Ascension Via Christi Health, a longtime provider of outpatient care in Derby, Kansas, has expanded its community presence by investing in a 31-bed acute care hospital, ambulatory surgery center and medical complex being developed by CBC Real Estate and PartnersHealth.

Recently, Via Christi finalized its 25 percent ownership interest in Rock Medical Assets, an entity comprising local investors, real estate developers and private capital firms. Via Christi, whose Derby primary care clinic moved into a newly constructed building last October, will have a seat on the hospital board. Candor Healthcare, a Dallas-based healthcare management firm, in collaboration with local physicians, will manage the day-to-day operations of Rock Regional Hospital and Rock Surgery Center, an ambulatory surgical center.

“The hospital and ambulatory surgical center will become part of the Via Christi clinically integrated network, which is important to employers like Spirit AeroSystems, which has chosen us as its preferred network provider of care for its Wichita-area employees, many of whom live in and around Derby,” said Michael Mullins, Senior Vice President, Ascension Healthcare, and Ministry Market Executive, Ascension Kansas/Oklahoma.

Currently, the closest full-service hospital for Derby residents is Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph, which is about 12 miles north of Derby.

Last year, Rock Medical Assets bought the ambulatory surgical center today known as Rock Surgery Center from Derby Family Medicine. It has four operating rooms designed for same-day procedures. Also, in 2017 construction of the 89,000-square-foot Rock Regional Hospital began. The multispecialty hospital will offer 24 medical-surgical suites, seven intensive care beds, four operating rooms, two procedure rooms and two heart catheterization labs. It is expected to open the first quarter of 2019.

“This partnership with Via Christi will bring collaboration with the largest clinically integrated network in Kansas,” said Jason Eitutis, Rock Regional Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer. “It’s very exciting for Rock Regional and for the city of Derby.”

Photo: From left, Jason Eitutis, CEO, Rock Regional Hospital; Dr. Mark Niederee, Wichita Surgical Specialists; Clem Borkowski, Managing Director, Rock Regional Assets; Kevin Strecker, Regional Hospital President, Via Christi; and Mike Mullins, Senior Vice President, Ascension Healthcare, and Ministry Market Executive, Ascension Kansas/Oklahoma, gather for the formal signing ceremony finalizing Via Christi’s investment in Rock Regional Hospital.