A long-time Nebraska City physician will serve as the interim president of CHI Health St. Mary's.
Daniel DeFreece, MD, began his new position on May 13. He replaced Dan Kelly, who served as hospital president for 20 years.
“Dan Kelly and I had a great working relationship,” said DeFreece. “He helped me learn the basics of what I needed to do the president's job.”
DeFreece added that he appreciates the support of the CHI Health St. Mary's leadership team: Ancillary Services Director Charlene Lant, Vice President for Patient Care Services Paula Aldana, and Medical Director Jonathan Stelling, MD.
“The longevity of the leadership team and the department supervisors have made my transition comfortable and enjoyable,” said DeFreece.
DeFreece said the most difficult part of the transition was stepping away from his clinic responsibilities.
“I formed very close relationships with some of my patients,” he said, “but I feel that if I can help advance the community's health care overall, I will help in that way.”
DeFreece said that the number of great providers at Nebraska City Medical Clinic made stepping away from his patient care obligations a little easier.
“We have such great providers that I know my former patients will be cared for,” he said.
DeFreece said that CHI Health St. Mary's is “doing wonderfully financially” and that it provides a level of care that people in rural areas usually aren't able to receive.
When DeFreece joined the Nebraska City Medical Clinic 22 years ago, the clinic was home to six physicians. DeFreece said he's very proud of the way the clinic providers are now organized into advanced practice clinician teams that include a physician, a clinician and a support staff. He added that this is a fairly new concept in patient care, and the arrangement allows providers to see more patients during clinic hours.
A search will be undertaken to find a permanent hospital president, said DeFreece.