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When Beatrice Community Hospital’s current location at 4800 Hospital Pkwy was opened in 2012, Mitch Deines, chairman of the hospital’s Board of Directors, fielded several questions from the community about the roughly 40 acres of land purchased, the change in location to the north part of town and the need for a new building.

“The former facility, it had been built on through the years and it was just kind of a maze of things everywhere... We just needed a space that would allow us to provide those new services to our patients,” Deines said.

Rick Haraldson, the hospital’s current CEO, said the additional land also gives the hospital room to grow and expand, especially in regards to technology.

Diane Vicars, senior executive for marketing communications at the hospital, said that after the hospital opened its new building, it started partnering with and buying out organizations like the Gage County Medical Clinic, Beatrice Medical Center, Community Physicians Clinic and rural and independent physician clinics.

Since then, the hospital has created an electronic health record and billing system that can be accessed across buildings.

Haraldson said the health record lists patients’ background and medical information, which keeps clinics from having to take repetitive exams.

“It makes it much quicker to communicate some of the issues and concerns, especially if somebody’s coming into the emergency room,” Haraldson said.

Currently, the hospital employs roughly 590 people throughout all locations.

Vicars said roughly 55% are from Beatrice, and Deines said roughly 75% are from Gage County.

Haraldson said the recruitment process is an important and ongoing process at the hospital, as current physicians are looking to retire.

This year, the hospital saw the additions of Dr. Sarah Castillo, Dr. Eric Daharsh and Dr. Benjamin Thayer, and is still currently seeking pediatricians, general surgeons and internal medicine and family practice physicians.

Haraldson said a family medicine residency outreach program through the University of Nebraska Medical Center was organized this year by Dr. Steven Paulmeyer, and allows practicing students hands-on experience.

“Not only do we get their services while they’re here in residency and learn, there’s an opportunity for them to see if they like living in Beatrice, and the opportunity to recruit them in the future,” Haraldson said.

Other improvements the hospital has made this year include its new handicapped parking lot, additional wound and ostomy services and the Beatrice Women’s Aesthetics clinic.

Haraldson said he will continue to identify needs expressed by both  patients and staff, and will discuss enacting them with the board if they can be maintained, quality programs.

Deines said the board will also continue working with local agencies to improve the health of the community.

“We are a community organization, we have a responsibility to take care of people here,” Deines said. “That’s really been the focus of conversation the last 10 years.”

Deines said instead of having duplicate health services through the school system, for example, the hospital could become a partner to provide care.

He gave a personal example of his mother being an insulin-dependent diabetic with poor vision, and said she uses the Beatrice Mary Family YMCA to exercise.

“Since she started going to the Y and walking, she uses less insulin,” Deines said. “It’s a perfect example of that, so we’ve got to continue those partnerships, I think.”

Overall, Deines said it seems like there’s always something going on at the hospital.

“The fact that this facility has allowed us to improve our technology, which improves patient care, I think is exciting…We have a great thing going here, we’ve just got to keep it going,” Deines said.

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