Lucas Presson

Lucas Presson is the assistant publisher of the Southeast Missourian.

Health care in Southeast Missouri: Big ideas in a small town

Stories about health care over the past year have largely focused on the global pandemic and related elements like mask-wearing, government-imposed shutdowns, vaccines and treatments. Nearly every area of life was affected from schools to work to shopping. Even going to church changed for a time, many choosing to worship virtually using online platforms.

There were groups of people who brought meals to health care workers, those who prayed outside hospitals and others who generally encouraged those on the frontlines.

For a period of time elective procedures were delayed — first believed to be necessary, then not. And there were financial challenges that came with that decision, too.

In large part due to the ready availability of COVID vaccines, virus numbers, which for Southeast Missouri spiked in the late fall and winter, are now consistently low.

Large public gatherings have started to return, yet another semblance of normalcy.

And while so much of society’s focus has been on the pandemic, the reality is there is much more to health care in this area.

It’s a major source of employment with two major health systems, a new behavioral health hospital now open and a VA medical center scheduled to open in February. And it’s not limited to the hospitals. There are independent doctors’ offices, imaging facilities and medical spas, among other service providers.

Health care also drives other economic activity close to home. You have workers who live in this area, shop here and go out to eat in our local restaurants. There’s medical tourism, which encompasses patients and their families who drive a distance for medical care in the Cape Girardeau area.

In this edition of B Magazine, we take a look at some of the non-COVID topics of health care in Southeast Missouri, including: The shortage of nurses around the country and how local hospitals are recruiting; why some individuals choose to pursue nursing; the history of Doctors’ Park and its future; plus an interview with the CEO of the new behavioral health hospital.

In reporter Monica Obradovic’s story about Doctors’ Park there’s a particularly interesting observation by the late Dr. Charles P. McGinty.

McGinty, one of Doctors’ Park’s original founders who died in 2010, once told the Southeast Missourian: “We wanted to bring a big idea to a small town.” It’s a statement that could be said about many other endeavors locally, both past and present.

In the following pages you’ll read about some of these big ideas and the visionaries behind them.

Lucas Presson


B Magazine