Family walking in a golden field

Rural Health Services

Our commitment to rural health care.

Rural Health Services

Rural health care is an essential and challenging service to provide to your community. Yet, you do it with passion and excellence. At CHI Health, it is our goal to support rural health care organizations and providers to help you uphold high quality, highly accessible, locally driven health care. CHI Health works diligently to support the needs of 34 critical access hospitals across 3 states.

Map of Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota showing CHI Health critical access hospital network

Through our Critical Access Hospital Networks, CHI Health can provide support in a number of areas, including quality, safety, education, business operations and more. A full list of established services is detailed below.

Quality & Safety

  • Quality Reviews / Audits
  • Quality Data Analysis and Support (including dashboard development)
  • External Peer Review Support
  • Internal Peer Review and Scorecard Support
  • Performance Improvement Support
  • Mock Surveys
  • Policy and Procedure Support and Resources
  • Quality Task Force Meetings

Education

  • Ethics Support and Education
  • Emergent and General OB Education
  • Stroke Care and Protocols
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • MACRA/MIPS/APMs
  • NRP/PALS/ACLS/BLS
  • Peer-to-Peer Networking
  • Patient Education Material and resources
  • Pharmacy, Nursing, and Finance Leader Affinity Groups
  • Burn and Wound Education
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship
  • Patient Centered Medical Home

Operational Support

  • Credentialing and Peer Review Audits
  • Patient Transfer Reviews
  • Human Resource Support
  • Financial/Revenue Cycle Support
  • Marketing and Strategy Support
  • Regulatory and Compliance Consultation

The CHI Health Rural Services team has extensive experience in critical areas of expertise to support our network members across multiple disciplines. In addition to these resources, we can also connect you with content experts within our system, ensuring you have access to the answers and support you need.

Scott Cook

Scott Cook, MHA

Division Director – Network Development
Scott.Cook@alegent.org
(402) 343-4337

Scott leads our regional network development efforts, focusing on how we can connect with and support rural hospitals and providers by creating solutions or leveraging the resources of the CHI Health system. Scott has been in health care administration in critical access hospitals and in health systems over his career, as well as a consultant, giving him great insight on how to leverage a system to support and partner with rural hospital and providers.

Scott has consistently shown a passion for supporting rural health care organizations, as he previously served as Interim CEO at Thayer County Health Services, Sr. Projects Coordinator at the Office of Statewide Education Programs (OSCEP) at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and as an EMT at Ringgold County Hospital in Iowa. In addition to this experience, he holds a B.A. in Health Sciences and a Masters in Healthcare Administration from the University of Iowa.

Kathy Peckham

Kathy Peckham, BSN

Clinical Quality Consultant
Kathleen.Peckham@alegent.org
(402) 881-1923

Kathy received her BSN from Minnesota State University – Mankato. Following service in the Army Nurse Corps and the Nebraska National Guard, Kathy worked in various healthcare related fields to include utilization review and case management. She was a member of the initial management team that established an Intermediate Care Facility for individuals with disabilities, prior to joining CHI Health in 1986. Kathy has now been with the organization for over 22 years. She served as the Home Care Leader for 8 years where she worked with the system to add Hospice services to the local community.

Most recently, Kathy was the Vice President of Patient Care Services at CHI Health Mercy Corning. With support from the Center for Nursing, she led her nursing team to their first Pathway to Excellence Designation in 2014 and a re-designation in 2017. Currently, Mercy Corning is one of just four critical access hospitals with this designation in the state of Iowa.

As Clinical Quality Consultant, Kathy has primary responsibility for supporting the CHI Health Critical Access Hospital's Quality and Safety programs. She also helps support and guide our broader networks educational and regulatory resources, annual reviews and mock surveys.

Nikki Clement

Nikki Clement, MSN

Network Coordinator
nicoleclement@catholichealth.net
(308) 865-7465

Nikki earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from North Dakota’s Dickinson State in 1994. She built the foundation of her nursing career at a rural critical access hospital in North Dakota which proved to be a wealth of hands-on experience and education. 

A member of the Good Samaritan team since 2002, Nikki has served in bedside roles in obstetrics, orthopedics, and post-acute care, and was also an adjunct nursing instructor. In 2016, she became the network coordinator for Good Samaritan’s critical access hospital network. Quality has long been a special focus of Nikki’s work. She has served as both chair and vice chair of Good Samaritan’s Quality Committee and was honored with Good Samaritan’s Nursing Excellence Award for Quality Excellence in 2014. In 2017, she earned a Master of Nursing degree with a specialization in nursing education from Aspen University.

Nikki Clement, through her role as the Network Coordinator for the Good Samaritan Network, champions quality and safety support in the network, in addition to providing support for FLEX grant management; annual reviews; mock surveys; policy and procedure support; and other educational and meeting coordination for the CAH’s that are in the Good Samaritan Network.

Hilary Van Housen

Hilary Van Housen

Network Development Consultant
HilaryVanHousen@catholichealth.net
(308) 865-7494

Hilary received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a minor in Marketing from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. For 7 years, she was a pharmaceutical representative, focusing on the rural Nebraska market. She joined CHI Health in August of 2017. In her current role, Hilary works to grow and improve relationships, both formal and informal, with rural hospitals and providers in the Central and Western areas in Nebraska and also Northern Kansas. Hilary actively works with leadership and staff within the Kearney market, as well as the CHI Health system level, to develop and deploy our resources to help support rural health care.

Hilary Van Housen

Alicia Reed MBA, RRT

Network Coordinator
Alicia.Reed@alegent.org
(641) 340-1221

Alicia has been with CHI Health since May of 2004, most recently as the Quality/Risk Supervisor at CHI Health Mercy Corning. Alicia lead the facility’s safety program, risk management, compliance and peer review processes. She also served as a leader for infection prevention, quality, utilization review and social services. Prior to her Quality/Risk Supervisor role, she served as a Respiratory Therapist at the bedside and home care practitioner. Alicia has an extensive background in regulatory compliance and process improvement which allows her to provide a high level of support to our networks.

Alicia received her Bachelor of Health Science Degree from the University of Missouri and her MBA from Western Governors University. In her free time, Alicia enjoys spending time with her family attending her kids activities, camping, volunteering for her church, the Lenox Sports Boosters and coaching youth sports.

As Network Coordinator, Alicia has responsibility of the Peer Review Program for all participating network facilities. She also has responsibility for providing credentialing and bylaw support, annual reviews, mock surveys and administrative coordination.

Lisa Spyal

Lisa Sypal

Network Development Consultant
lisa.sypal@chihealth.com
(402) 219-5116

Lisa received her Bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2001, and also completed the Uniform CPA Exam in 2011. Over the last 20 years, she has spent the majority of her career developing relationships and partnerships in the healthcare industry. Her background includes patient experience, occupational health, fundraising and hospice. Lisa joined CHI Health in 2022 as a Network Development Consultant at CHI Health St. Elizabeth, working with both local and system level leadership and staff to support the CAH Link Network. As a rural Nebraska native, Lisa is dedicated to ensuring that rural hospitals and providers have the resources necessary to meet the healthcare needs of their communities.

Sarah Thornburg

Sarah Thornburg, BSN, RN

Network Coordinator
sarah.thornburg@chihealth.com
(402) 960-2706

Sarah received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  She has worked in a variety of settings in critical access, spending 7 years at CHI Health Plainview with the last four in quality, safety and risk management.  She received the Positive Image of Nursing award in 2019 and saw CHI Health Plainview awarded the Top 20 Critical Access Hospital in Quality multiple years.

As Network Coordinator, Sarah provides support in quality and safety, FLEX grant management, annual reviews, mock surveys, policy and procedure support, and education and meeting coordination for the CAHs in the Omaha and CAH Link Networks.

CHI Health Partners

CHI Health Partners is a regional leader in clinical integration and value based contracting. We have earned nearly $11 million over the last three years from shared savings and risk bonuses. CHI Health Partners brings 20 years of experience as a non-exclusive, affordable network. We currently have value-based contracts with BlueCross Blue Shield of Nebraska, Aetna, and Medica which welcome CAH and rural provider participation.

  • Payor and Medical Staff Credentialing
  • Claims Issue Resolution
  • Care Management Training/Resources
  • Value-Based Contracting, including PMPM payments to support a facilities investment in care coordination efforts
  • Provider Education and Outreach
  • Patient Centered Medical Neighborhood - Services, including access to discharge transition support, pharmacy assistance, dietitians, and social work
  • Shared best practices in achieving the triple aim of Better Health, Better Care, and Lower Costs
  • Local chapter leadership in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, and Kearney
  • Non-exclusive, low cost option

Direct Partnerships

CHI Health has multiple partnerships in place with rural healthcare organizations, including the following examples:

  • Physician/Specialist Outreach
  • Contracted Hospital Management
  • A La Carte Management Services
  • Joint Ventures 

Virtual Health Services

Every month it seems as though there are new approaches and innovations in virtual healthcare. That is no different at CHI Health, where we’re continuing to build programs in a number of areas. Below is a list that encompasses the majority of the virtual care offerings we have active today or in active development, and this list is continuously evolving.

  • TeleHospitalists
  • TeleCardiology
  • TelePharmacy – IV Med Verification & Specialty Medications
  • TelePsychiatry
  • TeleRheumatology