Health Care

Hunter Health to break ground on patient services building

Hunter Health Clinic’s main office at 2318 E. Central. (Dec. 18, 2015)
Hunter Health Clinic’s main office at 2318 E. Central. (Dec. 18, 2015) File photo

Hunter Health Clinic is expanding its East Central location, breaking ground next month on a 21,000-square-foot building.

The new building will be north of the existing clinic and will absorb all patient services, including increased space for medical and dental care, according to a news release.

“This new building and expansion will allow us to serve our existing patients better and more patients all with a flexible patient-centered approach that reduces barriers for them,” Amy Feimer, Hunter Health CEO, said in the release.

The $7 million project is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Fidelity Bank and cash reserves. Construction begins in March. The existing building will be used as administration offices.

Hunter announced plans for a new clinic several years ago under previous leadership but was unable to obtain the grant funding.

Longtime CEO Susette Schwartz was fired in early 2013. At the time, the clinic had more than $1 million in debt, was not paying vendors, and its federal contract with Indian Health Services was endangered.

By January 2016, the clinic had erased its debt, paid its vendors and was in good standing with Indian Health Services, according to audits and board members.

Feimer was named CEO one year ago.

“The last year has had a lot of change and major milestones,” Feimer said in the release. “The dedication of the staff is incredible and something we continue to hear about from our patients. In the past year we’ve been focused internally in creating the processes and initiatives to support that care and operate as a high quality non-profit and community partner.”

Hunter, which was founded in 1976 to serve American Indians, is largely funded by federal grants and is the only Urban Indian Health program in Kansas. It provided free or reduced-cost medical care to about 13,500 patients at its three locations last year.

Katherine Burgess: 316-268-6400, @KathsBurgess