Thayer County Health Services is a comprehensive primary care system providing health and wellness services to the citizens of Thayer County and surrounding communities in Nebraska and Kansas.
Thayer County Health Services is comprised of a 19-bed Critical Access Hospital and a clinic in Hebron, and five satellite clinics in Bruning, Chester, Davenport, Deshler and Milligan. TCHS is a county facility that serves a 50 mile radius from Hebron and serves patients from over 288 communities. Besides its patient-centered inpatient facility, the hospital also supports a full spectrum of pre- and post-hospital services, along with programs designed to improve the community health and maintain community wellness. Learn more about our services.
A Tradition of Caring
Thayer County Health Service’s tradition of caring began long before its first patient was admitted on Oct. 17th, 1948. It began in 1944 when members of the community gathered to discuss the possibility of using what was then the Hebron College and Academy for their hospital. Fred Knaut, general manger of the Lutheran Hospital and Homes Society of Fargo, North Dakota was asked whether his organization would be interested in operating the hospital from Thedora Hall, the girl’s dormitory of the vacant junior college. Knaut and several Lutheran pastors discussed the proposal but could not come to an agreeable solution, and the dream of a hospital in Thayer County was put on hold.
A Dream Becomes Reality
Two years later, on April 26th, 1946, the dream became a reality. The American Lutheran Church received an offer from a private corporation to purchase the building for apartment use. Without time to spare, the Hebron Chamber of Commerce hospital Committee met. Within 30 minutes, they decided to purchase the building. Thedora dormitory was offered to the Chamber for $4,500 with the stipulation that the building be used for hospital purposes. Signing the final agreement were chamber members, M.L. Christensen, J.K. Musgrave, Paul Korff, G.R. Taylor, W.E. Baker and W.F. Powell. Financing the project fell on the shoulders of Thayer County residents. They met the challenge head-on and during the summer and fall of 1946 raised $35,000 to remodel and finance the project. Twenty-five incorporators representing the entire county were selected, a non-profit corporation was formed and officers were elected as follows: H.F. Nacke, Chairman, G.H. Wrightsman, Vice-Chair, F.O. Woodard, Secretary, and H.R. Killinger, Treasurer. The organization was completed on December 27, 1948. Lutheran Hospital and Homes Society (LHHS) provided the technical help with the hospital and later contracted to lease and operate the hospital.
Remodeling of the building started in September, 1947. When more funds were needed to complete the project, an additional $30,000 was raised by residents of the county.
An estimated 1,000 – 1,500 people attended the hospital’s dedication ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 18th, 1948. The laundry room was located in an old coal bin and an Army generator was used for backup power. The operating room and kitchen were located in the basement of the building, with the patient’s rooms located on the first and second floors. The nurses made everything – one of the jobs during “idle time” was to sharpen the stainless steel needles then in use on syringes.
Thayer County Memorial Hospital’s (as TCHS was then known) tradition of quality care began when its first patient, a Hebron resident, was admitted on October 17th. The first baby was born on October 26th.
The first 20 years of the hospital proved very successful. By the early 1960’s the Hospital Board and Lutheran Hospital and Homes Society outlined the first plans for the present hospital building.
A New Hospital
In 1968, a thoroughly up-to-date, 22-bed facility was opened, marking a new era for healthcare and Thayer County Memorial Hospital. The Hebron Clinic was added in 1978. As time marched on and technology improved, it became apparent that further remodeling would have to be accomplished in order for the hospital to continue to meet the needs of its population.
In early 1988, Thayer County ended its 38-year relationship with the LHHS. A Management Services Agreement was then entered into, with St. Elizabeth Community Health Center in Lincoln. That relationship continues to this day, and one in which the County and the TCHS Board of Directors is very pleased.
The 90’s – Building for the Future
In the mid-1990’s, the Hospital Foundation began an aggressive fundraising campaign for an expansion and remodel of the facilities. Completed in 1999, the project built a new clinic onto the hospital building, and modernized or expanded many of the facilities and spaces.
In the Spring of 2004, the Foundation for Thayer County Health Services conducted a second Capital Campaign to help raise $1.5 million to allow for a 25,000 sq ft expansion project to the hospital.
This project was completed in January of 2007 and included a new, modernized Radiology and Laboratory Department. Six new patient rooms and a lower level administrative space were also included in this project.
Thayer County Health Services then remodeling the area of the hospital vacated by the X-ray and Laboratory Departments when they moved to their new locations. The new modernized Surgery Center was made possible by a generous gift from the Erwin A. Dunker estate. The Surgery Center was completed in 2008 with an Open House held on May 2, 2008.
Electronic Medical Records
TCHS has converted to Electronic Medical Records (EMR) for all patients seen in its hospital and clinics. This project was made possible through a $1.6 million Health Information Technology (HIT) grant received by TCHS in the Fall of 2007.