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Published on January 05, 2022

Kearney Regional Medical Center Joins Bryan Health

On Jan. 1, 2022, Kearney Regional Medical Center (KRMC) joined Bryan Health, a Nebraska owned and governed non-profit health system that treats patients from every Nebraska county and surrounding states. With the addition of KRMC’s 850 employees, Bryan Health now employs more than 6,300 Nebraskans focused on treatment, prevention and education.

KRMC opened in 2014, as a physician-driven hospital, with the backing of community and private investors. In seven years it has grown to serve central and western Nebraska, as well as northern Kansas counties, for inpatient and outpatient care, as well as outreach services through Platte Valley Medical Clinic, a multi-specialty clinic located on the KRMC campus.

Bryan Health’s flagship Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln:

  • is the birthplace of Advanced Trauma Life Support, an internationally recognized protocol for coordinated trauma care;
  • was a pioneer in cardiac care, recognized for clinical excellence in cardiology and cardiac surgery, today serving 43 communities outside Lincoln through outreach clinics;
  • maintains an unrivalled commitment to inpatient and outpatient behavioral health;
  • is the home base for Bryan Telemedicine, which has connectivity to 80 hospitals and provides remote intensivist and pulmonary care at 31 locations in the region;
  • serves Nebraska for maternal and fetal medicine and neonatal care;
  • is renowned for exemplary community based and complex surgical medical care.

Shared Vision for Health Care  

While the visual identity of KRMC is changing to align with Bryan Health, the name Kearney Regional Medical Center remains unchanged. The governance structure of KRMC will include representation from Bryan Health, but the majority of appointments will be from Kearney, including physicians and community members. 

“As a Nebraska owned and operated nonprofit health system we are excited to welcome Kearney Regional Medical Center into the Bryan Health family,” said Russ Gronewold, CEO of Bryan Health. “Throughout the due diligence process, we repeatedly learned there is a shared vision and commitment to elevate the quality of life through better health; a cultural fit rooted in physician collaboration; and opportunities to supplement the tremendous physician-led care provided at Kearney Regional Medical Center and Platte Valley Medical Clinic with additional specialty services. Additionally, it became evident this partnership would facilitate employment growth and keep health care resources in Nebraska - specifically the central Nebraska region.”

Respectful Partnership

“Bryan Medical Center has been a place to which central and western Nebraskans have been transferred for tertiary and very complex care for years, and our medical staff has many existing relationships with physicians in Lincoln,” said Bill Calhoun, CEO of Kearney Regional Medical Center. “Bryan’s operational and acute-care capabilities, along with its track record of shared governance and decision making with physicians, make it a perfect partner as we look to extend services and meet the health care needs of central and western Nebraskans, and northern Kansans. I think it’s worth adding that Bryan’s model affords appropriate levels of autonomy for local decisions to meet patient care needs. While some things may change for efficiencies, shared savings and enhanced care delivery, it’s been gratifying to work through the transition and see the receptivity Bryan has to learning from us.  The entire Bryan transition team has developed great respect in a relatively short period of time,” Calhoun added.

“We were looking for a partner that respected and understood what we’ve accomplished and would continue to support our ideals and culture,” said Scott Smith, MD, Director of Medical Affairs at Kearney Regional Medical Center. “That’s what we’ve found with Bryan, and together we’re going to grow into a really special regional medical center that will be here for years to come,” he said.

Bryan Health is a Nebraska owned and governed non-profit health system serving the state of Nebraska and surrounding states. It consists of Bryan Medical Center with two locations in Lincoln, Kearney Regional Medical Center, Crete Area Medical Center, Merrick Medical Center, Bryan Heart, Bryan Physician Network, Bryan Foundation, Bryan Health Connect, Bryan Telemedicine, Bryan College of Health Sciences and Bryan Enterprises.

Q: When did Kearney Regional Medical Center (KRMC) begin discussions with Bryan Health, and when did the partnership formalize?

A: Physicians and administrators from KRMC and Bryan Health began exploring a potential new partnership and operating model in February 2021. After a year of due diligence and merger activity, KRMC became a wholly-owned Bryan Health system entity on Jan. 1, 2022.

Q: Why was KRMC interested?

A: Since its opening in 2014, KRMC has always been responsive to the needs of the community. The growth of the organization has far outpaced what was initially expected. Partnering with a Nebraska-based health system like Bryan Health will allow KRMC access to a more extensive network of resources while still maintaining its physician-led operating model. As a newly designated non-profit entity, earnings from operation can now be reinvested into capital and programmatic needs. 

Q: Why is Bryan interested?

A: Bryan Health treats patients for acute care and tertiary needs from every Nebraska county, parts of South Dakota, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri. A central Nebraska presence will bring expanded services to many residents in this area. 

Q: Why Bryan Health? Why KRMC?

A: Bryan Health is a Nebraska-owned and operated health system. Its mission is to advance the health of individuals in our region through collaboration with physicians and communities. The collaborative approach, and the value Bryan places on shared governance with physicians and communities, fit with the history, heritage and ambition of KRMC. KRMC opened its doors in May 2014 as one of the first physician-led and operated medical centers in Nebraska and is a market leader for outpatient surgery, cardiology, orthopedics and maternity care. KRMC will be a geographic and professional complement to Bryan Health. Collectively, they will be able to meet the routine and complex medical needs of central and western Nebraskans and northern Kansans.

Q: Will all decisions be made out of Lincoln?

A: No. The shared governance model will include a Kearney-based governing body and physician leadership board. The structure ensures continued local community input into the future growth of Kearney Regional Medical Center.

Q: Will KRMC’s employees become Bryan Health employees?

A: Yes, KRMC employees will become Bryan Health employees. Employee compensation and benefits will be fully transitioned in 2022. 

Q: Will the name of KRMC change?

A: No, but KRMC will be branded as a Bryan Health system entity on January 1, 2022.

Q: What other entities make up Bryan Health?

A: Bryan Medical Center, Crete Area Medical Center, Merrick Medical Center, Bryan Heart, Bryan Foundation, Bryan College of Health Sciences, Bryan Physician Network, Bryan Health Connect, Bryan Enterprises and Bryan Telemedicine are all wholly-owned entities of Bryan Health. Bryan Health also is an investor in Grand Island Regional Medical Center, which opened in 2020.

Q: With Bryan’s system resources available, will any jobs in Kearney be eliminated?

A: No job loss is anticipated as KRMC will still operate under a local model. We expect it will result in additional jobs at KRMC as services are expanded.


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