team.

We ask that you help us to significantly reduce the spread of COVID by taking these actions now:

  • Wear a mask in public settings
  • Get vaccinated
  • Stay home if you are ill or exposed
  • Social distance when possible
  • Avoid large gatherings and crowds
  • Get tested

We all want this pandemic to be behind us, but with the current spike of Delta variant cases and the risk for more variants in our future, we need your help to ensure we can care for all medical conditions – both COVID and non-COVID.

As a citizen of southeast Kansas, you have the power to make a difference in the health of your family members, your neighbors, and our communities. Reducing the spread of COVID will help us make it through this pandemic and allow us to provide optimal care to your families and loved ones.


Fredonia Regional Hospital

Ashley Houser, DO – Family Medicine – Chief of Staff

Jennifer Bacani McKenney, MD – Family Medicine – Wilson County Health Officer

Johnathan Durrett, CEO

Brooke Romans, RN, BSN, Chief Nursing Officer

Kim Smith, RN, Infection Preventionist

Oswaldo Bacani, MD – General Surgery

Tonya Hill, MD – Internal Medicine

Lacey Spohn, APRN – Family Medicine

Jessica Evans, APRN – Family Medicine

Britni Stewart, APRN – Family Medicine

Wilson Medical Center

Joseph Meier, MD – Family Medicine – Medical Director for Rural Health Clinics

Dennis Shelby, CEO

Heather Hyler, RN, Chief Nursing Officer

Janice Chenoweth, Infection Preventionist

Frank A. Moorhead, MD – Family Medicine

Sarah Baker, APRN – Family Medicine

Toni Adams, APRN – Family Medicine

Labette Health

Ben Legler, MD, Vice Chief of Staff

Shawn Southwick, DO, ER Medical Director

Brian A. Williams, President

Kathi McKinney, Chief Nursing Officer

Catrina Fickel, RN – Infection Preventionist

Manish Dixit, MD, Board Member

Melissa McIntosh, MD – Pediatrician

Coffeyville Regional Medical Center

Michelle McGuirk, MD - General Surgery – Chief Medical Officer

Shravan Gangula, MD – Family/General Medicine – Montgomery County Medical Director

Brian Lawrence, MHA, CEO

Sarah Hoy, RN, BSN, Chief Nursing Officer

Carrie Kaminska RN BSN, Infection Preventionist

Brock Juffs, MD – Hospitalist/Internal Medicine

Tejaswi Thippeswamy, MD – Hospitalist/Family Medicine

Aaron Russell, MD - General Surgery

Perry Lin, MD - OB/GYN

Stephen Miller, DO - OB/GYN

Landon Vinson, MD – Emergency Medicine

John H. Carson, MD - IM / Peds

Baba Abudu, MD – Anesthesiology

Chris Hogan, CRNA – Anesthesiology

Susan Jenkins, CRNA – Anesthesiology

Julia Moses, CRNA – Anesthesiology

Paul Gelven, MD – Pathology

David Gutschenritter, MD – Interventional Radiology

Akin Ogundipe, MD - Oncology/Hematology

Nathan Uy, MD - Radiation Oncology

Ann Taylor, DO - Family/General Medicine

Stephanie Adee, APRN – Wound Care

Judy Carpenter, APRN - Family/General Medicine

Allison Littleford, DNP - Family/General Medicine

Barbara McCartney, APRN - Family/General Medicine

Chad McCready, PA-C – Business & Industry

Heather Pollet, APRN - Family/General Medicine

Bridget Vargas, APRN - Neurosurgery

Girard Medical Center

Ruth Duling, CEO

Mindi Garner, DO, Chief of Staff

Adam Paoni, DO, Emergency Department Medical Director

Timothy Stebbins, MD – Crawford County Health Officer

Lisa Salvador, MD

Douglas Brown, MD

Jay Yost, MD

Chandroutie Latchman, MD

Jeannie Peterson, CRNA

Simon Howayek, APRN

Erin Battagler, APRN

Lynieta Leisure, APRN

Stormy Carter, APRN

Kathy Flora, APRN

Tanya Brokob, APRN

Pam Murphy, APRN

Kim Burns, APRN

Mary Beth Newkirk, APRN

Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center

Dennis Franks, CEO

Jennifer Newton, MSN, RN – Chief Nursing Officer

Dr. Stephanie Clark MD – Pediatrician – Chief of Staff

Kristy Bunker, Infection Preventionist

David Guernsey, MDBruce Lee, DO

Marty Dillow, MD

Robert Thomen, MD

Greta McFarland, MD

Charlie Van Houden, MD

Matthew Leroy, MD

Jason Robinson, MD

Kari Hamlin, MD

Brian Kueser, MD

Elizabeth Troilo, MD

Beckie Manahan, PA

Mallori Jacks, PA

Beth Northern, PA

Kathi Yockum, APRN

Cathy Mih-Taylor, MD

Candi Morris APRN

Ascension Via Christi Hospital Pittsburg

Drew Talbott, CEO

Tawny Sandifer, CNO/COO

Katelyn Falk, MD – Hospitalist and Medical Staff President

Jessilyn Humble, MD – Pediatrician

Jamie Cravens, RN, CIC – Infection Preventionist

Holly Gault, MDHeather Baima, APRN

Cheryl Lemmon, DNP, APRN, FNP-C

Shannon Duncan, APRN

Christine Conner, APRN

Meredith Anderson, PA-C

Tammy M. Battaglia, MD

Mark Carlson, MD

Angela C. Shaw, DO

Bethany Enoch, MD, FAAFP

Linda Bean, DO

Brett Dunbar, DO, FACOS

Eric Delman, DO

Mike Baker, MD

Taka Kido, MD

Michael Fenech, DO

Mindi Garner, DO

Holly Cranston, MD

Titus Weller, MD

Joshua Brueggemann, MD

Peter Bates, APRN

Stormy Carter, APRN

Amy Hite, DNP, APRN

Kathryn Cornelius, MD

Mike Zafuta, MD

Katrina Burke, MD