As many rural communities see healthcare struggles, Colby hospital thrives

COLBY, Kan. (KWCH) As many rural communities struggle to recruit and retain healthcare professionals, Colby sees an increase in services provided for patients.

Citizens Health in Colby recently made renovations to accommodate its increasing numbers.

Located on Interstate 70 between Hays and Denver, Citizen's Health serves as the healthcare hub for rural communities in northwest Kansas.

"We definitely serve the 12 counties surrounding Colby in northwest Kansas, but we also reach well beyond that," says Citizens Foundation Executive Director Megan Carmichael. "We do have patients that come to us from Colorado and beyond out 12-county circle."

Clinic Administrator Scott Focke says that number continues to grow, along with the number of medical professionals needed to treat everyone who travels to the Colby hospital for medical care.

"It starts with having that good base of primary care, and then facilitating these other specialist (doctors) coming in," Focke says. "They all come in from places like Denver, from Hays, Wichita, Kearney, Nebraska, and allowing the whole region to be able to come to Colby."

That's why Citizens Health launched a renovation project last fall: so people in northwest Kansas can receive all of the healthcare they need, all in one place.

"Making sure we have the diagnostic testing available for these professionals to be able to get the right diagnoses to help patients get all their needs taken care of in one place has really had a major impact on our ability to bring these folks here and take care of our patients," Focke says.

Renovations at the hospital include updates to the specialty and oncology departments and the waiting and admissions rooms, and a covered drop-off area with valet parking.

Focke says the renovations also help him recruit specialists and other medical professionals to the hospital.