(McCook Daily Gazette)
Nelson joined Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy in Sunday's ribbon cutting marking the grand opening of the hospital's Phase 2 construction project, including new surgery suites and other facilities.
Major funding for the project was provided by USDA Rural Development.
(McCook Daily Gazette)
"There's nothing unusual about McCook being on the leading edge" in projects like the hospital's, he said, listing Nebraska's first junior college and major industries such as the railroad in McCook's accomplishments.
"There's no wonder that we're here today," said Nelson, who delayed an important trip for Sunday's ceremonies, as well as attending groundbreaking ceremonies on a sweltering September 2009 day, and braving a blizzard in 2011 for other hospital project milestone ceremonies.
"This is a great project that will help assure the health of people throughout the McCook area for generations to come," said Senator Nelson. "Everyone who worked on this project is to be congratulated for doing such a wonderful job. You have helped Community Hospital improve its patient-centered services in a modem facility to provide top-flight health services."
Good access to healthcare is vital to the health of the rural economy, and "I can't think of a better way" to encourage such health than investments in projects like Community Hospital's, he said.
"l am delighted to be joining you to celebrate the completion of Phase 2 for the Community Hospital," said Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy. "Hospitals serve an important role, particularly in rural Nebraska where access to quality health care is key to the well-being of individuals and families of all ages. This phase of completion is an important link in our health care system by serving as one of Nebraska's Critical Access Hospitals. This nearly $35 million facility is a perfect example of cooperation and collaboration and demonstrates Nebraskans ability to work together."
"USDA Rural Development is very pleased to assist in the funding of this great hospital project," Nebraska State Director Maxine Moul, USDA Rural Development said later.
"It is essential that rural residents have access to up to date medical care. This facility and the services offered will bring top quality care to those served. We are also pleased that this project was named one of the Top Ten ARRA projects in the nation, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."
"It was 38 years ago today on July 1 that Community Hospital opened its brand new hospital on the hill. That 1974 vision and courage exhibited by our hospital leaders and community made it possible for us to unveil how we have changed the landscape of healing," said Jim Ulrich, Community Hospital President and CEO. "Phase 2 brings together world-class technology along with leading-edge and evidence-based design all in an effort to improve our ability to provide quality, efficient, and patient-centered care."
Funding for Phases 1 and 2 of the building project was provided through a $17 million Rural Development loan, funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Additionally, a $15 million Rural Development community facility guaranteed loan was financed through Thayer County Bank in Hebron, Nebraska, representing a group of Independent Community Banks in Nebraska, including West Gate Bank-Lincoln, Bank of Lewellen, Pathway Bank-Cairo, McCook National Bank, Plattsmouth State Bank, State Bank of Bartley, Bruning State Bank, First Central Bank-McCook, Farmers State Bank-Wallace, Home State Bank-Louisville, American National Bank-Sidney, AmFirst-McCook, Farmers State Bank-Maywood, Bankers' Bank of the West-Lincoln. The Community Hospital Association contributed the remaining $2,730,000 needed and has secured $35 million in funding.
"Working with the Community Hospital, USDA Rural Development, and 14 other community banks has provided one of the best examples I have seen of leveraging private bank loans with government loans. Community Hospital is a very well run institution that, with the funding, is able to provide medical care and services more efficiently into the future for the benefit of a very nice community and regional area," said President Pat Kenner, Thayer County Bank.
Phase 2 included the construction of a new surgery wing as well as outpatient spaces for patients receiving pain medications and chemotherapy. Also included are a new pharmacy area, a spacious Healing Garden and a large community and staff meeting room for wellness programs such as diabetic education and 55PLUS.
Phase One was a 14-month project that constructed a new 25-bed acute patient wing with five nursing support areas, two labor-delivery-recovery rooms, a waiting area and nursery on the west side of Community Hospital, and two isolation/hospice respite rooms.
The Phase I and 2 construction projects have already created more than 400 construction Jobs in addition to a tremendous amount of community commerce.
In addition to the current projects, hospital improvements totaling $13.3 million have been completed over the last 25 years to accommodate the health care needs of the area. Rural Development has participated in several of these hospital projects through a combined total of $5 million in loan assistance, in addition to the $32 million for the current project.
Community Hospital is a Critical Access Hospital, located in McCook, Nebraska, that provides acute inpatient and outpatient care, skilled nursing, emergency medicine, surgery, obstetrics and delivery, diagnostic facilities, a pharmacy and rehabilitation services. The hospital offers two rural health clinics, an outpatient services center, home health and hospice programs, visiting specialists, sleep study and orthopedic clinics. Community Hospital serves the 11,500 residents of Red Willow County along with residents of Frontier, Furnas, Hayes, and Hitchcock counties in Nebraska; and Cheyenne, Decatur, and Rawlins counties of Kansas.