Crowd gathers to hear about hospital plan

When Chase County Community Hospital (CCCH) CEO Steve Lewis was in college, he asked his father, also a hospital CEO, how they could save rural hospitals.
    “We’re going to take care of the folks,” Steve’s dad told him all those years ago. “Everything else will just work out.”
    That’s exactly the plan behind the new facility CCCH presented to the public last week in Imperial.

Critical access hospital
    In 1984, Medicare started paying hospitals per diagnosis instead of per cost.
    “That really hurt small hospitals,” Lewis said.
    “Rural hospitals have a lot more medicare patients than urban hospitals.”
    Those rural hospitals started going under and losing healthcare.
    That’s when critical hospitals were created.
    The government went back to paying allowable cost instead of per diagnosis, which allowed these rural hospitals to stay open.
    There are 346 critical access hospitals in the nation and 65 in Nebraska.
    To be considered a critical access hospital, there can’t be over 25 beds, must maintain an average stay of 96 hours or less, and have a 24/7 emergency room (ER).

Not up to code
    Val Williams of Adolfson and Peterson construction and Katherine DiPietro of Davis Partnerships Architects spoke about what is wrong with the current facility, which was dedicated on June 26, 1977.
    Being a 41-year-old building, there are many modern building codes that are not met by the current infrastructure.
    “We’re looking at three things needed for a good facility: privacy, access and safety,” Williams said.
    “There are some stunning, amazing, caring and thoughtful human beings in your community. And I am proud of them and I’m proud to help and serve them,” she continued.

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