Who is leading Heartland Community Health Center? The clinic isn’t saying

photo by: Ashley Golledge/Journal-World File Photo

The entrance to Heartland Community Health Center, 346 Maine St., Suite 150, is shown Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.

It is unclear who is leading a local health center that has been one of the main participants in the COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Douglas County.

The chief executive officer of Heartland Community Health Center, Robyn Coventon, has not responded to inquiries about whether she is still serving in her role. It is also unclear whether Heartland’s chief administrative officer, Lucas Houk, is still serving in his position.

The Journal-World made inquiries to Heartland after a reader asked about the status of leadership at the health care organization.

The Journal-World reached out to numerous members of Heartland’s board of directors as well as current staff members to ask whether the CEO and CAO were still serving in their roles. None of the people reached Thursday morning said they could comment on the situation, but no one affirmed that the CEO and CAO were still working. Those reached Thursday morning told the Journal-World to contact other people, such as the president of the board and a staff member at Heartland. Those people have not yet replied to the Journal-World.

In January, Heartland merged with Panda Pediatrics. When reached Thursday morning, the nursing manager at Panda Pediatrics said she was not able to comment on the situation. Houk, Heartland’s CAO, served as the practice administrator at Panda Pediatrics prior to the merger.

Heartland has been involved in Unified Command’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the county. George Diepenbrock, spokesperson for Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, said that Heartland “remains a partner under our current Unified Command COVID-19 response in helping deliver vaccines in the community, particularly right now in clinics targeting those in Douglas County experiencing barriers to getting an appointment.”

Diepenbrock did not have a comment about Heartland’s leadership.

In March of 2018, Heartland’s previous CEO, Jon Stewart, was suspended from his position after a unanimous vote from Heartland’s board of directors. Heartland never made clear the reason for Stewart’s departure, despite multiple inquiries from the Journal-World.

Heartland is a federally qualified health center that serves Douglas County and surrounding areas with primary medical care and other health services and assistance programs. Many of Heartland’s patients are uninsured, underinsured or otherwise medically underserved. The clinic offers a sliding scale of fees to make health care more affordable.

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