Making a Difference
St. Catherine Hospital Rich History and Bright Future
by Deanna Bradford
Historically, St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City has always focused on caring for and ministering to the sick. Its namesake comes from Saint Catherine of Siena who had a heart for caring for those who had no one to care for them. Ministry of healthcare under the name St. Catherine dates to 1931 when the Dominican Sisters purchased the facility. Scott Taylor, President/CEO of the facility for more than a year and a half, spoke energetically about current and future plans for growth and improvement at the hospital. He stated there has been an aggressive recruitment of physicians to rebuild the medical community. According to Taylor this goal has been “productive beyond imagination.” In the one-and-a-half year time span, 13 physicians have come to Garden City to practice. This has resulted in the ability to better serve patients in a timely manner, greatly reducing a previous back log of patient waiting lists. Plans are to continue actively recruiting specialists, now that most of the core positions are filled.
When asked what Garden City or western Kansas has to offer the medical community, Taylor proudly pointed to the facility and its state-of-the-art technology. In the past year many diagnostic tools have been upgraded, and the areas of oncology, home health and wound care are growing, with some being nationally recognized. In addition to working in a hospital setting, physicians have the option of having an independent clinical practice on campus as well. The expanded scope of services as well as the quality ministry St. Catherine provides are major drawing cards. Taylor added that Garden City is a great place to live and still maintains a rural setting where there is community respect for physicians and other trained clinical staff.
Dedication of staff and the devotion to quality services is evident in so many areas of care at St. Catherine. Some more recently recognized areas include the neurodiagnostic and sleep disorders center which received accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). To be awarded this five-year accreditation, a sleep center must meet all standards for professional health care as determined by the AASM. Additionally, St. Catherine’s Wound Care Center was named the Best of the Best in Wound Care Centers by Curative Health Services. The Wound Care Center is the only provider in western Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle and eastern Colorado which uses Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment.
Another area that has been in the spotlight is the recent accreditation of the St. Catherine Hospital Transfusion Service and Blood Bank by AABB. AABB Accreditation is the designation of choice for hospitals because it demonstrates an organization’s commitment to advanced learning, continuous improvement and innovation by striving to sustain the highest possible level of patient and donor care. AABB accredited organizations are recognized by their peers as leaders in their field.
Giving to the community is a way of life for St. Catherine staff. Their Associates’ 2007 United Way contribution totaled $32,561, more than twice the goal they had set. An annual fundraiser for Emmaus House raised $4,347 in December, serving as another example of staff values and their generosity to the community.
Doing more than just maintaining healthcare in the area, administration has been actively updating and searching for needed services. They integrated with Seina Healing Arts to include independent practices, a major incentive for incoming physicians. St. Catherine has contracted with Ballard Aviation/EagleMed of Wichita for air ambulance service. The aircraft, a Beechcraft King-Air C-90 named the “Dominican Spirit”, reflects St. Catherine’s heritage. Their latest venture has involved working with the Kansas Heart Hospital on a mutual endeavor to bring the high quality cardiac care of Wichita to western Kansas.
Several exciting additions are in St. Catherine’s future. The area to house a 64-slice CT Scanner is currently under construction. This is the most advanced type of diagnostic imaging available. It is scheduled to be ready for patients this spring. Plans also include completion of two new patient units, once capital funds are at a level to make that a reality. Taylor suggested that could begin within the next year. Foremost on St. Catherine’s future plans is construction of a cardiac catheterization lab, to be completed June 1 of this year. This is a cooperative effort of St. Catherine Hospital and the Kansas Heart Hospital. They will consult with Cardiovascular Consultants of Kansas (owners of the Kansas Heart Hospital) for training procedures and other aspects that will assure patients the quality care western Kansas patients deserve.
Taylor concluded that there are many things that St. Catherine Hospital could boast as a facility; a rich history, the latest technology and dedicated staff, just to name a few. But he shared that the big difference is the ministry at the hospital, the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Taylor continued that there are numerous staff who have served the facility for 20 or 30 years and beyond. He is confident that if any of the associates were asked why they stay at St. Catherine’s most if not all would reply without a doubt, it is because of the ministry. Staff at St. Catherine Hospital have cared for and ministered to western Kansas patients since its inception in 1902. Visionary goals and committed staff insure the facility will continue to be a forerunning facility offering premier healthcare.