In 1956, just five years after St. Joseph’s Hospital was opened, I came to Concordia to start my practice with the Gelvin-Haughey Clinic at the recommendation of one of my professors at the K.U. School of Medicine. He said that the hospital in Concordia had a reputation of high quality of medical care. I was pleased with the exceptional training of the medical and surgical staff and their continuing desire to learn and improve their skills. As time went on and my colleagues retired and moved away, there was a period of time when our staff consisted of foreign trained physicians, who were also well trained, but only stayed a few years to fulfill their requirements for their “green card” and then were gone. Understandably, people were not happy with having to see a new doctor frequently, and some drifted away.
We now have a medical staff that is well trained. They appear to be happy to be in Concordia and obviously are well liked, so the situation is stable and there are signs of potential growth. This hospital also has the reputation for compassionate care from the nursing staff. So, a well-trained, stable medical staff giving compassionate care adds up to quality care.
I have many fond memories of this current hospital building, some sad memories; my mother died here, and some happy memories; my three children were born here. And memories of the many children I had the privilege of caring for. However, in the 60 years since it was built there is no doubt that the current hospital is not adequate to support the changes in medical technology. This is not surprising. A farmer today would have a difficult time farming with the equipment they used 60 years ago. (And like farm equipment, modern medical equipment is also expensive.) The old building has served its time, but like that old farm equipment, it is out of date and probably beyond repair. Several million dollars could be put into it and it would still be an old building.
I have to admire the work of the hospital board to obtain a very good site for the new building, a very practical plan (blueprint) and a good plan to fund it. We don’t want to think of an increase in our property tax. )When you stop to think about it, the Sisters of St. Joseph have given us a nice gift. We have had a good health facility for all of these years without it being a tax burden.) With the funding plan of philanthropic gifts from people in this area that it serves, income from the hospital and a small, 0.75 percent, increase in sales tax (as has been pointed out for $100.00 worth of groceries 75 cents will go toward the hospital) it would seem that this is a pretty good hedge against an increase in property tax.
If this area of North Central Kansas is to survive, progress, thrive and grow it must have good schools, churches and good quality health care. If you agree, please vote yes on Feb. 26 for good quality health care.
Paul L. Nelson, M.D.