Western Kansas health-care providers have been diligent in their efforts to provide the highest level of patient care to the local community. The region’s population is well served with 4.9 community hospitals per 100,000 residents, enabling western Kansas citizens to have a variety of choices when it comes to medical care. The quality of care area hospitals provide has drawn national attention. For example, Hays Medical Center, a private, not-for-profit hospital in Hays, Kansas, appeared on U.S. News’ 2012-13 Best Hospitals rankings. The hospital was recognized for its high performance levels in gastroenterology and geriatrics care services. The medical center also was named one of the Top 100 Places to Work by Modern Health Care magazine. “This is the fifth year in a row that we’ve been recognized. That [the Modern Health Care ranking] is not easy to accomplish,” says Shae Veach, Hays’ vice president of operations. Like the other medical care providers in the region, the 222-bed Hays Medical Center is dedicated to meeting the current and future needs of the community. One way the organization is demonstrating that commitment is through its recent expansion. The $18.5 million project will add about 65,000 square feet of office and clinic space. The space will house Hays’ new cardiology unit and administrative offices. “We’re very highly engaged in the region,” Veach says. Expanding Footprints and Services Hays Medical Center is not the only area hospital that is expanding, adding new technologies or services, or providing state-of-the-art, high-level medical care. Southwest Medical Center in Liberal is a regional medical center. To better serve its growing population, the Center is adding a $17 million facility that includes a medical office center. Western Plains Medical Complex in Dodge City is a 99-bed hospital that offers a range of services including diagnostic and interventional cardiology, a cardiac cath lab, and cardiac rehabilitation. In Scott County, voters approved funding three years ago that has been used to remodel Scott County Hospital. The new $24 million hospital opened in 2012. The hospital added 23 new employees in its first three months to meet the influx of patients. New Facilities One aspect of health care that appeared to be lacking until recently was access to specialists and specialty care, says Scott J. Taylor, president and CEO of St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City. “This region has not had access to specialists on a permanent basis in many areas,” Taylor says. Over the last five years, St. Catherine Hospital has spent a great deal of funds to recruit specialists so the community would have timely access to this type of care. St. Catherine also completed a $9.5 million project that added 64 new medical and surgical rooms in June 2011. At Russell Regional Hospital in Russell Kansas, care providers are also focusing on efforts to encourage physical activity as well as diagnostic imaging. The hospital recently installed a 128-slice low-dose computerized tomography scanner. “The scanner gives us early, fast and clear images,” says Shelley Boden, CEO. “CT virtual colonoscopy is available, CT lung screenings are now available and also CT cardiac scoring.” From new facilities to new technologies and programs, it is clear that western Kansas hospitals are committed to serving the residents' health-care needs.