Dr. DeFreece Takes Lead Role At CHI Health St. Mary’s

NEBRASKA CITY – After 22 years of family practice, Dr. Dan DeFreece is taking on a new leadership role for CHI Health St. Mary’s.

DeFreece had been working in an administrative capacity for Physicians Network in Lincoln, a physician-led ministry with affiliations to CHI Health hospitals in Lincoln, Grand Island, Kearney and Nebraska City.

He was named interim hospital administrator after the resignation of Dan Kelly this spring and said he is learning what is necessary behind the scenes to provide high-quality health care.

DeFreece: “I know the medical side of things and how doctors work and clinics and nurses and that, but in regards to the whole gambit of finance and supplies and all of that, it’s all new to me. It’s been fascinating and I continue to learn more every day.”

DeFreece credited a combination of skilled employees and the resources of the Catholic Health Initiatives for making St. Mary’s as strong as it has ever been.

DeFreece: “We are one of the highest rated facilities in patient satisfaction and quality in all of CHI, which is in hundreds of hospitals all around the nation in the Catholic Health Initiatives system.”

He said it’s not common for physicians to move into the top administrative position, but it provides some advantage.

DeFreece: “What I can bring to the table is the knowledge of what is going on out there in the health care world as it changes to more value-based payment types verses just production, (where) you come in and see the doctor and pay, but more of how we provide quality care and how we provide value care.”

He said his personal challenge ahead will be learning the different aspects of a health care system and the hospital.

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