St. Elizabeth to be Nebraska's only burn center come September

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Starting next month, CHI Health St. Elizabeth will be home to the only verified burn unit in the state. Currently Nebraska Medicine in Omaha has an inpatient burn unit too, but that will be closing.

St. Elizabeth's burn center will not only see the patients from Omaha, but the hospital will continue to serve burn patients from across the region. Right now they are one of 66 certified centers in the U.S. serving patients from six states.

The merger was a negotiation between Nebraska Medicine and St. Elizabeth after they were told by the American Burn Association and American College of Surgeons that Nebraska is too small to have two verified burn centers.

The two hospitals chose to make St. Elizabeth's the state's only burn center. Currently their burn unit has 16 beds for inpatients.

They said in the past year they've seen around 150 inpatient burn victims and 1,200 outpatient. St. Elizabeth said the merger is the right thing to do, and is excited.

"We feel like it will really be the best thing for the patients throughout the state and their families being able to just have one burn center. Care then will be much more specific and specialized to them, and we don't dilute down the care," said Christi Chaves the Burn Center Director.

St. Elizabeth said consolidating the burn centers should also lower costs for patients.

Nebraska Medicine was seeing just over 100 burn victims every year as well. For the patients that are there now, they will finish treatment in Omaha. Only new burn patients will be sent to Lincoln starting September 4th.

Even after discharge, typically inpatient burn victims get care for the next year. With the collaboration, patients from Omaha will have the option do their outpatient care in Omaha at Nebraska Med Center.