Monday, December 20, 2010

MRI Installation Scheduled

Grinnell Regional Medical Center will begin installation of the new magnetic resonance imaging unit on Monday, Dec. 27, with the preparation for the magnets arrival on Tuesday morning.

“Installing an MRI magnet is a complex process that must happen within a narrow time frame,” explains Gina Fuller, GRMC director of radiology. “A special track will run from the emergency department entrance down the hall and to the magnet’s new home. For 48 hours, we will be closing down a portion of the hallway on second floor to install the magnet.”

The driveway ramp leading to the emergency department from Third Avenue will be closed to all traffic for about five hours on Tuesday, Dec. 28, from approximately 7 a.m. to noon. For emergencies, ambulance services and patients arriving by private car should come to the circle drive at the main entrance of the hospital, located on the south side of the hospital complex. Signs will be in place to assist emergency patients to the proper entrance.

A crane will lift the magnet from the transporter and place it on the track. Once this is completed, the crane can be moved and the emergency department will be able to receive patients.

“Our team has reviewed various scenarios to ensure access to services is not impacted and that our patient safety standards are maintained. All services will be available; however, patients may need to travel alternative routes to their destinations during this window. We hope our guests will forgive us for the inconvenience because this is such a significant equipment addition to GRMC,” Fuller says.

GRMC’s new MRI unit is scheduled to be operational by February 1. The current mobile unit will continue to be available for patients until then.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hospital Patients Benefit from Healing Music

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, patients, visitors, and staff at Grinnell Regional Medical Center in Grinnell, Iowa, hear the echoes of healing music throughout patient care areas.

You might hear the song, “Somewhere over the Rainbow” or “What a Wonderful World,” but the song you are most likely to hear is, “Amazing Grace.” And it is amazing and grace-filled when Chloe Yates, a first-year work-study student at Grinnell College, is making the rounds and taking requests from patients.

“She brings joy and relaxation for all of us, patients and caregivers,” says Gayle Johnson, RN. “I know she helps staff members as much as the patients.”

Yates goes into the emergency department, the intensive care unit, and the inpatient areas to ask if any patients or family members might benefit from a song of their choice. Without any accompaniment, she sings a few verses of a favorite song.

While Yates was looking at her options for community service through the Grinnell College Work-Study Program, she learned that GRMC was looking for people to do healing music.

“I love to sing,” Yates says. “It brings such joy and I have met so many wonderful people. It is very enjoyable for me, too.”

“We know that music can alter our emotions,” says Cory Jackson, GRMC director of wellness services. Jackson coordinates optimal healing therapies at GRMC and coordinates Chloe’s time at GRMC. “Music can be very therapeutic and fits in with all the other therapies we provide with pets, massage, essential oils, and spiritual care,” Jackson says. “It is a wonderful gift she provides.”

After singing, Yates records her activity with each patient in their chart. Her singing counts as an activity for skilled care patients. It also allows GRMC to track any benefits that may result for the patient such as a decreased need for pain medication and increases in patient satisfaction.
Even without hard data, it is clear that Yates is making a difference.

Yates recently visited a hospice patient in their home who had been unresponsive for some time. Before Yates sang, the family felt that they—and not the patient—would be getting the benefit of her music because they thought their loved one would be unaware of the music. While Yates sang, the patient squeezed a family member’s hand a couple of times.

Another time, Yates sang the ABCs with siblings in the Kintzinger Women’s Health Center to give the older children some special time.

Caregivers and support staff take a moment from their busy schedules to listen outside the door. That moment also offers GRMC staff a moment of tranquility.

“She brightens our day,” Johnson says. “Our patients love it. We all look forward to her time with us.”

Yates’ time at GRMC is made possible through the Federal Work-Study/Community Service Program at Grinnell College. This program is an opportunity for students to earn their financial aid award while working at a community non-profit organization or in the local schools.

Students on Work-Study can serve as a link between the non-profit organization and the campus to raise awareness of community needs and encourage participation from other students and campus groups.

“It is easy to get stuck in the bubble of a college campus,” Yates says. “This is a great opportunity for me to get involved in the community. I’m meeting people and having experiences I would not otherwise have. It has been really great.”

Watch the video from KCCI

Respectfully Sharing the Season – Blue Christmas

Clergy from various Grinnell area churches and the chaplain with Grinnell Regional Hospice will hold a special Christmas service for those who feel less than merry this holiday season. “Blue Christmas” is a simple, ecumenical service at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec 21, at the First Presbyterian Church, 1025 5th Ave., Grinnell.

This service offers a message of comfort and hope to help individuals through times of struggle during the holidays. Blue Christmas acknowledges the pain and sadness many people feel at Christmas time, due to the loss of a loved one, struggles with illness or loneliness, financial struggles, or painful family dynamics that surface at Christmas time.

“Blue Christmas is a time for people to gather in community, to acknowledge their pain, to reflect and pray, and to find a message of comfort in the Christmas story,” explains Susan Sanning, GRMC chaplain. “Come on your own or invite family, friends, neighbors, or others for whom you might feel concern during this holiday season.”

The service will be led by GRMC Chaplain Susan Leathem Sanning. For more information contact Sanning at 641-236-2418 or email her at

Friday, December 10, 2010

Community Meets Brownell Family Foundation Challenge Grant for GRMC Annual Fund Drive

Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s annual fund drive has collected $50,000 for 2010 thanks to the successful completion of a $25,000 challenge grant from the Brownell Family Foundation. The challenge was issued on Nov. 1, 2010, and has quickly been met by the community. To date, nearly $225,000 has been raised for the 2010 annual fund drive.

“This is really exciting,” says Frank Brownell, chairman and CEO of Brownells in Montezuma, and a member of the GRMC board of directors. “We are absolutely delighted that the community has stepped up to meet this challenge so quickly. It demonstrates the priority many of us place on having quality healthcare in our community.”

Todd Reding, GRMC Foundation Board president adds, “Money raised from the community for the annual fund drive does so much on a daily basis for patients at GRMC. We are grateful for every contribution, and the ongoing support of the Brownell family. Their commitment benefits everyone in our area who relies on this hospital.”

Donations continue to be accepted for this year’s annual drive. GRMC’s 2009 annual fund drive raised about $363,000. Annual fund drive donations have helped purchase an infant security system, infant warmers, comfortable chairs for patients receiving chemotherapy, and surgical equipment.

“Hospital income and federal and state reimbursement for uncompensated care are not enough to support a remarkable hospital dedicated to quality and cost-effective care,” says Denise Lamphier, GRMC director of communications and development. “This year, GRMC is expanding our care for the community through a new women’s health clinic and our first obstetrician/gynecologist. In addition, annual fund donations help support the Stork’s Nest, purchase wheelchairs, and so much more. The annual fund drive really makes a big difference in maintaining a healthier community.”

There is still time to make a gift or pledge to the 2010 annual fund drive. Go and click the link “Make a Donation” or call Lamphier at 641-236-2589. Donations may also be mailed to the Office of Communications and Development, GRMC, 210 4th Ave., Grinnell, IA 50112.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grinnell College $25,000 Challenge Met By Community

Nearly 160 donors helped match a challenge from Grinnell College to raise a total of $50,000 to upgrade magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services at Grinnell Regional Medical Center.
Through this gift, Grinnell College matched dollar for dollar all new or additional donations to the MRI campaign up to $25,000. Area residents met this challenge in a matter of five weeks and surpassed the project’s $300,000 fund-raising goal, with a total of $317,000 raised. Grinnell College faculty and staff also contributed to the college’s challenge.

“It is remarkable to see how quickly this funding for the new MRI came together,” says Monica Chavez-Silva, director of community engagement and enhancement at Grinnell College. “Not only is it a testament to the community’s commitment to our local medical center, but it also speaks volumes about how much we can get done if we all pitch in together. The college is proud to be one of many who help make Grinnell a great place to live.”

Stanley Greenwald, MD, GRMC board member and Grinnell College alumnus agrees, “GRMC is truly a community hospital. It takes all of us working together to provide quality healthcare here at home. There are so many strong partnerships in our community, such as Grinnell College and GRMC, which positively affect all of us.”

The original $300,000 fund-raising goal is allowing the medical center to renovate the space to meet the new equipment’s rigorous safety requirements.

The additional funds raised will add a few features to the new unit. This will include equipment to perform angiographic studies. MR angiography is used to examine blood vessels in areas such as the brain, kidneys, pelvis, legs, lungs, heart, neck, and abdomen. These tests help in the diagnosis of various diseases, aneurysms, and atherosclerosis.

Also, a metal detector will be installed as an additional safety measure. The equipment uses a large and powerful magnet that is highly sensitive. These metal detectors are important to help ensure patient and staff safety as well as protecting the magnet from damage that can be unintentionally caused.

“We are thrilled with the level of support we have received from the entire community for this project,” says Gina Fuller, GRMC director of radiology. “Every gift makes a difference to benefit our patients. We are especially grateful to Grinnell College for their leadership.”

The initial gift for the MRI project comes from the estate of Margaret Wheeler. Other major donors include Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company Foundation and employees, Jewel Kintzinger Day and Burt Day, the Grinnell Regional Auxiliary, and matching community challenges from the Claude W. Ahrens Charitable Trust, Iowa Radiology, and Grinnell College.
Remodeling is underway on an area inside the hospital to accommodate the new, permanent MRI unit that is scheduled to be operational by February 1.

Anyone interested in more details about the MRI campaign is encouraged to call the Office of Development at 641-236-2589 or visit

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

GRMC Named Top Hospital by Leapfrog Group

One of Just 65 Hospitals to Achieve Prestigious National Designation

Grinnell Regional Medical Center has been named a top rural hospital by the Leapfrog Group in its annual class of top hospitals. GRMC was one of just 65 hospitals—from a field of nearly 1,200—to earn the designation, which was announced at Leapfrog’s 10th anniversary meeting on December 1 in Washington, D.C.

GRMC was also just one of five rural hospitals and the only Iowa hospital on the list.

“Earning the top hospital designation is a testament to the work of everyone in the hospital—the governing body, management, physicians, caregivers, employees, and volunteers,” says Leah Binder, chief executive of Leapfrog.

Susan Witt, chair of GRMC’s board; Laura Van Cleve, DO, president of the medical staff; and Todd Linden, president and CEO, accept GRMC’s top rural hospital award from David Knowlton, board chair of Leapfrog.

Leapfrog’s 2010 list includes university and other teaching hospitals, children’s hospitals, and community hospitals in rural, suburban, and urban settings. The selection is based on the results of the Leapfrog Group’s national survey that measures hospitals’ performance in crucial areas of patient safety, quality, and costs. The results are posted on a website open to the patients and families, the public, employers, and other purchasers of healthcare. It is the most complete picture available of a hospital’s quality and safety. The website is A complete list of all top hospitals is also available at the site.

“We are extremely honored to be recognized by the Leapfrog Group for our diligent work to provide the best possible value for our patients in providing both high quality and low cost,” says Susan Witt, GRMC board chair. “Our board, medical staff, and employees have been working very hard to find added efficiencies while making quality and safety a priority. I am so proud that these efforts have been acknowledged.”

Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO, adds: “It is a real tribute to the caring team of people associated with GRMC to overcome poor Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and still be identified as one of America’s best rural hospitals.”

GRMC has voluntarily adopted the Institute of Healthcare Improvement 5 Million Lives best practices since its inception as well as the Hospital Quality Alliance and the Surgical Care Improvement / Surgical Infection Prevention Care best practices. Nationally, these care standards and communication processes greatly reduce risks and improve quality in hospitals.

“Our medical center participated in a two-year TeamSTEPPS pilot program, which is an evidence-based teamwork system designed to improve patient outcomes by enhancing communication and teamwork skills among healthcare professionals. This type of program, along with others such as Condition H and Rapid Response teams, creates an environment for the best care to take place,” says Suzanne Cooner, GRMC vice-president of operations who oversees GRMC’s quality initiatives.

The 1,200 hospitals that publicly report their performance via the Leapfrog survey do so voluntarily. “In a way, that makes all of them top hospitals,” Binder says. “It represents an enormous commitment by the institution to not only measure what they do against tough standards, but also to work for change and be transparent about it.”

“A big part of GRMC’s success is the outstanding medical staff,” says Laura Van Cleve, DO. “As the current president of the medical staff I get the privilege of working closely with all the physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. They are truly an exceptional group of caring professionals dedicated to providing the best care possible each and every day. This award is evidence of this effort.”

The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage founded a decade ago to work for improvements in healthcare safety, quality, and affordability. It is an independent advocacy group working with a broad range of partners, including hospitals and insurers. Members include Chrysler, FedEx Corporation, IBM, and Motorola, among many others. Leapfrog’s annual survey is the only voluntary effort of its kind. Leapfrog officials say they plan to expand their efforts in the months ahead to work with consumer groups.

The survey, which launched in 2001, focuses on four critical areas of patient safety:
  • The prevention of medication errors
  • Standards for doing high-risk procedures
  • Protocols and policies to reduce medical errors and other safe practices recommended by the National Quality Forum
  • Adequate nurse and physician staffing

In addition, hospitals are measured on their progress in preventing infections and other hospital-acquired conditions and adopting policies on the handling of serious medical errors, among other things.

Leapfrog Board Chair David Knowlton, president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, says that qualifying for the top hospital rank grows more difficult each year as Leapfrog’s standards evolve and new standards are added.

“Leapfrog’s members, as purchasers of care, and our partners and supporters believe that the challenges for American healthcare go far beyond just keeping costs down. Making certain that patients get the right care at the right time—value-–is an equal part of the equation,” he says.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grinnell Regional Auxiliary Donates $22,000 to Support MRI Project at GRMC

Throughout 2010, Grinnell Regional Medical Center has received $22,000 in donations from the Grinnell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary to help fund an upgrade to the hospital’s magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) services.

“We appreciate everything the auxiliary does for us,” says Gina Fuller, RT (R)(M), director of radiology at GRMC. “Auxiliary members do so much for GRMC every single day. They are our partners.”

The new MRI will perform several exams not available with the current mobile unit. The new unit will also take less time to complete an exam, making it more convenient for patients. The new location of the unit inside GRMC’s radiology department will add to the patient experience.

“The auxiliary exists to support GRMC,” says Carol Jordan, GRMC auxiliary president. “Every year, we sit down with GRMC administration to determine where the funds are needed most, and then the auxiliary chooses the projects we would like to support. Auxiliary members want a new MRI to become a reality at GRMC. The convenience and accessibility is so important for patients.”

Since 2005, the GRMC auxiliary has raised $163,000 for capital campaigns, services, programs, and equipment purchases at GRMC. They also support scholarships for students pursuing healthcare careers and continuing education.

Construction is underway within the radiology department to ready the space for the installation of the new MRI unit, projected to be ready in late January.

Grinnell College recently announced it would match dollar for dollar any new or additional gifts to the MRI project up to $25,000. This follows the successful community challenge issued by Iowa Radiology and the Claude W. Ahrens Charitable Trust. A portion of the auxiliary’s gift was matched by Iowa Radiology and the Ahrens Charitable Trust.

Anyone interested in more details about the MRI campaign may call Denise Lamphier, director of communication and development for GRMC, at 641-236-2589 or visit

Monday, November 29, 2010

Healing Music Workshops Offered

The power of music transcends all ages. Grinnell Regional Medical Center offers healing music as part of its optimal healing environment. To broaden the program, GRMC will welcome Robert Bluestone, classical guitarist, to Grinnell for workshops on healing music.

The workshops will be geared toward musicians to begin or expand sharing their talents with individuals in hospitals, nursing homes, and those who find it hard to leave their homes. Bluestone will offer tips and techniques about performing for individuals facing times of distress or discomfort.

GRMC’s healing music currently features Grinnell College’s Chloe Yates, a first-year work-study student. She can be heard singing healing music throughout patient care areas. Bluestone will join her in the medical center on Tuesday, Dec. 7. They will make the rounds and take requests from patients.

Healing music workshops will also be held over the three days to reach different target groups. Bluestone will focus a program for college students, on Monday, Dec. 6, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 152 of Bucksbaum Center for the Arts on Grinnell College campus.

On Tuesday, Dec. 7, at 3:15 p.m. Bluestone will work with Grinnell High School students at the high school. In the evening, the Grinnell Ministerial Association along with area church choirs will have the opportunity to attend a workshop targeted at sharing music for healing and spiritual enrichment. It will be at 7 p.m. on Dec. 7 at the First Presbyterian Church, 1025 5th Ave., in Grinnell. The public is welcome to this event.

The public is also invited to attend a session with GRMC employees on Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to noon, in the Tomasek Conference Room, at GRMC.

Bluestone, and his wife, Rebecca, performed in Grinnell in late April 2010. When Robert planned to return to Iowa for other business, he offered to come back to Grinnell to lead small workshops to support the optimal healing environment.

The Bluestones have worked in hospitals and healthcare settings across the country giving audiences their message of hope in difficult times. Robert and Rebecca share a profound and inspiring story of how they faced Rebecca’s ovarian cancer. Robert will work with area residents during the workshops pulling techniques from his experiences as a professional musician and as a caregiver.

The workshops are free thanks to support from community sponsor Grinnell College. For more information, call 641-236-2998.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

GRMC Announces OB/GYN Specialist

Grinnell Regional Medical Center announces the addition of its first OB/GYN specialist serving the area. Seanna (pronounced Shaw-na) Thompson, MD, FACOG, joins the GRMC staff in early December.

Thompson will practice medicine in the Grinnell Regional Women’s Health Clinic, located on the second floor of the Ahrens Medical Arts Building. As an obstetrician/gynecologist, Thompson provides medical and surgical care to women. Her medical practice will focus on pre-conception, obstetrical care, gynecology, and women’s wellness from adolescents to seniors.

Thompson received a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She earned her medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her obstetrics and gynecological residency was completed at New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, N.Y.

Thompson will provide outpatient, inpatient, and surgical obstetrical and gynecological care. She works with women prior to conception through delivery and back to contraception. She also focuses her practice on family planning and menopause as well as diseases and conditions of the female reproductive system.

Residents in the GRMC service area have in the past and will continue to receive obstetrical and gynecological care from family practice physicians. Adding the OB/GYN specialty broadens the services and options for women in the area.

“I am excited and fortunate to work with a group of family practitioners that are dedicated to providing the community with excellent comprehensive care. I see our roles as collaborative in providing the women of Grinnell and the surrounding area with comprehensive care at all stages of life,” explains Thompson.

Thompson is conversant in Spanish and can meet an underserved need with Hispanic residents.

“We know that some women have left our area to seek an OB/GYN specialist for their care,” says Suzanne Cooner, GRMC vice-president. “Dr. Thompson will help us meet this niche. She will perform the routine as well as high-risk medical procedures related to women’s health in all ages and stages of life for patients.”

Thompson and her husband, Timothy Niewold, an MD in rheumatology, have two children. She spends her free time with her children and enjoys classical ballet.

Grinnell Regional Women’s Health Clinic staff are accepting appointments for Thompson. Area residents may call 641-236-2905 for more information on Thompson or to schedule an appointment.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Emergency Physician, Ellestad, Joins GRMC Team

The Grinnell Regional Medical Center emergency department welcomes Stephen M. Ellestad, DO, in December. Ellestad will join the emergency department as the fifth full-time physician, who rotates with the other emergency medicine physicians providing 365-day coverage for emergencies. He replaces Philip D. Sundquist, MD, who left in August.

Ellestad has more than 20 years of experience in emergency medicine and family practice care. He most recently worked with Ankeny-based Acute Care, Inc., in hospital emergency department contract coverage. Before moving to Iowa, he was in family practice in Plainsville, Kan., for seven years. Prior to that, he was a contract emergency department physician in various locations in Kansas.

After high school graduation, Ellestad enlisted in the Navy where he originally planned to become a physical or occupational therapist. However, in the service, he met several doctors of osteopathy who encouraged him to consider medical school. Ellestad enrolled in Coe College, Cedar Rapids, after the Navy to earn his bachelor’s degree. He then attended the Des Moines University – Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences to earn his medical degree. His internship residency was at Womack Army Community Hospital in Ft. Bragg, N.C. Following his training, he took a position as the general medical officer in the outpatient and emergency room at Munson Army Community Hospital in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan, where he also served as a flight surgeon.

Ellestad has spent the majority of his career in emergency medicine and he enjoys that environment.

“I like the variety of patients. Every shift has new patients and challenging diseases or injuries coming through the door,” Ellestad says.

This fervor for high intensity work environment like an ER is why GRMC recruited Ellestad.

“The volume of patients who use the GRMC emergency department continues to grow each year,” explains John Bambara, MD, director of the GRMC emergency department. “With our proximity to the interstate and the agricultural industry of the county, we see a wide spectrum of accidents and emergency health conditions. Dr. Ellestad will be an excellent provider for GRMC patients. His compassion and bedside manner is great. He has a calm demeanor to confidently comfort our patients in an emergency and with many years of medical experience and expertise.”

Ellestad and his wife of 36 years, Stephanie, have two grown children. Emergency departments typically work 12-hour shifts so his free time is limited. To relax, Ellestad enjoys weight training and reading.

Annual GRMC Auxiliary Wreath Raffle Sales Begin

Welcome the holiday season with the annual holiday wreath raffle sponsored by the Grinnell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary. The auxiliary will sell raffle tickets for more than 30 holiday and winter wreaths, decorated by area businesses and volunteers. Wreaths measure 24 inches in diameter and will fashion a wide variety of themes – from traditional, whimsical and contemporary.

Beginning November 29, wreaths will be displayed at GRMC in the entrance hallways by The Glass Gift Box and laboratory waiting area. The drawing for wreaths will be Monday, Dec. 13.

This fundraiser for the GRMC Auxiliary supports its various medical center and health education programs, including $10,000 in scholarships, major equipment gifts to the medical center, books and gifts to newborns at the Kintzinger Women’s Health Center, and health education such as the Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair.

“This year we've had a tremendous response from talented individuals who have donated their time to create festive wreaths,” says Sheila Latcham, auxiliary wreath raffle committee chair. “This wreath display inside GRMC will be a cheerful addition during this holiday season.”

Raffle tickets may be purchased at The Glass Gift Box, the auxiliary’s gift shop inside the medical center, for $1 each or 6 for $5, beginning Monday, Nov. 29.

For more information call the auxiliary wreath raffle chair, Sheila Latcham, at 236-4481 or the GRMC volunteer coordinator at 236-2588.

Brownell Family Foundation Issues Challenge Grant for GRMC Annual Fund Drive

Grinnell Regional Medical Center has received a $25,000 challenge grant from the Brownell Family Foundation that will allow gifts to the annual fund drive to be matched dollar for dollar. New and additional donations made through Dec. 31, 2010, are eligible for the match.

“Great things are happening at GRMC right now,” says Pete Brownell, president of Brownells, Inc., in Montezuma. “Several new physicians are joining the talented medical staff, new services and specialties are being added, and renovations are underway to bring in a new MRI. We want to be a part of all of this because we see it as a good investment.”

Gifts to the annual fund drive support the everyday operation of running a hospital, for things such as services, programs, and medical equipment at GRMC. Over the years, annual fund drive donations have helped purchase an infant security system and infant warmers, comfortable chairs for patients receiving chemotherapy, surgical equipment, and more.

“There’s no question that the annual fund drive makes a difference for GRMC patients,” says Todd L. Reding, chair of GRMC’s Foundation Board. “We are grateful for the ongoing support of the Brownell Family Foundation with this challenge grant. Every gift is important and this match doubles the impact of donor support. This is especially helpful this year with the hospital’s campaign for a new MRI occurring simultaneously. It is important for donors to support both of these campaigns. The support from the Brownell family encourages that.”

To make a gift or pledge to the 2010 annual fund drive, go to the website at and click the link “Make a Donation” or call Denise Lamphier at 641-236-2589. Donations may also be mailed to the Office of Communications and Development, GRMC, 210 4th Ave., Grinnell, IA 50112.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cogley Named to IHA Auxiliary Board

Jennifer Cogley, Grinnell, has been invited to serve on the Iowa Hospital Association Auxiliary/Volunteer Board. The board is comprised of volunteers and auxilians from hospitals across the state of Iowa. Members are selected for their leadership roles, abilities, and service to a hospital auxiliary or volunteer program.

Cogley recently served a two-year term as president of the Grinnell Regional Auxiliary and is an active volunteer at Grinnell Regional Medical Center.

The IHA Auxiliary/Volunteer Board plans and facilitates educational programs for hospital auxilians/volunteers and mobilizes support for IHA legislative initiatives through the annual Legislative Day. Additionally, the board recruits applicants and seeks support and donations for the Iowa Hospital Education and Research Foundation Healthcare Career Scholarship Fund. They also help auxilians /volunteers and their organizations to succeed with changes in Iowa’s healthcare environment.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Grinnell College Awards GRMC Challenge for MRI

Grinnell College has awarded Grinnell Regional Medical Center a $25,000 community challenge to upgrade the hospital’s magnetic resonance imaging unit (MRI) services.

Under the stipulations of the challenge, the college will match all new gifts to the MRI project dollar for dollar. Approximately $250,000 has been raised so far toward the $300,000 project. Completion of the challenge from the college will fully close the funding gap needed to bring first-rate diagnostic equipment to GRMC.

“The MRI project fits well with the college’s core value of social responsibility by expanding access to quality healthcare in our rural area,” says Raynard S. Kington, MD, PhD, and president of Grinnell College. “It’s a credit to the medical center and the community that the campaign has progressed so quickly. The college is pleased to assist in bringing this new level of service to the greater Grinnell community.”

The medical center is remodeling an area inside the hospital to accommodate a new, permanent MRI and the specialized construction needed to house the sensitive equipment. The new MRI will bring with it reduced exam times for patients, a convenient location within the radiology department, and a patient-friendly design.

“Grinnell College’s generosity leads GRMC’s MRI campaign into its final leg,” says Ed Hatcher, a member of the medical center’s Foundation Board and chair elect of the GRMC Board of Directors. “Technology is key to maintaining quality care for future generations of Grinnell area residents and students alike. We are grateful to the college for this special challenge and making every dollar count for quality patient care.”

Anyone interested in more details about the MRI campaign is encouraged to call the GRMC Office of Communications and Development at 641-236-2589 or visit Gifts may be made online by visiting and clicking on “Make a Gift Online” under Quick Links.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Community Rises to Challenge for New MRI at GRMC

Area residents accepted and met the challenge from Iowa Radiology and the Claude W. Ahrens Charitable Trust and have raised $100,000 toward the goal of $300,000 to upgrade a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) unit for Grinnell Regional Medical Center. A total of $250,000 has been raised so far toward the $300,000 goal.

The original challenge from Iowa Radiology and the Claude W. Ahrens Charitable Trust was to match dollar for dollar any new contributions up to $50,000.

“As a trustee of the Ahrens Charitable Trust and chair of the GRMC Board of Trustees, I am delighted that this matching campaign has been successful,” says Susan Witt. “We are grateful to our partners, Iowa Radiology, and to the community for working together on this project.”

In addition to wide community support of the challenge, 100 percent of GRMC’s radiology department participated in the challenge in some form.

“I felt very good about giving to the MRI project,” says Monica Kellogg, GRMC radiology technologist. “The new MRI magnet will benefit our staff, our physicians, but most importantly our patients. Keeping up with current technology is another way of providing great patient care.”

Iowa Radiology provides radiology physicians to GRMC for diagnostic imaging services for physicians and healthcare providers.

“Our organization is proud to be in Grinnell and to partner with the Ahrens Charitable Trust to provide these matching funds for the new MRI,” says Rick Portel, chief operating officer of Iowa Radiology.

Remodeling is underway on an area inside the hospital to accommodate a new, permanent MRI and to create the specialized construction needed to house the sensitive equipment. The new unit is scheduled to be operational by mid-January.

“GRMC is truly a community hospital and projects like this reinforce the importance of this medical center to our area,” says Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO. “This is important to keeping needed medical services here in Grinnell. We are grateful to the community, to Iowa Radiology, and the Claude W. Ahrens Charitable Trust for their generous support.”

Anyone interested in more details about the MRI campaign is encouraged to call the Office of Development at 641-236-2589 or visit

Friday, October 29, 2010

Simulation Training for Infant Emergencies

Grinnell Regional Medical Center and Blank Children’s Hospital hosted a state-of-the-art medical simulation to train staff for emergencies in the littlest patients. The mobile simulation program imitates a real-life patient care setting where participants learn and master skills essential for infant and pediatric emergencies.

The simulation uses computerized infant and child size mannequins, along with actual equipment, to reproduce a clinical environment that provides similar physical challenges and mental stressors that would occur in a real emergency.

“This is a new option for our emergency, obstetrical, ICU, and medical staff to train with each other, like a real emergency, yet with the mannequins,” explains Amy Kramer, RN, clinical educator with GRMC’s staff development.

GRMC hosts continuing education courses for clinical staff to ensure they provide excellent care to patients.

“All GRMC clinical employees attend courses to maintain their licensure requirements. We help them learn the latest information and techniques to ensure quality patient care. We’re fortunate to partner with Blank Children’s Hospital for this training,” Kramer says.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gift to GRMC Commemorates Wendt and JELD-WEN

Jewel Kintzinger Day and Burtwin Day have given a generous $25,000 gift to Grinnell Regional Medical Center. The couple made the gift in memory of Jewel’s brother, Dick Wendt, and in honor of the 50th anniversary of JELD-WEN.

Fifty years ago, in October of 1960, Wendt was one of five founders of the now international door and window manufacturer. For many years, he served as the company’s CEO. Dick, who died in August, served as chairman of JELD-WEN’s board when his son, Rod Wendt, took over as JELD-WEN’s president and CEO. Jewel’s late husband, John Kintzinger, started a window plant in Grinnell in 1969 for JELD-WEN, which at that time was called Wenco.

“Since I have lived in Grinnell, I’ve always appreciated what GRMC has done for our family and the community,” says Kintzinger Day about the decision to support the medical center with a gift in memory of her brother.

GRMC will use the gift to upgrade the hospital’s magnetic resonance imaging unit (MRI) services. The medical center is remodeling an area inside the hospital to accommodate a new, permanent MRI and the specialized construction needed to house the sensitive equipment. With this gift, approximately $245,000 has been raised toward the estimated $300,000 project.

“We are thrilled to add Jewel and Burt to our supporters for this important diagnostic tool,” says Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO. “Jewel and Burt have always been very generous to the medical center. We are deeply grateful to the Kintzinger Day family for making such an exceptional gift in support of this project. The fact that it honors Jewel’s brother and JELD-WEN makes it all the more meaningful.”

GRMC is planning to have the new MRI installed and ready for patient use by early 2011. To help meet this goal, Iowa Radiology and the Claude W. Ahrens Charitable Trust are offering a challenge to the community for this technology investment. Under the challenge, all new or additional gifts to the MRI campaign will be matched dollar for dollar.

To learn more about the MRI campaign, call Denise Lamphier in the Office of Communications and Development at 641-236-2589 or visit

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Angel Tree Adorns Hospital Lobby

Honor a loved one this holiday season with a glimmering angel ornament. The Grinnell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary will sell large angel ornaments for the holidays. An “Angel Tree” will be located in the front lobby of the medical center. Angel ornaments in honor of loved ones or in memory of loved ones will cover the tree on display in the hospital until Dec. 17.

This year’s angel is a six-inch mother of pearl ornament that glimmers in the light. Each ornament will have a tag to honor or remember a loved one. These are placed on a Christmas tree in the medical center after Thanksgiving. The angels may be picked up by the person who purchased it anytime after Dec. 17 and taken home or given to the honoree. The tree will remain on display until after Dec. 25.

Funds raised will be divided between the hospital’s magnetic resonance imaging unit (MRI) upgrade and the auxiliary scholarship fund that supports individuals pursuing a healthcare degree. Each year the auxiliary provides $10,000 in scholarships to area residents entering or continuing a healthcare education.

To purchase an angel and support the scholarship program or MRI upgrade, stop by the GRMC Auxiliary’s gift shop, The Glass Gift Box. Ornaments will be sold from Nov. 1 through Dec. 17. Angels are $10. For more information, contact the GRMC volunteer coordinator at 641-236-2588.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

GRMC Bariatric Center of Excellence Earns Reaccreditation from American College of Surgeons

Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Bariatric Center of Excellence has been awarded full re-accreditation at a Level 1A by the American College of Surgeons. The bariatric program in Grinnell remains the first and only bariatric surgery program in Iowa to earn the national distinction from ACS. Fewer than 55 hospitals nationwide have achieved this level of excellence, which is the highest level achievable. GRMC is one of the few rural hospitals in the country to achieve this designation.

The ACS developed the accreditation program to foster high-quality surgical care for patients who undergo bariatric surgery. Grinnell Regional’s Bariatric Center of Excellence received the highest level designation originally in 2006 and has again met the essential criteria of an excellent bariatric surgery care program. It also means that Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s institutional performance meets the requirements outlined by the ACS Bariatric Surgery Center Network Accreditation Program.

At the core of the bariatric program is Grinnell Bariatrics, a part of Surgical Associates of Grinnell. Its board certified surgeons, David D. Coster, MD, and Stephen M. Sundberg, MD, perform bariatric surgeries. Stefanie H. Noun, PA-C, serves as the program coordinator.

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational association of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical education and practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. Its achievements have placed it at the forefront of American surgery and have made the ACS an important advocate for all surgical patients. The ACS has more than 70,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world.

For more information about GRMC’s bariatric services, please visit

GRMC Auxiliary Member Meeting

The Grinnell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary invites everyone to the annual fall luncheon scheduled for noon on Wednesday, Oct. 27. The regular gathering will again be held in the dining center at Buckley Hall on Park Street in the Mayflower Community, Grinnell.

“This will be a lovely luncheon for our members to catch up on all the auxiliary activities as well as enjoy a wonderful meal and entertainment,” explains Maralee Kruse, GRMC Auxiliary luncheon chair. “Following the luncheon will be a style show provided by Bon Worth Fashions from Tanger Outlet Mall in Williamsburg. Four models will display this fall’s fashions and two lucky winners will enjoy a $25 gift certificate to the outlet store.”

The agenda for the meeting includes: the election of 2011 officers and board members, updates on projects at the hospital and auxiliary, and door prizes by The Glass Gift Box. Tickets will be $8 and available after October 11 in The Glass Gift Box – the GRMC gift shop, from any GRMC Auxiliary Board member, or call the GRMC volunteer office at 641-236-2588.

Avoid the Flu: Get Vaccinated

Grinnell Regional Public Health encourages individuals age six months and older to get vaccinated against seasonal flu. Grinnell Regional Public Health has scheduled community clinics in Brooklyn, Grinnell, and Montezuma. No appointment is required. Fee is $25.

For schedule updates or other information related to seasonal flu, call the GRMC Update Hotline, 641-236-2918, or go to the GRMC website,

Public health will begin administering vaccine in October to ensure individuals have peak immunity in place when the virus is most active, during and after the holidays.

Members of the public may also schedule an appointment to receive seasonal influenza vaccine. Please call 641-236-2385 to schedule an appointment after October 13 at the GRPH office in the Light Center for Community Health, 4th Ave. and Reed St., Grinnell.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nurse Anesthetist Joins GRMC Surgery Team

Grinnell Regional Medical Center announces the addition of Troy Anderson, CRNA, to the surgical services department. He began in the OR on September 13. Anderson performs all anesthesia services in the surgical suite for all ages and procedures. Areas where he will often be overseeing anesthesia care include obstetrical, surgical, and trauma stabilization.

Prior to joining GRMC, Anderson worked at Skiff Medical Center for four years and Community Hospital in Muster, Ind., for three years. He earned a bachelor’s at Iowa State University, a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Iowa, and a master of science in nursing anesthesia from Rush University in Chicago, Ill.

A motivated individual, Anderson choose to become a nurse anesthetist because of the high degree of autonomy and responsibility demanded on the profession.

He explains, “I’ve always been focused on caring for people. I looked at the nursing profession and wanted the most challenging area of specialty. I wanted to operate at a skill level that was consistent with me. The OR is where I enjoy caring for patients.”

“Troy brings nearly nine years of experience in the OR plus excellent training to GRMC,” says Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO. “He also brings such a caring and professional approach to his work. Following the addition of Nick Kuiper, DO, surgeon, this summer, we’re expanding the surgery schedule and needed more anesthesia coverage. Troy will be an excellent addition.”

His wife, Alexzandra, has been a contract nurse anesthetist for GRMC for two years. She will continue to work as a locum tenen for GRMC as needed. The couple has two children, William, 3, and Abigail, 1.

Anderson will join anesthesiologists Kevin Emge, DO, and Ken Whipple, DO, and Alexzandra Anderson, CRNA, in GRMC’s Warren H. Bower Surgical Suite.

Hospice Remembrance Service

Grinnell Regional Hospice will hold a Memorial Service on Tuesday, Oct. 19. This remembrance service, beginning at 7 p.m., will be held in the sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church, 1025 5th Ave, Grinnell.

The annual service, which is open to the general public, honors hospice patients and residents of the Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s service area who have passed away between Sept. 1, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2010. Members of the Grinnell Regional Hospice staff will facilitate a ceremony and provide reflections, poetry, and musical selections.

“The service offers a time to pause and reflect on the meaning and significance of the life of someone we’ve recently lost,” says Susan Sanning, M.Div, Th.M., Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s chaplain and organizer of the event. “It allows us to remember and find ways to honor those memories. We look forward to seeing the families of patients we’ve served as well as others in the community who wish to join us for the evening.”

“We welcome receiving photos of the loved one being remembered. The photos will be included with those of hospice patients in a slide presentation at the close of the service,” Sanning says.

Refreshments will be served following the program. Persons interested in participating, submitting a photo, and/or recognizing a loved one should call the Grinnell Regional Hospice office at 641-236-2418 by Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010; however no one will be turned away.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

GRMC Provided $8.5 Million in Community Benefit

Grinnell Regional Medical Center provided $8,515,639 in community benefits to Poweshiek County and surrounding service area, according to a recently completed assessment of those programs and services. That amount, based on 2009 figures, includes community health improvement services, subsidized health services, in-kind gifts, traditional charity care, government sponsored health care, bad debt, and unpaid costs for Medicaid and Medicare. GRMC reported $1.3 million in subsided health services and $497,574 in charity care that GRMC specifically implemented to help area residents.

Community benefits are activities designed to improve health status and increase access to health care. Along with uncompensated care (which includes both charity care and bad debt), community benefits include such services and programs such as the Community Care Clinic, Stork’s Nest, health screenings, health education programs, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services, and emergency and trauma services.

The results for GRMC are included in a statewide report by the Iowa Hospital Association that shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2009 valued at more than $1.2 billion. All 118 of Iowa’s community hospitals participated in the survey.

“GRMC reaches out to help so many residents,” explains Jack Fritts, GRMC chief financial officer and vice-president. “The hospital subsidized the H1N1 immunization clinics last year that helped protect residents from the flu. We also supported our outreach clinics that allow residents convenient access to healthcare services.”

“The programs and services accounted for in the survey were implemented in direct response to the needs of individual communities, as well as entire counties and regions. Many of these programs and services simply would not exist without hospital support and leadership,” said IHA president Kirk Norris.

But the ability of Iowa hospitals to respond to such needs is being hindered by the current economic downturn, as well as by losses caused by Medicare and Medicaid.

Total uncompensated care in 2009 in Iowa, including charity care and bad debt, was valued at more than $796.4 million, an increase of $85.9 million (12 percent) over 2008.

GRMC has weathered poor reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid for many years. Fortunately, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 brings a long awaited fix to create a special payment category for tweener hospitals like GRMC.

Though we recorded a record total for unpaid cost of Medicare and Medicaid of $4.8 million in 2009, a higher level of reimbursement will begin in October 2010 to begin to bring reimbursement closer to cost.

Federal health care reform legislation passed earlier this year moved Medicare several steps toward a payment system that recognizes and rewards high-quality, low-cost providers like Iowa hospitals. Studies have shown that as much as 30 percent of health care is wasted by either being duplicative or ineffective and that some states, including Iowa, do a much better job of providing efficient care. Reducing that waste would save billions of dollars, which could be directed toward providing coverage for the uninsured.

GRMC is a not for profit community hospital. It does not receive funds from taxes but counts on revenues from services provided and donations from the community to sustain itself.

“The recent additions of physicians and surgeons as well as a better reimbursement rate for Medicare and Medicaid and continued strong financial support from individuals in our service area allow GRMC to be poised for the future. We are an integral part of the community and giving back to the people we serve is key to our future,” Fritts says.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Flu Prevention Begins

Grinnell Regional Public Health will offer influenza vaccination clinics for the public. For the winter 2010-2011 influenza season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine this year is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season, according to CDC sources. The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against an H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus, and the H1N1 virus that caused illness last season.

“As with all illnesses, prevention remains the best tactic to avoid becoming ill,” says Patty Hinrichs, RN, coordinator for Grinnell Regional Public Health. “The first step is to receive a flu vaccination. Our infection prevention committee reviewed the CDC data and influenza recommendations to determine the appropriate time to vaccinate residents. Public health will begin administering vaccine in October to ensure individuals have peak immunity in place when the virus is most active, during and after the holidays. Last year the vaccination schedule was accelerated due to the H1N1 outbreak. This year we can return to the normal vaccination schedule that gives the best protection throughout the full influenza season.”

Grinnell Regional Public Health orders vaccine for all age groups. Nasal-spray flu vaccine is an option for healthy people 2 to 49 years of age who are not pregnant.

Who Should be Vaccinated

In February, vaccine experts voted that everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine each year starting with the 2010-2011 influenza season. CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for “universal” flu vaccination in the United States to expand protection against the flu to more people.

While public health recommends everyone receive a flu vaccine, certain groups of individuals are identified as a higher risk either due to their own high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications. Individuals at higher risk and recommended for flu vaccination include:
  • Pregnant women
  • Children six months of age and older
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
  • Health care workers
  • Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
  • Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than six months of age, as these children are too young to be vaccinated.
Call Grinnell Regional Public Health at 641-236-2385 for information on the flu vaccine.

Grinnell Regional Public Health flu vaccine clinics will be held on the following dates and locations. No appointment is required for these. Fee is $25.
  • Oct. 13 – Grinnell Athletic and Recreation Center, 1500 Penrose, Grinnell, 9 to 11 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 18 – Grinnell Newburg High School, Media Center, 3:30 to 6 p.m.
  • Oct. 19 – Brookside South, 214 4th Ave., West, Grinnell, 10:30 a.m. to noon
  • Oct. 20 – Grinnell Senior Center, 927 4th Ave., 10 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Oct. 21 – Michael J. Manatt Community Center, 105 Jackson St., Brooklyn, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Nov. 2 – Seeland Park, Ten-plex lobby on Orchard Dr., Grinnell, 10 a.m. to noon
  • Nov. 3 – Grinnell United Methodist Church, 916 5th Ave., Grinnell, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 4 – Montezuma Presbyterian Church Family Center, 300 E. Washington, Montezuma, 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Nov. 10 – BGM School, Elementary Cafeteria, Brooklyn, 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Nov. 11 – Mayflower Community, Carman Center, 600 Park St., Grinnell, 1 to 3 p.m.
Area physician’s offices and the outreach clinics affiliated with GRMC will also offer influenza vaccines.

For more information on the vaccination or public clinics, call Grinnell Regional Public Health at 641-236-2385.

Child Safety Seat Inspection Day

Grinnell Police Department and Grinnell Regional Medical Center will host a car safety inspection on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Grinnell Public Safety Building, 1020 Spring St. The inspection for infant and child car seats is free to anyone who transports children, including parents, grandparents, and childcare providers.

At the inspection the vehicle and seat are thoroughly evaluated to make sure the child safety seat is installed correctly based on age and weight of child. The certified technicians will also examine the car seat size and review whether the seat appears on a recall list. To make newborn seats more safe, technicians may install a noodle to properly fit the baby to the seat and not restrict the baby’s air pathway.

Certified technicians from the Kintzinger Women’s Health Center perform the inspection. Grinnell Police Department and GRMC staff teamed up to help educate parents on baby and child safety as part of the National Baby Safety Month.

“Our obstetrical team focuses on the health and wellness of all the infants and children we help bring into the world. The inspection is for all vehicles that transport children and a great way to assure that the safety seat is doing what it should, protecting the child,” says Sheryl Baarda, RN, nurse manager at Kintzinger Women’s Health Center. “We adjust the car seat to the infant when they leave GRMC at birth. This inspection allows parents to come back and make sure the seat is still safe and fitting properly as the child grows.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nearly 3 out o 4 child safety seats are not used properly. For a child safety seat to do its job right, it has to be:
  • Appropriate for your child’s age and size
  • Installed properly in your vehicle; and
  • Adjusted to fit your child securely.
For more information on the free car safety seat inspection, call the Kintzinger Women’s Health Center, at 641-236-2324.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

2009 GRMC Annual Report Shows Financial Improvement and Recovery

The 2009 Grinnell Regional Medical Center annual report, “Everyday Superheroes,” illustrates the events and achievements of the past year at GRMC. The theme is a tribute to the men and women who work together at GRMC to protect, heal, and care for those who rely on GRMC for healthcare. Illustrations of super heroes in the online report were drawn by elementary students at BGM schools.

“The theme of the report is light-hearted,” says Todd C. Linden, president and CEO of GRMC. “But the message is very true. There are many heroes among us here at GRMC who do extraordinary things everyday that make a real difference in people’s lives. Everyone on our team plays an important role, from those who make sure the building is clean and running properly to those who perform life-saving surgery. The children’s artwork illustrates the example of an everyday hero, like the people who work at GRMC.”

In 2009, GRMC was ranked the 11th best hospital in the state of Iowa based on the national survey scores in Consumer Reports healthcare comparison.

The team of “super heroes” at GRMC grew with the additions of Dale Andres, DO, (pathology); Gene Gessner, MD, (pain management); Christine Lindgren, DO (internal medicine); Emil Pecholt, DO, (family practice); and Philip Sundquist, MD, (emergency medicine). Allied health professionals new to GRMC include Wendi Beck, PA-C; Diane Nutter, ARNP; and Kenna Willey, PA-C. Cardiologists Michael Kienzle, MD, and Allan Latcham, MD, joined the visiting specialists at GRMC.

  • During 2009, GRMC and Mercy Health Network in Des Moines, partnered to create an eICU. This model brings around-the-clock physician coverage to the GRMC intensive care unit through two-way computer monitoring.
  • H1N1 was one of the public’s enemies in the past year. GRMC and Grinnell Regional Public Health vaccinated nearly 30 percent of Poweshiek County against the H1N1 virus. They report 5,676 vaccinations given just for H1N1.
  • GRMC advances in chemotherapy now offer greater options for patients fighting cancer and their increased comfort.
  • Digital mammography now at GRMC provides state-of-the-art diagnostic screening for breast cancer detection.

Also featured in the 2009 Annual Report are “the hero’s heroes,” the donors who overcame the recession to break the record for giving to the Annual Fund Drive. Even with the challenging economy, community members increased giving by $50,000 over 2008, contributing $363,000 from 1,032 donors.

“The community support of GRMC is extraordinary,” says Denise Lamphier, director of communications and development. “Our donors truly are our heroes and have a substantial effect on what this medical center can accomplish.”

The report notes that GRMC finished 2009 with a $938,300 loss, which is a significant improvement compared to a loss of more than $3 million in 2008. This is nearly a 70 percent improvement in financial performance.

Over the past two years, GRMC has reduced costs by $8 million, or nearly 20 percent. This was accomplished through active expense management and cost reductions. GRMC notes their costs were already well below the national average before expense reduction began.

How is 2010 shaping up?
GRMC reports that the many years of advocacy work by other super heroes, those community volunteers and board members who traveled with GRMC administration to Washington, D.C., has finally paid off. Payment relief for Medicare and Medicaid services for “tweener” sized hospitals like GRMC was included in the healthcare reform legislation passed earlier this year. GRMC could see up to a $1 million per year improved payment for the next two years as a result.
GRMC points to the addition of new physicians to its staff as positive indicators for the future. Nicolas Kuiper, DO, (general surgery), and Aaron Smith, DO, (urology), began employment with Surgical Associates in July. Nurse anesthetist Troy Anderson has also joined the GRMC staff.

Additionally, GRMC has recruited its first obstetrics/gynecology physician, Seanna Thompson, MD, FACOG, who will arrive in Grinnell at the end of the year. Stephen Ellestad, DO, will join the medical staff in the emergency department later this year.

The 2009 GRMC Annual Report, “Everyday Superheroes,” can be viewed online at If you have any questions, please call the office of communications and development at 641-236-2961.

Former Grinnellian to Share Insights on Aging with Grace and Dignity

Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Hospice department welcomes Cory Ingram, MD, as he presents a lecture series entitled, “Aging with Grace and Dignity,” on Monday, Sept. 20. Ingram, an assistant professor, physician, and Grinnell High School alumnus, will address a variety of issues individuals face during aging.

The lecture series will be an informative opportunity for educators, healthcare professionals, and the public to discuss issues related to the challenges of maturing adults.

Ingram’s first lecture, “Old Age Ain’t for Sissies,” will be at the GRMC Senior Education program, beginning at 10 a.m., in the Drake Community Library. Following an introduction with current statistics on aging in rural locations, his program will address how to prepare for a doctor visit, geriatric myths, geriatric syndromes, and end-of-life preparations and planning.

Ingram will host a lunch and learn session on caring for seriously ill patients and their families at noon in the Tomasek Conference Center at GRMC. He will share practical information for those providing palliative and end-of-life care. He will also explore newer models of concurrent curative and palliative treatments. This lecture will target healthcare providers. Those interested in registering for this lunch and learn or information on CEU and CME credit may call 641-236-2418.

Following the afternoon program for healthcare professionals and educators, Ingram’s final public lecture will be at 7 p.m. at the Grinnell United Methodist Church. During “Watch Over Me: A Family’s Dementia Journey,” Ingram will use patient narratives to walk the audience through the complex journey of dementia and the care required by both the patients and families.

Ingram is currently assistant professor of family and palliative medicine at the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, and medical director of palliative care and the regional director of the practice based research network at the Andreas Cancer Center of Immanuel-Joseph Medical Center, Mayo Health System, in Mankato, Minn.

He is a native of Grinnell and graduated from Grinnell Senior High School in 1987. He pursued his liberal arts education at Central College in Pella, Iowa, and finished his bachelors, masters, and medical studies in Western Europe at Leiden University in Holland. Ingram has trained in hospice and palliative medicine under the mentorship of world-renowned Ira Byock, MD, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He also studied at St. Christopher’s Hospice in London and visited other hospices throughout the United States and Western Europe. Ingram completed his residency at the University of Nebraska. Following his residency he completed a geriatric fellowship at the Maine-Dartmouth Family Medicine Residency program.

Sara Wray, RN, Grinnell Regional Hospice patient care coordinator, spearheaded Ingram’s return to his hometown for a program following their class reunion a few years ago.

“When Cory found out that I was a hospice nurse here, he immediately offered to do seminars for the people in his hometown,” Wray says. “This subject is very near and dear to him. He knows how much family members and patients can benefit from the information he often presents to groups. We started looking at times when he could come to Grinnell. Finding a time was a challenge because he was entering a fellowship with a well-known physician for palliative and end-of-life care in New Hampshire. We were able to secure a date and he’s very excited to be coming to the community and giving back to the residents.”

For information on the three programs or to pre-register for the free continuing education units, please call Grinnell Regional Hospice at 641-236-2418.

Healing After the Death of a Loved One

Grinnell Regional Medical Center will offer a five-week grief support group designed for anyone in the community who has lost a loved one. The group will explore the challenges associated with loss as well as the opportunities that loss presents for healing and growth.

“We create a confidential setting where participants can share their memories, their experiences, and their feelings with others who have also experienced a loss,” explains Susan Sanning, group facilitator and GRMC chaplain. “This will be a time for group members to explore ways to remember, heal, and grow.”

Gatherings will be held on Tuesdays, beginning Sept. 21 and run through Oct. 19. The support group will be held 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the conference room of the Light Center for Community Health, 306 4th Ave., Grinnell.

There is no fee to participate, but interested persons must pre-register by calling Grinnell Regional Hospice at 641-236-2418. Childcare will be offered free of charge for those who may need it. Please request childcare when you register.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair Scholarships Available

The annual Grinnell Regional Medical Center Baby Fair has merged with the annual Women’s Health Focus to create an evening full of activities for women of all ages. The Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair will be Wednesday, Oct. 6. GRMC and event co-sponsor the Grinnell Regional Auxiliary have teamed up with area businesses and the Grinnell Ministerial Association to help fund tickets for women who do not have the financial means to purchase a ticket.

“As we’ve evolved the Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair event, we worked to reduce barriers to attending, such as cost and childcare,” explains Denise Lamphier, director of communications and development and event committee member. “We understand that some women may need financial and childcare assistance to attend and we are very grateful that the ministerial association, the auxiliary, and local businesses have decided to help fund tickets. This event has so much to offer all women who want to learn about their health and well being.”

To apply for a scholarship to attend the Women’s Health Focus, call the Kintzinger Women’s Health Center 641-236-2324. A brief application process will be completed. Scholarships will only be accepted until seating is sold out.

The Women’s Health Focus will be held at Grinnell Community High School, Wednesday, Oct. 6. The educational exhibits and the Market Place will be open from 4:30 to 6:45 p.m. A buffet dinner catered by the Mayflower Community will be available from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Colette Carlson, keynote speaker, will begin her presentation at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

Tickets are on sale for $18 until Sept. 24, and $25 after Sept. 24. Tickets are available online at or; and at The Glass Gift Box in GRMC.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Herbers Rejoins Lynnville Medical Clinic

The Lynnville Medical Clinic, a Grinnell Regional Medical Center Clinic, welcomes back Kasey Herbers, PA-C, as a full-time healthcare provider. Herbers provides primary care services to all ages of patients. Her scope of practice includes preventive and diagnostic services for chronic and acute care, women’s health, well-child exams, sports physicals, annual wellness physicals, DOT physicals, and workers compensation.

Herbers originally joined the GRMC Medical Staff in March 2004 as the primary provider at the New Sharon Memorial Clinic. She also provided care at the Lynnville Medical Clinic as needed.

“We are very excited to have Kasey back at the Lynnville Medical Clinic full time,” explains Todd C. Linden, president and CEO of GRMC. “Her professional experience and gentle, caring personality contribute to her excellent reputation as a healthcare provider. With a full time provider, we can have the clinic open every day and for longer hours.”

The Lynnville Medical Clinic will be open Monday through Friday. Kasey will have clinic hours 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Guy McCaw, MD, will be in the clinic each week on Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

Herbers earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Iowa State University and a physician assistant degree from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD.

The Lynnville Medical Clinic is located at 303 East St., Lynnville. To schedule an appointment or for information, you may call the Lynnville Medical Clinic at 641-527-2929.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Annual GRMC Auxiliary Fund Raiser Set

Yellow tags will flutter everywhere on Friday, Aug. 27, when the Grinnell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary hosts its one-day Tag Day blitz. This annual event has been a GRMC auxiliary tradition for nearly 90 years where area residents are asked to make a donation in exchange for the bright yellow tags.

“Our auxiliary and the hospital continue to be strong because of the exceptional support from the communities we serve,” says Shannon Reding, GRMC Auxiliary Tag Day co-chair. “This fund-raising activity, along with other fundraisers, allows the auxiliary to make significant contributions to hospital that can positively influence patient care. We hope the community again chooses to support the auxiliary and our work for healthcare. Last year we collected more than $2,000 and we hope to exceed that goal. These funds are more important than ever.”

Tag Day supports the auxiliary’s projects every year. For 2010, funds collected will go toward the $10,000 pledge to scholarships for students entering college and advancing their degrees in the healthcare field. Other goals for the auxiliary’s fundraising efforts during the year include donating $7,000 toward the physical therapy rooms at Postels Community Health Park and $8,000 for hospital equipment, as well as support the Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair on October 6.

Area residents from all the communities in the GRMC service area are encouraged to stop at participating businesses or collection places to make a donation. Tables will be set up in Brooklyn, Grinnell, Montezuma, and New Sharon. In Grinnell look for auxiliary members at GRMC, Beckman's Gallery, Brown’s Shoe, Fareway, HyVee, Marketplace on Main, McNally’s, Pioneer Bookstore, Post Office, Saints Rest, Wal-Mart and Yumi’s. A table will also be located at the farmer’s market in Grinnell on Thursday, Aug. 26, from 4 to 6 p.m.

For more information or to be an auxiliary Tag Day volunteer, call 641-236-2588.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Annual Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair Set

Stress less and laugh more. Learn how you can balance life at the Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair, co-sponsored by Grinnell Regional Medical Center and the Grinnell Regional Auxiliary. The fourth annual women’s event will be from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 6, at the Grinnell Community High School.

This year’s keynote speaker, Colette Carlson, will discuss “The Truth about Balance: How to Stress Less and Laugh More.” She promises to take us on a heartfelt, humorous journey into our own lives and help us bring about the self-awareness that begins long-lasting change.

“In our crazy-busy world, people often think they must have more, do more, and be more, but the truth is that mantra only leads to more mayhem and stress,” Carlson says.

The theme “No More Nylons” plays into Carlson’s presentation as she shares with us how clear boundaries and thoughtful choices lead to greater satisfaction and stronger results, whether we are never-been mothers, expecting mothers, new mothers, been-around-the-block mothers, or grandmothers.

Record Number of Exhibitors and Retailers at Event

The evening will begin at 4:30 p.m. with a record number of educational booths covering everything from breast health, heart health, obstetrical services, childcare resources, public health, hospice care, community resources, and more – 45 in all. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet GRMC’s new obstetrician/gynecologist, Seanna Thompson, M.D., FACOG, who will join the medical staff in December.

New at this year’s Women’s Health Focus is the inclusion of the GRMC Baby Fair. This combination provides a special night out for women of all ages and access to educational booths that cover the spectrum of health and wellness—while also enjoying a girl’s night out.

Childcare will be provided for a small fee. Happy breastfeeding babies under six months of age may remain with their mothers. Due to the increased number of exhibitors, stroller access will be limited.

The GRMC Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair is a relaxed night out with the girls. The Mayflower Community chef and catering services staff will do all the cooking. This year’s menu includes: Pasta primavera, stuffed chicken breast, steakhouse salad, sweet and sour pork stir fry, fresh vegetable salad, fruit and cheese tray, assorted breads, and a wonderful dessert table.

In addition to door prizes tailored to new and expecting mothers, the Women’s Health Focus will give away body wraps and massages from Postels Community Health Park, a three-month membership at GRMC Wellness Services, a Flip camera, jewelry from Bill’s Jewelry, chocolates from Storybook Chocolates, and gift certificates to The Glass Gift Box. All women who attend will have their names entered for these drawings. In addition, many vendors and exhibitors will offer drawings for prizes and raffles.

The MarketPlace will also open with 11 area vendors offering our guests “retail therapy” as part of the evening’s fun. Scheduled for the event are: Aiyana Tanning and Day Spa, Cory Hall Photography, Dori’s Fashions and More, Flower Connection, Jo Jones Photography, Jockey Person to Person, Mary Kay Cosmetics, The Pampered Chef – Inc. Sales Director Susan Ross, Scentsy, The Glass Gift Box, and The Mixing Studio.

Ticket Information

Tickets are $18 and financial assistance is available. On-site childcare is also available for $3 per child, including a meal for those over two. Register for childcare at the time of ticket purchase. To purchase tickets, go online to As a special reward, all who purchase tickets online will be entered in a drawing for a $50 gift certificate at The Glass Gift Box. Tickets are also available at The Glass Gift Box located inside GRMC. Women who cannot afford tickets may inquire with Sheryl Baarda, OB nurse manager, at 641-236-2326 or at

This year’s Women’s Health Focus is co-sponsored by GRMC and the Grinnell Regional Auxiliary. Many other partners play a significant role in bringing this event to the community, including a direct source award sponsored by Sen. Harkin and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Family Medicine, Grinnell College, Mercy Health Network, Woodard Hearing Services, Grinnell Eye Care, Grinnell Family Care, Iowa Radiology, Maytag Laundry and Tanning, and WindStream Communications.

Friday, August 13, 2010

GRMC Receives $10,000 from Monsanto Fund to Support MRI Project

Grinnell Regional Medical Center has received a $10,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund, a private foundation and the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, to help fund an upgrade to the hospital’s magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) unit services.

“GRMC is pleased to team up with the Monsanto Fund to address the needs of our community,” says Denise Lamphier, director of communications and development at GRMC. “This grant will go toward renovating the radiology department to house our new MRI unit within the hospital.”

“Our philosophy has been to provide the highest quality care to our patients through excellent staff and current technology,” Lamphier says. “This latest commitment to upgrade our MRI services is no exception.”

“GRMC is a great community partner for Monsanto Company. They have been there for us as a company and for our employees who live in the area. We know this project will be a benefit for all,” says Al Henderson, plant manager at Grinnell Monsanto Company.

Iowa Radiology and the Claude W. Ahrens Charitable Trust are also offering a challenge for this technology investment. Under the challenge from Iowa Radiology and the Ahrens Charitable Trust, all new or additional gifts to the MRI campaign will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000.

Anyone interested in more details about the MRI campaign is encouraged to call Lamphier at GRMC’s office of communication and development at 641-236-2589 or visit

About Monsanto Fund:

The Monsanto Fund is the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company. Incorporated in 1964, the Fund’s primary objective is to improve the lives of people by bridging the gap between their needs and their resources. The Monsanto Fund is focused on grant-making in four main areas: nutritional well-being through agriculture; science education, primarily on professional development for teachers; healthy environment, which includes conservation, protection of biodiversity, clean water and restoration of wildlife habitat; and improving the quality of life in communities where Monsanto employees live and work.

Visit the Monsanto Fund at

Monday, August 9, 2010

Talks Underway to Bring Pharmacy Services Back to Victor

Last week, members of the Victor Health Center board, the Victor Community Development Association board, and Grinnell Regional Medical Center, met with a pharmacist/entrepreneur to talk about the possibility of bringing pharmacy services back to Victor.

Earlier this summer, Phillip Pharmacy closed its Victor location and relocated all its activity at its other pharmacy in Brooklyn. Since then the Brooklyn pharmacy has obtained a new owner. Todd Thompson, pharmacist and owner of Remedy Drug in Montezuma, just purchased the Brooklyn pharmacy from Phillip Pharmacy. Thompson is considering the possibility of expanding to offer pharmacy coverage in Victor again.

“Our focus is working with small communities to keep pharmacy service available locally,” Thompson says. “I was really happy to hire Erin Riffel, Pharm.D., when I purchased the Brooklyn Pharmacy. She is a top notch pharmacist and has such strong local ties.”

Thompson, the VCDA, the health center board, and GRMC are exploring various options to bring a pharmacy back to Victor. The groups are examining locations, possible services and hours, and staffing needs. The largest obstacle to overcome is approval from the state pharmacy board.

“Todd Thompson has been a great partner in Montezuma working with Dr. J.B. Paulson and GRMC to provide outstanding pharmacy services there,” says Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO, which manages the Victor Health Center. “Having a pharmacy in Victor is important to the viability of the Victor clinic. We stand ready to assist Todd in any way in retuning pharmacy service to Victor.”

Leonard Seda, president of the VCD agrees. “We are thrilled to be working with Todd Thompson to make the Victor Pharmacy a real community asset. Many people have commented on what a loss it was when Phillips closed the pharmacy. VCD has been working hard to make sure we get back this vital downtown business.”

Bill Lynch, chair of the Victor Health Center board, says: “We are excited that Todd Thompson has such a focus on working with smaller communities to bring pharmaceutical service back to Victor and help make sure patients at the Victor clinic have access to their needed medications. It is also exciting to be exploring other services such as home oxygen.”

Thompson is working with the board of pharmacy to obtain the appropriate licensure.

“I hope to get a time frame established very soon for re-opening a pharmacy in Victor. In the meantime, we will gladly deliver prescriptions to Victor residents,” Thompson says.

Victor residents may use the old Philips Pharmacy number to call the Brooklyn Pharmacy for prescriptions. The number is 319-647-3322. It will be listed under Victor Pharmacy in the new phone books this fall.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hospital Merges Public Relations and Development Offices

(Left to Right) Laura Lof, Ashley Grundler, Conni Gause, Denise Lamphier,
Jan Veach, Barbara Hansen, and Jeanette Budding.

Denise Lamphier will serve as the director of the newly merged Communications and Development Office at Grinnell Regional Medical Center. Lamphier has been the director of public relations at GRMC for the past 13 years.

“Denise has always been an integral part of the fund-raising team at GRMC. She has done excellent work in developing annual campaign materials, fund-raising materials, and proposals. She already knows the organization inside and out, so moving her into this role to oversee both departments makes logical sense for GRMC,” says Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO.

“The medical center has benefited over the years from Denise’s leadership in the areas of communication and community relations. With the current economy and the unfair healthcare reimbursement that GRMC has faced, this merger of departments saves the hospital money and improves efficiency by cross training staff in the two areas. Plus, Denise will continue to build upon the solid relationships with donors we already have and expand our connections as we look to future fund-raising campaigns,” Linden says.

Lamphier will begin a transition immediately into assuming the responsibilities of fund raising. With the departmental merger as well as changes in the public relations industry, GRMC decided to change the name of the department to communications and development, giving it a broader scope than just public relations. Managing all communications such as social media, community relationship building, and patient relations all influence the success of a business and this broader scope reflects the department’s activities.

“Denise will be able to step into this position in a seamless manner. We had an opportunity to combine the departments following the decisions by the development office’s Mindy Uitermarkt and Leslie McKnight to pursue their life’s dreams,” Linden adds. Uitermarkt, the former director of the development department, is now working full-time at her two retail stores in Marshalltown and Grinnell. She will remain on the GRMC staff through December to help with the transition. McKnight is working with her husband, Matthew McKnight, DPM, in his podiatry office.

“This move is a further testament of the medical center’s commitment to continually improving its structure and efficiency, and developing excellent leadership to pursue even higher goals. Denise brings a depth of knowledge and a sincere passion for the medical center and community to the new structure,” says Todd Reding, chair of the GRMC Foundation Board and president/CEO of ASI in Grinnell.

Lamphier joined GRMC in 1998. Prior to joining the medical center, she served as the editor of Grinnell College’s alumni magazine and as the editorial director/assistant director of public relations. She also was a daily newspaper reporter. She earned her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa. Lamphier has served the Grinnell community in several volunteer roles. She is currently the vice-president of the Drake Community Library board and has served on the board since March 2006. She has been a volunteer board member with Imagine Grinnell since November 2005, and just completed a two-year term as the president.

“Change is the one constant. We all know that,” Lamphier says. “I’ve always thought that if you say ‘This is how we’ve always done it’ then it’s probably time to rethink it. Over the years, GRMC has built a strong fund-raising department because of the great support from the community we serve. Now is great time to reflect on the accomplishments of our community as we transition into this new role. I want to build upon GRMC’s wonderful relationships with individuals. So if we have never met, please introduce yourself to me. I look forward to talking to everyone about supporting quality healthcare close to home.”

The Office of Communications and Development is located on the third floor of the Ahrens Medical Arts Building. Working along with Lamphier in the department are Jeanette Budding, Conni Gause, Ashley Grundler, Barbara Hansen, Laura Lof, and Jan Veach.

For information about fund raising or communication, contact Lamphier at 641-236-2589.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Surgical Associates Welcomes New Urologist

Surgical Associates, LLP of Grinnell, announces the arrival of Aaron C. Smith, DO, urologist. Smith completed his urology residency program in Detroit, Mich., in June and began seeing patients at Surgical Associates on July 22.

Smith is a native Iowan who grew up in Pella and received his degrees in Iowa, including a medical degree from Des Moines University and bachelor’s degree from Central College. He completed a general surgery residency at Ingham Regional Medical Center, Lansing, Mich., and a urology residency at Michigan State – College of Osteopathic Medicine, Detroit campus.

In an announcement on July 28, the Awards Committee of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons selected Smith to receive one of the five 2010 ACOS Resident Achievement Awards for outstanding clinical ability, patient/resident manner, resident/staff relationships, resident/community involvement and academic activities.

Todd Linden, Grinnell Regional Medical Center CEO and president, applauded Smith saying, “Dr. Smith comes to our area with excellent skills as recognized by this award. Our market data shows an increased need for urology services in the area. Dr. Smith is a great addition to Surgical Associates and will complement the excellent care of Dr. Bandstra.”

Russell Bandstra, MD, president of Surgical Associates, says, “It is great to have Dr. Smith join the team. He has been trained in the latest techniques and has special training in robotic surgery. Robotics is really the future for certain surgeries. Our practice can now offer these.”

When asked about practicing in Pella and Grinnell, Smith replied, “I always knew I would come home to practice. This is where my wife is from and where I want to raise my family. Surgical Associates is a well run practice that lets the doctor focus on patient care and not worry about the business side. I am thrilled to be joining them.”

Smith will practice in Grinnell as well as Pella. Robert Kroese, Pella Regional Health Center CEO, adds: “I’ve known Dr. Smith and his family since he was in high school. He has the character, integrity, and skills that make an excellent surgeon. We are excited that Dr. Smith will be joining Surgical Associates and working for both hospitals.”

Smith will provide expert surgical care for the full range of urological needs. He has extensive training and experience including the treatment of prostate cancer, kidney stones, bladder disease, incontinence, and erectile dysfunction.

When Smith is not practicing medicine, he is spending time with his wife and three sons.

Appointments may be scheduled in Grinnell and Pella by calling 641-236-4323.

Heads Up on Construction

Grinnell Regional Medical Center announces it has begun repairing storm damaged areas of the hospital, Ahrens Medical Arts Building, and Postels Community Health Park. Repair construction will last approximately four weeks, as weather permits.

In the interest of safety and convenience, GRMC patients and guests should not be affected except for closure of the medical arts building underpass and reassigning a few handicapped parking spaces on certain days. For your convenience, GRMC encourages guests and visitors to use the Third Avenue entrance to the parking lot. The work crews anticipant the underpass to be closed from August 2 to 10.

GRMC offers valet parking, free of change, to all patients any time of year. Please use this service during this construction and any time for your convenience and comfort. If you have questions, please feel free to call the GRMC resource desk at 641-236-2922.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Community Challenged to Raise Funds for MRI

Two organizations with strong ties to Grinnell Regional Medical Center have collaborated to create a $50,000 community challenge to upgrade the hospital’s magnetic resonance imaging unit (MRI) services.

Iowa Radiology and the Claude W. Ahrens Charitable Trust are offering the challenge for this technology investment. The goal is to remodel an area inside the hospital to accommodate a new, permanent MRI and the specialized construction needed to house the sensitive equipment. GRMC’s current MRI is housed in a mobile unit adjacent to the medical center.

Approximately $120,000 has been raised so far toward the estimated $300,000 project. Earlier this year, GRMC received a generous estate gift from Gail and Margaret Wheeler. The GRMC Board of Directors designated a portion of that gift toward the MRI project. To honor this legacy gift, the new room will be named the Gail and Margaret Wheeler MRI Suite.

“We are thrilled to have such a great start to this campaign effort,” says Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO. “GRMC is fortunate to have partners like Iowa Radiology and the Ahrens Charitable Trust. We are grateful to them and to the Wheeler family for their legacy gift.”

Under the challenge from Iowa Radiology and the Ahrens Charitable Trust, all new or additional gifts to the MRI campaign will be matched dollar for dollar up to $50,000.

“The new MRI technology offers a wonderful balance between patient-friendly design and advanced diagnostic MRI imaging,” says Rick Portel, chief operating officer of Iowa Radiology. “We are pleased to help bring this state-of-the-art technology to the area. It is important to helping medical services remain in the community.”

Susan Witt, a trustee of the Ahrens Charitable Trust and chair of the GRMC Board of Trustees, agrees.

“This campaign is about more than funding vital medical equipment,” she says. “It’s about providing the best comprehensive medical care close to home for residents of Grinnell and the surrounding communities. An upgrade to the MRI will provide opportunity for more diagnostic testing options so people won’t need to travel out of Grinnell for these life-saving services.”

Gina Fuller, GRMC’s director of radiology, says the new MRI will offer a patient friendly design.

“Unlike traditional MRIs that have a long narrow tunnel, GRMC’s MRI will have a larger bore design. It will also be faster and more comfortable. The new technology will also allow our staff and radiologists to perform diagnostic exams here in Grinnell, such as abdominal scans, which our current mobile scanner cannot do. That means there is no reason for people to have to travel to Des Moines or Iowa City for these important tests.”

Anyone interested in more details about the MRI campaign is encouraged to call the Office of Development at 641-236-2589 or visit