A ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration of the completion of Community Hospital’s Anderson Center for Radiation Oncology was held today in McCook. Participating in the ceremony were Community Hospital staff and board members; and community residents in McCook and the hospital’s service area.
“This journey is now completed with the opening of this center,” Ulrich added. “We have strived for a number of years now to greatly enhance our ability to provide for not only medical oncology (chemotherapy) but also now radiation oncology, making us far and away the leader in the provision of cancer care services in southwest Nebraska and northwest Kansas,” said Jim Ulrich, Community Hospital President & CEO.
“USDA Rural Development is very pleased to assist in the funding of this great hospital project,” said USDA Rural Development Community Programs Director Denise-Brosius-Meeks, who attended the event with staff.” “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.”
Funding for the nearly $6 million Anderson Center building project was provided through a $3 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, nearly $1 million raised through the Campaign for Cancer Care by Community Hospital Health Foundation (including the $500 thousand lead gift from the Anderson family) and $1.5 million borrowed from USDA Rural Development. Community Hospital contributed the remaining funds needed for the project.
“Providing radiation oncology services will have a tremendously positive impact for patients in our region,” said Ulrich. “An average 325 new cancer cases are diagnosed in our region annually. Adding this service allows us to provide comprehensive cancer care which is so very important to our patients. We see it as an essential service since this area includes the highest population of elderly in Nebraska, with incidents of specific cancer rates above the national average,” he added.
Funding for Phases 1 and 2 of the building project were 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, Neb., 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.
Phase One 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.
Phase Two, 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.
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.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.