Friday, April 29, 2011

GRMC Board Announces 2011 Officers and New Members

Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Board of Directors welcomes three new members as it announces the 2011 officers.

The 2011 GRMC Board of Director officers are: chair – Ed Hatcher, Grinnell, long-time board member and area farmer; chair-elect – Bill Menner, Grinnell, the Iowa State Director for Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture; past chair – Susan Witt, Grinnell, co-owner of Miraco, Corp., vice-president of Ahrens Foundation, and president of Ahrens Park Foundation; treasurer – Frank Brownell, Montezuma, owner of Brownells; and secretary – Stan Greenwald, MD, Grinnell, retired physician.

Wendy S. Kadner and Todd L. Reding began serving three-year terms on the GRMC Board of Directors in April. In addition, George Drake will serve a two-year term in an ex-officio role as the chair of the GRMC Foundation Board. These new members join 11 area residents in providing direction, vision, and strategic planning for GRMC’s future.

New board members

Kadner, senior vice-president and co-founder of Vitalize Consulting Solutions, has worked in healthcare for her entire career. She earned a master’s in health services administration, initially with the goal of becoming a hospital administrator. In 2002, she helped found a healthcare information technology and recruitment company.

“I’m excited to be able to share my career capabilities in a way that benefits the community where I live,” Kadner says. “I understand the operations, budgeting, and planning needs in healthcare and this board position allows me to use those skills to help our community hospital.”

Kadner earned a BA from Simpson College and a MHSA from University of Kansas. She moved to Grinnell in 2002. Her business, Vitalize Consulting Solutions, is a virtual company based out of Reading, Mass., which allows her to live in central Iowa while still serving as an executive in a national company.

Kadner fills her free time with supporting her daughter Makayla’s activities, helping at the Poweshiek Animal League Shelter, and enjoying concerts and travels.

“I’ve personally experienced GRMC’s inpatient and emergency department services. It is those experiences that make me really appreciate and value having a great community hospital. The staff were caring, knowledgeable people who created a positive experience,” Kadner says. “I see the value of having this hospital in the community and want to support it.”

The passion for quality healthcare intrigued Todd L. Reding to join the GRMC trustees as well.

“My family is involved in healthcare with several family members serving as physicians. It’s part of our family culture and I’m comfortable in the world of healthcare. I’m passionate about the positive changes in the future and the mission of our medical center,” explains Todd Reding, president and CEO, ASI of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

“These are exciting times in healthcare with so many changes coming at us. It’s always improving. So as I join this board, I want to gain a deep understanding of the healthcare governance structure. One area of emphasis for me on the board will be quality initiatives. Quality is essential to our mission and I want to work with the quality committee to continuously improve our community hospital,” Reding says.

Reding was already familiar with GRMC operations and quality focus as he served an ex-officio role on the board as the chair of the GRMC Foundation Board. He received a bachelor’s degree from Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Mo., and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He currently serves on the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce board as well.
George Drake, a long-standing icon in Grinnell, returns to the board as well. Drake served on the GRMC board in the early 1980s under the Michael Faas administration. He rejoined the board as another opportunity to serve the community in an organization that is such a vital part of the community.

“Issues from the early ‘80s were very different. It was a different world. Outpatient care was just beginning to take hold and we were still trying to keep certified beds as high as possible,” explains Drake. “Now, my goal is to understand the healthcare reform and make positive changes. Changes in the economic world affect how GRMC operates. The financial problem of underfunding is huge. We can work to resolve the payment issue.”

Drake graduated from Grinnell College in 1956. He went on to attend the University of Paris and Oxford University, as a Rhodes Scholar, before earning a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1965. Drake returned to Grinnell College as a professor of history and served as Grinnell College’s president from 1979 to 1991.

Community involvement remains an important part of Drake’s life. He serves on the Greater Poweshiek Community foundation, Mayflower Community Board, and GRMC Foundation. He also is the benefactor for the new Drake Community Library, named after him and his wife, Sue. He’s also seen performing in the Shults and Company sharing his musical talents.


“These individuals all bring extraordinary experiences and strengths to the GRMC board of trustees,” explains Todd Linden, GRMC president and CEO. “With the uncertainty of how healthcare reform legislation will unfold, this board will face challenges never experienced before as we balance options for optimal patient care and financial stability.”

GRMC and the residents served by the medical center have benefited from the diverse membership of the board and representation by community members as well as medical professionals. The GRMC Board of Trustees includes the officers and new members listed above as well as Karla Erickson; Laura Ferguson, MD; JoAnn Manatt; Debby Pohlson; Michelle Rebelsky, MD; Wally Walker, and Joanne Yuska. Ex officio members of the board include Todd Linden; Laura Van Cleve, DO, medical staff president, and Drake.

The board is responsible for overall governance of GRMC, a nonprofit, private medical center. Its primary roles include maintaining the mission and vision; strategic planning; appointing members of the medical and allied health staff; approving the annual budget and providing financial oversight; monitoring overall quality of services; and appointing the chief executive.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

GRMC Welcomes Internist Collins

Ronald B. Collins, Jr., MD, will join Grinnell Regional Medical Center and the GRMC Medical Staff on April 25. Collins specializes in internal medicine and will provide inpatient care as a hospitalist at GRMC initially.

A hospitalist is a physician who provides care to individuals upon admission to the hospital, including the intensive care unit. He will work with Christine Lindgren, DO, PhD, providing inpatient and outpatient internal medicine care. The outpatient clinic is located on the second floor of the Ahrens Medical Arts Building.

Collins comes to Grinnell after serving as a hospitalist at Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill. He completed his residency at the same hospital, with the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria program. While there, he also served as an Associate Professor of Medicine. He earned his medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine, Portsmouth, Dominica.

“I wanted to get into internal medicine for the diversity in patient base and illnesses. I really like the spectrum of cases,” Collins says. “Areas that I especially enjoy are pre-operative care – that being prior to a surgical procedure – as well as diabetes and cardiac care.”

“Dr. Collins brings excellent experience and skills plus familiarity with electronic medical records. With his rural upbringing, he will relate well with our patients,” says Christine Lindgren, DO, PhD. “I’m looking forward to having Dr. Collins join us at GRMC. He understands rural values and our patients will connect well to him.”

Prior to attending medical school, Collins was a paramedic for both Delta and Medic Ambulance companies in Maine. He earned an undergraduate degree from Norwich University Military College of Vermont. He also served six years in the United States Army Reserve as a combat medic.

Collins, his wife, Jennifer, and children Victoria and Broden, selected Grinnell for their new home because of the quality of life. Collins grew up in Russell, Iowa, and his wife also came from a small town in Massachusetts. They believe Grinnell has the small town values and culture that they appreciate.

Doctors of internal medicine focus on the prevention and treatment of adult diseases. At least three of their seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training are dedicated to learning how to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases that affect adults. Because their patients are often seriously ill or require complex investigations, internists do much of their work in hospitals and then follow up care in an outpatient clinic.

At GRMC, Collins will be working with Lindgren for hospitalist coverage of inpatients and limited outpatient services. Todd A. Janicki, MD, MBA, internal medicine specialist, will join the team in July.
Once all three internists are on staff, GRMC plans to open an internal medicine outpatient clinic. The outpatient clinic is located on the second floor of the Ahrens Medical Arts Building.

For information on Grinnell Regional Internal Medicine services, call 641-236-2382.

GRMC Health Fair and Community Breakfast

The public is invited to enjoy a “fresh approach to breakfast” on Saturday, May 14, when Grinnell Regional Medical Center will host a community-wide breakfast and health fair. This breakfast will feature made-to-order omelets, sausage, fresh fruit bar, mini-cinnamon rolls, and beverages. The health fair will include booths, health tips, balloon hats for children, and drawings for prizes.

“Our community is known for enjoying a great Saturday morning breakfast. This community breakfast and health fair welcomes the public to walk into our facility, become familiar with us, learn about the services available, and enjoy a great breakfast,” explains Denise Lamphier, director for the office of communications and development. “This will be a great morning for everyone to check out some of the services we have to offer and have a hearty yet healthy breakfast.”

Though GRMC is always open 24/7, the community breakfast and health fair will be served from 7 to 10 a.m. Breakfast will be dished up in the cafeteria and booths will be sprinkled around the hospital. GRMC partnered with the Iowa Egg Council for this event, which will provide the omelet making equipment, tools, and training. GRMC administrators, staff, and a few physicians will be the omelet makers for the morning.

Proceeds from the free-will donation breakfast will go toward the 2011 Annual Fund Drive to fund a new anesthesia unit. Guests may stop by one of the educational booths to learn about this unit. The new machine offers significant benefits for the patient as well as the anesthesia provider, such as hands-free ventilation so the provider can focus more closely on the patient; pressure-control ventilation that minimizes the potential for lung trauma; better calibration of dosing for all patients; and greater patient safety from technology advancements that reduce potential for errors.

Come enjoy National Hospital Week, May 8 to 14, at your community hospital. For more information, call GRMC at 641-236-2590.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

GRMC Auxiliary Honors Volunteers

During their annual spring luncheon, the GRMC Auxiliary recognized six individuals for a milestone achievement with the auxiliary. Individuals and years of service were: (front row) Shirley Broders, 20 years; and Bobbie Kahler, 15 years. In back row, Susan Hutchison, 10 years; Keith Briggs, 10 years; Jennifer Cogley, 5 years; and Carol Klein, 10 years.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Emergency Drill Set for Saturday

Grinnell Regional Medical Center will stage an emergency preparedness drill from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 16, at the medical center. Practicing for a real crisis ensures that staff and emergency responders are prepared. Visitors and patients may proceed to the normal GRMC entrances and service centers. Do not be alarmed by the emergency vehicles and increased activity on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Public Health Releases Community Health Report

Grinnell Regional Public Health and the Poweshiek County Board of Health completed the Community Health Needs Assessment and Health Improvement Plan based on the current health issues facing residents. The assessment was designed to identify changes in health status and barriers to care for Poweshiek County residents.

“Key findings of the report will help establish priorities, develop interventions, and commit resources to improve the health of our residents,” says Patty Hinrichs, RN, Grinnell Regional Public Health director. “This work will encourage collaboration with multiple agencies in the county and region to address the changing needs of residents in the county.”

The most significant barriers to healthcare, according to the Community Health Needs Assessment 2010 survey, were: Can’t pay for services/medications - 28.4 percent; lack of evening and weekend services - 26.3 percent; and long waiting times for services 23.3 percent.

A portion of this study identifies the leading causes of death in the county. Coronary Heart Disease lead the list with 295 per 100,000 (U.S. rate 154 per 100,000). Second leading cause of death is Strokes with 124 deaths per 100,000 residents (U.S. rate 47 per 100,000). Followed by breast cancer with 49 per 100,000 (U.S. rate 24 per 100,000), and colon cancer with 48 per 100,000 (U.S. rate 17 per 100,000).

In 2010, a county-wide Community Health Needs Assessment survey was distributed and completed by 330 residents. Results from this survey and a health survey sent to health and community resource stakeholders identified areas for improved health in the community. The task force prioritized four areas to be targeted in the five-year public health plan for Poweshiek County.

  • Promote healthy behaviors – improve access to healthcare system and referrals by making available resource information and financial assistance to become and stay healthy.
  • Improve access to healthcare in Poweshiek County. Area medical providers identified the lack of mental health services in the county as a priority for health.
  • Prevent spread of communicable disease, in particular sexually transmitted diseases, with programs to diagnosis and treat at low cost or no cost to reduce barriers of care and treatment.
  • Prepare, respond and recover from public health emergencies, especially at-risk residents who would need to be evacuated in a public health emergency. Poweshiek County will have a list of special needs residents with contact information in case the county has a public health emergency.

“Improving access to healthcare in Poweshiek County is a huge goal and will require collaboration with many volunteer groups, human service agencies, and health providers,” Hinrichs explains. “Everyone in the county could have a role in helping achieve this enormous goal. This is a major undertaking for a one-person public health office to coordinate. I believe residents in this county value health and wellbeing and will help their friends and neighbors as we move into a new era with changes in funding for healthcare.”

A complete summary of Poweshiek County Health is available to residents, and especially county human services providers, at and look under the health and wellness tab.

Snapshot of Poweshiek County
Population 18,914 (2010)
94.9% whites; 2.7% other races; 2.4% Hispanic or Latino
10.8% of population living below poverty level (2008 data)
13% of children live below poverty level (2010)
10% of adult population uninsured (2008)
24% of households are a single parent (2010)
21% of adult population smokes (2010)
29% of adult population is obese (2010)
24 Motor Vehicle Deaths per 100,000 population; 1.6 times higher than the state ave. (2010)
90% of adults achieve high school graduation (2010)
18% of adults achieve college degree (2009)

Monday, April 4, 2011

GRMC Awarded Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program

Grinnell Regional Medical Center is one of 20 hospitals nationwide chosen to participate in a demonstration project offered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The purpose of the project, called the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Project, is to see how middle-sized rural hospitals would fare if they were reimbursed for their costs when caring for Medicare patients when they are hospitalized. This program does not include improving the payment for Medicare outpatient services.

“We’re pleased to be selected,” says Ed Hatcher, chair of GRMC’s board of directors. “For GRMC, this will improve reimbursement for Medicare inpatients and it helps the federal government gather information to see if cost-based reimbursement should be implemented on a wider scale for similar sized hospitals in America. We are proud to have been chosen to share what we know and to be a model for other hospitals.”

Jack Fritts, GRMC vice-president of finance and CFO, explains the change in reimbursement is helpful and positions GRMC for the future, but it’s not a windfall.

“The complete terms and conditions for the program are still being reviewed. It certainly puts GRMC in a better position going into all the changes which are part of healthcare reform,” Fritts says. “Under the current reimbursement system GRMC has been paid literally millions of dollars per year below our costs for providing care to Medicare patients. While we will see an increase in our Medicare reimbursement for inpatient care, the project is not a magic bullet that will solve all our financial issues.”

Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO, says, “One reason for our selection in this project is because of our high quality and low cost care. Just like our recognition by the Leap Frog Group as a ‘Top Hospital’ several months ago, I believe we were chosen to be an example to other hospitals across the country. That is exciting.”

Linden credits years of community advocacy and several members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation for their work to get Iowa included in the demonstration project so that hospitals like GRMC would be eligible to apply.

 “We want to thank our Washington delegation,” Linden says. “Senators Harkin and Grassley, and Representatives Boswell and Braley worked especially hard on the concerns of the inequitable payment for hospitals our sized in the reform legislation. Through the work of the community, GRMC staff, and supporters, they know our ‘tweener’ issue well.”

Tweener hospitals are disadvantaged because they fall between two special hospital designations. With 49 beds, hospitals like GRMC are too large to be critical access hospitals like those in Pella or Oskaloosa, which currently enjoy cost-plus-one-percent reimbursement for all Medicare and Medicaid services. GRMC is also too small to be classified as a rural referral center like in Marshalltown, which also receives special added payment from Medicare and Medicaid.

In addition to better reimbursement, rural hospitals greatly depend on recruiting and retaining the right physicians and mid-level providers who can meet the healthcare needs locally. Linden believes GRMC is poised for growth given this improved reimbursement from Medicare and for recent additions to our medical staff.

“We have two outstanding new internal medicine physicians joining GRMC medical staff within the next several months,” Linden says. “These doctors are joining an already extraordinary medical staff so that folks can stay in the area to get the top-notch medical care they need.”

The Rural Community Hospital Demonstration Program will begin in January 2012 and continue for five years.