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Trying to save an ER in rural Kansas

When the emergency room in Fort Scott, Kansas, closes next month, the next closest in-state facility will be 40 minutes away — and some patients may not make it that far. Mayor Matthew Wells says the closure shows the need for the Kansas Legislature to pass Medicaid expansion.

When Fort Scott, Kansas' Mercy Hospital closed in early 2019, the community of 7,550 people in southeast Kansas briefly lost its emergency room. Mayor Matthew Wells remembers the time without an ER clearly.

Now, his town is once again in that position after the community’s stand-alone ER closed, leaving residents to travel at least 20 miles to the nearest emergency center and raising concerns about attracting new residents and businesses.

Steve Kraske spoke with Wells and Kansas News Service reporter Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga on KCUR's Up To Date about the future of health care for the community.

Contact the show at news@kcur.org. Follow KCUR on Instagram and Facebook for the latest news.

Kansas City Today is hosted by Nomin Ujiyediin. It is produced by Byron Love and KCUR Studios and edited by Gabe Rosenberg and Lisa Rodriguez.

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As a newscaster and a host of a daily news podcast, I want to deliver the most important and interesting news of the day in an engaging and easily understandable way. No matter where you live in the metro or what you’re interested in, I want you to learn something from each newscast or podcast – and maybe even give you something to talk about at the dinner table.
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