During a meeting June 29, employees of Via Christi's Newton clinic learned the future of the clinic.

That future no longer includes Via Christi, as in October the clinic will be operated by Health Ministries.

“We’d been in discussions with several entities interested in taking over the clinic’s ownership and operations and are pleased to have reached an agreement with Health Ministries Clinic,” said Kevin Strecker, senior administrator for Via Christi Clinic. 

Matt Schmidt, director of Health Ministries, confirmed with the Kansan that Health Ministries will be taking over operations. He was meeting with staff of both Via Christi and Health Ministries Clinics Thursday morning.

“We are excited to be part of a solution that helps guarantee access to exceptional primary care services provided by highly qualified staff that share our passion and dedication to our community,” Schmidt said.

Via Christi has been evaluating the future operations of the clinic for several months. Via Christi Immediate Care in Newton was closed May 5, though at that time the primary care clinic remained open.

According to a news release, Via Christi has been working to develop integrated models of care and the Via Christi Clinic in Newton is the only location that is not near or in the same community as a Via Christi Hospital, Strecker said.

“So we chose to pursue an option that will allow the community to continue to receive those services, but from an established local provider with an established relationship with Newton’s community hospital," Strecker said.

What is now Via Christi Clinic on the campus of Newton Medical Center was started as Bethel Clinic. It became Wichita Clinic Bethel before Via Christi took ownership.

Health Ministries Clinic was founded by local doctors in 1991 and is now a Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC) serving the Newton community and surrounding counties. Health Ministries currently operates locations at 215 S. Pine, Newton, in Halstead and a smaller clinic called Primary Care Partners on the campus of Newton Medical Center.

Health Ministries offers medical services on a sliding fee scale for people without insurance and also accepts Medicare, Medicaid/KanCare and most health insurances.