OSWEGO — The administrator of Oswego Regional Hospital, which will be the working name of the former Oswego Community Hospital when it reopens, spoke to the Oswego City Council Tuesday night seeking a letter of support to help with licensing.
Don Weidemann has been administrator of the hospital since late August. Oswego Neuropsych Hospital Inc. bought Oswego Community Hospital in bankruptcy for $75,000. Oswego’s hospital and its two clinics closed in February 2019 because of financial issues tied to its former owner. The closure impacted 50 people who provided services at the 12-bed hospital at 800 Barker Drive.
Labette Health opened clinics in Oswego and Chetopa to fill the health care void.
Weidemann told council members Tuesday he’s applied for licenses to reopen the Oswego hospital and its two clinics. Once a state license is in place, he will seek approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to be designated as a 12-bed acute care hospital. He thinks the clinics in Oswego and Chetopa will open sooner than the hospital. He didn’t know how long CMS approval would take.
The goal is to open in November, he said. He said he would like to open the hospital before the CMS designation comes.
Weidemann said Tuesday that a letter of support from the city council would be used for the licensing process, which goes through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. He submitted the licensing application earlier this month and had a conference call Friday with KDHE.
“Very good conference call. I think they’re going to be extremely helpful in us getting our license and getting open,” Weidemann said.
He said the licensing process still could take two or three months.
“Can’t wait to get it opened up and get our clinics going and being able to get a chance to provide health care services here again,” he said.
He said the legal name of the hospital is Oswego Neuropsych Hospital Inc., but the hospital will be offering medical care and not behavioral health care.
Clinics would be open part time to start and switch to full time once patient volume is up, he said.
A council member asked how Oswego Regional Hospital and its clinics would work with Labette Health.
“We hope to work very closely with them,” he said.
He said the Oswego hospital could provide ancillary services, such as X-rays, lab work or even hospital admissions, for Labette Health’s clinic patients in Oswego and Chetopa to save patient travel to Parsons.
Weidemann said he has more than 30 years of experience as a health care executive, with the last 12 years serving in small, rural communities.
His Linked-In page shows he worked most recently as an interim executive director of operations for Regional West Health Services — Regional West Physicians Clinic in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Before that, he was in Gordon, Nebraska, as CEO of Regional West Health System — Gordon Memorial Health Services.
Weidemann said he realizes that health care is risky now.
“It is. It’s very challenging. The health care industry, especially the rural health care, has been extremely challenged in recent years. But we have a lot of confidence in the community. As a management company, we have a lot of confidence in our abilities to reopen the hospital and to run it successfully and be able to add back to the community here in Oswego.”
Boa Vida Healthcare is management company for the hospital. It manages three hospitals, Oswego, Stigler, Oklahoma, and Aberdeen, Mississippi.