Oakland Mercy Hospital began as Oakland Memorial Hospital and opened its doors and admitted its first patient January 15, 1950 after six years of planning and fund raising.
According to accounts of the time, a site consisting of eight city lots “in east Oakland on a sloping spot where the sun first reaches Oakland” was chosen as the ideal location for the new hospital.
A variety of fundraisers contributed towards the construction of the new facility. A local talent show sponsored by radio station KFAB of Lincoln was the first money raiser, an event that attracted 2,000 spectators! Farmers Coop stockholders contributed their 1947 patronage dividends of $25,000 in cash and materials. A benefit auction was held, bushels of corn were donated, and VFW sponsored movies, as well as a dance, all helped raise the needed dollars. These events plus numerous private donations and some federal dollars all made the new $200,000 hospital a reality. Oakland Memorial was one of the first three hospitals in Nebraska constructed with federal money.
An affiliation with Lutheran Hospitals and Homes Society of Fargo, North Dakota began in 1946 when the elected Board discussed a lease arrangement with them.
In 1947 a law was passed which said that the state had to approve the plans for construction of any new hospital. Interestingly, the plans were taken to Lincoln on a Saturday morning and approved that same afternoon. By December of 1949 the hospital was ready to admit patients except for one thing – the beds had not arrived. Thus the opening was delayed for a month.
The Oakland Independent displayed photographs of the interior of the hospital and reported that the new building was furnished with the most modern equipment that could be obtained. The rooms featured bright, pleasant interiors, indirect lighting, nurse call lights and wide doors which provided for easy moving of beds.
January 9, 1950 was the public’s first viewing of its new hospital. 2000 people attended the dedication and open house.
In 1965 plans were underway for the addition of a new wing to be added to the existing structure. This addition was opened in 1968 as an extended care unit. For over 25 years now, this area has been used for acute care patients.
In 1985, the Oakland Medical Clinic became a reality. This clinic, which is attached to the hospital, was built with the aid of donations at a cost somewhat greater than that of the original building. In 1993, OMH acquired the Lyons Medical Clinic. December of 1994 saw OMH end its affiliation with Lutheran Health Systems and become an independent entity governed by its Board of Directors. The hospital took over the operation of the Oakland clinic and renovated the Lyons clinic in 1997. Today both of the clinics are operating as Rural Health clinics.
About this time, Medicare changed the method of which it paid hospitals. The change in reimbursement adversely affected rural hospitals, including OMH. To ensure the long-term viability of the hospital, the Board sought out partners. In 1999 OMH signed a management agreement with Mercy Medical Center of Sioux City, Iowa.
The original medical staff was comprised of active and courtesy staff members and included all 10 doctors in Burt County. Presently the medical staff is comprised of Dr. Tracie Martin, Pete Thiele PAC and Amber Krikke, PAC. Courtesy staff members serving OMH come from Sioux City, Omaha, Fremont and Lincoln.
Hospital leaders at Mercy and Oakland Memorial began to discuss the potential for an enhanced Mercy-OMH partnership in 2005. On Aug. 14, 2006, leaders from both entities signed a Letter of Intent to explore the potential transfer of the hospital and clinics’ ownership. On Sept. 1., a petition to place a proposal to dissolve the local hospital district on the November ballot was validated by officials in Burt County. Then, on Nov. 7, residents of the Oakland Hospital District voted 851 to 446 to dissolve the district. By voting for dissolution, the residents gave the board of Oakland Memorial Hospital legal permission to negotiate the hospital’s transfer of ownership to Mercy—Sioux City and its parent organization, Livonia, Michigan based Trinity Health. Since partnering with Mercy, the hospital has seen an increase in capital as well as an expansion in services. In January of 2008, the Tekamah Mercy Medical clinic was opened. We are pleased to be able to expand services, yet provide them in our hometown environment.
Many changes have come about in the 60 years Oakland Mercy Hospital has been treating patients. The medical advancements have been astounding. There is one constant in this changing environment, and that is our commitment to patient care. We strive to serve our patients in the best way we know how and this will never change. You are the reason we are here and the reason we will continue to be here.