Commissioners hear updates on hospital initiatives, recent layoffs

Attorney Steve Opat (left) discusses Geary Community Hospital matters with hospital Administrator Dr. Joe Stratton during Monday's county commissioners meeting.

Geary Community Hospital Administrator Dr. Joseph Stratton met with Geary County commissioners Monday to discuss matters at the hospital, where 22 workers were recently laid off. 

Stratton spoke about financial matters, gave an update on a nearly complete seclusion room and spoke briefly about the layoffs. 

All in all, the hospital had a positive month in regard to finances, Stratton said. He noted that the seclusion room will be finished in approximately two weeks, slightly behind schedule. 

“The seclusion room in the (emergency room) is about two weeks away from opening,” Stratton said. “We wanted to ensure we were in compliance.” 

That is why it has taken a bit longer than the hospital had initially anticipated to complete the project, Stratton said. A seclusion room is often used for severe management problems in psychiatric units in hospitals.

Stratton then briefly addressed the hospital’s layoffs. A recent operational assessment’s findings led to the layoffs, but the hospital has no plans to reduce its workforce further at this time, he said. 

Commissioner Ben Bennett also spoke about the situation.

“The board hired a consulting company that has a very good national reputation,” Bennett said. “That company came in and did an assessment of the operation, and made a strong recommendation. Now that they made an assessment, their job is to stop the bleeding and, in order to do that, they assessed which positions were overstaffed for the operation. Whether I like it or not, that’s what happened. And now they are in the process of reorganizing and reevaluating the hospital, which will go on for some months. There will be some more changes made, and those will all be with working with the board of trustees.”

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