Boys Town National Research Hospital has announced that it is expanding its surgical offerings for children to include pediatric general and thoracic surgery.

The hospital also announced the addition, starting Tuesday, of four board-certified pediatric and general surgeons. All four are longtime providers within the community and previously were employed by a pediatric physician practice group jointly operated by Children’s Hospital & Medical Center and the University of Nebraska College of Medicine.

Dr. Edward Kolb, director and chief medical officer at Boys Town, said pediatric general and thoracic surgery, as a specialty, complements the hospital’s existing pediatric specialty and surgical offerings.

Existing surgical programs include pediatric ear, nose and throat; orthopedics; ophthalmology; and dentistry.

“For us, this is change in a good way and change that will allow us to care for more kids and families,” he said.

The surgeons are Drs. Stephen Raynor, Robert Cusick, Shahab Abdessalam and Megan Fuller.

All four will retain privileges at Children’s and continue to perform surgery there as well as at Boys Town, Kolb said. Many physicians in Omaha, including many at Boys Town, care for patients at different hospitals. Raynor and Cusick had been on staff at Boys Town since 2018 while employed by Children’s Specialty Physicians.

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“I think there’s room in town for all of us to fulfill our mission and take care of more kids and families in a way that fits our organization,” Kolb said. “And we want to be a community resource.”

Children’s, hospital officials said in a statement, will continue to offer a full range of pediatric surgical services, including operating the region’s only Level II pediatric trauma center.

Kolb said Boys Town wants to grow the group and build programs with and around the surgeons.

That includes supporting a pediatric thyroid clinic and a weight management and obesity program, and developing a colorectal practice. For some, the hospital also will tap existing specialties, such as behavioral health and pediatric gastroenterology.

The hospital also plans to support the physicians’ commitment to educating surgeons, Kolb said. The group sponsors a well-regarded pediatric surgical fellowship in collaboration with the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Kolb, a pediatrician and anesthesiologist, said Boys Town considers itself a physician-driven organization that takes seriously what doctors need to support their practices.

For now, Kolb said, the surgeons likely will practice at the hospital’s west Omaha location on the Boys Town campus. The hospital is converting office space to 12 exam rooms, which will be ready this summer.

The hospital also will be adding a critical care unit in June that will largely support the surgical service. Not only will the six beds open up what Boys Town can offer, Kolb said, it also will help ease the crunch for such beds the community generally faces in the winter when kids are battling influenza and RSV.

“We very much see this as contributing to the medical community of Omaha in a good way and adding to the resources of the community,” he said.

Julie Anderson is a medical reporter for The World-Herald. She covers health care and health care trends and developments, including hospitals, research and treatments. Follow her on Twitter @JulieAnderson41. Phone: 402-444-1066.

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