LARNED — Heart of Kansas Family Health Care in Larned has been recognized for its many contributions to its patients and the community, said Alex Filbert, executive director of the Larned Area Chamber of Commerce.


The Small Business of the Year Award was announced recently during a special coffee hour and open house; the chamber’s annual banquet was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns.


"We sponsor the Community Awards annually to recognize our very deserving businesses, organizations and individuals that go above and beyond to serve our community," Filbert said.


Criteria for the small-business award include: employing fewer than 15 people; providing excellent customer service; participating in philanthropic activities; being community-minded; and providing workforce development.


The Heart of Kansas nomination letter indicated, in part, that the clinic at 522 Broadway "helped our community by expanding local healthcare within the past year."


Filbert said the recognition was deserved because "we value Heart of Kansas as one of our outstanding chamber businesses. Yes, they provide high-quality healthcare but they also create and retain job opportunities and are true community partners."


The chamber’s all-day open house allowed local and area residents to stop by and celebrate the awards in person or virtually.


"We encouraged social distancing, handwashing and face masks to err on the side of caution," Filbert said. "We certainly missed the camaraderie of our banquet setting but this was a nice substitute."


Heart of Kansas Family Health Care is a Federally Qualified Health Center, which allows it to be a safety net for patients who are uninsured or underinsured. Its professional providers also welcome those with insurance at the Great Bend, Larned and Stafford locations. Heart of Kansas is open to everyone.