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Great Plains Health begins first phase of returning to ‘normal’ operations

Hospital news | Thursday, May 7, 2020

Contact: Megan McGown

CONTACT: Megan McGown, marketing manager | Office: 308.568.7531

May 7, 2020 – North Platte, NE – Great Plains Health announced today it will resume elective surgery and outpatient procedures on May 11. This announcement comes after Governor Ricketts gave approval for healthcare facilities with sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE), staff, ICU beds and necessary supplies to begin elective procedures as early as May 4.

Based on the governor’s guidance, Great Plains Health announced it is beginning the first phase of returning to normal operations for inpatient and outpatient care on May 11. The first phase will include elective surgical procedures and most outpatient services.

“We know that we may never get back to “normal” as we know it, however we are confident in our ability to adapt,” said Mel McNea Great Plains Health chief executive officer. “We are all looking forward to once again offering full healthcare services to our region and we plan to do so in the safest possible way for our patients and staff. We will continue to monitor supplies of PPE and will remain prepared for an unexpected surge of COVID-19 patients,” said McNea.

Great Plains Health has put in place several safety protocols that include, but are not limited to:

  • All surgery staff will be tested for COVID-19 and confirmed negative before participating in any procedure.
  • Patients scheduled for elective surgical procedures, in-house sleep studies or pulmonary function tests (PFT) will be tested for COVID-19 and a negative result is required before proceeding.
  • Staff in all Great Plains Health facilities that provide direct patient care will wear masks and googles or face shields.
  • All individuals entering Great Plains Health facilities will be asked to wear a mask or other face covering.
  • All individuals entering Great Plains Health facilities, including employees, will continue to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Visitors will still be restricted. One, symptom free support person will be allowed for active labor and delivery patients, NICU patients, pediatric patients and emergency department patients.
  • Six-foot social distances will be established in waiting areas.
  • Extra cleaning and disinfection of high-touch, public surface areas will continue.
  • Infectious patients will continue to be cared for in isolation, away from non-infectious patients.

GPHealth outpatient departments will contact patients to reschedule procedures that may have been cancelled and to explain the new safety requirements.

“The safety of our patients and staff is always our top priority,” said Ivan Mitchell, chief operating officer. “We realize that there may be anxiety for some patients when they come to our facility and we are doing all that we can to mitigate that. Our entire team is engaged in the protection of our patients and each other,” said Mitchell.


About Great Plains Health

Based in North Platte, Nebraska, Great Plains Health is a fully accredited, 116-bed acute-care regional medical center serving western and central Nebraska, northern Kansas and southern South Dakota. With 90 physicians representing nearly 30 medical specialties, the Great Plains Health system offers advanced healthcare including heart and vascular, cancer and orthopedic surgery services. The system employs approximately 1,087 employees and serves a geographic area spanning approximately 67,832 square miles in 38 counties.

The hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and is home to an American College of Surgeons accredited cancer center, primary stroke center and level II bariatric surgery program. Great Plains Health was named a Top Rural Hospital in 2019 by The Leapfrog Group, making it the first and only hospital in Nebraska to be named as a top hospital. For more information, visit