History of Phelps Memorial Health Center
April 28, 1968 - patients were admitted to the new facility.
The new community hospital was the result of years of work and cooperation by area business leaders and community members who felt the need for a hospital that could continue to grow with Phelps County.
In 1962, an ad hoc committee was loosely formed to determine the interests in the community for health care. This first committee quickly grew into a more formal group called the Hospital Study Committee.
Richard Brown was elected chairman. Committee members were James Swanson, Ted Smith, Charles Leff, Harry Palmer, Dwayne Fulk, Neil Schreck, Ruth Sand, Musa Hall and Don Noble. The Committee rented office space a 806 4th Avenue, Holdrege, and hired R.F. Johnson of Burton and Associates Northfield, Minnesota, to help survey the options and desires of the community.
The attitude of the committee was to objectively inquire about the feasibility of a building project. The contracts authorized by the committee with technical and legal experts were used to gather preliminary answers to the complex problems which were ahead. They hired the architectural firm of Davis, Fenton, Strange and Darling, Lincoln, Nebraska, to develop schematic plans for the proposed hospital.
Home meetings were scheduled to discuss the proposed hospital, answer questions and listen to opinions. Meetings were held in Holdrege, Bertrand, Loomis, and Funk. Following a series of home meetings, the study committee formally became the Phelps County Memorial Hospital Association.
This group worked to begin the fundraising for the new hospital.
In the March 22, 1963, edition of the Holdrege Daily Citizen, H.S. Kingsley, said: "It is inspiring to experience the enthusiastic response by everyone concerned. Pledges are averaging more than $1,100 each. Of the 230 advanced gifts prospects, one third have been contacted and have pledged."
The Phelps County Memorial Hospital Association held its first board of directors meeting on March 29, 1963, in the First National Bank hospitality room and the directors were elected. The board determined that of the 12 directors on the board, four were to be from Holdrege, two from Bertrand, one from Loomis, one at large, and one each from the northwest, northeast, southwest, and southeast areas of the county.
An all county promotional dinner was scheduled for April 16, 1963, to start the fund campaign. An invitation to the dinner was sent to every family in the county, along with a brochure of the proposed hospital.
Over 500 people attended this dinner, where it was announced the hospital was now to be a reality. Fund raising and grant writing continued.
The ground breaking was held in July, 1966, and construction began. The board of directors were holding monthly meetings to consider bids on equipment needs, pay bills and other construction matters. The search committee hired Rex J. Kelly as the hospital administrator, and he was introduced to the board at the July 7, 1967, meeting. Mrs. Albert Minzmyer was hired as director of nursing and Barbara Johnson was hired as consulting dietitian.
Musa Hall began the Hospital Auxiliary in 1967, by submitting a request to the board. The Service League was organized in January, 1968, with Paula Titus as the first president.
In April, 1968, Dr. Walter Reiner was elected president of the newly formed medical staff, with Dr. Donald Jones vice president and Dr. Robert D. Anderson as secretary.
64 people were employed by the hospital when it opened its doors in April, 1968. Soon the hospital had to change its name to Phelps Memorial Health Center. The "County" was not appropriate as the hospital was and is not, a county facility.
Rex Kelly led PMHC for 25 years. At his retirement, PMHC hired Quorum Consulting Services as a management group. Their services include furnishing a CEO and CFO. Jay Seigfreid was CEO for eight years, Joyce Grove Hein was the CEO from July 2000 to July 2007 and Mark Harrel is the CEO at present.
To date, PMHC employs over 200 people and has continued to add services to the programs offered at the hospital. The growth of PMHC is attributed to the continued support and commitment of the people in the community of Phelps County, who have worked to help PMHC remain a strong, primary care hospital.