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West Holt Memorial Hospital: A Rural American Success Story

Jul 13, 2022 (0)

Story courtesy of Meredith Mingledorff at the USDA

LINCOLN - Even before the pandemic, Holt County, Nebraska was facing a rural healthcare emergency. Home to just more than 10,000 people, the large county of 2,413 square miles, needed increased medical resources. West Holt Memorial Hospital applied and were approved for a direct loan through USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities Direct Loan Program in 2018, but found themselves hit with increased cost, demand and challenges as their project moved forward. USDA RD was able to increase the hospital's loan from $3,225,000 to $3,905,000 enabling the needed expansion to successfully conclude this year.

“Through collaborating with USDA Rural Development, we had the opportunity to increase our ability to provide comprehensive healthcare to our communities,” said CEO Brian Martin, West Holt Memorial Hospital, Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.  “Without an organization such as the USDA RD, our facility may not have had the resources to achieve such a significant project on our own. Fortunately, in conjunction with USDA RD, we are now able to provide world class care right here in North Central Nebraska.”

The facility has now expanded from 14,892 to 16,908 square feet, adding a specialty clinic for increased outpatient services, a new surgical suite to accommodate the 100 percent increase in surgery demand, a larger laboratory to increase processing times, a renovated waiting area, multi-purpose space, new patient check-in area, new staff workspace and a new boardroom.

“I grew up in rural Nebraska,” said Community Programs Specialist Anthony Guenther, “I know small towns struggle to provide the essential services, like health care, that help make rural America a great place to live.  West Holt Memorial Hospital is going to greatly improve the quality of care for residents in North Central Nebraska. I enjoyed working on this project with the incredible staff at West Holt Memorial Hospital.”

West Holt Memorial Hospital is a 15-bed critical access hospital and rural health clinic located in Atkinson. The hospital provides comprehensive, community-based health care in North Central Nebraska. Holt County is a federally designated primary care medically underserved area.

This Rural Development investment is expected to save 83 current jobs and has the potential to create additional jobs.

Rural Development is a leader in helping rural America improve quality of life and economic opportunities for rural people. Community Programs funding provides essential community infrastructure to ensure rural areas enjoy the same basic quality of life and services enjoyed by those in urban areas.

Public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes can use the funds to construct, expand or improve facilities that provide health care, education, public safety and public services. More information is available at

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas.



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