Sigourney has been honored to have a hospital since 1921 when Dr. William Pfannebecker of Sigourney and Dr. Clarence Heald of South English opened the first hospital on the south side of the square. These two physicians purchased the Merchant’s Hotel and remodeled it with 16 beds and 6 bassinets, an operating room, sterilizing room, and an x-ray room with developing capabilities. The hospital had electric lights, hot and cold running water, and two cisterns to provide soft water. It was state of the art for 1921. Dr. Heald is noted for being responsible for the warning label on boxes of laxatives. He authored a paper detailing the dangers of giving laxatives for abdominal pain. In 1938 the warning was included in the Federal Pure Food and Drug Act. This law significantly lowered the deaths associated with appendicitis. Dr. Heald operated his privately owned hospital until he retired in 1954.
In 1951, the voters of Keokuk County passed a $200,000.00 bond issue for the Keokuk County Memorial Hospital with an 84% favorable vote. The 5 acre site on which that hospital, and now the present hospital, is located was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Glen Noller. Several alternate sites were considered, but the selection was made on the insistence of the state board of health which designated that the hospital should be located close to the center of population of the county. That hospital officially opened on August 9, 1954 and continued to serve the public well until February of 2007 when the new facility was built.
Keokuk County Health Center (KCHC) is a tax-exempt, 14 bed, Critical Access Hospital (CAH) affiliated with the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics Health System. We have been providing quality healthcare since our founding in 1954. Accredited by the state of Iowa as a level IV Trauma Care Center and a CAH, Keokuk County Health Center is located at 23019 Highway 149 in Sigourney, Iowa. It is our mission to provide quality and compassionate care. We believe the best way to achieve this goal is to keep our patient’s needs in mind and to keep our well staff trained. As a small hospital, you can enjoy more time with your nurse and provider, whether it is through our Emergency Room, as a patient in our hospital, or in one of our clinics.
The Keokuk County Medical Center is located on the KCHC campus and provides health care services Monday through Friday. The entrance is located on the back side of the Health Center. While emergency services are still a primary focus, a need was seen for a clinic to meet more common, daily needs such as a cold, the flu, sore throats, medicine management, etc. Clinic staff includes 1 physicians and 4 staff practitioners.
KCHC is committed to providing quality and compassionate care. In our rural setting, the employee to patient interaction is relationship driven due much in part to the size and closeness of our community. We promote a culture where everyone is important and works together to improve the lives of those we serve. Our communities are driven by traditional core values such as helping your neighbor, treating others as you want to be treated, and lifting up the community in times of need.
Having easy, quality access to health care services locally is a primary concern of rural Iowans. The Keokuk County Health Center (KCHC) was designed by Durrant Arthitects and built in 2007. It offers enhanced patient care equipment, includes state of the art technology for improved diagnostic and treatment options, a more efficient floor plan, convenient parking, and a highly trained, professional staff to meet your health care needs. Located in Sigourney, Iowa, it provides vital medical services to approximately 10,000+ residents in Keokuk County.
Meet Our Board Members
KCHC is operated by an elected 7 member board of trustees. They are elected for 4-year terms and meet monthly. The trustees are responsible for everything covering health center operations, including but not limited to the care of the building and grounds, control and supervision of all staff physicians, nurses and other employees. In 2006, KCHC broke ground on a beautiful, new facility which has grown to include many new services. Patients and employees alike appreciate the diversity of services and providers available, the simple, easy to navigate floor plan as well as the convenient parking.
Jim Eschenbrenner | Board President | Years of Service: 9
Jim Eschenbrenner moved to Keokuk County in 1993 to become the pastor at Union Chapel Church which was located on the Delta/Fremont cutoff road. He served there for 11 years. From 2004 to 2013, he served a group of 93 churches as their Executive Pastor. Although he travelled the Midwest, he made their home in Hedrick. Jim’s wife of 34 years died in 2009 from Colon Cancer. He now lives in a small farmhouse just South of Delta and serves as the Lead Pastor at Northgate Church in Ottumwa.
Jim enjoys serving the community and has helped with Speech and Performing Arts at Pekin for 27 consecutive years (he recently had a grandson in a production!). He feels being a County Hospital Trustee is both a privilege and a serious responsibility. “We determine both the short-term and long-term mission, manage a complex budget, set policies and procedures, and hold the CEO/Administrator accountable for how the hospital performs. The Trustees work as a team – although that doesn’t mean we always all agree! I look forward to our meetings and working with our great staff.”
Ron Kurtz | Board Secretary | Years of Service: 4
Ron Kurtz has lived in Keokuk County all his 63 years and was born in the original Hospital in 1957. He is proud to be back on his family’s century farm and to be on the Hospital Board where groups decisions will help maintain and build a stronger and sustainable institution that all county residents are proud to claim. The KCHC employees are the backbone and thus our strength that is second to none. His father, John Kurtz, also served several terms on the board until his passing in 1999. Decisions made then were the building blocks for the facility we have today. “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity expand on their great insight. Thank you, Keokuk County.”
Jan Parcell | Board Treasurer | Years of Service: 13
Jan Parcell moved to Sigourney in 1968 and accepted a position with County Bank in January of 1969. Her two children were raised in Sigourney and both benefited from growing up in such a close-knit community. In 2014 she retired from the bank and now works part-time for Horak Insurance. County Bank offered her many opportunities to grow in financial knowledge but also encouraged involvement in the community. In selling real estate for several years she realized how important the hospital and schools are to a thriving community, so it made sense for her to get involved with the hospital.
Over the years, Jan has had the pleasure of contributing her financial knowledge as well as her historical perspective. “I’ve watched the health center adapt, grow, and change to meet the needs of the community. I feel honored to contribute to the safety and well-being of my friends, neighbors and community members in this way, but I’ve also gained personally by knowing that the residents of Keokuk County and beyond have a close, reliable facility to care for the sick and attend to emergencies. I enjoy serving on the Board and will continue to help the health center be financially viable, attract the best employees, and provide the highest level of care.”
Loretta Hudson | Board Member | Years of Service: 25
Loretta Hudson was born and raised on a farm west of What Cheer in Mahaska County. She graduated from Indianapolis County School, What Cheer High School, and Parsons College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1962. In 1963, She moved with her husband Jerry to Gibson where they had two daughters, Coleen and Renee.
Loretta has taught and substituted, held supervisory and regulatory positions for the Iowa Department of Human Services, and developed a state-wide demonstration project for displaced homemakers for Indian Hills Community College. She has also held sales and office work positions.
She is a former board member of Prairie Farmers Insurance and the South Central Mental Board and Session of the Gibson Presbyterian Church.
Loretta says she is “Proud of the hard work of the hospital staff and the many clinics and services that are now available through the Keokuk County Hospital.”
In addition to serving on the hospital board, Loretta enjoys golf, quilting, and other volunteer work in her community.
Frank Mertz | Board Member | Years of Service: 19
Frank Mertz has lived in the South English area since 1973. For 40 years he taught at Lone Tree, English Valley, and Kirkwood Community College. He was asked to join the North Country Fire Department. He became a First Responder and advanced to an EMS-I and Instructor/evaluator and a CPR instructor/trainer. It was at the hospital that he met his wife who was a nurse at the hospital.
Through training Frank realized how important a country hospital and volunteering is to a small, populated area such as Keokuk Country. He took the next step and was elected to the Board of Trustees. “I have seen us rise from the “old” hospital and wondering if we could meet the monthly payroll to where we are now! This has been a challenging and rewarding experience!”
Cheryl Monroe | Board Member | Years of Service: 26
Cheryl Monroe has lived in Sigourney her whole life and has been married to Dennis Monroe for 44 years. They were part owners of H & M Farm & Home in Sigourney and are now retired. They have two boys – one in Naperville, Illinois and the other in Sheldon, Iowa. They also have two grandsons and one granddaughter. They try to spend as much time as possible visiting their kids and grandkids.
When asked about her time on the KCHC Board, she replied, “I have enjoyed my time on the Hospital Board. It’s been such a good learning experience for me. We have such caring and devoted employees on staff. I believe it’s so important to have this hospital in our county to be able to serve the people in Keokuk County and the surrounding area.
Jodi Greiner | Board Member | Years of Service: 4
Jodi Greiner has lived in Keota for the past 22 years. She and her husband Chris have been married for 27 years. They have 3 sons. Oldest son, Gage, is 24 and a Staff Sergeant in the Army. He’s stationed in Germany. Middle son, Cooper is a new Private in the Army. He just returned from deployment in the Middle East and is now stationed in North Carolina. Youngest son, Sammy, is currently a Junior at Sigourney High School.
Up until recently, Jodi was the Vice President at MidWestOne Bank in Sigourney. In April, she accepted a new role as Sr. Vice President for Peoples Savings Bank in Crawfordsville and Wayland. She moonlights as an adjunct professor for both Indian Hills Community College and Buena Vista University where she teaches a variety of courses. She also serves as a Financial Peace University coach.
When asked about KCHC, Jodi replied, “I thoroughly enjoy being on the board of KCHC. It’s been a steep learning curve for sure, but I’ve loved it. We have really great people here. They have passion and pride in their positions. They work hard and love their patients. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? I’m proud of our hospital. We do good work and provide a great service to Keokuk County and the surrounding areas. I enjoy serving the community in this way. I feel like my part makes a difference and it’s rewarding. I love our community. I say it all the time, “we are the world’s best kept secret”.