Friday, May 20, 2016

Letters Alert Eligible Medicare Beneficiaries about Missed Benefits

Beginning this week, over 28,000 Iowa Medicare beneficiaries will receive a letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) telling them that they may be eligible for help with their out-of-pocket medical and drug expenses. The State of Iowa’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) encourages beneficiaries who receive these letters to contact SHIIP to learn how they can potentially save hundreds of dollars through the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) and Part D Extra Help.

The letters are sent annually to people with Medicare with limited incomes who could be eligible for help—but are not enrolled in these programs. The Medicare Savings Programs help with Medicare out-of-pocket costs. Medicare Part D Extra Help lowers the costs of prescription drugs.

“These letters are not a scam,” says Kris Gross, Director of SHIIP. “They are an important notice that people on Medicare should review and consider. SHIIP can help determine if you’re eligible, apply, and understand these new benefits once you’re approved.”


Grinnell Regional Medical Center hosts the SHIIP program and offers local counselors to assist area residents. Call 641-236-2588 to discuss your Medicare benefits with a counselor. Or residents may contact the state office at 1-800-351-4664 (TTY 800-735-2942) if you have questions about this assistance or other Medicare topics. SHIIP’s services are free, confidential, and objective. They do not promote or sell any insurance products.

GRMC Wins Multiple Marketing Awards

Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Office of Communication and Development has won Healthcare Advertising Awards including a Merit Award and a Gold Award, as well as an Aster Award in marketing for the third year in a row.

The Healthcare Advertising Awards are sponsored by Healthcare Marketing Report, the leading publication covering all aspects of healthcare marketing, advertising, and strategic business development. The Healthcare Advertising Awards is the oldest, largest, and most widely respected healthcare advertising awards competition.

Annually, a national panel of judges reviews entries; 2016 is the 33rd Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards. GRMC earned a gold award for the ‘We are GRMC’ themed elevator skins – only 360 gold awards were awarded from over 3,700 entries – and a merit award for the ‘Are We There Yet?’ themed bariatrics microsite. Entries are judged on creativity, quality, message effectiveness, consumer appeal, graphic design, and overall impact.

Aster Awards honor exceptional advertising or marketing in the healthcare field. All entries are judged by a panel of industry experts – design and healthcare marketing professionals – and judging criteria included creativity, layout and design, typography, production, quality, and overall effectiveness.  Participant’s entries competed against similar-sized organizations in their specific groups and categories.

The elevator skins displaying the ‘We are GRMC’ campaign, as depicted by staff and services at GRMC, won a silver award in the category of “Poster/Display – Single.” Silver awards honor entries that scored within the top 12 percent in the nation.


Designer of the elevator skins, Jen Hawkins, GRMC graphic designer, said that the campaign has been effective in communicating the passion of GRMC staff as well as the quality of the services. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

A New Approach to Your Child’s Wellness

Help your child or grandchild stay active this summer through a variety of programs offered by the AmeriCorps Healthy Readers Program. Join the Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Senior Education Program on Monday, May 16, to hear Melissa Berman, Grinnell healthy readers’ taskforce coordinator, present information about the success of the new Wellness Wednesdays program at Bailey Park and Fairview Elementary Schools and upcoming opportunities to promoting wellness throughout the summer.

The Wellness Wednesdays program has local community volunteers who read stories to elementary students related to a variety of wellness topics; everything from meditation and relaxation to exercise can be covered during the program. The volunteers also provide students with a fruit or vegetable taste test challenge. 

Wellness at the Market will held on the second Saturday and third Thursday every month during the Grinnell farmers’ market. Children can come for story time at 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays and 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and then stay for an interactive activity, such as “Planting a Pizza” or kids’ yoga.  

Berman attended and integrative nutrition program for two years to receive her wellness certification. After completing the training, Berman had done health coaching for community members before joining the AmeriCorps program last fall.

This program is free and open to the public. It will be held at 10 a.m. in the Drake Community Library, with refreshments beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Parking is available at the Drake Community Library, along Park Street, on Fifth Avenue, and in the First Presbyterian Church parking lot. Seniors needing transportation may call GRMC Communications and Development at 641-236-2593 by the Thursday before the program.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Capstone to Expand into Poweshiek County

Collaboration among four Iowa organizations promises to improve access to mental health services in Poweshiek County.

Beginning later this year, Capstone Behavioral Healthcare—a Newton-based service—will begin offering mental health services in the former Poweshiek County Mental Health Center offices on Fourth Avenue in Grinnell.

The four partners working to make this arrangement possible are Capstone Behavioral Healthcare, Central Iowa Community Services, Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors, and Grinnell Regional Medical Center. Each organization brings critical resources to the table to ensure that mental health services remain in the area.

“We believe this partnership will provide excellent services to patients, preserve local employment, and enhance financial sustainability for all the organizations involved,” says Todd Reding, president of GRMC’s board of directors.

GRMC began providing mental health services in 2013 when the 40-year-old Poweshiek County Mental Health Center closed due to financial difficulties. Over the past three years, the same issues that plagued PCMHC—a shortage of providers and poor reimbursement from insurers—stressed GRMC as well, making it difficult to sustain the service.

A transition to Capstone will improve access for patients.

Capstone’s mission is to promote mental health, and reduce the impairments associated with mental disorders, substance abuse, and chemical dependency by providing education, support, and treatment services. Capstone’s board of directors voted unanimously to approve the proposal by GRMC and Poweshiek County to operate the mental health clinic. The goal is to complete the transition by fall of 2016.

Central to this transition are the expansion of provider availability and cost savings. Capstone is considered a “community mental health center” by Medicaid and Medicare regulations—a designation that GRMC is not eligible for due to a state moratorium on making this designation. The designation allows Capstone to receive a higher rate of reimbursement from insurers—approximately 30 percent more—than GRMC could for the exact same service. In addition, Capstone is able to receive additional types of funding that helps it recruit providers.

“We appreciate all that GRMC has done to keep mental health services local over the past three years,” says Jody Eaton, chief executive officer of Central Iowa Community Services. The agency is charged with coordinating mental health services for the State of Iowa in 10 Iowa counties, including Jasper and Poweshiek counties.

“We understand the inconsistent financial reimbursement at GRMC has made for many challenges. This partnership with the county and Capstone will achieve mutual goals to keep mental health services local and expand care options,” Eaton adds.

CICS will consider assisting in start-up costs to bring Capstone to Grinnell. The county supervisors have agreed to provide affordable rental fees to Capstone to entice them to Grinnell.

“We are pleased to provide an affordable clinic space for this much needed service. We are committed to this collaboration and to making the available resources go as far as possible,” says Larry Wilson, Poweshiek County supervisor.

“Our primary concern has been, and will continue to be, providing quality healthcare for area residents,” says Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO. “We continue to read daily about the serious shortage of mental health providers and funding for services. Iowa ranks 47th out of 50 states for psychiatrists per capita and 46th in per capita for number of psychologists. We will face this challenge until state and federal funding and policy changes occur.”

 “Our goal has always been to ensure that individuals with mental health needs receive treatment. We’re excited to be partnering with Capstone and to include many of their providers on our medical staff,” Linden says.

“We want to be here and provide the service,” says Julie Smith, director of Capstone. “Our focus is to keep people in the community for services. It is imperative that everyone work together in this transition.”

 “The purpose of this collaboration is to ensure that individuals with mental health issues do not go untreated. Providing high-quality and sustainable mental health services to serve the residents of our community is our first priority,” Smith adds.

Once the relocation takes place, Capstone’s office hours in Grinnell will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday. Capstone intends to bring additional mental health professionals to practice in Grinnell. Services will include psychiatric medication management, individual counseling, and group therapy. Capstone will also continue to operate the Station Clubhouse, which specializes in group therapy and activities for clients, as well as their integrated health home.


GRMC will continue to operate its mental health program until the transition to Capstone is complete in the fall of this year. Patients can begin inquiring about fall appointments with Capstone by calling 641-236-2347. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

GRMC Welcomes New Director of Surgery

Paul Topliff, RN, CNOR, is the new director of surgical services at Grinnell Regional Medical Center. Topliff joins the surgical team in response to the retirement of Deb Reding, RN, who has been with GRMC for nearly 35 years.

Topliff comes back to GRMC after working in Oskaloosa for six years, most recently as the director of surgical services. He served as a peri-operative nurse at GRMC from 2005 to 2009. Topliff also served eight years active duty in the United States Air Force from 1988 to 1994. In this position, he supervised clinical personal in the orthopedic/podiatry clinic at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.

Topliff earned an associate’s degree of nursing from Indian Hills Community College. He completed a bachelor’s degree of nursing from Chamberlain College of Nursing in Illinois.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Paul back to GRMC. He has a big responsibility ahead of him taking over the role of Deb Reding in running our busy surgery department,” says Doris Rindels, RN, vice-president of operations. “Paul brings many years of experience and management to this position. I believe he will move the organization forward and continue the excellent care implemented by Deb and her team.”


Reding plans to enjoy quiet time and her grandchildren when she leaves GRMC; although, her husband will not retire for a while. 

GRMC Auxiliary Scholarship Recipients Honored

Grinnell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary recognized four area students pursuing healthcare careers at its annual gathering held in April. GRMC Auxiliary scholarships are awarded to graduating high school seniors, current students, or adult students pursuing a healthcare career. These funds are also available to those currently working in healthcare and seeking advanced training.

The 2016 GRMC Auxiliary scholarship recipients are:

Madeline Bacon, Tama, will graduate from South Tama County High School. She will attend Simpson College, Indianola, in the fall seeking a degree in athletic training.  She is the daughter of Jill and Kenny Bacon.

Mariah Deppe, Grinnell, will graduate from Grinnell Community High School. She will attend Grand View University, Des Moines, in the fall pursuing a degree in kinesiology.  She is the daughter of Eric and Mindy Deppe.

Josh Hoffman, Grinnell, is a second-year student at Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, working toward a degree in athletic training and completing pre-physical therapy doctorate studies. He is the son of Brian Hoffmann and Candace Hoffmann.

Madeline Kunz, Ladora, will graduate from HLV High School this May. She will attend the Faith Baptist Bible College, Ankeny, pursuing a missionary nursing degree. She is the daughter of Cara and Shawn Kunz.

For additional information about the GRMC Auxiliary scholarships, please call the GRMC volunteer coordinator’s office at 641-236-2588.

Photo 1: GRMC Auxiliary recognized a scholarship recipient Mariah Deppe. She and her mother, Mindy, both work at GRMC.

Photo 2: Madeline Kunz (left) was recognized as a GRMC Auxiliary Scholarship recipient at the Auxiliary gathering on April 12 with GRMC Auxiliary co-president Jen Collins (right). 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Healthcare’s Impact on Local Economy

Grinnell Regional Medical Center generates 554 jobs, direct and indirect, that add $31,721,198 to the region’s economy, according to the latest study by the Iowa Hospital Association.  In addition, GRMC employees by themselves spend $6 million on retail sales and contribute $365,286 in state sales tax revenue.

“In our county the healthcare sector remains a significant driver in the local economic stability,” says Todd Linden, GRMC president and CEO. “Along with the hospital, the health sector includes local physicians and their clinic staff, dentists and their clinic staff, pharmacies, nursing homes, mental health clinics, and other health clinics. Combine, these organizations have more than 1,100 jobs directly linked to healthcare in Poweshiek County. The diversity of economic engines are extremely important to a strong local economy. We need a balance of agriculture, education, manufacturing, and service sectors to maintain and grow the local economy.”

“Grinnell Regional Medical Center is a driving force in sustaining excellent quality of life in our region and is an economic engine that makes a substantial impact toward making Grinnell a stronger place to live, learn, work and play,” Rachael Kinnick, Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce director. “We are fortunate to have GRMC play such an integral role in our community.”

The IHA study examined the jobs, income, retail sales and sales tax produced by hospitals and the rest of the state’s health care sector.  The study was compiled from hospital-submitted data on the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey of Hospitals and with software that other industries have used to determine their economic impact.

The study found that Iowa hospitals directly employ 71,348 people and create another 44,935 jobs outside the hospital sector.  As an income source, hospitals provide $4.3 billion in salaries and benefits and generate another $1.8 billion through other jobs that depend on hospitals.

In all, the Iowa health care sector, which includes offices of physicians, dentists and other health practitioners, nursing home and residential care, other medical and health services and pharmacies, contributes $15.5 billion to Iowa’s economy while directly and indirectly providing 312,821 jobs, or about one-fifth of the state’s total non-farm employment.


“With more than 300,000 jobs, health care is one of Iowa’s largest employers, and hospitals are by far the biggest contributor to that number,” said Kirk Norris, IHA president/CEO.  “That impact carries through to local communities, where hospitals are often among the largest employers in Iowa cities and counties.”