INDEPENDENCE, Kansas - Independence, Kansas Mercy hospital announced Thursday it will be closing next month.  

In a news release, the hospital said it has decided to close its doors on October 10 after looking at multiple options over the past year and a half.  The closure will include all in-patient services, the emergency department and ambulatory surgery. 

“This was not the outcome we had sought or expected at the beginning of the discernment process, and our hearts are heavy,” said Lynn Britton, Mercy president and chief executive officer.

“However, like many other rural health care providers today, we have struggled to remain viable in the face of a changing environment and economy.” 

In the release, Britton cited declining population and the challenges of recruiting and retaining physicians, increasing capital improvement needs and shrinking reimbursement as factors in the decision to close. 

Last year, the hospital formed a task force to consider an affiliation with the Coffeyville Regional Medical Center, but those discussions were stopped last month after both hospitals were unable to reach an agreement assuring continuation of health services in Independence. 

“We worked tirelessly to find a solution that would preserve key health services in Independence, with tremendous support from city officials, our state legislator and the community at large,” said Kim Day, interim leader for Mercy Independence. 

“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of many, we were not able to achieve that goal.”

The hospital is working with 190 employees in Independence and some may be able to transfer to other Mercy facilities. 

“Our co-workers have been resilient throughout this extended period of discernment, always focused on providing exceptional care and service,” said Kim Day. 

“We are so grateful for their professionalism, patience and grace, and we are indebted to each and every one of them.”

The Independence hospital is also working with local Mercy Clinic physicians to determine their future plans. 

With its closure, Montgomery County will have only one hospital, which is located in Coffeyville.