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A Different Way of Doing Health Care

Kearney Regional Medical Center embodies physicians’ vision for patient-centered care.

By Livability on November 22, 2022

Kearney Regional Medical Center

Dedicated to keeping patient care at the heart of the mission and concerned that health care across the country was increasingly losing that focus, a group  of local physicians set out to launch a new health system in 2005. 

That decision was quickly followed by a state moratorium on hospital construction, a national recession and new regulations under the Affordable Care Act that prohibited physician-owned hospitals. 

Undeterred, the doctors found an investment partner to turn their vision of physician-guided health care into a reality, and Kearney Regional Medical Center (KRMC) officially opened its doors in December 2013, earning full Medicare certification the following spring. 

While some might have viewed the hospital opening as an endpoint, it turned out to be just the beginning. In September 2014, Platte Valley Medical Group became part of the KRMC family. The following year, the health system embarked on a $40 million, multiyear expansion plan. 

“The community has actually asked us to be what we are today,” CEO Bill Calhoun says of KRMC’s growth into  a comprehensive, integrated delivery system. Although much has changed 

over the last decade, the foundational principles of the physician-led system have never wavered. 

“Our vision is to provide state-of-the-art medical care that’s personal, compassionate, innovative and delivered in a resourceful way,” Calhoun says.  

“It means we’re taking care of folks  and anticipating their needs and treating them with respect as if they  are a close family member.”

Kearney Regional Medical Center

Commitment to Community

For Kearney Regional, the emphasis is on the “regional” as it quickly became apparent the need for additional health care options wasn’t limited to Buffalo County. KRMC serves more than 200,000 people in central and southwest Nebraska and northern Kansas. Physicians often make long treks to ensure rural residents have access to care. 

That commitment to the community has also been the impetus to add more service lines, ensuring local access to high-quality care. Since 2015, KRMC has added a 24-hour emergency department and maternity services with a birthing center. 

“We deliver over 70% of the babies in this primary catchment area,” Calhoun notes of the hospital’s popularity with expectant parents. 

For 2023, Calhoun says a priority area is provider clinic expansion to have the capacity to add specialties, including dermatology, and grow existing service lines. 

“We’re looking to more than double the size of the existing clinic footprint,” he says with clear excitement. Calhoun adds the projection is to create more than 60 exam spaces with construction completed in 2024.

Kearney Regional Medical Center

A New Chapter Begins

Rounding out the first decade of operations, Calhoun says it was imperative to find a way to sustain momentum. At the beginning of 2022, KRMC approached the nonprofit Bryan Health to discuss the possibility of working together. Calhoun notes being part of a larger system unlocks new resources and addresses three key areas for KRMC

“Having the backing of Bryan Health, we saw there was an opportunity to offer more provider services in the rural areas,” Calhoun explains. “By coming together, that put us in a better financial position to be able to add more space,”  he continues of growing the local clinic footprint. 

Third, it returned ownership to a Nebraska entity. “Our managing partner was in Kansas,” says Calhoun. “It was important to us to have a Nebraska-based owner and operator to help support our provider and  facility growth.” 

Staying true to their “local choice, local voice” mission, however, was non-negotiable. “This wouldn’t have happened if Bryan wasn’t open to the vision of local governance and direct physician involvement in community decision-making,” Calhoun states. 

Happily, Bryan Health was on board, ushering in an exciting new chapter for Kearney Regional.

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