Hospital’s focus centers on people

Thayer County Health Services CEO Brian Rokusek said he and his staff’s mission is not just about medical procedures. 

“We’re in the people business that just happens to provide health care to those who need them,” Rokusek said while explaining TCHS’s many services that includes orthopedics for joints, like knees and shoulders, but also hands, feet and elbows. 

Rokusek mentioned the hospital’s oncology (cancer treatments and chemotherapy), obstetrics (prenatal care to birth with Dr. Meyers) and chronic pain management four times per month that doesn’t always rely on pharmaceutical remedies. 

“Dr. Birthi is big on stretching and conventional pain management. He’s been very well received,” Rokusek said. 

Another primary focus of the hospital is education and preventative services. He believes the public should be screened to take advantage of preventative services TCHS has to offer. 

“Everyone knows someone who didn’t have preventative care and then they end up with cancers we would have caught earlier,” Rokusek said as TCHS was offering its reduced lab screenings. Many folks take advantage of the reduced lab. 

“Anytime we can catch something earlier, it’s a better outcome,” he said.


Education also comes in through other TCHS activities, such as Women’s Health Night, scheduled for Oct. 26 in Deshler, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The theme is “Movement is Medicine.” 

Vendors and provider discussions, along with free food and door prizes are slated for the free event. 

Lucy Kuhlman, health and wellness coordinator, is putting a great program together for Women’s Night, Rokusek added. 

“October is also breast cancer awareness month,” he said. 

Additional upcoming activities are Oct. 10-14 Drive-Thru Flu Clinics in Hebron, Davenport, Bruning and Chester; TCHS Senior Health Symposium Nov. 10 at the Stastny Community Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and the Hospital Foundation Gala at the Stastny Nov. 13, formerly deemed the “Variety Show.”

The Senior Health Symposium, a first for TCHS, will connect seniors and caregivers to services, like Meals on Wheels and Medicare. The hospital employs State Health Insurance Assistance Program or SHIP counselors to help seniors choose Medicare plans and the Part D prescription plan. Thayer County Veterans Service Officer John Luongo will also be at the symposium.  

“That helps fulfill our overall mission for education services,” Rokusek said.

The hospital, re-certified a Level IV Trauma Center for the third time (certifications are every four years), is adding a bulk Blue Oxygen Storage tank near the parking lot, which is expected to completed by the end of 2022.

Rokusek touched on Thayer County Pharmacy s well. 

“The pharmacy facade is done except for sealing the brick,” he said. “We will begin remodeling the retail section Oct. 15 to be completed in December,” he explained. 

The retail section of the pharmacy will not be open during the remodeling, however, prescriptions will be filled and delivery, that reaches outside of Hebron, will continue.

“We hope in December to have the full retail space available again,” Rokusek said. 

Additional projects include reducing noise in the therapy department by adding a drop ceiling; discussion for expanding the specialty clinic and Hebron clinic remodel; and updating the Bruning clinic as well as exploring options for the Deshler clinic.

Returning to TCHS’s trauma designation, Rokusek said the hospital’s location in an agricultural area means they must be prepared because agriculture is a high risk occupation.

Being designated for Level 4 Trauma isn’t the hospital’s only recently received good news — there hasn’t been a fall by patients or staff in the facility for more than a year, and TCHS is being recognized for fall prevention by the Nebraska Hospital Association. 

The TCHS facility will receive the Quest for Excellence Award at the NHA Awards Banquet Oct. 19. 

The goal of the award is to recognize outcomes in quality performance practices, capabilities and results; facilitate communication and sharing of best practices information among hospitals in Nebraska; and stimulate innovation, knowledge and learning in the creation of strategies, systems and methods of achieving quality excellence in health care. 

The hospital’s strategy included forming a Fall Prevention team of leader Stephanie Moody; Ranae Vorderstrasse; Diane Vorderstrasse; Joni Fischer; Shari Fischer; Tammy Hinrichs; Natalie Marsh; Tiffany Schroeder; and Abby Walters. 

A lot more thoughts and ideas are on the TCHS horizon, Rokusek said. Some of those are being communicated through a new digital sign on Highway 81 just north of the Sinclair station.

“We want to tell people who we are and what we provide. It fits into the mission of the board of trustees. Kudos to the team and staff,” Rokusek said.