By Ken Johnson, President & CEO HRHS
– As of this beautiful April morning, I’m beyond grateful to report there are currently no COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center (HRMC). Although there is no certainty this trend will continue, we can finally and realistically hope – for the first time since 2020 – that the worst of this worldwide pandemic is over. That said, as a major healthcare provider in south central Kansas, we remain prepared for the worst, should it come our way.
But, instead of commiserating about the trials and tribulations of the past two years, it is time to move forward with a new sense of normalcy. I have several ground-breaking announcements, some that you may know, but all pointing toward an optimistic future. As Coach George Allen often said, “The future is today.”
And the future is exciting, first thanks to the Reno County Health Department, Hutchinson Clinic, and Prairie Star, along with the Hutchinson Police and Fire Department and Reno County Sheriff’s office for the vital support and assistance they gave us during the COVID-19 crisis. Existing relationships became stronger, and we worked together as a team to find solutions to treat the hundreds of patients who sought care during the pandemic. We worked as a healthcare family, which will prepare us for our next healthcare crisis, should one arise.
Also, we commend our nation’s pharmaceutical companies who worked at lightning speeds to develop multiple vaccines that were shipped to every corner of the world, resulting in saving millions of lives. And, the job is not finished. This very week, national news outlets report a vaccine is on the drawing boards that, with a single shot, will prevent the onset of both COVID-19 and the common flu…true ingenuity.
We have more good news to report as all units of Hutchinson Regional from the Chalmers Cancer Center to the Heart and Vascular Unit and the orthopedics center are operating at full capacity, meaning we can serve our community, surrounding communities, and the heart and vascular patients from the northwest region of the state who travel to our hospital.
In other news, please join me in welcoming Dr. Rogena Johnson, MD, who grew up in Hutchinson, and is the newest member of the Hutchinson Regional family. Dr. Johnson, a Family Medicine physician, offers patient-centered and personalized care on the hospital’s third floor. She has extensive experience in primary care, chronic disease management, preventive medicine and healthy aging.
Additionally, the Childcare Learning Academy, a future resource for HRHS employees and their children, is slated to open in 2023 on the north end of the former Dillon Living Center on the Hutchinson Regional campus. Penny Stoss, the former Assistant Superintendent for USD 309 school district (Nickerson and South Hutchinson) will build, launch, and oversee the Academy to foster a convenient and valuable resource for our Healthcare System.
Hutchinson Pulmonology Associates, which opened in 2019 within the hospital, continues to treat hundreds of patients dealing with respiratory issues. In April, Dr. Mo Al-Halawani was named as a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians, an honorary designation that recognizes a physician’s service and contributions to their field, community, and practice of medicine. The designation will provide Dr. Al-Halawani an opportunity to visit one-on-one with contemporaries from throughout the nation to research better ways to treat our patients.
I’m amazed and honored to be surrounded by the highest-quality employees who work here, several of which have been employed at Hutchinson Regional for more than 50 years. Many serve on state and national boards to promote healthcare issues and civic improvement.
In closing and speaking for the 1,400 employees that make up Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System, thanks for your support of all we do, and we look forward to serving you and your future healthcare needs.