Patients have high praise for Providence Medical Center during awards program

Two patients, Susan Franklin, left, and Brad Spicer, talked about how Providence Medical Center staff saved their lives. They were at an awards celebration Wednesday afternoon at the Keenan Education Center at the hospital. (Staff photo)

Two patients said they owed their lives to Providence Medical Center today at a celebration of the hospital’s Healthgrades 2018 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence.

Brad Spicer described his recovery from a series of heart attacks, and Susan Franklin talked about her stroke treatment at Providence Medical Center, 8929 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, Kansas. They were joined at the celebration by Providence staff members and community leaders including Mayor David Alvey.

“This place definitely saved us,” Spicer said. “I owe them my life. I got my life back, and I owe it to Providence for getting my life back.”

“I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else,” Spicer said.

Franklin described how her face, arm and leg felt numb, and how she was treated with medication for a stroke within about 31 minutes.

“They saved me, they saved my life, they saved my brain,” Franklin said. “Providence, they will take care of you.

“I’m back doing everything I was doing before,” she said. “They took such good care of me, I’m so thankful, I can’t speak highly enough of them.”

The two patients also appeared in a video shown during a celebration of awards Wednesday afternoon at the Providence Keenan Education Center. About 100 persons attended the event. A reception was held afterward.

Dr. Sabato Sisillo, chief medical officer at Providence Medical Center, said Providence was one of only three hospitals in the Greater Kansas City area to receive the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence. The clinical excellence award is given to hospitals in the top 5 percent in the nation, and it recognizes the lowest mortality and complication rates in at least 21 of 32 common conditions and procedures.

Some of the other Healthgrades awards Providence received recently included one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for orthopedic surgery, gastrointestinal care and general surgery. Providence also received excellence awards for orthopedic surgery, pulmonary care, gastrointestinal care, general surgery, critical care and patient surgery.

According to the Healthgrades website, the hospitals in the Greater Kansas City area receiving the award for clinical excellence included Providence, the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas, and St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

Dr. Sabato Sisillo, chief medical officer at Providence Medical Center, said Providence was one of only three hospitals in the Greater Kansas City area to receive the Healthgrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence. (Staff photo)

Maggie Foley, director of quality solutions for Healthgrades, said the rating system helps empower patients with key information about hospitals, physicians and outcomes. This helps consumers make decisions about quality of care provided, she said.

“Hospitals with high clinical quality have fewer complications and deaths,” Foley said. The patients at these hospitals on average have a lower risk of dying than if they were treated in hospitals that did not receive the designation.

“We believe it is your dedication to consistent, high quality of care practices, that has resulted in success,” she said.

Karen Orr, administrator of Providence Medical Center, said hearing stories from patients reinforces the commitment to provide the best care possible for patients.

“Our physicians, our staff, everyone here, we all share the same goal of high quality compassionate care,” Orr said.

“Kansas City, Kansas, and Providence have vibrant futures,” Mayor David Alvey said during an awards celebration Wednesday at Providence Medical Center. (Staff photo)

“I believe the fundamental purpose of government is to fulfill a promise of providing good neighborhoods for our citizens, and to do so at the least burden possible,” Mayor Alvey said.

In order to do that, they must depend on institutions and individuals across the city, to grab hold of a mission important to them, and to drive that mission to attainment, he said.

Alvey also noted in his short remarks that his mother did her nurse’s training at Providence years ago, and that he was born at the former Providence hospital location.

“It’s a celebration for our entire city and entire community,” Alvey said in congratulating Providence staff. “Kansas City, Kansas, and Providence have in many ways grown up together in their efforts to serve and care for a wonderful, vital community.

“Kansas City, Kansas, and Providence have vibrant futures,” Alvey said.

Chase ends near 54th and Parallel Parkway

A chase that started in Kansas City, Missouri, ended this afternoon near 54th and Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas, according to a Kansas City, Kansas, police spokesman.

Three persons were taken into custody when the pursued vehicle was stopped at 54th and Parallel, the spokesman stated.

One of the persons taken into custody was sought for questioning in connection to the Aug. 30, 2017, homicide of Kevin Fowler, the police spokesman stated. That person, a woman in her 30s, was taken to the Criminal Investigation Bureau for an interview.

The Kansas City, Kansas, police spokesman stated the pursued vehicle was stopped after Kansas Highway Patrol troopers executed a precision immobilization technique maneuver. That causes a vehicle to turn sideways and stop.

Colyer era, and his campaign, begin in earnest in Kansas

Jeff Colyer started his day near Hays, Kansas, as the lieutenant governor of Kansas. He was sworn in as governor later in Topeka. (Photo by Jim McLean, Kansas News Service)

by Brian Grimmett and Jim McLean, Kansas News Service

Jeff Colyer rose to the top of the Kansas executive branch Wednesday with events staged not just around his swearing in as governor, but in concert with his dash to get elected to the office and a possible inauguration next year.

Shortly after 3 p.m. in the Topeka Statehouse, he took the oath of office to become the 47th governor of Kansas and became the one person in the race for chief executive who could begin logging time in the role.

At the Capitol ceremony, he was asked whether he would swear to uphold the state and federal constitutions.

“I do, so help me, God,” he said.

With that, the Colyer era in Kansas government had begun.

Colyer started the day with a pre-dawn trek to his former family farm, a section of rolling grassland dotted with oil wells about 15 minutes from his childhood home in Hays.

Circled by aides, a few longtime friends and a small gaggle of reporters atop a bluff, he talked about working cattle, harvesting wheat and hunting quail on the land with his late father, James Colyer.

“This is what it’s all about,” Colyer said, silhouetted against an early morning sky streaked with red. “This is Kansas.”

Next he dashed from one camera-ready moment to the next, stopping at places that reinforced the image his campaign wants to portray as a serious man of faith in touch with his Kansas roots.

At the Catholic school from where he graduated in 1978 Colyer attended Mass, greeting and hugging old friends and teachers as ordinarily loud schoolchildren walked by quietly.

Thomas More Prep-Marian Alumni Director Wanda Billinger could hardly contain her excitement over Colyer’s visit.

“It makes the faculty and the alumni and the school feel proud that this is how he wants to start his day to become governor is to attend Mass this morning with us,” she said.

As people began to make their way into the chapel, Colyer sat in the front row, next to a handful of friends from his class. Among them was Kevin Gottschalck, who said things Colyer learned while attending the school helped prepare him to take the highest office in Kansas.

“Jeff will have that as a governor, look out for everybody, not just his personal needs and just the small group of elite,” Gottschalck said. “He’ll try and take care of everybody the best he can.”

The Rev. Michael Scully, a former teacher at Thomas More Prep, said he saw leadership potential in Colyer in high school, in part because of he starred on the school’s debate team.

“We knew that there was something about him that was promising,” Scully said. “We had no idea that it would go this far.”

From there Colyer toured the West Side Alternative Mental Health Center for Kids. The facility works with the school district to provide mental health services to students.

“I’m serious about solving problems and empowering people to do so and you guys are doing it,” Colyer said. “I appreciate the opportunity to highlight some local solutions.”

Still in the No. 2 job as lieutenant governor, he boarded a Cessna turbo-prop typically used to whisk the governor around the state and headed back to Topeka. His entourage on the plane included his chief of staff, Clay Barker; the soon-to-be-governor’s spokesman; a free-lance author chronicling the relationship between faith and politics in Colyer’s life; and three Capitol reporters.

Finally, beneath the Capitol dome and standing in front of a large American flag, Colyer was sworn in to applause in a Statehouse packed with Republican and Democratic lawmakers officials from across state government.

“Kansans are often underestimated,” he said, but he looked forward to helping the state’s residents tap into “the Kansas character.”

His chance to draw the spotlight and build a short record in office comes with the resignation of Sam Brownback. The embattled governor resigned a year before his second term officially ended to become U.S. ambassador of religious freedom.

Now Colyer looks to cut a public profile separate from Brownback, whose popularity dwindled steadily in recent years after sweeping tax cuts failed to produce a miracle for the Kansas economy. He’s said he wants to strike a more cooperative tone, but his political views track closely with Brownback’s.

Even as Colyer worked through the biggest day to date of his political life, Democrats revealed at least one way they’ll try to stunt his ambitions. With the launch of, the Kansas Democratic Party sought to tie him to the least popular policies of the man he’s replacing.

“Brownback and Colyer worked side by side over the last seven years to dismantle Kansas’ economy, schools, and roads,” the party said in a mid-morning news release. “Now as governor, Jeff Colyer will be nothing more than a Brownback clone.”

The transition from Brownback to Colyer took longer than many people expected. President Donald Trump nominated Brownback for the position in June 2017, but Senate Democrats pushed back and delayed his confirmation over objections statements Brownback had made about LGBT issues.

The drawn-out process led to confusion and frustration back in Kansas, where state lawmakers began to prepare for the 2018 legislative session. It was often unclear whether Brownback, or then-lieutenant governor Colyer, was really in charge. The situation became even muddier after Colyer began making more public appearances and announcing the appointments of cabinet positions.

Some clarity came when Brownback gave the State of the State address and laid out his budget proposal. In the end, it didn’t really matter, because the U.S. Senate finally confirmed him to the ambassadorship less than two weeks later.

While Colyer will be taking over the governor’s office for the remainder of Brownback’s term, he’s also running in to keep the job for four more years. He’s already raised more than $600,000, near the top of the Republican field.

Unlike Brownback, Colyer’s led a relatively quiet political life. He served in the Kansas House and Senate before becoming lieutenant governor. His biggest impact on Kansas politics is undoubtedly the privatization of Medicaid known as KanCare. The program, launched in 2013, has reduced the cost of providing healthcare to low income, elderly, and disabled people, but increased red tape causing billing disputes that have frustrated patients and providers.

Many legislators have attacked KanCare, and figuring out how to keep the program moving forward will be among Colyer’s many challenges as he moves into the governor’s office.

First among those could be offering alternatives to the state budget Brownback proposed shortly before resigning. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers voiced concerns about how to pay for several items in the budget, including a large increase in school funding.

“I’m going to be working with legislators and there’s going to be a process over the next few weeks,” Colyer said. “I think that we can come to a solution.”

The last time an event like this happened in Kansas was in 2009, when then Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson took over for Kathleen Sebelius after she was confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Obama White House. Parkinson’s event was simple in comparison to Colyer’s day-long festivities, but unlike Colyer, he had made it clear he would not be running for election at the end of his term.

Jim McLean is managing director of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. You can reach him on Twitter @jmcleanks. Brian Grimmett, based at KMUW in Wichita, is a reporter focusing on the environment and energy for the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @briangrimmett. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post.
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