Employee: St. Francis should be community funded

TOPEKA, Kan (KSNT)  –  One St. Francis Health care employee believes there’s enough public support to make the center a community-funded hospital. Last week, SCL Health announced they would be closing the hospital if no one takes over operation.

“When I sat in the town hall and heard that the doors might be closing in a week and a half or two weeks or that they would announce that… my heart hurt,” said Derrick Hodam.

St. Francis supporters have until early next month to find an alternative for the health center.

Derrick Hodam has worked at St. Francis since 2001. He said the community could fund the hospital through an increase in property tax or an ear marked sales tax.

“As a community we could come together and support and fund this hospital. I’ve worked for community based hospitals before. I know that they are viable options. I know that they’re highly successful business models,” said Hodam.

Hodam, who is not a tax expert, said he’s reached out to city and state leaders to see if community funding is a viable option. While many have voiced support for the idea, others believe it would be tough to sell the plan to the community.

“Everybody’s already strapped for cash. They are complaining about how they can’t find a job here or they can’t do this there. It gets kind of tough for a lot of people,” said Sherry Collins, who receives dialysis treatments at St. Francis.

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