Public offers ideas at Beatrice Community Hospital listening session

September 28, 2018

Local officials gave their input on the future of Beatrice Community Hospital and Health Center at a listening session at Beatrice Public Library, Wednesday afternoon.

The listening session was one of three strategic planning meetings that the hospital held this week to gauge public perception and hear from the community on its future.

Ken Foster, rural division development officer with Bryan Health and Heartland Health Alliance, led Wednesday’s discussion.

“It’s a good time for them [Beatrice Community Hospital] to be strategic planning on how they position themselves for the future to best serve the community,” he said.

Foster began the session by asking the 10 or so gathered at the library to rate their perception of the hospital, followed by what they liked or thought was lacking at the hospital.

Beatrice police chief Bruce Lang emphasized the need for better mental health resources.

“It’s an everyday occurrence where we deal with someone with mental health issues,” Lang said. ”...As far as the individual that needs ongoing mental health treatment, it’s difficult to get them into the one clinic that’s here. But nonetheless, we don’t have lot of treatment options for these folks.”

Lang added that there even less options for adolescents, saying that parents often have to take their children to Lincoln for mental health treatment.

Others praised the hospital’s campus and how it represents Beatrice to visitors coming to town from the north on U.S. Highway 77.

Some at the session voiced concerns about access to certain specialists and higher costs for procedures compared to Lincoln hospitals.

Don Carpenter, manager of strategic portfolio services, said an urgent care clinic is set to open on Jan. 1, 2019, which will provide more ease of access to patients needing only a quick visit.

“There a lot of challenges but a lot of opportunities,” said Foster. “There’s not an easy answer for some of these things.”

Lastly, discussions were held on the pros and cons of many of the county’s clinics under the hospital’s control.

“There now all under the umbrella of the hospital and campus,” Foster said. “There’s real potential there to deliver services, rather than take them away.”

Some suggested the hospital expand community outreach, whether through more local collaboration or engagement with Beatrice schools.

A listening session was also held at the ESU 5 office on Monday evening. The third and final session was held at the Wymore Community Center, Wednesday night.

Suggestions from the hearings will be forwarded to the hospital’s Board of Directors.

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