Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ellestad Named to State Board

Stephen Ellestad, DO, a physician in Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s emergency department, has been elected to a two-year term as an at-large trustee of the Iowa Osteopathic Medical Association Board. He was elected during the 116th annual conference and scientific seminar in Des Moines. Ellestad joined GRMC’s emergency department in 2010.
Ellestad earned his bachelor’s degree from Coe College in Cedar Rapids. He 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, Kansas, where he also served as a flight surgeon.
GRMC has four full-time physicians who cover the emergency department 24/7.

GRMC Becomes First in State to Offer New daVinci® XI Robotically Assisted Surgeries

Grinnell Regional Medical Center announced today that it is now using the latest Intuitive daVinci® Xi robotic surgical system – the only location in Iowa where this technology is available. In fact, GRMC is one of only 30 hospitals in the world to be using the newest robotic surgical system.

The new system offers three-dimensional, high definition visualization and allows for enhanced dexterity and greater precision and control for the surgeon.

“The daVinci manufacturer approached GRMC to be one of the first sites to have the new daVinci Xi because of the phenomenal work our surgeons are performing with the current daVinci,” says Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO. “These surgeons have been far in front of other surgeons in the state with completing complex procedures while producing the excellent outcomes for patients.”

Surgeons performing procedures on the daVinci Xi robotic system include Monica Brito, MD, with Grinnell Regional Women’s Health Clinic; and David Coster, MD; Nicholas Kuiper, DO; Mathew Severidt, DO, and Aaron Smith, DO, all with Surgical Associates of Grinnell.

GRMC’s original daVinci, an SI unit, was installed in January 2013 thanks to a generous gift from Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company and its employees. Throughout its first year in use, GRMC surgeons completed about 200 robotically assisted surgeries at GRMC, including two highly complicated Whipple surgeries to remove or repair bile duct and pancreatic tumors. Surgeons also completed single-site incision surgeries to repair or remove disease in the abdomen.

The SI was named Razer in a naming contest for area elementary students.

From the patient perspective, the new daVinci continues to offer the benefits of less pain, less blood loss, and faster recovery times. The new Xi unit expands the number of procedures that can be performed on the robotic in the abdomen and improves access within the abdomen for the surgeons.
“We can move between all quadrants of the abdomen during a procedure with this new unit,” Kuiper says. “We are able to do larger and more complex operations, moving within the abdomen and not having to change the arms of the unit. The camera on this new unit is exceptional.”

According to Intuitive Surgical, by enabling efficient access throughout the abdomen, the daVinci Xi System expands upon core daVinci System features, including wristed instruments, 3D-HD visualization, intuitive motion, and an ergonomic design. As with all daVinci surgical systems, the surgeon is 100 percent in control of the robotic-assisted daVinci system, which translates his/her hand movements into smaller, more precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body. The Xi system’s immersive 3D-HD vision system provides surgeons a highly magnified view, virtually extending their eyes and hands into the patient.

“GRMC is delighted to expand our advanced surgical capabilities and best of all, at no additional costs,” Linden says. “We were leasing the daVinci, so we are able to upgrade to the new Xi and keep our cash flow the same. In fact, in the first few years of the lease, our costs are reduced – but we have the ability to do more procedures. It’s a win-win.

“With national healthcare focusing on value, we have demonstrated again GRMC’s operational philosophy to be a great value and keep costs in check,’ he adds.

For more information on the daVinci unit and surgical procedures, visit the Surgical Associates website at: or GRMC’s website at

Photo: Nicholas Kuiper, DO, of Surgical Associates of Grinnell, and Deb Reding, RN, director of surgical services at Grinnell Regional Medical Center, greet the medical center’s newest surgical assistant, the Intuitive daVinci® Xi robotic surgical system. GRMC is the only location in Iowa where this technology is available. In fact, GRMC is one of only 30 hospitals in the world to be using the newest robotic surgical system.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

GRMC Wins Marketing Award

Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Office of Communications and Development has been recognized nationally for the redesign of the GRMC Healthletter and for the Blue Jean Ball 2013 advertising campaign.
The Healthletter redesign won the APEX 2014 Award in the newsletter-print category. APEX 2014 is presented through the 26th Annual Awards for Publication Excellence, an international competition.
GRMC also won gold and silver in the Aster Awards, hosted by Marketing Healthcare Today Magazine and Creative Images, Inc. This program recognized outstanding healthcare professionals for excellence in their advertising/marketing efforts for the calendar year 2013.
GRMC entered the redesign of the quarterly newsletter, Healthletter, and earned the gold award. Gold awards are given to the top five percent of entries in the nation. It entered the Blue Jean Ball total advertising campaign, and received silver for that entry. Silver awards are given to the top 12 percent of entries.

The 2014 Aster Awards received nearly 3,000 entries from across the United States as well as Canada and South America.  All entries are judged by industry experts and are scored on multiple criteria with a possibility of 100 total points. Participant’s entries competed against similar-sized organizations in their specific groups and categories.  Submissions were scored on multiple criteria which included creativity, layout and design, functionality, message effectiveness, production quality and overall appeal.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

GRMC OB Staff and Physicians Earn High Marks

GRMC’s Kintzinger Women’s Health Center took on the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s standards of excellence and earned top marks. GRMC is one of 30 hospitals in Iowa to be recognized. The standard of care at Grinnell Regional states that elective inductions of labor or scheduled Cesarean sections would not be performed prior to 39 weeks, 0 days unless medical indications for induction were present.
An elective delivery is one that is done for a non-medical reason. Labor may be induced or a cesarean section performed to deliver the baby.
It may be medically necessary to deliver the baby early if there is concern for the health of either the baby or the mother. This could include high blood pressure, diabetes, or other developmental issues.
Babies continue to grow throughout the entire pregnancy. The brain, liver, and lungs complete their full development during those last weeks. ACOG states that the brain develops at its fastest rate at the end of pregnancy, growing by one-third between week 35 and 39.
Elective deliveries before 39 completed weeks of gestation can pose both short-term and long-term health risks for the newborn. These include a higher risk of breathing problems, temperature problems as babies have a difficult time staying warm without the layers of fat that develop on the baby at the end of the pregnancy, and hearing, vision, and potential learning problems can all pose serious and sometimes long-term health issues for baby.
ACOG also notes that there are increased health risks for mothers when labor is prevented from starting on its own. These can include infection, and an increased likelihood of having a cesarean section, especially if it is the mother’s first pregnancy.
“For many women, those last few weeks before delivering can be miserable,” acknowledges Sheryl Baarda, RN, obstetric unit nurse manager. “However, for the benefit of the baby, elective inductions of labor should not be performed, unless of course the baby’s health is in danger. This policy has real patient benefits.”
The results after five years were dramatic. The number of babies who were transferred to a neonatal intensive care unit dropped to three babies in 2013, from a high of 12 in 2008. The number of transfers has been consistently two to three babies a year, since this policy was put in practice.
Overall, there has been a decline in babies delivered in the United States before 39 weeks. Figures from 2010 indicate that 17 percent of babies born in the United States were delivered before 39 weeks. Through advocacy from ACOG and other organizations, it was reported that in 2013 that percentage had plummeted to 4.6 percent.
The Iowa Healthcare Collaborative recognized GRMC’s Kintzinger Women’s Health Center staff and physicians for this improvement in quality of care.
Heather Matherly, RN, BSN, IHC improvement administrator, delivered a banner to GRMC to hang proudly in the facility.
“GRMC is one of only 30 hospitals in the state to earn this recognition,” Matherly says. “The policy change and implementation has been a huge success and benefit to the littlest patients. Outstanding.”


From left: Heather Matherly, RN, BSN; Sheryl Baarda, RN; and Kayla Sherwood, RN.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

GRMC Auxiliary Supporters Rise to the Challenge to "Drop it For a Cause"

More than 2,100 golf balls dropped from a helicopter hovering over the 18th fairway at Oakland Acres Golf on Saturday, July 12. An estimated 300 in attendance watched carefully in hopes that their numbered ball would be the one that landed in the hole designated for the $5,000 grand prize.
            After the balls had dropped, the team of judges led by Grinnell Chief of Police Dennis Reilly and Captain Teresa Peterson, inspected where all 2,100 balls had landed. Jason Dillon of Grinnell was the lucky winner of the $5,000 grand prize. Kristy Reedy won a single membership to Oakland Acres Golf Club.
            The big winner of the night was the GRMC Auxiliary. The effort raised more than $9,800 toward the auxiliary’s pledge of $100,000 toward the new GRMC Auxiliary Chemotherapy and Infusion Suite at Grinnell Regional Medical Center.
            “It was a terrific event for the GRMC Auxiliary,” says Kerri Olson, GRMC volunteer coordinator. “The auxiliary is grateful for the support of Oakland Acres Golf Club staff, the Heishman family, a great team of volunteers, and the entire community who took a chance on supporting a unique new fund-raising event.”
            Other prize winners included:
§  Carol Smith, Angie Christensen, Nina Burkett, Tom Szary, and Oakland Acres Golf Club, who each won $50 gift certificates to Michael’s Italian Kitchen.
§  Connie Buffum, Mike Allen, and Deb Nowachek, who each secured a private lesson with Kristin Van Wyk, Oakland Acres golf pro.
§  Tia Heishman, who collected the prize, “Follow Through and Wine Down Group Lesson” with Van Wyk.
§  Cathy Beckman, who acquired a Junior Camp lesson with Van Wyk.
§  Dick Gustafson, who won a ladies rifle donated by Ken Beck and Freedom Firearms.
§  Jennifer Cogley, who took home a $100 gift certificate to The Glass Gift Box at GRMC.
The event included games and face-painting for children, coordinated by the Grinnell High School girls’ golf team. In addition, Oakland Acres Golf Club celebrated the event by hosting Cody Hicks and live country music into the night.
            “For decades, the GRMC Auxiliary, and the forerunner organizations at St. Francis Hospital and Community Hospital, has enjoyed tremendous support from the community,” Olson says. “Together, the community and the GRMC Auxiliary partner to support Grinnell Regional Medical Center. As a result of this partnership, we all enjoy the benefits of a great medical center. The GRMC Auxiliary is very thankful for this ongoing support toward its mission to Grinnell Regional Medical Center.”
            Additional sponsors included Oakland Acres Golf Club, Jerry Henschen, MAS Video, Total Choice Shipping and Printing,  Nicholas Kuiper, DO, Freedom Firearms, Kristin Van Wyk, Michael’s Italian Kitchen, Miraco, Casey’s General Store, Cummings Farms, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, KJWW/PC Engineering Consultants, University of Iowa Credit Union, Axmear Ag, Inc., Hardee’s, The Glass Gift Box, and GRMC Auxiliary.

1) Karen and Jason Dillon of Grinnell won the $5,000 grand prize at a golf ball drop coordinated by the GRMC Auxiliary at Oakland Acres.
2) Volunteers drop more than 2,100 golf balls from the helicopter above the 18th fairway at Oakland Acres Golf Club.
3) A team of judges determine the prize winners.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Better Health Class Offered in Summer

Grinnell Regional Medical Center Public Health will offer the “Better Choices, Better Health” workshop at the end of July. This six-week program provides individuals who have chronic conditions, as well as their caregivers, the tools to better manage their health and symptoms. This session will be held on six Wednesdays, beginning July 30 in the Montgomery Lounge at Mayflower Community, Broad St., Grinnell.
“This program provides movement, nutrition and socialization tips and much more for daily living with a chronic disease or pain,” says Patty Hinrichs, Grinnell Regional Public Health director. “We have a lot of fun in the class as people work toward a goal of independent and safe living.”
The program developed by Stanford University focuses on ways to improve self-management of chronic diseases. Examples of chronic conditions include arthritis, breathing problems or lung disease, stroke, depression or anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, chronic pain, and cancer.
The class meets every Wednesday, July 30 to Sept. 9. Each session is two and a half hours, 9 to 11:30 a.m. Over the course of these workshops, individuals will learn techniques and practical methods to deal with pain, fatigue, and isolation; decision-making skills; exercise options and established action plans and goals for physical activity; better nutrition planning and eating choices for better health; communication techniques to begin conversations with physicians and family members about health concerns; tools to manage medications and symptoms; and self-management skills to lead a more productive life.
The class is taught by peer leaders who guide participants as they create their own action plans for improved health. The $20 fee covers the cost of the book and materials. Scholarships are available. For information and to register call the Grinnell Regional Public Health office at 641-236-2385.

Friday, July 11, 2014

GRMC Launches Pulmonary Rehab Service

Grinnell Regional Medical Center has added a comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation program to its growing list of on-site patient care services. 
Pulmonary rehab assists individuals with chronic lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, asthma, and chronic bronchitis.
GRMC Nurse Manager Beth Kirton, who oversees the new program, says that individuals with chronic lung disease “can be very restricted in how they lead their daily lives. Our goal is to help patients function at their highest capacity through strength training and exercise, breathing training and medical management, nutrition education, and emotional support.
“The outpatient rehab program also encourages self-management, to decrease symptoms and complications, and ideally, reduce hospitalizations.” 
Admission to the new pulmonary rehabilitation program requires that patients have a medical diagnosis of a chronic respiratory condition, have pulmonary function testing within the past 12 months that indicates less than 60 percent capacity, and/or have symptoms that inhibit daily life activities.
“Each individual’s treatment plan will be designed to meet their needs,” Kirton said. “New patients will be enrolled in the program following pulmonary function testing and physician referral. This is a convenient resource within our community to help patients lead full, satisfying lives.”

Respiratory Therapist Tisha Miller will coordinate patient care, with support from Medical Director Ron Collins, M.D. Individuals should first contact their primary care provider before seeking services from the new GRMC program.
The pulmonary rehabilitation program is located on the first floor of the Ahrens Medical Arts Building, 210 4th Ave., and is open Mondays and Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pulmonary function testing will be scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
For more information, call 641-236-2411.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Monsanto Fund Supports GRMC Campaign

Grinnell Regional Medical Center has received a grant of $20,000 from the Monsanto Fund for the medical center’s Moving at the Speed of Life comprehensive campaign, in support of the planned renovation of GRMC emergency and urgent care services.
“We are grateful for the support of the Monsanto Fund over the years,” says Denise Lamphier, director of communications and development for GRMC. “Our local Monsanto site operation led by Al Henderson and the Monsanto Fund have been great supporters of GRMC.”
GRMC’s latest comprehensive campaign, called Moving at the Speed of Life is set to raise $7.5 million by the year 2017, when the medical center will celebrate its 50th anniversary of service.
The campaign focuses on enhancing 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.
Overall, the campaign continues to raise funds for these projects to:
§  Modernize the emergency department and create an urgent care clinic.
§  Enhance chemotherapy and infusion services.
§  Purchase state-of-the-art robotic surgery equipment and a new CT scanner.
§  Renovate Postels Community Health Park to accommodate GRMC’s growing wellness program.
§  Establish an endowment for Grinnell Regional Mental Health Center.
For more information about Moving at the Speed of Life: A Comprehensive Campaign for GRMC, please contact Lamphier at 641-236-2589 or


IMG 6064: Al Henderson and Andrew McDaniel of Monsanto in Grinnell present Todd Linden, president and CEO of Grinnell Regional Medical Center, with a $20,000 gift to help the medical center create a new emergency department.

IMG 6075: Al Henderson and Andrew McDaniel of Monsanto in Grinnell present members of the Grinnell Regional Medical Center leadership team and board of directors with a $20,000 gift to help the medical center create a new emergency department. Pictured are:
Front Row (from left): Rachelle Johnson, board member; McDaniel; Bill Menner, board chair; Todd Linden, president and CEO; and Sally Lang, board member.
Second Row (from left): Dave Ness, vice-president of operations; Ed Hatcher, board member; Wendy Kadner, board member;  Todd Reding, chair elect; Henderson; Doris Rindels, RN, vice-president of operations; and Nick Kuiper, DO, board member.
Third Row (from left): Ron Collins, MD, medical staff president; Laura Ferguson, MD, board member; Mike Creary, CFO; Karla Erickson, board member; and Rusty Jones, board member.