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Tyson to open health clinic at Nebraska meatpacking plant
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Tyson to open health clinic at Nebraska meatpacking plant

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It's a race between vaccinations and variants. A booster shot may not be needed for COVID-19 next year if the world can get vaccinated quicker than the virus can mutate. Source by: Stringr

Lexington will be the home to one of Tyson Foods' first employee health clinics.

The meatpacking giant announced last year that it planned to open seven pilot health clinics at seven of its plants across the company.

The first clinic opened April 28 in Dyersburg, Tennessee, near the company’s facility in Newbern, Tennessee. The second and third clinics are opening Wednesday in Lexington and Green Forest, Arkansas.

The health centers, which are operated by Marathon Health and called Bright Blue health centers, provide primary and preventive care, including health screenings, lifestyle coaching and health education, as well as behavioral health counseling.

They are open to Tyson employees covered by the company's health insurance plan, as well as spouses and dependents age 2 and older. Most care will be offered at no cost to employees, although those on the company's high-deductible health plan will have to pay a fee to access care until they meet their deductible requirements.

Coplein said some employees don't utilize their health plan benefits at all and others wait to see a doctor until they encounter a medical crisis.

“We want to change that by providing access to care that can help detect health conditions early and promote healthy habits,” she said.

Tyson, which had announced plans for the clinics in September, has come under heavy criticism for how it handled worker safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Food & Environment Reporting Network, Tyson has had more than 12,500 cases nationwide, including more than 1,100 at its three Nebraska plants in Lexington, Madison and Dakota City.

Tyson said in its news release that it has vaccinated more than 40,000 employees against the disease, about one-third of its workforce.

The cost of COVID: Remembering lives lost in Southeast Nebraska

They were teachers and farmers and factory workers and homemakers. They played the piano, fixed old cars, danced to the Beach Boys, cuddled their grandchildren.

They loved to ice fish, gab with friends, read, run marathons, bowl, wander antique stores.

They were our co-workers and neighbors and friends. Our parents. Our spouses.

They all have one thing in common. They died from COVID-19, a virus that arrived in Nebraska in March 2020, claiming its first life in Lancaster County a month later.

These stories represent a fraction of the lives lost in Southeast Nebraska, but they are our way of paying respect to each and every one.

We'd like to share the stories of others from Southeast Nebraska who have lost their lives to COVID-19. If you would like to have your loved one added to our online tribute, please email your contact information to: citydesk@journalstar.com

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This spring, the Journal Star set out to honor the lives of those lost to COVID-19. The families were eager to share the stories of those they loved.

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Lillian "Lil" Gibson, 61, died of COVID-19 on Nov. 2. The dialysis nurse and marathon runner was small but mighty with a big smile and warm personality.

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Phyllis "Phyl" Maly, 88, died of COVID-19 on Jan. 14. She was an artist, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and a woman at home in her own skin.

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Beth Smith, 64, died of complications of COVID-19 on Jan. 20. The red-headed woman loved music and parties and adventure, a loyal friend, sister, aunt and partner.

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Roger A. Ryman, 70, died Oct. 20 from COVID-19. He was a cowboy in his younger years, but became a grandfather devoted to his Magnificent 7.

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Gloria Pospisil, 80, died of COVID-19 on Feb. 11. The long-time piano teacher and church organist was a farm girl at heart who kept a busy social calendar.

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Wanda Darlene Hedges was a strong woman who raised her family on a farm near Bennet. Sometimes she worked at a nearby grocery store, but she was mostly a full-time mother.

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Anna Sales, 69, died of COVID-19 on Nov. 6; four days later her husband Chuck Sales, 88, also died of the virus. The couple loved to bowl, travel, serve their church and listen to Elvis music.

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Randy Brinkman, 62, of Lincoln died of COVID-19 on Nov. 30. He loved his family, old cars, working hard and writing love poems to his wife.

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Hope McGraw, a 22-year-old crew leader at a York restaurant, died of COVID-19 in January. A fundraiser over a week later raised nearly $1,200 to help her family cover bills.

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Alan Burr, 73, of Humboldt died on Jan. 13 of complications from COVID-19. Teacher, artist, beloved brother, favorite uncle. “He did what he wanted, when he wanted to.”

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Raymond Irvin 'Irv' Cidlik, 78, died Oct. 23 from COVID-19. He was a veteran, farmer, father and grandfather who loved making people laugh.

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Employees lined the hallway in early December, clapping and cheering as my 94-year-old mother, Jane Koch, returned to her room in the long-term care facility where she lived. 

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Bryan Wintz, 46, died of COVID-19 on Oct. 4. The longtime LES worker loved to tease his only daughter, go ice fishing and work on projects around the house he built with his high school sweetheart Jill.

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Orva Samuelson, 95, died of COVID-19 on May 22. She and her late husband loved to dance and play cards and after she raised her daughter she became an Avon lady and turned customers into friends.

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Tam Mai, 80, died of COVID-19 on May 4. The man from Vietnam was a protective big brother and a devoted son and grandfather who taught his grandchildren to study hard and be respectful.

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Janet Ann Jodais, a caring mother known for her love of reading, crafting and church life, died Oct. 8 of COVID-19 in Lincoln at age 83.

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In the 50s and 60s, Betty Bredemeyer taught Sunday school at Christ United Methodist Church and was “probably on about every committee they had," one of her sons said.

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Jack Fields, 87, died of COVID-19 on Dec. 8. He spent his career fixing copy machines and making friends and creating memories for his children and grandchildren.

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Nadene Stull, 94, died Dec. 12 from complications of COVID-19. She lived a full life as a bookkeeper and mother of three sons who later went on to become a lay minister in the Methodist church.

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Betty Srb, a longtime nurse known for her caring and loving personality, died of COVID-19 at a Lincoln nursing home last November at age 95.

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Albert "Butch" Butts, 79, died on Feb. 14 of complications of COVID-19. He was a hard worker and a kind and generous man who left behind a big family to mourn his passing.

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Kevin Hopper, 60, died of COVID-19 on Aug. 19. The easygoing Lincoln native and computer expert loved Star Trek and Star Wars and all things sci-fi and, most of all, his family.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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