TOPEKA (KSNT) – Stormont Vail Health and its partners in Emporia are expressing disappointment towards the Lyon County Commission after a move to support a rival healthcare center.

On Thursday, Nov. 9, Stormont Vail Health released a letter in response to a move by Lyon County Commissioners to support a proposed zoning regulation change for the City of Emporia. The letter accuses the commission of supporting a move by Newman Regional Health to close other local healthcare organizations by preventing them from expanding in Lyon County.

“For the Lyon County Commission to take this action – without consideration of a $30 million investment in the community that Stormont Vail has proposed to enhance access to healthcare – is a breach of trust and responsibility to its constituents. Furthermore, the zoning change proposed by Newman to the Planning Commission and City of Emporia, has legal concerns and deficiencies that are not in the best interest of the community or its taxpayers.”

Stormont Vail Health letter excerpt

The letter goes on to accuse the Lyon County Commission of showing “an air of special accommodation and favoritism” at a time when Stormont Vail Health is considering further investment into the community. The proposed zoning regulation changes can be found online by clicking here.

Additional information provided by Stormont Vail Health indicates its expansion in Emporia would provide services to 18,000 patients, provide jobs to more than 100 people and lead to $6.19 million in economic benefits for the community.

KSNT 27 News reached out to Newman Regional Health for a statement in response to Stormont Vail’s letter. Steven Bazan, a spokesman for Newman Regional Health, sent the following:

“Newman Regional Health is owned and operated by the citizens of Lyon County. It is the source of all essential services for the people of Emporia and many surrounding areas. Our board is made up of local community members who provide leadership and direction for strategy and investments. We are successfully recruiting new physicians and investing in state-of-the-art equipment, technology, and facilities. Newman Regional Health provides high quality healthcare for our communities. 

The text change that we are proposing is designed to slow proposals for licensed medical facilities and require such a facility to justify its need before a locally elected board. We are elevating our local control with this recommendation, and we believe it to be in the best interest of the health and safety of Lyon County. Similar text changes in Kansas communities have resulted in thriving community hospitals with significant growth in medical staff, specialties, programs, employees, and charitable services.”

Steven Bazan, Newman Regional Health

KSNT 27 News also reached out for a response from the Lyon County Commissioners but received no reply.

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