Young People’s Healthy Heart Moves to City County Health District Office

By: Sharon Buhr (Young People’s Healthy Heart)

VALLEY CITY, N.D. (NewsDakota.com) – The Young People’s Healthy Heart Program, previously located at CHI Mercy Health will be fully operational inside the City County Health District office in Valley City starting July 1st.

The program originated in 1980 through a grant that Sharon Buhr, MPH, LRD, and director of the program, wrote to the North Dakota Department of Health related to heart health.

Read more at NewsDakota.com

CHI Mercy Health Announces Free Community Workshops Held at Gaukler Family Wellness Center Continue This Summer

Valley City, ND

CHI Mercy Health is excited to continue holding monthly, free, community health workshops at the Gaukler Family Wellness Center over the summer months.

We have held monthly workshops since January including topics such as:  Organ and Blood Donation, Heart Health and Fitness, Healthy Heart Tips and Tastes, Domestic Violence Awareness, and two Free CPR classes.

Our next workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, June 20, from 7:00pm-8:00pm in the first floor conference room at the Gaukler Family Wellness Center.  The topic will focus on Chronic Pain management.  Our workshop will be led by CHI Mercy Health’s Chief Nurse Anesthetist, Clark J. Kruta, CRNA, APRN, MA, and Operating Room Manager Stephanie Kruta, RN, MSN, to learn about effective treatments for Chronic Pain.   Chronic pain is best managed if the plan of care is individualized to each patient.  It should include at a minimum: physical therapy evaluation and stretching, regular exercise, education on self -care (sleep/nutrition/lifestyle), and behavioral health care. Learn about effective methods to treat chronic pain including pain injections.

It is the mission of CHI Mercy Health to “…create healthier communities.” and we are bringing these monthly, free to the community workshops to help local individual’s lead healthier lives.  Part of these workshops is funded through a Center for Rural Health Flex Collaboration Grant that CHI Mercy Health was awarded.  Please contact Stephanie Mayfield in the CHI Mercy Health Foundation/Mission office (direct #845-6557 or stephaniemayfield@catholichealth.net) with any questions you have regarding any of the workshops.

CHI Mercy Health Receives $400,000 Grant for Cutting-Edge Diagnostic Tool from Helmsley Charitable Trust

Valley City, ND – Patients at CHI Mercy Health will soon benefit from access to the latest computed tomography (CT) diagnostic technology made possible through a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program.

Helmsley has awarded CHI Mercy Health $400,000 for a new 64-slice CT scanner. CT scanners provide essential diagnostic images of structures inside the body. A new CT scanner will allow for faster scans that produce high-quality images, allowing medical staff to quickly determine health status and course of treatment while giving patients access to up-to-date healthcare technology close to home.

“CHI Mercy Health is truly blessed to be awarded a CT Scanner Grant through the Helmsley Charitable Trust. Imaging services are used by every patient care department within our facility—from inpatient to emergency to outpatient diagnostics. Offering the only CT scanner in Barnes County, CHI Mercy Health will be able to continue to provide a local option for diagnosis and monitoring for our community,” said Keith Heuser, President, CHI Mercy Health.

CHI Mercy Health is one of 41 grant recipients across the region to benefit from this round of funding to purchase CT scanners. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program has granted over $30 million to support the purchase of new, 32-slice or higher CT scanners in a seven-state region.

“Our goal is to ensure that people who live in rural America have access to quality healthcare as close to home as possible,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “To achieve this, rural hospitals need to be viable and they need to have up-to-date equipment, so patients can receive essential healthcare services locally. This initiative is one of many that aims to improve healthcare access and health outcomes across the upper Midwest.”

The funding initiative was the result of a survey of Critical Access Hospitals in the Rural Healthcare Program’s seven-state funding region. Capital equipment, particularly CT scanners, was identified as a top need by many hospitals. In addition, a new Medicare policy went into effect January 1, 2016, that reduced reimbursement for certain studies on CT scanners that do not meet specific radiation dose requirements. Since 2015, the Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded 78 grants totaling over $30 million to outfit hospitals with new, state-of-the-art CT scanners.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits in health, select place-based initiatives, education and human services. Since 2008, when Helmsley began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $1.8 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-theart training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $300 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.

Download this Press Release PDF

CHI Mercy Health Foundation Announces Scholarships

Valley City, ND   CHI Mercy Health Foundation is excited to announce it is accepting applications for four scholarships it is offering! Each year, two Nursing scholarships are given out to recipients that are enrolled in an accredited nursing program. One of the scholarships is provided by funds contributed by CHI Mercy Health’s Nursing Department which is matched by the foundation.

The second Nursing scholarship comes from a fund set up to honor LaVonne Reidman. The family of LaVonne Reidman established this scholarship in 2005 in memory of Lavonne and her dedication to the nursing profession.  LaVonne was a wonderful, caring nurse for many years at Mercy Hospital in Valley City.  CHI Mercy Health Foundation is managing this scholarship for the Reidman Family.

Finally, there will be two more scholarships offered that are open to anyone pursuing a General Medical career, including technician programs. One of these scholarships is provided by nursing staff fundraisers and the other through the LaVonne Reidman family.  So please share this with your co-workers, friends, family and anyone you can think of that may be able to benefit from these funds.  Please contact Stephanie Mayfield in the CHI Mercy Health Foundation office (direct #845-6557 or stephaniemayfield@catholichealth.net) to get an application or go online to:  www.mercyhospitalvalleycity.org under the Scholarships tab. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2017.

CHI Mercy Health Foundation is a nonprofit organization to serve the needs of CHI Mercy Health. The Foundation is dedicated to providing support for Mercy Hospital with supplemental funding for capital and program needs essential to the hospital’s growth and development. Through this service, the residents of Valley City and the surrounding communities have access to local, modern, quality healthcare that allows our family, friends and neighbors to stay close to home for their health care needs.

CHI Mercy Health Named as 2017 Top 100 Critical Access Hospital

Critical Access Top 100 Hospital 2017CHI Mercy Health in Valley City, ND was recently named one of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States by iVantage Health Analytics and The Chartis Center for Rural Health.

This achievement is very gratifying and validates our daily commitment to providing the best health care possible to our community, while maintaining an efficient and effective facility,” said Keith Heuser, Hospital President. “I am extremely pleased that our staff is being recognized for their commitment to outcomes, patient safety and the patient’s experience here”

CHI Mercy Health scored in the top 100 of Critical Access Hospitals on iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®. The INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive rating of rural providers. It provides the data foundation for the annual Rural Relevance Study and its results are the basis for many of rural healthcare’s most prominent awards, advocacy efforts and legislative initiatives. The list of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals and more information about the study can be found at www.iVantageINDEX.com.

The Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals play a key role in providing a safety net to communities across America – and the INDEX measures them across eight pillars of hospital strength: Inpatient Share Ranking, Outpatient Share Ranking, Cost, Charge, Quality, Outcomes, Patient Perspectives, and Financial Stability.

“It’s more important than ever that rural hospitals proactively understand and address performance in the areas of cost, quality, outcomes and patient perspective. iVantage’s INDEX was designed to serve as this industry model,” said Michael Topchik, national leader of the Chartis Center for Rural Health. “Across the spectrum of performance indicators, there are rural providers that are writing the blueprint for success as they transition to value-based healthcare. Our analysis shows that this group of top performers exhibits a focused concern for their community needs.”

About the Chartis Group and iVantage Health Analytics

The Chartis Group (Chartis) is a national advisory services firm dedicated to the healthcare industry. Chartis provides strategic planning, value-based care, advanced performance, informatics and technology consulting services as well as leading-edge decision support tools to the country’s leading healthcare providers. The Chartis Center for Rural Health (CCRH) was formed in 2016 to offer tailored services, performance management solutions, research and education to rural hospitals and facilities. Learn more at Chartisrural.com.

iVantage Health Analytics is a subsidiary of The Chartis Group and a leading provider of healthcare analytic and performance management analytic tools. Health system and hospital leadership teams across the country rely on the company’s software and services to deliver customized insights on clinical and financial performance, strategic planning, market assessment and payment optimization. iVantage’s analytics are the basis of continuing thought leadership and insight in the areas of healthcare policy and research. Learn more at iVantageHealth.com.

Contact:

Amy Weickert
Director of Marketing
iVantage Health Analytics/The Chartis Center for Rural Health
aweickert@ivantagehealth.com
207-245-6769

CHI Mercy Health Announces Free Community Workshops to be held at Gaukler Family Wellness Center

Valley City, ND CHI Mercy Health is excited to announce it will begin holding monthly, free, community health workshops at the Gaukler Family Wellness Center beginning Wednesday, February 15.

The first workshop entitled “Organ and Blood Donation” will be held on February 15 beginning at 7pm in the 1st Floor Conference Room at the Wellness Center. It will feature Lifesource Liason, Barb Nelson-Agnew speaking about the importance and process of organ donation. We will also have on hand, CHI Mercy Health ER manager Alana Wendel and Lab manager Susan Kringlie to talk about the importance of local blood and organ donations. We will also help people sign up to be Organ Donors if they choose to be and have some organ donation awareness gifts for all in attendance.

The second workshop will be held on February 22 in Room 156 at the Wellness Center. It is called “Heart Health and Fitness” as February is Heart Health Month. Join CHI Mercy Health’s Sharon Buhr and VCSU Assistant Professor of Kinesiology & Human Performance, Sarah Milner for a complimentary Body Composition Test ($20 value) and find out what your test results mean to your health and how to create fitness goals to strengthen your heart. This class is limited to the first 20 people who register by calling: 845-6456.

The third workshop will be on March 23 in the Party Room at the Wellness Center. It will be called “Healthy Heart Tips and Tastes” and will feature a live, healthy cooking demonstration and samples! In addition, all registrants will receive a complimentary cookbook ($25 value) called “America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook”. Please register by calling 845-6456.

It is the mission of CHI Mercy Health to “…create healthier communities.” and we are bringing these monthly, free to the community workshops to help local individuals lead healthier lives. Part of these workshops is funded through a Center for Rural Health Flex Collaboration Grant that CHI Mercy Health was awarded. Please contact Stephanie Mayfield in the CHI Mercy Health Foundation/Mission office (direct #845-6557 or stephaniemayfield@catholichealth.net) with any questions you have regarding any of the workshops.

CHI Mercy Auxiliary Announces 2017 Scholarships

CHI MERCY AUXILLARY ANNOUNCES 2017 SCHOLARSHIPS

Valley City, ND The CHI Mercy Auxiliary is excited to announce it is accepting applications for scholarship! Each year, one scholarship is given out to recipients that are enrolled in a Medical Health Care related career. The scholarship is provided by funds raised by CHI Mercy Health’s Auxiliary.

To be eligible for Auxiliary scholarships the below criteria is required:

  • Employees who have completed 2 years of full-time or part-time employment at MH and have been accepted or are furthering their education in healthcare
  • Or volunteers who have completed 30 hours of volunteer time during the previous year and are seeking a degree in healthcare.
  • Graduating high school seniors who attend school and/or reside in Barnes County, ND, and who are children or grandchildren of current CHI Mercy Health employees or volunteers.

Please contact Lisa Urbatsch in the CHI Mercy Health Administration office (direct #845-6486 or lisaurbatsch@catholichealth.net) to get an application or go online to: http://www.mercyhospitalvalleycity.org/scholarships/ . The deadline to apply is May 26, 2017.

The CHI Mercy Health Auxiliary (CHI-MHA) is a volunteer organization devoted to supporting the hospital and the community it serves. If you would like to become a CHI Mercy Health Auxiliary member, please contact Lisa Urbatsch at 701-845-6486 or email lisaurbatsch@catholichealth.net

CHI Mercy Auxiliary Announces Scholarships Recipients

Valley City, ND CHI Mercy Health Auxiliary is excited to announce its recipients for 2016-2017 school year.

The first recipient is Maia Wendel of Valley City. She was awarded a $250 scholarship to use toward the Healthcare Education she is enrolled in at Moorhead State University, MN.

The first recipient is Maia Wendel of Valley City. She was awarded a $250 scholarship to use toward the Healthcare Education she is enrolled in at Moorhead State University, MN.

The second recipient is Tarryn Justesen of Valley City. She was awarded a $250 scholarship to use toward the Nurse Program she is enrolled in at Moorhead State Community and Technology College, MN.

The second recipient is Tarryn Justesen of Valley City. She was awarded a $250 scholarship to use toward the Nurse Program she is enrolled in at Moorhead State Community and Technology College, MN.

Each year, one scholarship is given out to recipients that are enrolled in a Medical Health Care related career. The first scholarship is provided by funds raised by CHI Mercy Health’s Auxiliary. The second $250 scholarship is a one-time memorial/donation from the family of Mertice Rood (a Graduate of the Mercy School of Nursing at Mercy Hospital in Valley City and an active Mercy Hospital Auxiliary member) and is specifically for someone seeking a degree as a nurse. These scholarships are available to local students pursuing a healthcare or nursing career.

The CHI Mercy Health Auxiliary (CHI-MHA) is a volunteer organization devoted to supporting the hospital and the community it serves. If you would like to become a CHI Mercy Health Auxiliary member, please contact Lisa Urbatsch at 701-845-6486 or email lisaurbatsch@catholichealth.net

CHI Mercy Health Foundation Announces Nursing Advancement 2016 Scholarship Recipients

The CHI Mercy Health Foundation would like to announce its Nursing Advancement/General Medical scholarship recipients for 2016-2017 school year.

The first recipient is Brienne Roehrich of Valley City. She was awarded a $250 scholarship to use towards the Nursing Program she is enrolled in at the University of Jamestown.

The first recipient is Brienne Roehrich of Valley City. She was awarded a $250 scholarship to use towards the Nursing Program she is enrolled in at the University of Jamestown.

The second recipient is Camille Kawasaki of Valley City. She was also awarded a $250 scholarship to use towards her Medical Laboratory Science degree that she is pursuing at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD.

The second recipient is Camille Kawasaki of Valley City. She was also awarded a $250 scholarship to use towards her Medical Laboratory Science degree that she is pursuing at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD.

The final recipient is CHI Mercy Health Chief Nurse Anesthetist, Clark Kruta, of Valley City. He was also awarded a $250 scholarship to use towards his Post Graduate Fellowship in Pain Management at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX.

The final recipient is CHI Mercy Health Chief Nurse Anesthetist, Clark Kruta, of Valley City. He was also awarded a $250 scholarship to use towards his Post Graduate Fellowship in Pain Management at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX.

The CHI Mercy Health Foundation Nursing Advancement Scholarship was started in 2005. The goal was for the nursing staff at Mercy Hospital to provide $1000 a year in scholarships to be awarded annually. These scholarships are available to any local student pursuing education for nursing advancement or any general medical field.

We will open the 2017-2018 school year scholarship applications in January of 2017 through March 31, 2017 and make awards in May 2017. If you would like more information about this scholarship opportunity, please contact Stephanie Mayfield, Director of CHI Mercy Health Foundation, 845-6557 or via e-mail at stephaniemayfield@catholichealth.net.

CHI Mercy Health Foundation Announces 2016 LaVonne Reidman Scholarship Recipients

The CHI Mercy Health Foundation would like to announce the LaVonne Reidman Scholarship recipients for the 2016-2017 school year.

Brienne Roehrich, Valley City, ND, has been chosen to receive the LaVonne Reidman Nursing Scholarship. This year the award was $1000.00. Brienne is enrolled in the Nursing Program at the University of Jamestown in Jamestown, ND.

Camille Kawasaki, Valley City, ND has been chosen to receive the LaVonne Reidman Memorial Medical Scholarship. This year the award was $350.00. Camille is enrolled in the Medical Laboratory Science program at Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD.

The family of LaVonne Reidman established these scholarships in 2005, in memory of LaVonne and her dedication to the nursing profession. Lavonne was a wonderful, caring nurse for many years at Mercy Hospital in Valley City. CHI Mercy Health Foundation is managing this scholarship for the Reidman Family. The amount of this scholarship can increase every year as the Reidman’s add to the fund.

If you would like more information about this scholarship opportunity, please contact Stephanie Mayfield, Director of CHI Mercy Health Foundation, at 701-845-6557 or e-mail: stephaniemayfield@catholichealth.net.

CHI Mercy Auxiliary Announces Scholarships

Valley City, ND The CHI Mercy Auxiliary is excited to announce it is accepting applications for two scholarships it is offering! Each year, one scholarship is given out to recipients that are enrolled in a Medical Health Care related career. The scholarship is provided by funds raised by CHI Mercy Health’s Auxiliary. The second $250 scholarship is a one-time memorial/donation from the family of Mertice Rood (a Graduate of the Mercy School of Nursing at Mercy Hospital in Valley City and an active Mercy Hospital Auxiliary member) and is specifically for someone seeking a degree as a nurse. Please note on Application you are applying for the “Mertice Rood Nursing Scholarship”.

To be eligible for Auxiliary scholarships the below criteria is required:

  • Employees who have completed 2 years of full-time or part-time employment at MH and have been accepted or are furthering their education in healthcare
  • Or volunteers who have completed 30 hours of volunteer time during the previous year and are seeking a degree in healthcare.
  • Graduating high school seniors who attend school and/or reside in Barnes County, ND, and who are children or grandchildren of current CHI Mercy Health employees or volunteers.

Please contact Lisa Urbatsch in the CHI Mercy Health Administration office (direct #845-6486 or lisaurbatsch@catholichealth.net) to get an application or go online to: www.mercyhospitalvalleycity.org under the Scholarships tab. The deadline to apply is May 27, 2016.

The CHI Mercy Health Auxiliary (CHI-MHA) is a volunteer organization devoted to supporting the hospital and the community it serves. If you would like to become a CHI Mercy Health Auxiliary member, please contact Lisa Urbatsch at 701-845-6486 or email lisaurbatsch@catholichealth.net

CHI Mercy Health Foundation Announces Scholarships

Valley City, ND Mercy Healthcare Foundation is excited to announce it is accepting applications for three scholarships it is offering! Each year, two Nursing scholarships are given out to recipients that are enrolled in an accredited nursing program. One of the scholarships is provided by funds contributed by Mercy Hospital’s Nursing Department which is matched by the foundation.

The second Nursing scholarship comes from a fund set up to honor LaVonne Reidman. The family of Lavonne Reidman established this scholarship in 2005 in memory of Lavonne and her dedication to the nursing profession. Lavonne was a wonderful, caring nurse for many years at Mercy Hospital in Valley City. Mercy HealthCare Foundation is managing this scholarship for the Reidman Family.

Finally, there is a third scholarship offered that is open to anyone pursuing a General Medical career, including technician programs. So please share this with your co-workers, friends, family and anyone you can think of that may be able to benefit from these funds. Please contact Stephanie Mayfield in the Mercy Healthcare Foundation office (direct #845-6557 or stephaniemayfield@catholichealth.net) to get an application or go online to: www.mercyhospitalvalleycity.org under the Scholarships tab. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2016.

CHI Mercy Health Foundation is a nonprofit organization to serve the needs of CHI Mercy Health. The Foundation is dedicated to providing support for Mercy Hospital with supplemental funding for capital and program needs essential to the hospital’s growth and development. Through this service, the residents of Valley City and the surrounding communities have access to local, modern, quality healthcare that allows our family, friends and neighbors to stay close to home for their health care needs.

The Quiet Side of Medical Care

Some people call them vampires. They come into a room often when the sky’s still dark, are polite, quiet, and take a little blood. Others think they’re nurses who just enjoy inflicting a moment’s pain first thing in the morning. Either way, they disappear until tomorrow leaving the patient a pin-prick of blood lighter. But rather than flying off to some crepuscular cavern, or a room lined with medieval torture contraptions, these individuals head back to their high tech lab and prepare to take that blood sample apart.

Laboratories play a essential role in medical diagnoses. Lab techs analyze virtually all bodily fluids, blood and urine predominantly, looking for various markers that help doctors determine anything from the type of illness or bacterial infection and the course of action needed to heal the patient.

“More than seventy percent of the information a doctor uses for a diagnosis comes from lab work,” said Susan Kringlie, Director of Laboratory Services at CHI Mercy Health, Valley City.

CHI Mercy Health’s lab is a technological marvel. The lab hosts several pieces of automated equipment that analyze blood or other fluids in quickly. But there are still microscopes on the counters for further, closer analysis. Blood testing in chemistry and hematology, are the largest share of the analysis run in the lab.

“Cardiac events, or possible events,” said Kringlie, “are what we see a lot of. We run tests that detect damage to the heart muscle, like Troponin-I. And of course, we test blood for pathogens, too. Sometimes we find markers for other diseases. We have, for example, found abnormal blood cells in patients highly suggestive for leukemia, which neither the patient nor the doctor knew the patient had.”

Larger hospitals, said Kringlie, have more diverse labs and a separation of duties. Some lab techs may perform only hematological testing, others in microbiology, or any other number of specialize testing or equipment that the lab may use. But Mercy’s four lab techs, Maria Flores, Matt Sprague, Angel Casamayor, and Chantal Faul, do it all.

“We’re a small lab,” said Kringlie, “and so our techs have to be proficient at everything. And be willing to put in long hours sometimes. Sometimes we do lab work for the other clinics in town because we can get the results back to them quickly.”

Kringlie said there is a shortage of lab techs nationally, with the average age well over fifty and there are less schools with clinical laboratory programs. “We really need more techs,” she said, “because in a few years lab techs will be retiring.”

We’re Not Going Anywhere by Keith Heuser

Mark Twain: “The news of my death…”; “A lie makes it ’round the world…”; “History is strewn with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill, but a lie well told, is immortal.”

It seems the rumor that CHI Mercy Health is closing is again resurgent, giving a sense of accuracy to Twain’s aphorisms. This rumor comes around through the community almost like a seasonal virus and affects everyone throughout. Our patients, our employees, our Board members, and everyone who depends on us to be here ready to provide unsurpassed care are affected by this rumor.

Last week I was on the local radio station and I mentioned a random conversation I just happened into where a woman said to me, “They’re closing the hospital.” I assured her we weren’t, not telling her who I was. She asked how I knew, and I said, “Trust me, I know.”

This rumor remains because of the changes we’ve made to the hospital over the last number of years. It’s understandable that people will jump to conclusions–I probably would, too, not knowing the factors influencing the changes. At its core, a hospital is a place for caring, healing, and taking care of the community, but it is also a business. When a business suspends some services it certainly can appear that it is in trouble. Let me assure everyone, emphatically, right now: CHI Mercy Health is not in trouble.

A hospital is this center of healing, but it is also a business. The difficulty for any rural hospital is size. When you have a large population base and a large physician referral base, hospitals do very well. But in a community our size, where fewer than half population use our hospital, it’s very difficult to offer a multitude of services. Any business owner will understand and tell you that any product or service has a critical mass needed to make it profitable to carry or offer, and without that critical mass of customers, without that return on investment, you can’t offer services or products that cost money. This holds true for a hospital.

We have closed down services that have been a cost burden or compliance nightmare (with ever changing federal regulatory requirements) so that we can keep the emergency room and other core services of the hospital viable. Offering services that don’t help our bottom line or that require an inordinate amount of time and expense take money directly from other necessary and vital health care services that we need to provide this community.

What we’re doing is working, which is why we won’t and aren’t closing. We offer this community a wide range of health services in a changing, transformative time for the health care industry as a whole. We offer cardiac rehab, physical therapy, sleep studies, swing beds, DEXA, mammography, CAT scans, and a diversity of same-day surgeries (from ophthalmological to endoscopy), and pain management. And we have a Class I trauma center utilizing state-of-the-art telemedicine. Most important, our staff is simply the best anywhere, and comprised of people you most likely know and certainly trust.

This year we are above budget, which, if you pay attention to the news, is the exception nationally. Nationally, most hospitals are losing money. No, we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. There will changes in how hospitals offer health care as we continue to move from acute to ambulatory care. We will adapt to the changes, we will continue to offer wonderful care, and CHI Mercy Health certainly will not be closing.

Keith Heuser is the Market President for CHI Mercy Health, Valley City.

Mission to the Philippines

A third shipment of medical equipment and supplies has arrived at the Indigenous People’s Hospital, in Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines. Thanks to our Second-Year Mission and Ministry Fund award of $25,000, MedShare has shipped another 40-foot shipping container loaded with medical equipment and supplies to this, our sister hospital. CHI Mercy Health was among several CHI facilities to raise and contribute $2,000 to assist in the freight cost of shipping one full-size container.

In addition to 800 boxes of supplies, the shipment included:

  • 1 laptop computer
  • 1 LCD video projector with carrying case and small external speakers
  • 4 portable suction units
  • Surgical and delivery instruments
  • 1 hospital-grade countertop freezer for Laboratory
  • 2 hospital-grade countertop refrigerators
  • 4 wall-mounted air conditioning units
  • 3 vinyl patient recliner chairs
  • 3 patient gurneys

Support for this Mission project comes from everyone who has bought a purse, wallet, or pencil cup holder, or who came to the Filipino lunch in October, where we served 69 people–it was such a success we’re thinking of making it an annual event!

Thank you to everyone who has helped support this Mission project, together we can make a difference around the world!

Mammograms at Mercy: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

“Not too many people know we do mammograms right here,” said Barbara Waite-Clark. “We have the latest in digital technology right here in this hospital, and it’s a lot more comfortable and personable right here.” Waite-Clark is a Mammographer and Radiologic Technologist at CHI Mercy Health in Valley City, ND.

One in eight women in the U.S., will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetimes, Waite-Clark said, and is emphatic that women have a mammogram once a year. “The fact is that women should begin having mammograms when they turn forty,” she said, “because by the time they turn fifty, it could be too late. Breast cancer needs to be caught early. It’s not the number of women who develop breast cancer, but it’s how young they are when they do. We need to catch it early.”

CHI Mercy Health has offered mammograms for a number of years, but in Valley City this is a hidden gem of a health service offered right at the hospital. The equipment used for mammography at Mercy is all digital. The room large and private. And it all is easily accessible, especially for the handicapped.

Women should get their yearly screening from their primary caregiver, and then call as no referral is needed, to CHI Mercy Health to make an appointment. Just ask us to schedule you an appointment.

CHI Mercy Health has a host of events scheduled for Breast Cancer Awareness. Go to our Facebook page to see what’s going on during the week of Oct. 26-31.

For more information on mammography and mammograms and CHI Mercy Health, call the Radiology department at 701-845-6441. And Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter for events and timely and topical health tips.

Fall Must Be Here

And with fall comes flu season. CHI Mercy Health began flu shots for their employees, Monday, Oct. 5. It’s a good time to remember to get yours this fall if you’re in one of the categories for those at risk of developing flu-related complications or with certain medical conditions.

For more information on flu vaccines, call CHI Mercy Health, 845-6400.

An Offering of Light

Suicide is not a pleasant topic. It is a trammeled subject in polite conversation; a personal scar born of knowledge the name of whom is seldom spoken. More than 41,000 people kill themselves annually in the U.S., but more than 1 million people attempt suicide. Thirteen years ago, Barnes County had the highest suicide rate in the state, and for eleven years Debbie Anderson has tried to lower that number to zero.

Wellness in the Valley is the program Anderson runs through CHI Mercy Health, and she is dedicated to the program which is dedicated to suicide prevention. “Thirteen years ago we received a Health Resources and Service Administration grant,” said Anderson. “There were many suicides in Barnes County, but the real impetus was a man holding his family hostage and ultimately ended his life. We were able to get this started with the five-year HRSA grant.”

Wellness in the Valley began with three full-time employees, and by its third year had trained nearly 3,200 people in suicide prevention and awareness training. Today, the only employee is Anderson, and the program is funded through CHI Mercy Health. A condition of the HRSA grant was that “Wellness” could not charge for services. Health and Human Services, the granting agency, thought that businesses would keep the program running.

“Funds are drying up,” said Anderson. “Mercy tries to fund this, but community support has fallen short due to economic difficulties in our community. Other causes have taken suicide prevention’s place, so instead of the $5,000 grants we once got, we may get only a few $500 grants. But Mercy’s fighting to keep this alive. Keith Heuser’s fighting to keep this alive because there are no other behavioral health services in Valley City that can offer the service in the community that we offer.”

Anderson, however, seems inexhaustible working more hours than possible and staying on-call for interventions or counseling. She has, through “Wellness,” provided over 62 unpaid counseling sessions; taken part in 48 immediate threat suicide interventions in the last twelve months; taken part in two cancer groups; two depression groups; conducted two “gatekeeper” (interventionist) trainings; and two Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). And she has given the teachers in the Valley City School District their mandatory two-hour state-mandated suicide training. She’s also a resource for the police and fire departments.

One of the most important tasks of her work through Wellness in the Valley is her concern for the families of suicides. They go through a very difficult time, and she offers help if they need. “I contact them, and I send the families a book from the American Society of Suicide Prevention,” she said. “It’s called ‘After Suicide Loss.’ And I enclose a card with my name and number.”

The big event and fundraiser for Wellness in the Valley is the annual Out of Darkness Walk. This year’s walk is October 10, 2015, at 12 p.m., the same day as the Dakota State University-VCSU game and on the VCSU campus.

“The students and faculty are really involved,” Anderson said. “I hope this will fire up the community again, too. We have 109 regular donors to ‘Wellness,’ and I hope this will help because the college students are very excited and working hard. I don’t have many community businesses involved with the walk, but I hope that when the community sees all the college students they’ll want to get involved again, and help Wellness in the Valley and Valley City State University help save lives and families.”

For more information about the Out of the Darkness Walk, or Wellness in the Valley, call 701-845-6436, or log on to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention AFSP.org/walk.

When Counting Sheep Fails

O, to sleep, to dream, and to wake up without feeling beat up , exhausted, and ready for a nap. Sleep apnea, restless legs, insomnias, parasomnias–there are categories and subcategories of all that steals sleep. Quite a few sleep disorders will actually affect good health: sleep terrors, REM disorders, obstructive sleep apnea can with frequency affect mental as well as physical health. Fortunately there are sleep study centers today, and in Valley City is lucky enough to have one.

CHI Mercy Health has opened a sleep center in the hospital. The center is run by Whitney Sleep Diagnostics & Consultants of Detroit Lakes, and coordinated by Karen Burchill for the hospital. The studies are conducted right in the hospital and patients receive follow up from a Board Certified Sleep Specialist.

“Traditionally in a smaller town,” said Jim Dunn, “the patient and his or her healthcare provider saw the results of the sleep study for the first time together and had to figure out what it all meant. Now the patient can talk directly to the Sleep Specialist who interprets their study via telemedicine right at CHI Mercy. We are able to diagnose, treat and provide continued follow up for most sleep disorders right in Valley City.” Dunn is Whitney Sleep’s Director of Business Development, and a Whitney Sleep success story himself.

There are eighty-four different sleep disorders, said Dunn, with insomnias the most prevalent, but Obstructive Sleep Apnea are the most commonly worked with.

“Obstructive Sleep Apnea,” said Dunn, “is a condition where the muscles in the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open despite efforts to breathe. People with sleep apnea have these pauses in breathing anywhere from 100 to 300 (or more) times each night. In most patients that are referred for a sleep study, we are able to do what we call a split night study. This is where we use the first half of the night to evaluate the patient’s sleep. If the patient displays enough breathing disturbances, we will use the remainder of the night to put the patient on CPAP therapy and manipulate the pressure to make sure the patient is breathing properly in all phases of sleep and in all body positions. Follow up with the Sleep Specialist takes place in a separate appointment.”

Dunn understands the full benefit of healthy sleep. In 2007, he had his sleep study done and learned he stopped breathing 25 times an hour. After starting CPAP therapy, he immediately noticed he had more energy, was more productive at work and at home, and was just in a better mood all day. “You don’t know how bad your sleep is until it is corrected,” he said. “I have never met anyone who said they wish they had waited longer to address their sleep.”

There is a simple diagnostic chart that may indicate a need for a sleep study. Snoring, excessive daily fatigue, hypertension, a large neck size are among the symptoms and an individual who exhibits two or more should consult a doctor, who may then refer the individual for a sleep study. Patients for the sleep studies are all referred by a healthcare provider.

For more information, contact CHI Mercy Health at 845-6400. Or ask your physician to refer you to Mercy for a sleep study with Whitney.

ASIST–Suicide Intervention at the HEC

Have you ever lost someone to suicide? Learn suicide prevention skills May 4 and 5, with Wellness in the Valley.

ASIST is Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, and is a two-day work-shop for all community members. ASIST develops and enhance the skills to intervene with a person at risk of suicide until either the immediate risk is reduced. The training, developed by LivingWorks Education Inc., is divided into four learning modules: attitudes, knowledge, intervention and resources. Skills and principles are illustrated with case studies, presented in videos, role-play simulations, discussions, and the Suicide Intervention Handbook. The workshop prepares suicide first aid caregivers to integrate intervention principles into everyday practice.

The ASIST training will be conducted by trainers certified by LivingWorks Inc., as accomplished practitioners in suicide prevention, intervention, and aftercare. Trainers are Debbie Anderson MS, LPC, NCC, Wellness in the Valley, and Cindy Miller, Executive Director, First Link.

Register by April 15, for ASIST Upgrade 11, May 4 and 5, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at CHI Mercy Hospital, in the Health Education Center. Class size is limited to 25 participants and will be first come first serve, so please register ASAP.

For more information on the program or how to register, contact Wellness in the Valley, 570 Chautauqua Blvd, Valley City, 701-845-6436

Setting the Body at Ease

clark-krutaClark Kruta knows what pain is. He’s had it, lived with it, and ultimately man-aged it. The patients he sees know that, and the new ones learn that. Kruta has true empathy for their suffering, and just as significantly has experienced the techniques he uses to relieve their pain. Kruta also has more than twenty-three years as a certi-fied nurse anesthetist and has more than fifteen years in pain management using in-terventional therapies.

Relieving pain isn’t just about prescribing some pills. It isn’t just a pharmaceu-tical solution. The therapies, the interventional therapies that Kruta employs for pain management are rather diverse and can incorporate radiological imaging for therapeu-tic pain injections. There are epidural steroid injections, sacroiliac injections, and trigger point injections, all with a specific purpose and desired result.

“Pain management therapy begins with a referral from a provider, and then is about administering an analgesic,” said Kruta. “It isn’t about masking the pain. Pain management uses anesthetics or an anti-inflammatory drug targeting a specific spot to help relax the muscles or reduce inflammation. The purpose is at that point to en-courage the body to heal itself.”

Kruta picked up model of vertebrae. “Here,” he said, pointing, “is where the spinal cord runs. Nerves run through here,” pointing again, “and out to the body. When there’s, say, neck pain due to a degenerating disc, I slip a needle in right here and into the epidural layer of the cord, which isn’t very big. The anti-inflammatory re-lieves the pain.”

Kruta just doesn’t sit down with a patient and start the therapy. He first visits with the patient, looking at history, and pinpoints the source and location of the cause of the pain. Pain in the leg may actually originate in the back. Kruta must know ex-actly where the source is for the therapy to be effective.

“Trigger point injections are used when a muscle is virtually cramped up and won’t relax,” Kruta said. “It can cause a person to list to one side when walking and affect other muscles and joints. I inject an anesthetic into the trigger point of the af-fected muscle which allows the muscle to relax, and the healing to begin.”

Sacroiliac injections help with the low back and cushions the spine from the hip and the impact of walking. When the SI joint (as it’s called) is inflamed pain can run from to the groin, abdomen, leg, and can be the cause of sciatic pain. This injection uses radiological imaging to administer the medication. The medication contains both an analgesic and a pain killer to relieve tissue swelling, as with a trigger point, and to reduce pain.

“How we offer pain management therapy at CHI Mercy Health,” said Kruta, “is a little different than how it’s offered anywhere around here. We do things a little differently. At other facilities the patient has to come back for a second shot for most therapies. I administer both at the same time. It’s cheaper for the patient, and it offers better relief. Instead of administering an analgesic and then have the patient come back for the trigger point injection, for instance, I administer both the same day. The healing can begin right then. It’s a much more effective therapy.”
For more information on therapeutic pain management, contact CHI Mercy Health at 845-6522. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

A Festival of Giving

November 29, was a night of laughter, furious bidding, beautifully decorated Christmas trees, and remarkable generosity. This year’s Festival of Trees was a full house at the Eagle’s Club in Valley City. The Festival is an annual fundraiser hosted by CHI Mercy Health Foundation, raising money for the hospital.

This year, the Foundation was raising money for the Physical Therapy Department and new equipment. The Foundation raised $17,000 this year for our Physical Therapy Department. which is well on the way to the $24,000 needed to purchase the four pieces of equipment.

There was the live auction of the Christmas trees and sprays and mantle pieces. There was a silent auction. And new this year was the auction of an elegant leather purse, donated by Sanford Health, by the designer Dooney and Bourke. What made the leather purse even more appealing was the cash stuffed inside as the purse was passed among the crowd. Donna and Lloyd Nelson won the purse, and the $310 inside.

A New England Shrimp Boil Experience was purchased by the Dwight and Robbin Kiefert family, which they enjoyed over the past weekend. Rum cake for dessert! There was the Deluxe Trip raffle this year with a selection of vacation destinations: Boston, New Orleans, and the Cancun vacation won by Misty Anderson.

The beautiful quilt made by Pat Langemo, quilted by Cindy Fitzner, and sponsored by Dacotah Plains Co-op and Inter Community Telephone was won by Amber Olson.

The CHI Mercy Health Foundation thanks everyone who came, with a special thank you to the CHI Mercy Health Auxilary, who contributed $1000 to the FOT, and to National Medical Resources Inc., who contributed $4000 as event sponsors!

For more information on the Foundation or the Physical Therapy Department, call 845-6400.

Rating Hospitals Is Customer Service

So you get home from the hospital. You were there for an MRI, or a short stay, an operation, the reason doesn’t matter, but you were there and now you’re home. A week later you receive a phone call from a very polite operator asking if you’ll take a quick survey about your “experience.” You’re courteous, have a few minutes to spare, and say, Yes, I’ll take the survey. Not knowing that you’re rating, nationally, the hospital.

The unwieldy name for this survey is “Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems,” thankfully “HCAHPS” (pronounced “H-Caps”) for short. This is the measure of all hospitals in the country. You may think this is just another customer satisfaction survey, one that will go to someone somewhere in management and get lost in an inboxes shortly thereafter.

But this survey is, according to Keith Heuser, Market President at CHI Mercy Health in Valley City, a standardized survey for data collection for measuring patients’ perspectives on hospital care. The survey, says the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in Baltimore, MD, “is designed to produce comparable data on the patient’s perspective on care that allows objective and meaningful comparisons between hospitals on domains that are important to consumers.”

The HCAHPS survey contains 21 patient perspectives on care and patient rating items ranging from communication with doctors and nurses; responsiveness of hospital staff; pain management; communication about medicines; discharge information; cleanliness and quietness of the hospital environment; and the transition of care. The survey is used for accountability and transparency when appraising the quality of hospital care, and is used by Medicare for reimbursement to hospitals.

Unlike typical customer satisfaction surveys where there is a grade of measurements (“Please rate from 1 to 10, with 1 the lowest and 10 the highest…”) with the HCAHPS survey of hospitals, Medicare uses the “always” response for their comparisons, so any other response is not taken into account for the statistical comparisons.

Negative scores are reported back to the hospital individually for management to act on but are not considered in the comparisons. And narrative responses are always shared with the facility but are, again, not counted in comparing hospitals to each other.

“This is where we really see ourselves improving the the patient experience here at Mercy,” said Heuser. “It is our job, our profession, to make certain that each and every patient we see has every reason to rate us in the top box. And residents of this com-munity need to know that we are offering, truly, transparently, and objectively, the very best care they can receive anywhere.”

CHI Mercy Health, said Heuser, asks that patients please take the few minutes to answer the survey questions. Watch over the next year, he said, as results become implemented.

For more information, contact 701-845-6400. Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter.

A Theater Performing Daily

chi-catarcts-orCHI Cataracts O.R.–Cataract surgery is performed right here at CHI Mercy Health.

CHI Endoscope–This endoscope is brand new, bought for the O.R. by the CHI Mercy Foundation. Anesthesia is provided for all ‘scopes, something not done elsewhere.
Well almost daily. There are some months when one or two days pass without a performance of some type. When the actors gather and perform for only one, who, after observing the staging, sleeps through the rest of the production.

The actors are surgical personnel, doctors and nurses; the audience of one is a surgical patient; and the performance is a surgical procedure. The theater is the operating theater, the surgical unit, at CHI Mercy Health in Valley City, where every month between 30 and 60 procedures are conducted.

“We can perform quite a variety of surgical procedures right here,” said Stephanie Kruta, Nursing Director for OR at CHI Mercy Health. “We have three general surgeons, a general dentist, a family practice physician and an ophthalmologist. We have a CRNA, certified registered nurse anesthetist, right here at Mercy, who can also help with pain management.”

The surgical procedures at CHI Mercy Health range from endoscopies of upper G.I. and colonoscopies, to cataracts, and general surgeries (gall bladder removal, hernias, feeding tube placement). The dental surgery, said Kruta, is often for special-needs patients. The CRNA provides anesthesia for endoscopies, something not done elsewhere.

“So many people don’t realize they can get exceptional care right here in town,” said Kruta. “We are local, closer to home, and all anyone has to do is ask their provider to schedule their surgery right here at CHI Mercy. We know the patients and they know us. We have a very high patient satisfaction–we won an award last year. We also have a zero percent infection rate here at Mercy, which is far lower than Sanford or Essentia. Nationally, the rate is five- to eight percent–and we have zero surgical site infections for the last two years. Local care, patient satisfaction, and a wonderful facility. This is the place to have a surgery.”
For more information on surgery at CHI Mercy Health, call 701-845-6400. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

CHI Mercy Health Is a Winner

stephaniekrutawinner

Congratulations to Our Winner! Stephanie Kruta was presented her Unit Specific Award for Outpatient-Same Day Surgery by CHI Mercy Health President Keith Heuser.

CHI Mercy Health is a winner because of Stephanie Kruta, who won a HealthStream Award of Excellence for Outpatient-Same Day Surgery. Kruta is the Nurse Manager for Surgery. Award winners are recognized based on data collected from the 2013 calendar year.

The awards acknowledges exceptional performance achieved by healthcare organizations with the use of our solutions–spotlighting innovative programs and superior leadership that support organizational excellence, workforce development, patient satisfaction, employee engagement, positive community perception, and more. It is an honor to recognize our customers’ dedication to methods and processes that lead to quality improvements and, in turn, improved patient outcomes.

Excellence Through Insight Award Winners

These awards recognize hospitals that excel in their ability to gain insight about their patients, employees, physicians, and community through research and use that information to build excellence within their organization.

Swing Beds Aren’t for the Front Porch

A rural hospital must be many things to many people. It is a trauma center for emergencies. A facility that accommodates equipment and technology offering MRI’s to endoscopy to pain management. And are medical centers with surgical facilities and with the means of caring for the ill. Swing bed units are what rural hospitals can offer the people in their communities and have available for patients’ recovery, with skilled nursing care.

CHI Mercy Health is one of those rural hospitals, because it’s a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) and a Medicare provider. CHI Mercy can use its rooms, “beds” as they’re called, to provide patients with either acute or skilled nursing facility (SNF) care–the beds therefore “swing” between the two. The swing bed (also called transitional care unit) concept allows a hospital to use its beds interchangeably for either acute-care or recovery care.

This is a great asset to a area like Barnes County. Patients don’t need to go to a nursing home to recover; they can recover at the hospital. Swing bed units can be used to rehabilitate patients recovering from surgeries, illnesses, or accidents. Debbie Anderson MS LPC NCC, our director of social and behavior services states, “During a swing bed stay,” said Debbie Anderson MS LPC NCC, “the staff here at CHI Mercy Health work as a team to rehabilitate the body, mind, and spirit of the patients. We feel it is a valuable part of their rehabilitation; the psychosocial aspect is as equally important as the medical side of things, if not more important.” Anderson is the Director of Social and Behavior Services at CHI Mercy Health.

Any patient receiving Medicare benefits is eligible for a swing bed stay after three-day qualifying stay in the hospital or nursing home. The three-day requirement does not apply to non-Medicare patients. There is no Medicare requirement to place a swing bed patient in a nursing home, and there are no requirements for transfer agreements between hospitals and nursing homes.

Swing bed unit at CHI Mercy Health is a wonderful alternative from either going home too early, or into a nursing home. A patient can recover in a private hospital room setting, receiving care, therapies, and discharge planning services to make certain that the patient is taken well care of in their home community while in recovery.

“Swing bed patients aren’t ill,” said Anderson. “They’re in recovery and rehabilitation, and stay here for therapy or for safe keeping until their families can take them home, or find the nursing home placement that meets the family needs, and these stays can be for extended periods of time because there is no length of stay restriction for any hospital swing bed patient.”

It’s that extra time healing, recovering, that’s so important. The longer the patient can stay, the better the outcome. “If they’re participating in activities, they’re eating, said Anderson. “And if they’re eating, they’re healing. It all works together, as do we, often forming close bonds with patients and their families. It’s one of the advantages of working in a small community hospital.”

For more information on taking advantage of a swing bed stay and skilled nursing care during recovery, call CHI Mercy Hospital, 701-845-6400.

Cleanliness Is the Best Preparedness

Truly, there is no need for panic. Yes, Ebola is a deadly disease, but there are many others out there. But with any disease, being prepared is the best offense. And in fact, Ebola is quite easily contained and eliminated with simple, everyday cleaning products.

CHI Mercy Health is preparing for Ebola, but there’s no reason for panic. CHI Mercy Health prepares for the flu season every year, too. And bad colds, respiratory illnesses, and anything else that goes around especially in the winter. We always prepare because our patients need protecting–their health is often already weakened.

“We are working on plans right now to prepare and protect our staff,” said Susan Kringlie, Infection Preventionist at CHI Mercy Health. “There’s no need to worry–there’s been lots in the news lately–but we have plans locally and at the state and federal government levels.”

The Ebola virus isn’t airborne, said Kringlie. The transmission of the virus occurs with direct contact of blood or body fluids. A person needs to actually touch the infected individual blood or body fluids, if the person is infectious.

“The virus just doesn’t fly in the air,” said Kringlie. “It can only be transmitted and contracted through contact with the blood or body fluid of the infected patient. Washing hands and equipment cleaning is very, very important.”

The Ebola is easily killed with simple cleaning products. “The Ebola virus is an easily killed virus,” said Kringlie, “much like the cold virus. So if you use bleach, or EPA-approved disinfectants, that should stop the transmission. So don’t be afraid, and wash your hands.” Which is why cleanliness is the best preparedness, not only for Ebola, but for every disease, including influenza or the Flu.
For more information, contact Susan Kringlie, at 845-6447.

Mammograms at Mercy: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

“Not too many people know we do mammograms right here,” said Barbara Waite-Clark. “We have the latest in digital technology right here in this hospital, and it’s a lot more comfortable and personable right here.” Waite-Clark is a Mammographer and Radiologic Technologist at CHI Mercy Health in Valley City, ND.

One in eight women in the U.S., will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetimes, Waite-Clark said, and is emphatic that women have a mammogram once a year. “The fact is that women should begin having mammograms when they turn forty,” she said, “because by the time they turn fifty, it could be too late. Breast cancer needs to be caught early. It’s not the number of women who develop breast cancer, but it’s how young they are when they do. We need to catch it early.”

CHI Mercy Health has offered mammograms for a number of years, but in Valley City this is a hidden gem of a health service offered right at the hospital. The equipment used for mammography at Mercy is all digital. The room large and private. And it all is easily accessible, especially for the handicapped.

Women should get their yearly screening from their primary caregiver, and then call as no referral is needed, to CHI Mercy Health to make an appointment.

For more information on mammography and mammograms and CHI Mercy Health, call the Radiology department at 701-845-6441. And Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter for events and timely and topical health tips.

Mercy Is Prepared for the Flu

Flu season is fast approaching and health care facilities around the country are preparing. CHI Mercy Health, in Valley City, has stocked flu vaccines to give all its pa-tients and its frontline staff–nurses, doctors, aides–who come into contact daily with the most vulnerable.

“We are prepared again this year,” said Susan Kringlie, Infection Control Practitioner at Mercy. “We have plenty of doses for our employees and in-patients. We feel that it’s very important to assure the safety of our patients, visitors and staff. That is why we promote the use of flu vaccinations every year. And there is enough vaccine available in the country so the shut down of the one facility won’t affect anyone.”

CHI Mercy Health uses a trivalent vaccine, which inoculates for three different viruses. Mercy plans to vaccinate employees within the coming weeks.

For more information, contact CHI Mercy Health, or for topical and timely posts and videos, go to our Facebook page.

Keep Up with Us

CHI Mercy Health has a Facebook page and Twitter account. You can keep up with what’s going on at the hospital and foundation during the month, and log on to find out about any weather-related notices or health concerns for our patients.

Go to Facebook, CHI Mercy Health, “Like” us, and follow us on Twitter, @CHIMercyVCND, and keep up with what’s happening with the Mercy community–your community.

Patients and families provide an important voice

Acting on national research that suggests patients and families can help hospitals improve safety and the patient experience, CHI Mercy Health has a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC).

“Our goal is to partner with patients and families, along with staff from our hospital, to identify practices, policies and safety initiatives that will benefit from patient and family input,” said Stephanie Kruta, BSN, MSN, OR manager and PFAC lead. “While patient satisfaction, safety and quality have always been a focus, the Patient & Family Advisory council helps us better understand what’s important to patients and their families to contribute to improved care.”

The CHI Mercy Health Patient & Family Advisory Council meets quarterly, the advisory council works hand-in-hand with staff and administrators to bring about changes that make the care experience better for patients and their families.

Nationally, patient and family advisory councils have brought about helpful changes. Since its conception in 2011, CHI Mercy Health’s Patient & Family Advisory Council has helped form a new patient directory, develops menu choices and provided guidance around communication on medications.

If you are interested in learning more about CHI Mercy Health’s Patient & Family Advisory Council or would like to consider volunteering on the council, please contact Alana Wendel, ER Manager at 701-845-6400.

We’re listening. Learn how you may be able to help us make care better.

Safety First Inspires New Safety Culture at CHI Mercy Health

Mistakes happen. But at CHI Mercy Health, work is under way to eliminate mistakes that harm patients.

SafetyFirst is a multi-faceted program that will strengthen the organization’s commitment to always put patient, employee and medical staff safety first. This initiative helps CHI Mercy Health instill a new safety culture and reach its goal of zero safety errors that harm patients.

Employees and members of CHI Mercy Health’s medical staff participated in safety and error-prevention training learning behaviors proven to significantly reduce the number of safety errors in other health care organizations. Doctors and nurses at CHI Mercy Health have already adopted techniques used by “highly reliable” industries, such as naval and commercial aviation, and nuclear power. Some of these SafetyFirst techniques include: daily check in, safety coaches and mandatory education on SafetyFirst techniques for all new employees to CHI Mercy Health. Daily check in occurs Monday thru Friday and involve one member from each department of the hospital. At this morning huddle, each person reports on any safety concerns for staff or patients. This allows all departments to know if the concern is of value to their department and allows for managers to take away issues to make changes to help prevent safety related concerns. Safety coaches received additional training in SafetyFirst coaching and are involved with not only direct observations of care and SafetyFirst techniques but also in coaching and encouraging staff to use the tools that they have learned. The coaches meet monthly to talk about concerns and receive feedback and guidance in handling various opportunities to coach staff in safety techniques.

SafetyFirst is a national strategy coordinated by Catholic health Initiatives (CHI), CHI Mercy Health’s parent organization. CHI will continue to implement and optimize SafetyFirst over the next few years.

CHI Mercy Health Laboratory Updates Equipment

The CHI Mercy Health Laboratory has recently upgraded several analyzers used to perform medical testing. The “workhorse” of the department is the new Siemens Dimension EXL 200, which performs many chemistry tests twice as fast as the previous model. Everything from blood sugar (Glucose) to thyroid (TSH) to diagnostic testing for heart attacks (Troponin-I), the EXL 200 does it all!

Another upgrade to improve turn-around-time for faster test results is the Abbott I-stat. This analyzer performs lab tests on a small amount of blood in a very small timeframe. For example, patients who arrive in the Emergency Room for heart attacks, strokes or major accidents can report lab results quickly to help the provider determine the diagnosis or treatment in real time.

We are proud to serve our patients and community for your fast, accurate and reliable lab testing, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! All you need is an order for Lab testing from your provider to have your blood drawn at Mercy Hospital. Please contact the Laboratory at 701-845-6447 with any questions.