Via Christi Health delays bills following records conversion

WICHITA — Most people don’t complain too much if bills come late – or perhaps not at all – but some Via Christi Health patients have been wondering about their lack of bills this summer.

On June 1, Via Christi converted financial and medical records for 22 clinics and all its hospitals to a new system.

Part of this process included the laborious task of making sure all the statements that followed would be accurate before they went out.

“We pretty much planned to have a delay in our statements going out,” says Lisa Carruthers, senior administrator for revenue cycle.

“We thought that it might be … eight to 12 weeks.”

Turns out, that’s about what it will be. The first statements should be mailed in about two weeks.

“None of this delay is being counted against any of our patients,” Carruthers says. “Most of them, it gives them that much more time to pay their portion.”

She says there have been a few questions, mostly out of curiosity. Also, a few patients wanted to make sure they hadn’t somehow missed the bills, Carruthers says.

“I can’t say I’ve heard of anybody who was overly concerned about it.”

Heartland Cardiology to move and expand its west-side space

WICHITA — Heartland Cardiology is closing on a new building Monday that will almost double its capacity on the west side.

“We saw an opportunity out west,” says CEO Barry Reynolds.

The practice, which began in 1994, has three sites across Wichita, all of which it leases.

“The first departure from leasing will be this facility,” Reynolds says. “Who knows, that may be the beginning of a trend. We’ll see.”

Heartland currently lease 4,950 square feet at 8710 W. 13th St. and has sites on Hillside across from Wesley Medical Center and in the Cypress Medical Park.

Its new west-side space will be in 8,756 square feet at 9000 W. Central, which is just west of Central and Tyler.

“It’s been medical forever,” Reynolds says of the building.

It previously was Via Christi Health space and the Wichita Clinic before that.

Reynolds says Heartland’s 13th Street lease expires on Sept. 2, so the new space will be fully functional by then.

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Harry is out, St. Joseph is in at Via Christi

WICHITA — CEOs often have to be the bearer of bad news, but Jeff Korsmo had an especially good time announcing a change at Via Christi Health this week.

The president and CEO personally went to see the sisters at the Congregation of St. Joseph, one of Via Christi’s founding congregations, to announce a name change that is making a lot of people happy.

“It was time to do a relook at the brand,” Korsmo says.

Several years ago, each of Via Christi’s three hospitals were renamed for the streets they are on. The names for Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis and Via Christi Hospital on St. Teresa didn’t change much, but the hospital that traditionally was known as St. Joseph became Via Christi Hospital on Harry.

It will now be known as Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph. The others will be Via Christi Hospital St. Francis and Via Christi Hospital St. Teresa.

“This change was really there to reflect the founding congregation’s name and heritage in the name of the hospital,” Korsmo says.

“It was a very joyful celebration,” he says of getting to share the news.

Korsmo says one sister said, “I didn’t know if I would live long enough to see this day.”

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Policy change leads to employee grumbling on Via Christi Health’s Facebook page before comments were removed

WICHITA — A policy change related to employee cafeteria discounts led to a minor Facebook dustup for Via Christi Health this week.

Employees no longer will receive discounts at any of Via Christi’s cafeterias.

“It’s a cost-savings measure,” says Judy Espinoza, chief human resource officer.

Also, she says there were a range of discounts depending on locations, and some sites didn’t have any.

“It was very inconsistent.”

After the change was announced, some employees took to Via Christi’s main Facebook page to complain.

“It was very obvious the employees did not know they were on the public page,” Espinoza says. “You could tell from the language.”

Also, she says some comments tagged employees who weren’t part of the conversation although they appeared to be.

“That kind of crosses the line,” Espinoza says.

“I’m not a Facebook savvy person,” she says, but if she were caught in a similar situation, “I’d just be mortified.”

She says Via Christi made the decision to remove the comments after one employee who was tagged expressed concern.

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Associated Integrated Marketing CEO Bill Fialka is out as agency eliminates position

WICHITA — Most people probably didn’t notice when Bill Fialka took over as CEO at Associated Integrated Marketing – and that’s how he liked it – but now he’s gone.

“The position was eliminated,” says Shawn Steward, vice president of client service and public relations.

He won’t say if Fialka was fired.

“I’ll let people draw their own conclusions on that.”

Fialka didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Steward says the agency is restructuring. He and three other vice presidents will manage the company. They include Dave Stewart, vice president and executive creative director, Luke Gutschenritter, vice president and group account director, and Kim Weprin, vice president  of finance and human resources.

“This is not a financial decision,” Steward says. “This was a proactive decision to better allow us to operate more efficiently.”

He says, “We essentially saw a lot of duplication of effort at the management level. We felt that by eliminating the CEO level of the agency … we’re just getting the management closer to the client level and just streamlining across the board.”

Steward says the agency’s board of directors made the decision.

Fialka has been CEO since January 2010. He followed much more high-profile CEOs, including Mike Snyder and Bruce Rowley most recently. Fialka, though, deliberately avoided media and other attention.

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Ryan Dugan Eye Care to open in Andale

WICHITA — As a new optometrist looking to open a practice in the Wichita area, Goddard native Ryan Dugan decided to take the advice of a dentist.

His brother’s father-in-law, dentist Randy Newby, explained how he started his practice in Mount Hope and that it might make sense for Dugan to go to a smaller community as well.

“That kind of influenced me,” says Dugan, who graduated from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tenn., in May. “I could really rely on him from personal experience.”

Also, he says the Wichita market is already “pretty saturated” with optometry clinics, and he thinks a smaller community might help him to “kind of to differentiate myself.”

So Dugan is opening Ryan Dugan Eye Care at 228 N. Andale Road in Andale where Via Christi Health used to have a medical building in 3,700 square feet.

“It’s a lot larger building than I actually need, but it’s great because I have room to expand in it,” Dugan says.

One day, he says, he’d like to have his own lens lab there.

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As’ad Ehtisham to open ENVI & Aesthetics within Abay Neuroscience Center

UPDATED — Kansas is a leading state for stroke sufferers, and physician As’ad Ehtisham would like to do something about that.

He’s opening ENVI & Aesthetics, which stands for Ehtisham Neuro Vascular Institute & Aesthetics, in 1,500 square feet at the Abay Neuroscience Center at 3223 N. Webb Road.

“What we are offering is something very, very unique,” Ehtisham says.

He’s board certified in neurology, vascular neurology and advanced neuro critical care. His practice will offer a variety of treatments but will have a neuro vascular focus for the treatment of strokes, blocked arteries, vascular malformations, migraines and traumatic brain and spine injuries.

Ehtisham also is going to offer cosmetic Botox and Botox and facial remodeling for people who have Bell’s palsy or who have suffered a stroke that results in facial issues.

“We can actually minimize those by different modalities,” he says. “I will be the only one injecting.”

Ehtisham was the medical director of the stroke and neuro critical care program at Via Christi Health from 2005 to 2009.

“I built the stroke program.”

Most recently he’s been an associate professor of neurology and neuro surgery at the University of Mississippi in Jackson, Miss.

Ehtisham still has family here and decided to return to Wichita for the opportunity to treat Kansans suffering from strokes.

“There is not a dedicated stroke neurologist taking care of those things,” he says.

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Via Christi Villages may add 80-bed skilled nursing unit at Cornerstone Ridge Plaza

WICHITA — Via Christi Villages is preparing to possibly add a skilled nursing unit to its existing Cornerstone Ridge Plaza assisted living center at 37th Street North and Ridge Road.

“We’re seeing strong demand for a skilled nursing presence on the west side of Wichita,” says Jerry Carley, president and CEO of Via Christi Villages.

Cornerstone, which was built in 2003, is one of 16 Via Christi Villages properties. It has 60 beds, and the new unit would have 80.

“We don’t have board approval on this,” Carley says.

Next month, the board for Via Christi Villages will vote on the addition. In May, the Via Christi Health board will vote on it.

If approved, construction is likely to start in June and take about 18 months to complete.

Via Christi has 15 acres of undeveloped land on the southwest corner where Cornerstone is.

“We’ve actually had plans in place for a number of years – at least have talked about it,” Carley says.

“The environment’s right if you look at just the demographics of the baby boomers that are coming in,” he says. “It just makes a lot of sense.”

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Massalogy to open in former Massage Junkie space on East Central

WICHITA — A new massage business is going in the former Massage Junkie space.

Donna Chickadonz is opening her second Massalogy — which means the study of massage — site at 9390 E. Central.

She’s also keeping her first location in a Via Christi Health building at 1035 N. Emporia, where she has 850 square feet.

“Over here, I do a lot of medical massages,” Chickadonz says.

“Business has been good.”

Her new space is 1,700 square feet.

“I am going to put a spa in there,” Chickadonz says.

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Hospice Care of Kansas signs lease

WICHITA — Hospice Care of Kansas has found a new home.

Last month, Have You Heard? reported that Broadway Home Medical would move into Hospice Care’s 9,000 square feet at 808 S. Hillside as soon as the group found new space.

That new space is 13,000 square feet at West River Plaza at Central and McLean.

Via Christi Health is the landlord. Nathan Farha of Grubb & Ellis/Martens Commercial Group handled the lease for Via Christi.

Dallas-based broker Dan Woldert represented Hospice Care in the deal.