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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Skype Brings Military Dad to Birth of Child

The video conferencing technology, called Skype, allowed Corporal Alexander Moore to witness firsthand the birth of his son from the Middle East. Skype permitted Moore to watch while Jeffrey Knobloch, DO, and Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Kintzinger Women’s Health Center staff delivered the couple’s first child on Sunday, July 18. Moore’s wife, Lené Moore, 22, gave birth to their son, Gabriel James.

“It’s really amazing that Alex could be so far away and still be a part of the birth of our son,” Lené says. “He was so encouraging and telling me I was doing a great job, even when he was in a time zone nine hours ahead of us.”

Cpl. Moore, 22, serves in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to the Middle East in June, just a month before the baby’s due date. The couple was stationed in Lawton, Okla. Upon Moore’s deployment, his wife returned to her hometown of Brooklyn to be with her parents, Rusty and Marie Hedlund.

Cpl. Moore watched during the six-plus-hour labor of the delivery. Gabrielle weighted 7 pounds, 5 ounces. GRMC’s labor, delivery, postpartum large rooms allowed Lené’s mother, Marie, the space and wireless internet connection to keep dad up to date with the Skype technology.

“With today’s technology in our personal lives, the use of Skype seemed like a logical thing. I haven’t delivered with a father watching via Skype before,” says Knobloch, Grinnell Family Care. “I just kept hoping the technology would work. A few times connection was dropped. Lené’s mother took care of the computer and connections.”

The GRMC nursing staff took the technology all in stride.

“We embrace technology with every delivery to ensure the baby and mother are progressing and delivering well. This technology has new meaning by allowing someone who is serving our country to also experience being a part of his child’s birth. This was a special delivery,” says GRMC Nurse Manager Sheryl Baarda, RN.

Alexander Moore is originally from Marshalltown. Paternal grandparents are Paul and Vera Peglow and Dann and Diana Moore, Marshalltown.

Here is the video that appeared on KCCI.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Community Input Needed on Health Concerns

Grinnell Regional Public Health will launch the Community Health Needs Assessment survey on July 19 to gather input from county residents on the top health concerns. This survey provides direction for the Poweshiek County Board of Health and Grinnell Regional Public Health when allocating resources within the county.

“Every five years the Iowa Department of Public Health has all counties complete an assessment to collect information about the county’s greatest health concerns. That data is used to create the county’s Health Improvement Plan,” explains Patty Hinrichs, Grinnell Regional Public Health director. “Our goal with this survey is to gather feedback from a large cross-section of residents in the county – all ages and income levels – so that our plan truly reflects the health needs of Poweshiek County.”

The mission of the Community Health Needs Assessment task force is: To work as community partners to develop and promote an integrated, dynamic, yet sustainable Health Improvement Plan for Poweshiek County.

All Poweshiek County residents are encouraged to participate in the Community Health Needs Assessment. You may voice your opinion about important health concerns by logging onto the survey at

Print copies of the survey are available at area medical clinics, banks, grocery stores, post offices and local gathering places throughout Poweshiek County. For information on where to find the survey, call 641-236-2385. Surveys will be accepted until Friday, Oct. 8.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

GRMC to Offer Advance Directive Seminar

“Dying is not optional. Being prepared is.” -- Rick Wopat, MD. These words guide Grinnell Regional Medical Center as it presents the “Put it in Writing” program. This educational presentation will explain the value and need for advance directives in healthcare.

The program is scheduled for Tuesday, July 27, beginning at 7 p.m. at the GRMC Tomasek Conference Center. All adults are invited to learn about end-of-life wishes and how to put them in writing so that loved ones know what type of care you want in the event of life-threatening conditions.

Class participants will examine their wants and desires not only at end-of-life but also when a major health crisis occurs. The time to discuss these concerns is long before the crisis that calls families together outside of emergency departments or ICUs, a time when emotions are high and logical decisions seems to be difficult to determine.

“In general, families find it very difficult to approach conversations about death and medical emergencies before a crisis occurs. During a crisis decision making becomes even more complicated and strains family relationships when, in fact, they are all the more important,” explains Susan Sanning, program presenter and GRMC chaplain. “The time to discuss wishes for healthcare is when it can be discussed in a less stressful atmosphere and when you can take the time to respectfully navigate differences.”

In Iowa two documents are available to express wishes and plans for changes in health. These are the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions or the Medical Power of Attorney and the Declaration Relating to Life Sustaining Procedures or the Living Will. The Medical Power of Attorney assigns the responsibility to another person to make healthcare choices for someone when he/she can not. The Living Will states a person’s wishes specifically for healthcare.

Forms will be available at the program, as well as on the web at no cost. Forms are also available by contacting Grinnell Regional Hospice at 641-236-2418. To link to the websites, go to the Grinnell Regional Medical Center website at then click on the Put it in Writing button.

This seminar is free and open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m. with light refreshments served before the program. Please make a reservation by Thursday, July 22, by calling 641-236-2418.