Newton Medical Center recognized as top hospital

Newton Medical Centeronce again has been named one of the Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals in the United States by The Chartis Center for Rural Health. Regarded as one of the industry’s most significant designations of performance excellence, this annual award honoring rural hospital performance is determined by the results of iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2020.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of the top performing rural and community hospitals in the country for a third time,” said Val Gleason, president and CEO of Newton Medical Center. “At NMC, we have a passion for the health of our community and the care of our patients. This designation is a true reflection of how all of our providers and staff commit to excellence in service every day.”

Based entirely on publicly available data, the INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance. Utilizing 50 independent indicators, the INDEX assesses performance across eight pillars of performance that span market-, value- and finance-based categories. Hospitals recognized as a Top 100 facility had one of the 100 highest overall scores among all Rural & Community Hospitals nationally.

“The Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital award program reminds us that rural providers haven’t lost touch with their mission and are committed to delivering better quality, better outcomes and better patient satisfaction. It’s a pleasure to be able to not only recognize this year’s recipients, but our larger group of top 100 alumni as we celebrate 10 years of The Hospital Strength INDEX,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader, The Chartis Center for Rural Health.

NMC is a 103-bed hospital located at the intersection of I-135 and Highway 50, including 10 primary care and specialty clinics.

Bluestem Wellness Centers donate to food bank

The Bluestem Wellness Centers in Hesston and North Newton collected over 400 pounds of food and personal hygiene products during their Food Drive for Fitness promotion this past January. This was the second time the fitness centers collected items in conjunction with their January membership drive.

The collected items were donated to the Hesston Resource Center and the Bethel College Food Pantry. The Hesston Resource Center serves community members in need of food and personal hygiene products. The Bethel College Food Pantry, which opened this past November, provides food for low-income and nontraditional students of Bethel College.

Jason Jones, director of Bluestem Wellness, would like to thank the community for their participation.

“We had a large amount of people bring in donations throughout the month of January,” said Jones. “It was even more than last year.”

As part of their January membership drive, the Bluestem Wellness Centers committed to donating an item for every new or renewed member they had join during the month.

“We ended up have having a total of 85 new and renewed memberships between our two locations. We definitely consider that a success since our goal was 50,” explained Jones. “And it was 20 more members than last year.”

Bluestem Wellness leadership bought their matching items from the North Dillions on Main Street in Newton, which donated gift cards to the Bethel College Food Pantry and Hesston Resource Center.

The Bluestem Wellness Centers serve over 1,200 members and contribute their success to the friendly feel of their centers.

Sen. Moran announces $27 million frant for Kansas railway

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., recently announced the Kansas Department of Transportation was awarded $27 million for upgrades to the South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad, utilized by rural customers across Kansas to transport crops, minerals, chemicals, steel and other products across the country. This funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program.

Last month, Moran spoke with FRA administrator Ronald Batory in support of this project and also wrote a letter of support last October. This grant will help replace the current rail with heavier rails that can accommodate trains moving at faster speeds and carrying a higher capacity. Additionally, these changes will help enhance safety, increase efficiency and reduce fuel usage.

“Farmers and businesses that have made their homes in rural communities rely on rail transportation to move their products to markets around the state and country,” Moran said. “This grant will allow the South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad to modernize their railways, increasing the speed of transportation and permitting heavier shipments to be moved across the region. I’m excited for the new economic opportunities this grant will afford our farmers and manufacturers in rural Kansas.”

Employers invited to join ’Give Back Kansas Challenge’

Kansas employers are invited to registration for the second annual Give Back Kansas Challenge, now through March 30, and encourage their employees to participate in community volunteering during the eight-week competition that runs April 6-May 31.

The Give Back Kansas Challenge is an opportunity for employees who volunteer to receive recognition by tracking and reporting their hours, as well as for employees who may be first time volunteers to try something new that could help them develop additional skills or enthusiasm for their work.

“The Challenge will be a fun and exciting way for employers and employees to learn more about organizations in their communities and help out by giving of their time,” said Nola Brown, executive director of Volunteer Kansas, which partners with the Kansas Volunteer Commission to bring the Challenge to Kansas.

There is no cost to participate, and the challenge is open to any employer in Kansas (for profit, nonprofit and government). Employers register in advance at to participate, and volunteer hours are reported through an online portal by the employer’s self-designated point of contact.

Based on the number of entries received and company size, employers will be divided into three categories (small, medium and large). Winners will be selected by determining the average number of volunteer hours per employee completed during the challenge period. Employers achieving the highest average in each size category will have a $1,000 donation made on their behalf by Volunteer Kansas to the charity of their choice.

“Research shows that employer-supported volunteering can result in improved employee engagement, organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and retention, “ said Jessica Noble, KVC’s executive director. “We look forward to seeing the many positive ways that participating organizations are affected during the Give Back Kansas Challenge.”

Complete information and resources on how to participate and find volunteer opportunities are available at or by contacting Jessica Noble at or 785-296-3163.