Thursday, April 25, 2013

Robots and Breakfast at GRMC

Enjoy a “fresh approach to breakfast” on Saturday, May 11, when Grinnell Regional Medical Center will host a community-wide breakfast and health fair. Breakfast will feature made-to-order omelets, sausage, fresh fruit bar, mini-pastries, and beverages.

“This year a main attraction will be the daVinci robotic surgical unit. Guests will be able to sit at the unit and experience first-hand how the surgeon sits and performs surgeries,” says Denise Lamphier, director of communications and development for GRMC. “We will move the unit into the surgery waiting area so guests can see and actually move the robotic arms. It’s amazing technology.”

The community breakfast and health fair at GRMC welcomes the public to become familiar with the medical center, learn about the services available, and enjoy a great breakfast.

The GRMC community breakfast and health fair will run from 6:30 to 10 a.m. Breakfast will be served in the hospital cafeteria and booths will be in the Tomasek Conference Room and second floor surgical waiting area. GRMC administrators, staff, and physicians will be the omelet makers for the morning.
Proceeds from the free-will donation breakfast will go toward the daVinci surgical unit. GRMC is currently leasing the system. The goal is to purchase the equipment as soon as possible. Surgeons at GRMC have performed many surgeries with the daVinci, with significant improvements for the patients’ recovery and well-being.

For more information, call GRMC at 641-236-2590.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

GRMC Auxiliary to Host Spring Luncheon

The Grinnell Regional Medical Center Auxiliary invites the public to its annual spring luncheon, scheduled for Wednesday, May 1. The gathering will begin at noon in the Buckley Dining Room, Mayflower Community, Grinnell.

“Our spring luncheon is the time when we introduce the auxiliary’s healthcare scholarship recipients and we recognize volunteers for their hours of service to GRMC,” says Kerri Olson, GRMC volunteer coordinator.

Luncheon tickets are available for $8 at The Glass Gift Box located in the GRMC lobby. For more information about the luncheon or volunteer opportunities at GRMC, call 641-236-2588.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

First Successful Robotic Surgeries Completed

In the past two weeks, Grinnell Regional Medical Center staff and Surgical Associates surgeons have completed 10 surgeries on the new daVinci® SI Surgical System and patients are sharing their success stories.

“Recovery time was probably twice as fast after the robotic surgery. I had outpatient gallbladder surgery on Monday. By Tuesday night, I quit taking pain meds and by Thursday I was back to work for a couple of hours,” says Todd Couful of Victor, Iowa. “I had no problems and the big advantage is the benefit to the surgeons. I’m glad we were able to bring this technology to Grinnell. ”

Nicholas Kuiper, DO, Surgical Associates, performed the first surgery at GRMC with the daVinci® SI Surgical System. He removed Couful’s gallbladder in a procedure took just a little more than 20 minutes.

“Robotic surgery is the greatest advancement in surgery since laparoscopy. It offers several advantages,” Kuiper says. “Robotic surgery allows surgeons the ability to treat patients with the best precision and view of the operative field. Traditional laparoscopy is uncomfortable and the instruments used do not feel natural. Robotic surgery is very comfortable and gives me the ability to use instruments that move like my own wrists and hands. My patients find comfort in knowing that I am selecting the safest, most precise way to do their surgery through as few as incisions as possible.”
Couful agrees.

“Dr. Kuiper had discussed the procedure with me and a comparison of robotic surgery versus open or laparoscopic surgery. He explained that the amount of time in the OR is the about same with both. But the robotic unit is much easier on the surgeon and he actually spends less time on the operation. I feel more confident knowing that this is easier on the surgeon,” he says.

Angela Doty of Brooklyn, Iowa, was also one of the first patients to have surgery at GRMC with the daVinci unit. She underwent a complex robotically assisted hysterectomy performed by David Coster, MD, surgery department chair at GRMC. The outpatient surgery allowed Doty to go home the same day after recovering from anesthesia.

“Having had previous abdominal surgeries, I can say I wasn’t in so much pain after the surgery and I was able to sleep,” Doty says. “By day four I was back to normal, with no pain. I still had lifting restrictions for a few days but I felt normal. I’ve had seven abdominal surgeries in my life time. I have many experiences to compare. This was better than expected.”

Coster explains that “it is really remarkable what a difference this technology makes for both the patient and the surgeon. There is less physical stress for both the patient and surgeon during the procedure. The surgeon has the advantage of magnified 3-D visibility and can work comfortably sitting at the console. The da Vinci instruments are finely tuned to work in a much smaller space with less overall movement, reducing blood loss and tissue stress. Surgeries can be performed with incomparable precision, and patients can often go home the same day even after major operations. This technology is an astonishing leap forward, and it’s fun and intuitively easy to use.”

The da Vinci system can be used for a range of minimally invasive procedures in gynecology, urology, thoracic, and general surgery. GRMC surgeons have been recognized as talented leaders in minimally invasive procedures for more than 20 years.

Surgeons at GRMC will use the da Vinci system for prostate, kidney, bladder, colo-rectal, biliary, gynecologic, gastric, esophageal, hernia, liver, bariatric surgeries, and more. Performing robotically assisted surgeries at GRMC are general surgeons David Coster, MD; Nicholas Kuiper, DO; Mathew Severidt, DO; urologist Aaron Smith, DO; and gynecologist Seanna Thompson, MD, FACOG. Coster, Kuiper, and Smith have been performing robotic surgeries for a number of years and were able to begin procedures at GRMC as soon as robotic unit arrived. Severidt and Thompson will complete their training and begin performing procedures in March.

“National healthcare data shows the vast majority of hysterectomies (uterus) and prostatectomies (prostate) are now completed with robotic assisted technology. Its use in the broad arena of general surgery is only just now beginning and GRMC surgeons are already ahead of the curve, setting the stage for a new era at GRMC,” says Suzanne Cooner, GRMC vice-president.

To learn more about robotic surgery at GRMC, speak with your surgeon or healthcare provider. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Town Hall on Health Set for May 2

The public is invited to attend a Town Hall meeting to discuss experiences and share suggestions to improve healthcare delivery within Poweshiek County. The Town Hall meeting will be Thursday, May 2, at 5:30 p.m. beginning with a free meal. The discussion will begin as soon as people have their meals and will be completed by 7:30 p.m. This will be held at the Elks Lodge, 720 3rd Ave., Grinnell.

The Town Hall discussion is the final stage in an extensive county-wide health needs assessment to gauge overall health needs in Poweshiek County. Grinnell Regional Medical Center and Grinnell Regional Public Health mailed surveys to more than a 1,000 residents. Vince Vandehaar, MBA, a consultant from VVV Research and Development, will compile the survey results and run the town hall meeting. The purpose is to look at healthcare services, delivery, and opportunities for improvement.

“We would like to see at least 80 people in attendance to fully represent the different perspectives in our county,” says Suzanne Cooner, GRMC vice-president. “We have a little competition with other Iowa hospitals and public health departments for the county that can have the highest attendance at the Town Hall meeting. I think we can exceed the goal so that all health interests in the county are at the table during these discussions.”

This meeting is open and free to all who have a commitment to the health of area residents. A drawing for gift cards for department store and gas will be held during the program. Please call Grinnell Regional Public Health for a reservation so enough food may be ordered, 641-236-2385.   

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

GRMC Launches Comprehensive Campaign

Grinnell Regional Medical Center is launching a comprehensive campaign to raise between $5 million and $8 million by the year 2017, when the medical center will celebrate its 50th anniversary of service.

The campaign, entitled “Moving at the Speed of Life,” will enhance services, facilities, and technology at GRMC to meet the healthcare needs of the community today and in the future while also supporting annual needs of the medical center.

“Life happens when you are not looking,” says Denise Lamphier, director of communications and development for GRMC. “The staff at GRMC literally move at the speed of life to help our patients on a daily basis, no matter how slow or fast it moves—because every second counts, every moment matters.”

Four noted individuals are leading the fund-raising efforts as co-chairs of the campaign. They are:
§  Dan Agnew, a member of the GRMC board of directors and retired CEO of Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company.
§  Debby Pohlson, a past chair of the GRMC board of directors who currently sits on the GRMC Foundation Board. She works at Jensen Optometrists in Grinnell.
§  Nick Kuiper, DO, a general surgeon with Surgical Associates of Grinnell and a member of the GRMC board of directors.
§  John Bambara, MD, GRMC director of emergency services and occupational health.
The campaign will raise funds for seven important projects, including:
§  Extensive renovations to the emergency department to modernize it.
§  The creation of an after-hours walk-in clinic.
§  The creation of a new chemotherapy and infusion department.
§  The purchase of a state-of-the-art daVinci® surgical robotic system and new CT scanner.
§  Renovations to Postels Community Health Park to accommodate GRMC’s growing wellness program.
§  An endowment for the new Grinnell Regional Mental Health Center.

“I was born here at the hospital in Grinnell when it was called Community Hospital. In the course of my lifetime I have used the emergency room multiple times for myself, my children, and my grandchildren,” Agnew says. “I’m proud to be part of the campaign that will help ensure residents in the GRMC service area have access to the best care for many years to come.”

The campaign is being called a comprehensive campaign because it focuses on three types of giving that help underwrite three areas of programming at the medical center. In addition to the large projects listed above, the campaign also seeks annual support for the ongoing expenses of the medical center and also asks donors to support the long-term needs of the medical center by considering a planned gift, such as a bequest or estate gift.

“We think it is important to boldly invite people to invest in this cause,” Pohlson says. “We simply believe this comprehensive effort is important to keep increasing GRMC’s performance, sustainability, and relevancy.”

“Many of us in the community don’t fully appreciate that GRMC is a nonprofit hospital,” Agnew adds. “As such, we are best able to serve the greater Grinnell community structured this way. But that means when upgrades are necessary, we are dependent on our community to make them a reality. We are blessed to have a hospital of the highest caliber. This campaign will make certain that GRMC will stay that way for future generations.”

The Projects
Emergency Room & Walk-In Clinic: “The ER renovation is a project that has been talked about for a very long time,” Pohlson says. “In the previous capital campaign we raised $450,000 toward the emergency department, but this was not enough to complete the renovation. Our goal now is to raise the additional funding needed and move this important upgrade forward.”

GRMC handles about 10,000 emergency patient visits annually and is a Level III certified trauma center.

“This is a much-needed renovation and upgrade of our emergency department,” says John Bambara, MD, GRMC director of emergency services. “The new design will expand our space and increase treatment capacity, flexibility, and patient privacy.”

Additionally, an after-hours walk-in clinic is being developed for the first floor of the Ahrens Medical Arts Building. Patients would use this for conditions that require medical attention but not emergency care.

Computed Tomography Scanner:  A CT scanner uses x-rays to image the body’s internal organs. Radiologists use this technology to diagnose acute strokes as well as abnormalities in the body such as abscesses, kidney stones, and cancer. It can also detect spinal fractures and determine the amount of damage to bone and soft tissue in trauma patients. GRMC’s current 16-slice scanner was purchased in 2004. Today, scanners can provide upwards of 64 slices for greater detail, faster scan times for patients, and increased capability for interpretation by the radiologist.

Postels Community Health Park: For more than 10 years, Postels Community Health Park has provided area residents with integrated medicine services. Joanie and Arnie Heimsoth and Dick Postels donated the building that was formerly used by Grinnell Beverage to GRMC in 1999. Beginning this year, the goal of having all wellness and fitness services under one roof will become a reality.

The Postels building currently houses acupuncture, chiropractic care, therapeutic massage, outpatient physical therapy, and is home to GRMC’s fitness classes such as Spinning®, yoga, Pilates, and Bootcamp. Renovations to the space will accommodate the move of the Paul W. Ahrens Wellness and Fitness Center to the facility. The space will include a new entrance to the building on Commercial Street, an indoor walking path, a dedicated Spinning® room, individual weight training and cardio equipment, lighting, showers, and changing facilities. Improvements are also needed to the exterior of the building.

Grinnell Regional Mental Health Center: Funding raised toward an endowment for the new Grinnell Regional Mental Health Center will ensure that mental health services are available in the area for years to come. In March 2013, GRMC created this clinic in response to the closing of the more than 40-year-old Poweshiek County Mental Health Center. An endowment will help cover the annual operating costs of the new service at GRMC.

“Health and mental health are inextricably intertwined,” says Suzanne Cooner, GRMC vice-president of operations and executive director of the clinic. “Our goal with this clinic is to make sure that services for people with mental health needs are integrated with primary care. This service allows people to receive the counseling and medical management they need right here, close to home.”

Chemotherapy and Infusion Services: GRMC is creating a new chemotherapy area on the first floor of the medical center. This new location will be easily accessible for patients from the main entrance, admissions, and the lab. Features of the new chemotherapy department include greater patient comforts, state-of-the-art design, and a unique art installation by Lee Emma Running, associate professor of art at Grinnell College. 

daVinci Surgical System: The daVinci system is a sophisticated robotic platform designed to expand a surgeon’s capabilities and offer a minimally invasive option for major surgery. In January 2013, GRMC had the opportunity to begin leasing a daVinci. The manufacturer offered GRMC substantial discounts to take possession of the equipment immediately. However, in June 2013, GRMC would like to purchase the system, which is less expensive than leasing over the long term.

“The daVinci is already making a difference in the lives of our patients,” Kuiper says. “Since we began using the robot to assist us with surgeries, we have seen wonderful patient outcomes, including shorter hospital stays and faster recovery.”

The Volunteers
The co-chairs of the committee have recruited a team of volunteers to direct the fund-raising effort throughout the GRMC service area.

Jewel Kintzinger-Day, Leila Maring, Waldo Walker, and the late Marion Jones are all honorary co-chairs of campaign.

“These four individuals have been steadfast supporters of GRMC and have always demonstrated that true success is in helping others,” says Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO. “We felt it important to recognize each of them for their vital and extraordinary volunteer work on behalf of the organization over the years.”

Additional committee members include:
Lead Gifts: Sig Barber and Linda Lowe, co-chairs, with Ed Hatcher.
General Gifts: Wendy Kadner, Sally Lang, and Dave VanderLinden, co-chairs. Also serving are Jennifer Cogley, Patrick Cogley, MD, George Drake, Ashley Grundler, Rachelle Johnson, Paul Pohlson, Rick Ramsey, Todd Reding, and Pat Supple.
Internal Gifts: Ron Collins, MD, Ryan Dahlby Albright, MD, and Chad Nath, co-chairs. Also serving are Ray Baker, Kathy Clark, Patty Hinrichs, Brooke Uhlmann, and Lesa Peters.
Special Events/Marketing: Sharon Lahn, Ben Latimer, and Bill Menner.
Corporate/Business Gifts: Larry Jansen, Barb Baker, and John Smith, co-chairs. Also serving are Scott Collings, OD, Dennis Day, Jeff Finch, Peggy German, Scott Gilbert, Rich Gogg, Joanie Heimsoth, Mike Hotchkin, Al Knaack, Mark Kolpin, Dr. Ramona Mitchell, Jim Ramsey, Mike Thorndike, Nancy Van Tomme, Lori Vos, and Susan Witt.
GRMC Auxiliary: Deb Collum-Calderwood, Sheila Latcham, Kerri Olson, and Shannon Reding.

The Process
The Moving at the Speed of Life fund-raising campaign is in the very early stages, and funding is being pursued from various private and public sources.

“GRMC’s financial situation has had its ups and downs over the past five years due primarily to the poor Medicare payment system,” Lamphier says. “We continue to rely heavily on financial donations for projects such as these. All of us at GRMC are honored to have such extraordinary community support. It is certainly one of the many things that makes us one of the best community hospitals in the country.”

“The ultimate goal for this campaign is to raise $5 million to $8 million over the next three to five years for projects totaling about $8 million. When the medical center celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017 we will be able to celebrate a half century of forward thinking to benefit the health and wellbeing of the people in the greater Poweshiek County area. Seeing all these projects completed over that time span will reaffirm our commitment to innovative and quality patient care for the next 50 years,” Lamphier says. 

For more information about Moving at the Speed of Life: A Comprehensive Campaign for GRMC, please contact Lamphier at 641-236-2589 or, or contact a volunteer on the steering committee.