Good Sam to open $15.6 million Emergency Center & Entrance

Dr. Kenton L. Shaffer Emergency Care Center will open later this month at CHI Health Good...
Dr. Kenton L. Shaffer Emergency Care Center will open later this month at CHI Health Good Samaritan.(CHI Health Good Samaritan)
Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 4:26 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (PRESS RELEASE) - Prior to opening its doors on Sept. 28, the new Emergency Department at CHI Health Good Samaritan is celebrating with a virtual event.

A Ribbon Cutting and Blessing ceremony for the Dr. Kenton L. Shaffer Emergency Care Center will be streamed live on the CHI Health Good Samaritan Facebook page Friday, Sept. 10 at 12:30 p.m.

In efforts to help familiarize the public with the new space, a video tour will also be featured on the hospital’s website before the opening.

All other grand opening events have been canceled to protect public health and preserve hospital staff as COVID-19 cases in the area increase.

“That innovative spirit that brought the first air medical transport to the region is alive and well and reflected in this new space. Now our ER looks like what you’d expect from the region’s only designated Level II Trauma Center. I’m excited for our community to see it and help us celebrate. I just wish it could have been in-person,” says Michael Schnieders, president, CHI Health Good Samaritan.

Groundbreaking for the $15.6 million project took place Aug. 27, 2019.

The 20,000-square-foot Emergency Care Center was designed by staff and providers. It features 14 private patient care rooms, a larger waiting area with windows and more and closer parking.

The space also features a new, multi-purpose entry point located on the north side of the hospital. This new entrance supports walk-in access to the all-new Emergency Center Center, East Admissions and the East hospital tower.

It opens for the first time at 6 a.m. on Sept. 28. At the same time the current Emergency entrance, on the East side of the hospital, will close to visitors.

Built in 1994, the current 7,500-square-foot Emergency Department has remained open and fully functioning during the construction.

“While our staff and equipment are leading-edge, our current ER was built for health care delivery in the ‘90s. Our new space prioritizes patient privacy, it’s larger to accommodate today’s growing technology, and has additional pandemic isolation features. It’s designed with patient comfort and convenience at the forefront with added efficiency for our providers and staff. It allows us to continue providing the highest quality care found anywhere, but it’s close to home and family.”

The project was made possible, in part, by a $2 million anonymous donation. As requested by the donor, the center is named after Kearney resident and respected pediatrician Dr. Kenton L. Shaffer.

“Dr. Shaffer’s pioneering vision, determination and dedication to the tiniest of patients helped build the foundation for Good Samaritan’s NICU—one of the first of its kind in central Nebraska. No matter the hour or weather conditions, he would drive out to care for sick babies. While Dr. Shaffer is not the anonymous donor, you can see why money was given in his name to further advance trauma care to our region. He’s gone above and beyond to save many little lives. Even in his retirement he continues to help, volunteering his time and expertise at HelpCare Clinic,” said Randy DeFreece, Foundation president. "

The final phase of the project will begin this fall when construction crews start work to fully enclose the existing ambulance bay providing protection from the elements and added patient privacy.

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