Young Missouri Surgeon Fighting to Better Rural Health Care

This Machinery Pete blog ain't about tractors or equipment. Nope, about something much more important.

Rural health care.

Growing up in the small, rural farming town of Benson in the west-central part of Minnesota, pop. 3,200, I know the absolutely vital role the local hospital plays in the life of the community. Hard to keep them going. Even more challenging in these tough ag economic times. Difficult to maintain the needed services folks rely on. Difficult to find and attract young medical professional talent who want to live in small farming towns.

One young Missouri woman surgeon is doing her unique part to help rural health care. Lisa Rollison is a surgeon at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, MO (


Last Thursday I was in Hamilton, IL filming Sullivan Auctioneers ( absolute consignment auction for our Machinery Pete TV show. Walking the lines of equipment I got to visiting with my friend Stan Prather, one of Sullivans great team members. We talked kids of course, updated each other on what ours are up to. It was then that Stan told me about his daughter Lisa's efforts to help the local hospital in Memphis, MO where she works.

When Lisa got out of medical school and took her surgical skills home to Memphis, MO to work at Scotland County Hospital she took immediate note of something:

"It is extremely difficult to attract and keep employees in this very rural area," said Rollison. "We realized that a major hurdle to hiring quality people for 12 hour shifts, nights, weekends, and evenings is accommodating their child care needs. This is especially the case in the surgery department, where we provide a surgical crew to respond to patient emergencies 24 hour a day, every day of the year. We also noticed that when we interview physicians who are interested in settling in our community, one of their first questions is “do you have on-site child care?”  While there are a few wonderful daycare providers in the area, unfortunately, none of them were meeting the unique needs of our employees. So, a core group of determined gals took the bull by the horns so to speak, and decided the problem could, and should be solved." 

"We had to start from scratch. No one on our committee knew the first thing about running a daycare. We educated ourselves, looked around for models we could follow, and ultimately developed a business plan. Our hospital Board of Trustees, who makes sure every penny spent is ultimately for the benefit of our patients, appreciated this effort as an investment in our mission, and generously gave the green light for us to proceed. We are, however, on a very tight budget, which has been challenged largely by the demands of state regulation. As a matter of fact, our first plan for locating the facility in a vacant wing of our county skilled nursing facility, which would have allowed for an ideal inter-generational care environment, was torpedo’d by the cost of meeting specific regulations. We realized that due to the realities of these challenges, the smart strategy was to just keep moving forward with our modest means and plan to grow into a facility that meets our needs." 
"So, that is where we are. After two years of strategy and work, we plan to open the doors of “Tiger Cub Care” in early August, 2018. We continue to raise funds at every opportunity. While this venture is expected to eventually be financially self-sufficient, startup costs have been significant. This weekend we are excited to hold a local concert featuring Mitch Prather, an entertainer based in Kansas City, who has generously offered to donate all proceeds to our project."
Here is a flyer with info on Saturday's (June 30) Live Acoustic Rock Jam concert at the Memphis, MO VFW. The fun starts at 7 pm. Tickets are $12 per person, $20 per couple. Performing will be Mitch Prather, a well known guitarist from the Kansas City area...and yes, you noticed his last name, Prather, Mitch is Lisa's brother and my friend Stan Prather's son:
Here's hoping this event is a BIG success and raises lots of needed $$ for Lisa Rollison's "Tiger Cub Care" project. Lisa and her team have put in countless hours developing this project and stand ready and willing to help work with other regional rural hospitals in the same boat, needing specialized on site child care to help attract and retain their local medical professionals. Lisa's email:
"I would welcome the opportunity to share our journey and the lessons learned thus far to others in rural America facing similar challenges," said Rollison. "Writing this message to you has inspired me to assist like-minded others via creating a blog of our own, and possibly a practical “how-to”
guide document."
Go Lisa! Thank you for what you are doing to help rural health care.