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Kearney Regional Attains Blue Distinction Orthopedic Spine Surgery

Kearney Regional Medical Center has been named a Blue Distinction Center® in orthopedic spine surgery by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.  The award is given to medical facilities that demonstrate expertise in delivering quality health care. KRMC is one of only 3 hospitals in Nebraska and the only in Central Nebraska to have received this high honor.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska recognizes select doctors, hospitals and other healthcare facilities as Blue Distinction® for the safe, effective care they provide to their patients. Each must meet a specific set of rigorous standards to receive the Blue Distinction designation.

“Given the news that we were selected to be a Blue Distinction facility is very humbling,” said Dr. David Benavides, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon.  “It is indicative of the commitment this facility has to provide the best of care, particularly to our spine patients.  It is a direct reflection of this hospital’s primary objective of putting patients first and making sure our community is well taken care of.”

“The Acknowledgement will allow KRMC to continue to remain at the forefront of spine surgery innovation focusing on patient outcomes,” added Dr. James Mahalek, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon.  “Patients will have assurance that spine treatments at KRMC will exceed standards of quality that few centers achieve.”

“The selection for Blue Distinction is an honor that reflects all the hard work coming to fruition for this facility,” added Dr. Benavides. “To be recognized by such a well-known and respected insurance company like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska allows KRMC to be able to tell patients that they trust us. We work hard to earn that trust from the patients and to provide the best possible care here in the best and newest facility around.”Blue Distinction Centers for spine surgery are awarded to medical facilities exhibiting a commitment to quality care, resulting in better overall outcomes for patients. These facilities offer experienced, comprehensive inpatient spine surgery services, including discectomy, fusion and decompression procedures. Research confirms that hospitals designated as Blue Distinction Centers for spine surgery have fewer patients with complications and fewer hospital readmissions than non-designated hospitals.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska is a community-based, member-owned health insurance company serving Nebraskans for more than 75 years. BCBSNE is committed to providing stability and security to Nebraska families and is leading the way in supporting patient-focused care. We’re the state’s largest health insurance company, and the only one headquartered in Nebraska. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

About Kearney Regional Medical Center

KRMC is a 93-bed acute care hospital.  Dedicated to improving the health of our patients, Kearney Regional Medical Center delivers expert medical care that is patient-focused and cost-effective. Kearney Regional Medical Center’s state of the art facility offers patients sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic services covering the spectrum of care.  Kearney Regional is made up of Medical, Surgical, and Intensive Care Beds.  As well as a full suite of Operating Rooms, Interventional Cardiology and Radiology Labs, an Emergency Department, Maternity Care Center, and full Radiology Department for diagnostic services.

The staff at Kearney Regional consists of over 700 talented and compassionate physicians, nurses, clinical, and support staff.

Kearney Regional Honored with Distinction

Kearney Regional Medical Center has received the Mission: Lifeline® NSTEMI Bronze Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program’s goal is to reduce system barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks, beginning with the 9-1-1 call and continuing through hospital treatment.

“Kearney Regional Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our patients who suffer a heart attack, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that goal through nationally respected clinical guidelines,” said John Lanning, Chief Operating Officer with Kearney Regional Medical Center. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in cardiac care, and I am very proud of our team.”

“We commend Kearney Regional Medical Center for this achievement award, which reflects a significant institutional commitment to the highest quality of care for their heart attack patients,” said James G. Jollis, MD, past Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Advisory Working Group. “Achieving this award means the hospital has met specific reporting and achievement measures for the treatment of their patients who suffer heart attacks and we applaud them for their commitment to quality and timely care.”

Kearney Regional Medical Center earned the award by meeting specific criteria and standards of performance for the quick and appropriate treatment of NSTEMI patients by providing emergency procedures to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries when needed. Eligible hospitals must have adhered to these measures at a set level for at least one consecutive 90 day interval.

About Kearney Regional Medical Center

KRMC is an 89-bed acute care hospital.  Dedicated to improving the health of our patients, Kearney Regional Medical Center delivers expert medical care that is patient focused and cost effective. Kearney Regional Medical Center’s state of the art facility offers patients sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic services covering the spectrum of care.  Kearney Regional is made up of Medical, Surgical, and Intensive Care Beds.  As well as a full suite of Operating Rooms, Interventional Cardiology and Radiology Labs, an Emergency Department, Maternity Care Center, and full Radiology Department for diagnostic services.

The staff at Kearney Regional consists of over 700 talented and compassionate physicians, nurses, clinical, and support staff.

 About Mission: Lifeline

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI and NSTEMI patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation clinical treatment guidelines.  For more information, visit

Kearney Regional Medical Center delivers 100th baby

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Barrett Hunt can be forgiven for being unimpressed with recognition as the 100th baby born at Maternity Care Center of Kearney Regional Medical Center.

When Barrett made his debut at 8:03 p.m. Wednesday, his mother, Megan, was neck in neck with another laboring mother to have the 100th baby. According to nurse Patty Perry it was a close call.

“It was actually funny because Megan wanted to be the 100th, and the other mom was hoping to be 101 because that number is part of their business. It was a close call to see if both moms made their goal,” she said.

Hunt was thrilled, despite 16 hours of labor, that her son received the honor.
His father, Branden had a grin from ear to ear as he held his son in front of the information board with the number written out.
“We couldn’t be more proud. We’re excited to take him home,” he said.
When the couple toured the facility before the birth, Branden liked how the rooms were designed with fathers in mind.

“I could help out when she needed to shower or rest and still spend time with Barrett,” he said.

The 7-pound 3-ounce baby boy is the first child for the Sumner couple. The proud mom said she was very impressed with the state-of-the-art maternity wing and couldn’t have asked for anything else.

Registered Nurse Julie Hesseltine, a nurse for 30 years said the center has been busy birthing babies since opening day on Jan. 16. There have been several times when the center has been at full capacity.

“The center was built with plans to expand in the future, but my joke yesterday was, ‘When are we building the expansion?’ even though we opened in January.”

As of Saturday, the facility was up to 106 newborns and counting.

By Heather Riggleman
Kearney Hub Staff Writer


Kearney Regional ready for babies

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Kearney Regional Medical Center’s Maternity Care Center boasts the latest in technology.

“We are excited about the expansion and the ability to serve the Kearney area and surrounding community,” Director of Support Services Travis Gregg said as he gave tours Thursday.

The new maternity center will have an open house from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today (Saturday). Tours will be conducted, and light refreshments will be served.

Doors open Monday to patients.
The maternity wing is part of a $40 million expansion on the south side of the hospital at 804 22nd Ave. Construction began in October 2015.

The physician-managed hospital also added 23 patient rooms, six Intensive Care Unit beds, and an Emergency Department, which includes five beds. The expansion included a maintenance building and helicopter pad.

The Maternity Care Center has its own entrance.

“The center is peaceful, relaxing, and everything a birthing mom and medical staff needs is at our fingertips,” Registered Nurse and Maternity Services Manager Dani Peisiger said.

With 12 years of experience, the Kearney nurse says she’s looking forward to being a part of birth stories again. She came on board in September and said she’s been anxiously awaiting for the center to open.

“The unit was designed to give laboring mothers the best care, which includes large rooms, bathrooms with spa features with relaxing lighting, jetted tubs and rainhead showers, she said.

However the wing does not include a nursery to encourage rooming in. Rooming in after birth is when a newborn stays in the room with his or her mother instead of going to the hospital’s nursery.

“Rooming in allows moms to bond with their babies and adds an additional step of security. Of course, we understand some moms are just exhausted, and we’re happy to cuddle with those babies. It’s the best part of our job,” Peisiger said.

The rooms include a sofa that can be converted to a bed for new dads or other family members.

“The rooms also have an added step of security. A nurse must unlock the doors for parents to enter and when parents exit the room,” Peisiger said.

The 19,000-square-foot Maternity Care Center is staffed with 30 employees, has a gift shop, 10 labor and delivery rooms, two antepartum rooms, a spa tub for antepartum care, a surgery room, two on-call rooms for doctors and a four-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with state-of-the-art-technology, including a wireless telemetry monitor compared to the traditional method of fetal monitoring with belly bands.

“These units allow us to monitor a baby’s vitals, helping moms to be more mobile,” she said.

The NICU has state-of-the-art isolettes for infants.

“For babies who need a little help after birth, they can go to the NICU to rest and grow. We have the latest in technology isolettes that allow us to take care of the preemies a number of ways with little disruption,” Peisiger said.

Giraffe Isolettes in the unit create a stable and controlled environment.

“We can monitor their vital signs, administer light therapy for jaundice, take X-rays, check their weight without the baby ever leaving the isolette,” RN Jamie Cummings said.

The Maternity Care Center includes a nourishment center, a waiting area and a registration area.

“Because we have our own entrance, moms don’t have to register at the main registration center of the hospital. Moms can come here to be checked for any concerns without having to be admitted to the hospital,” Peisiger said.

She said she looks forward to opening day and has been giving tours to community members and expecting moms, “Monday can’t come soon enough,” Peisiger said.

By Heather Riggleman
Kearney Hub Writer


Council approves KRMC Expansion

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Just more than a year after its opening, Kearney Regional Medical Center will build a $19 million expansion.

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Kearney City Council unanimously approved development plans for an expansion at KRMC at 804 22nd Ave. The expansion will include two single-story patient wing additions, a maintenance building, a helicopter pad, and an expanded intensive-care unit with an emergency room and ambulance garage. All of the development will be built south of the existing hospital.

Les Mock, an architect at WDM Architects in Wichita, Kan., said sitework could begin as early as June, and estimated completion would be in late 2016. A contractor has estimated the cost at about $19 million, he said.

 The council previously approved development plans in February 2014 for the KRMC expansion, but changes to the plans make it necessary to have them re-approved.

“Last February, we came before council and had a development plan approved,” Mock said. “Essentially, what this new development plan represents is really an acceleration of those plans.”

The new plans show a larger maintenance building than originally proposed. A planned two-story patient wing on the west side of the hospital will now be a one-story wing on the south side.

KRMC opened in February 2014 with more than 20 patient rooms, two observation rooms and four intensive-care rooms.

Also Tuesday, the council approved terminating a lease with Pramac America and leasing the building at 4980 Airport Road to Baldwin Filters.

Pramac was recently purchased by Generax, a Wisconsin-based generator manufacturer. Generax has told the city that it will be relocating its manufacturing operations to Wisconsin. Under a termination agreement, the lease will expire on June 30.

Baldwin Filters will begin leasing the building on July 1 for $21,675 per month for three years. The company will have the option to extend the lease for an additional three-year term, with rent to increase 1.5 percent annually during the extension. Baldwin Filters also will pay real estate taxes on the property.

In other business, the council:

— Approved an application for a downtown revitalization planning grant through the Community Development Block Grant program, which is funded by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. For the first phase of the grant, the city will request $14,500 for planning, which requires a $7,000 match from the city. Upon completion of planning, the city will be eligible to apply for additional funding for downtown revitalization, which may include streetscape, lighting and sidewalk improvements.

— Approved a land-use map amendment, rezoning, platting and annexation for Eastbrooke 15th at 58th Street and Avenue U. The proposed subdivision consists of 25 single-family lots on nearly 10.5 acres.

— Approved the vacation, rezoning and platting for Marlatt Second Addition at 17th Street and Avenue M. Kearney Area Habitat for Humanity owns the property and wants to reconfigure the lots to build more homes.

— Approved development plans for an expansion at Hope Evangelical Free Church at 907 Ave. C. The project includes a 2,080-square-foot, one-story classroom and office addition on the west and south sides of the existing church.