Pender Community Health Care Foundation to construct $20.5 million hospital

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PENDER, Neb. – USDA Rural Development has approved $14 million in direct loans to the Pender Community Health Care Foundation. The loans will be leveraged with $6 million in commercial financing and $500,000 from the foundation. The funds will be used to construct a new replacement hospital that will serve nearly 20,000 rural residents.

“I am very pleased that the Pender Community Health Care Foundation is able to assist in the construction of a new hospital facility to provide quality health care for the benefit of residents in the communities we serve,” said Chairman Al Maul, Pender Community Health Care Foundation.

“The prospect of constructing a state-of-the-art replacement hospital here in Pender, Neb. is exciting. The current hospital, which has served the residents of the health care district well for many years, was designed for the health care model of the past, which was centered on in-patient care. The new health care model is focused on increasing outpatient procedures. The new facility will improve efficiencies in our service delivery,” said Chief Executive Officer Richard Thomason, Pender Community Hospital.

“National studies have consistently demonstrated that replacement critical access hospitals show patient volumes generally increased beyond expectations; staffing increased for higher volumes and/or new services; a positive impact on physician recruitment; improved ability to recruit and retain staff in an increasingly competitive environment; and direct and indirect economic development of the community.”

The Pender Community Hospital is a 35,000-square-foot structure that was constructed in 1956 with additions to the facility made over the past years. The numerous additions have made them landlocked, therefore lacking room for future expansion.

The Pender Community Medical System is a model of an effective rural health system. The new hospital will significantly enhance the delivery of health care to the area and remove the numerous operation inefficiencies that exist in the current facility. The new 55,350-square-foot hospital, located on a nine acre site, will provide 19 private inpatient rooms, offer room for expanding surgery, radiology and mobile modalities without affecting the overall site improvements.

The hospital will feature separate public/outpatient traffic from staff/inpatient traffic offering more privacy for the inpatients in all of their treatments. Easier convenient access will be provided for the outpatients. More services will be provided locally. The specialty clinic will be expanded to allow four physicians to conduct clinics with three exam rooms each and will include stress testing, wound care, and infusion therapy.

“Quality rural health care is a priority for USDA Rural Development. We take great pleasure in assisting with the new hospital and having a facility that will provide long term health care for the area,” said Area Specialist Jolene Kasper, of Rural Development.

The USDA Rural Development loan will be for 40 years at 3.75 percent interest and was funded through the Community Facility Direct loan program.