Avera Medical Minute: Fundraising campaign launches for new health center in Gettysburg

GETTYSBURG, S.D. - Avera is committing $9 million of the $12 million needed to build a new health center in Gettysburg, South Dakota. The Avera Gettysburg Foundation is encouraging residents in the north central part of the state to raise the remaining $3 million.

Gettysburg is in rural South Dakota with a population of about 1,100 people. The current hospital has the people it needs to give patients great care.

"We treat them like family," Kerri Hall said, who is the director of nursing at the hospital.

But the building has served its purpose.

"With the new facility, we would just have way more options as far as what we can provide for them within the community," she said.

The new hospital will enhance services with technology and innovative design. It will include things like Avera eCARE in all rooms, an attached garage for the ambulance, a new physical therapy gym and new equipment.

"It just gives us a lot more options for things that we would have had to transfer out for in the past. We will be able to do here and take care of the patients here, instead of having to send them to Pierre, Aberdeen or Sioux Falls," Hall said.

The medical director of the hospital said being able to keep people close to home is important.

"If there's icy roads and those type of things, it really is quite a ways, especially if you're a patient in a hospital. What you like to have are especially nurses that you know, family available to come see you really helps with the healing process," Dr. Chad Carda said.

Many hours of traveling are saved with a hospital in a rural area.

"Maybe they had a hip fracture that was repaired by an orthopedist and they'll return back here, and that's nice for them for a week or two to be around their family," Dr. Carda said. "They can have visitors daily versus being 2 to 3 hours away."

Plus, the new facility would bring more efficiency and the opportunity to do more.

"As a provider, it's really nice to be able to have everything together and hopefully, we can promote more providers here. It's a very nice town. It's clean, safe, friendly people, so hopefully we can recruit even with the new facility," Dr. Carda said.

And he hopes more younger people will be encouraged to get into healthcare.

The goal is to fundraise the remaining $3 million needed to build by June 1st. That will allow construction to begin this year.