Hospital Addition Adds to Local Economic Success

Hospital Addition Adds to Local Economic Success Main Photo

3 Nov 2020

In an era when many rural communities are losing doctors, hospitals and health care resources, Phelps Memorial Health Center is a shining star.

The local health care industry is the third-largest employer in the county and adds $103 million to the local economy each year. PMHC continues to add new services, new doctors and new patients and is one of the major drivers of economic growth in the county.

“Customers of Phelps Memorial Health Center, Phelps Medical Group and Family Medical Specialties come to Holdrege for high-quality healthcare services,” said Lacie Westcott, PMHC’s Chief Experience Officer. “Visits to our community impact other businesses including local eating establishments and shopping."

The hospital completed a major expansion project in 2012 and in August of 2020, it unveiled its latest expansion – a new 42,000-square-foot space for its rural health clinic, cardiac and pulmonary rehab services and oncology and infusion. It also has a second-story space for future growth.

The new addition houses Phelps Medical Group, which is a medical clinic that now includes four providers: Dr. Charlotte Wirges, MD; Dr. Zach Egger, DO; Russell Carlston, DPM (podiatry); and Michelle Hunter. The team provides all primary medical care services, diabetes treatments, women’s health and obstetrics. A fifth provider, Dr. Danika Peterson, MD, will join the team in November.

APRN Stacey VanBoening also works from the new space. South East Cancer Center of Lincoln provides outreach services to oncology patients in Holdrege. A team of three oncologists are onsite three times per month to consult with patients. VanBoening, works closely with the oncologists to provide patients a continuum of care in the new location. Oncology and infusion services have grown significantly in the past few years.

Local residents who need continuous care (daily or weekly) for chemotherapy or podiatry services can avoid traveling for these services, saving time and resources.

PMHC Public Relations, Volunteer & Foundation Coordinator Keri Berry said Russell Carlston’s podiatry services have been helpful to many local patients.

“We are so fortunate to have such a great team of healthcare providers in Holdrege,” Berry said. “We can help patients avoid traveling distances to receive their care, especially when they have weekly visits or follow-ups. For instance, Dr. Carlston is a podiatrist who may see patients weekly for several weeks to keep on top of a diabetic foot ulcer. It's a huge benefit for these patients to have him in our community.  We also have 25 visiting specialists that come to Phelps Memorial on a monthly basis.

“Whether its appointments with a specialist, the oncology team, a podiatrist or trip to the ER, we are extremely blessed to have the quality and experienced medical providers in our community to care for our patients,” Berry said.

Phelps Memorial and local health clinics serve a large geographic area with patients coming from Elm Creek to Phillipsburg, Kansas.

The team of doctors at Family Medical Specialties also works closely with Phelps Memorial Health Center. Its team includes Dr. Jeffrey Berney, MD; Dr. Scott Ehresman, MD; Dr. Shane Smith, MD; Dr. Jacob Peterson, MD; Dr. Krista Stoecker; Dr. Katie Thelen, MD; Dr. Tyler Haussler, MD; Mallory Haas, PA-C and Charles Christie, PA-C.

As of November 2020, Holdrege will have 10 physicians (with new Dr. Danika Peterson), four physician’s assistants, five APRNs and a podiatrist to serve patients. The team also includes three CRNAs and 25 visiting specialists who come to Phelps Memorial monthly.

Phelps Memorial Health Center provides more than 100 healthcare services and is continually growing.

The hospital team is proud to be named as one of the Top 100 critical access hospitals in the United States by The Chartis Center for Rural Health and received a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The hospital is also one of the largest employers in the community with nearly 293 staff members (including PMHC and Phelps Medical Group).

Many employees live in Holdrege, but many also commute from towns like Kearney, Alma, and Oxford. Employees drive from as far as McCook, Broken Bow, Grand Island and Louisville to work at PMHC.

“Our local healthcare network has a strong foundation built on a collaborative partnership,” Westcott said. “Our team understands the benefits of receiving healthcare treatment close to home. We strive every day to enhance our level of service to the families we serve and ensure access to high-quality healthcare in rural Nebraska."