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Grand Island doctors declare independence as they break ground for hospital

Dr. Ryan Crouch shakes hands, as doctors break ground on Grand Island Regional Hospital on October 19, 2017 (NTV News)

Grand Island doctors declare independence, saying they have rebellious but caring hearts, as they break ground on a new hospital.

“Your facility, helping hand of your neighbors,” is the way Dr. Tom Werner explained it.

Werner says it’s a leap of faith, as 85 health care professionals come together in their own facility called the Grand Island Regional Hospital.

Werner said, “We feel like we're sticking our neck out a little bit, but also feel like we've got a lot of backing and all the tools we need to be successful.”

The first step in this revolution came three years ago.

Dr. Ryan Crouch said, “We're the ones who tossed the tea into the harbor.”

Crouch made it clear they wanted to break free. He didn’t say from whom, but it’s clear doctors were not happy with CHI, parent of local hospital St. Francis.

Crouch said, “We were experiencing taxation without representation. And so that brought out the revolutionary and rebellious heart.”

Doctors say their mindset has evolved. They’re more than rebels, but caring providers who want local control.

They’ve brought in partners with dollars and experience. Namely, Bryan Health of Lincoln and Mary Lanning Healthcare just 20 miles down the road.

Mary Lanning CEO Eric Barber said, “Grand Island is a very fortunate community to have a strong medical staff, and we're excited, Mary Lanning Healthcare, to be a part of this project.”

The project also includes offices and retail area, as part of a $110 million dollar campus at the southwest corner of a major intersection, the corner of Highways 281 and 34.

Synergy was the buzzword. Doctors said Mary Lanning and Bryan Health will have seats on the board and provided funding. In addition, they will look for places to share resources.

“So we'll have an opportunity to share staff where it makes sense, whether it's pharmacy or lab or revenue cycle, or whatever it might be, opportunities for us to work collaboratively together to attract talent to the region,” Barber said.

And while doctors hinted at their displeasure with CHI, parent of St. Francis, Grand Island’s 130-year-old hospital was not mentioned.

With around 1,100 employees, some are nervous, but business leaders think they can coexist.

Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Johnson said, “I think that it comes down to the opportunity for consumers to choose where their services will be provided. It's an opportunity for both facilities to shine.”

NTV reached out to CHI St. Francis for comment. The hospital said the CEO was not available.

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