Pender, NE (January 29, 2024) – Pender Community Hospital (PCH) has received a $550,000 behavioral health grant from the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), in partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The grant’s funds come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), distributed through the state of Nebraska.

“These funds mean so much for our hospital, especially considering our size as a 21-bed, critical-access facility,” said Laura Gamble, CEO at PCH. “It’s such an important grant and will benefit so many of our patients who need care. We are extremely grateful for the partnership we have with the BHECN and the University of Nebraska Medical Center”

The specific behavioral health grant PCH received is for telehealth support in rural areas. Using some of these funds, and through its accountable care organization (ACO) partnership with Bryan Health, PCH has already purchased a telehealth-cart equipment to assist with remote appointments for behavioral health, alcohol- and substance-use disorder appointments, senior behavioral and mental health appointments through PCH’s Working on Wellness (WOW) program and more.

“It’s not always easy for our patients to drive to Sioux City, Omaha, or another city to get the behavioral health treatment they need,” said Sonya King, Behavioral Health Manager at PCH. “This technology allows patients to see providers in a much easier way. The new telehealth cart has improved sound and picture, and there are even unique capabilities with the equipment like a provider being able to listen to a patient’s heart remotely. In addition, new iPad devices will allow for expanded access to care for our homebound patients.”

Receiving these grant funds has allowed for better mental health triage in the hospital’s emergency room (ER) department.

“It’s amazing how impactful these funds are to a critical access hospital like ours. We have been able to utilize the funds in so many areas across our system for different purposes,” King shared. “PCH can expand on its goal of providing quality care close to home through this grant by providing expanded care to our behavioral health patients.”

To learn more about behavioral health services offered at PCH, visit pchne.org/services/behavioral-health/ or call 402-385-3083, option 5.


About Pender Community Hospital District Pender Community Hospital (PCH) has been providing quality healthcare in northeast Nebraska since 1913. The 21-bed critical access hospital (CAH) was recognized by the Chartis Center for Rural Health as a Top-100 CAH for four years, from 2019-2021 and 2023. PCH comprises not only the hospital but four rural health clinics and three pharmacies, as well as Prairie Breeze Assisted Living and Little Sprouts Child Development Center. For more information, visit pchne.org.