Valeo CEO says possible St. Francis closure could affect mental health care

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - One local leader says the possible loss of St. Francis could also affect mental health care in the community.

Valeo Behavioral Health CEO Bill Persinger told Shawnee County Commissioners Monday morning emergency room access is sometimes the way people first come in contact with behavioral health. He said any reduction in emergency rooms would be a concern.

Persinger says he's also concerned for any reductions in family practices and primary care, something he has already brought up during recent discussions with local hospitals and other health care providers.

"We'd sure miss the vitality and the energy that is brought to those conversations with the two hospital system, as it is now and I think it would be a serious loss for the community," Persinger said.

Persinger says the overwhelming demand on a single emergency room in Shawnee County would also be a general concern.