Monday, November 24, 2014

GRMC and Knoxville Knock it Out of the Park

Grinnell Regional Medical Center and Knoxville Hospital and Clinics have entered a new agreement to share leadership for radiology services. Matthew M. Byrd, CNMT, RT (N)(CT), has joined the staff at both hospitals as the director of radiology/diagnostic imaging. GRMC employs Byrd and then contracts his services to the Knoxville Hospital and Clinics.
Byrd joined the Iowa hospitals after serving 12 years as the director of imaging at National Diagnostic Services, based in Novi, Mich. He also worked at Universal Imaging in Auburn Hills, Mich.; and William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich. Prior to following his medical career, Byrd enjoyed playing America’s favorite pastime, baseball. He played minor league baseball for the Danville Braves (Virginia), Durham Bulls (North Carolina), and the Greenville Braves (South Carolina) from 1993 to 1998.
Byrd earned his bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory sciences at Oakland University, Rochester Hills, Mich., and his radiology certification from William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Mich. Byrd has been married 17 years with four children, ages 2, 7, 10, and 12.
He explains how he arrived in central Iowa, “I’ve been in the mobile medical imaging environment for 12 years and I was looking to shift into a hospital setting. My wife and I wanted a family-focused community with a small-town feeling. Central Iowa was very attractive. I feel I can bring experience to both Grinnell and Knoxville.”
The shared director position saves GRMC and Knoxville money while still meeting the oversight and supervisory needs at each hospital.
“This sharing agreement is a first for GRMC but it is a good business decision for both hospitals,” says David Ness, vice president. “We have a solid radiology team at GRMC and we wanted someone who has experience in oversight and who can help guide us in the future with changes in diagnostic imaging. Sharing costs to be more efficient benefits both of our hospitals.” 
Christine Buttell, FACHE, chief operating officer at Knoxville Hospital and Clinics, adds, “We are looking forward to this collaboration with Matt and GRMC. Due to the workload and needs of each hospital, this opportunity to share resources makes sense financially. He can bring in the leadership skills to support the staff at Knoxville.”
For more information on radiology service at Grinnell Regional Medical Center, call 641-236-2355 or go
For more information on radiology services at Knoxville Hospital and Clinics, call 641- 842-1466 or go to

GRMC Turns Attention to Renovating Emergency Department

Grinnell Regional Medical Center is seeking funds to update and upgrade its emergency department. More than 10,000 patient visits happen annually in this certified Level III/Area trauma center. Significant improvements are needed and planned for GRMC’s emergency services to continue to meet the needs of area residents and all who come to the emergency department for medical care.
A hospital’s emergency department is the front line for the community in times of crisis - from hazardous material spills, trauma, and life's everyday accidents.
            “For a medical center of our size, we see a higher than usual number of patients who have serious and involved medical needs in our ER,” says John Bambara, MD, GRMC emergency department medical director. “We’re close to the interstate and we are the only Level III trauma center within 35 miles. To get a higher level of trauma care, you have to go to Des Moines or Iowa City. Minutes matter in these situations.”
The proposed renovation to upgrade the emergency department will improve flow, efficiency, and privacy for patients. Plans include a new entrance and nursing station will be created. Upgrades in the emergency department will include monitors, beds, lighting, HVAC/automated controls, safety features, and upgrades in the cable.
Plans for the new emergency department design also include:
•           Two new trauma bays with sliding partition walls and doors to increase patient privacy. Current trauma bays only have curtains to provide any level of privacy. The sliding walls will allow the trauma bays to open and expand if more space is needed for a particular patient. New trauma bays will increase treatment capacity and flexibility by providing more room for medical staff and equipment.

•           A total of five exam rooms and a triage room, in addition to the two trauma bays. Currently, the GRMC emergency department has two exam rooms, a triage room, and two trauma bays. Two of the new exam rooms will be designated for gynecological care and ENT (ear/nose/throat) treatments, but would be suitable for most any emergency situation. Three general exam rooms are included in the design along with a triage room for basic and preliminary exams.
•           Creating a centrally located nurses’ station for greater access and monitoring capability along with a new call system.  
•           Creating a new decontamination suite to treat patients who have been exposed to hazardous materials. Plans are to locate this outside and adjacent to the emergency department within a new ambulance bay. Currently, GRMC has temporary shower stalls to use in the decontamination process.  This is not an ideal approach, especially during the winter. The proposed decontamination suite will be 270 square feet featuring two rooms with a shower and accessible directly from the ambulance bay. Treating patients outside of the hospital facility in a suite that has its own ventilation and drainage systems greatly reduces the risk of further exposure to others. Patients would be treated immediately in the decontamination suite and then brought into the emergency department when it is safe to do so. This new suite would be able to handle several patients at once. It will create greater patient comfort and a much more efficient manner of treating patients exposed to hazardous materials.
With an estimated 19,000 households relying on the GRMC emergency department, there must be a fully-functioning emergency department during the construction and renovation process. Included in the estimated $2.3 million needed for this project is the cost to create a temporary emergency department during this time.
GRMC leadership evaluated the possibility of continuing to operate emergency services in the existing area during construction and renovation. It was determined that temporarily moving the emergency department during this time would be the better approach and could help keep construction progress moving forward more smoothly. One of our second floor medical/surgical patient wings was decommissioned a few years ago and currently houses our pain clinic, rheumatology clinic,  and sleep lab. It is within steps of the radiology department, surgery, obstetrics, and the existing emergency department. GRMC will continue to use the existing ER ramp and has plans in place for redirecting patients to this temporary area when needed.

This emergency department project is part of a $7,500,000, three-year comprehensive campaign that the medical center is currently conducting. Volunteers and staff have just completed one year of this fund-raising effort. They have raised a total of $845,000 for the emergency department renovation and need to raise another $665,500 for this project.

For more information about making a gift to the Moving at the Speed of Life campaign, please contact Denise Lamphier, GRMC director of communications and development at 641-236-2589 or

Donor Issues Challenge for Postels Building

An anonymous donor is challenging community supporters to help renovate the exterior of the building that houses all of Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s wellness programs. Every donation designated for the exterior renovation project at Postels Community Health Park will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $25,000.
Located on the corner of Broad Street and Commercial Avenue, the health park is a popular destination on the south side of the downtown business district. The facility was donated to GRMC by Joanie Heimsoth and Dick Postels and opened for patient care in 2001.
“The exterior of the building needs to be replaced,” says Dan Agnew, co-chair of GRMC’s Moving at the Speed of Life comprehensive campaign. “The Postels building is a long-standing landmark in downtown Grinnell and GRMC has done a tremendous job in renovating the entire building for the benefit of the community.”
Plans are to remove and replace the external stucco from the fa├žade of the building, add windows on the Commercial Street side, and replace awnings. GRMC has made many structural and aesthetic improvements to the facility over the years. Most recently, the roof has been replaced, a new heating and cooling system has been installed, and the space previously used by The Galaxy Youth Center has been completely transformed into the new home of the Paul W. Ahrens Fitness Center.
“The outside of the building needs to match the quality of the interior design and the services offered within,” Agnew says. “This helps us tremendously and we hope that many donors will meet this challenge.”
For more information about making a gift to this challenge for the Postels Community Health Park or the Moving at the Speed of Life campaign, please contact Denise Lamphier, GRMC director of communications and development, at 641-236-2589 or

Friday, November 21, 2014

Imagine Grinnell Supports GRMC with New Lighting

Imagine Grinnell, a community improvement foundation, has made a grant to Grinnell Regional Medical Center to upgrade GRMC’s lighting to be more energy-efficient. New LED light fixtures in the main first floor east-west hallway in the hospital and in the glass tower of the Ahrens Medical Arts Building were paid for through this $5,000 grant.
“We are truly grateful for this grant from Imagine Grinnell,” says Mark Doll, director of facilities management at GRMC. “Over the years, we have made energy efficiency a priority through many projects. Any cost savings we can achieve overall helps GRMC keep our healthcare costs low.”
It’s a very public showcase of the latest in energy efficient commercial lighting. Imagine Grinnell board members want business owners and members of the public to see the quality of the lighting used at GRMC as a way of encouraging the use of these fixtures in other locations.
“Imagine Grinnell is proud to be a community partner with Grinnell Regional Medical Center,” says Sarah Smith, Imagine Grinnell executive director. “We are pleased with this investment in helping GRMC reach greater energy efficiency while also making it a bit of a showcase for other businesses.”
 Since 1985 Imagine Grinnell has been a catalyst for change in Grinnell. Their mission is to improve the quality of life in Grinnell while complementing economic development efforts and promoting a healthy environment. Imagine Grinnell uses its non-profit status and the strength of the Grinnell community to harness donations, government and private grants, and volunteers for a wide variety of community projects.
For more information about Imagine Grinnell, contact Sarah Smith at 641-236-5518 or  To learn more about making a gift to the Moving at the Speed of Life campaign, please contact Denise Lamphier, GRMC director of communications and development at 641-236-2589 or

Thursday, November 20, 2014

GRMC Auxiliary Decks the Halls with Annual Wreath Raffle

The halls will be decked Monday, November 24 by members of the GRMC Auxiliary. More than 40 wreaths decorated by area businesses and volunteers in a wide variety of themes–traditional, whimsical, and contemporary – will be raffled off in the annual wreath raffle. Ticket sales begin Monday, November 24, at The Glass Gift Box at GRMC. Wreaths will be displayed in the hospital hallways by The Glass Gift Box, laboratory waiting, and physical therapy. The drawing for wreaths will be Thursday. December 11, at 1 p.m.
“This is such a fun event,” says Jennifer Collins, committee chair. “It’s wonderful to see all the creative wreath designs that decorate the halls at GRMC. The Auxiliary is thrilled with the support for this great holiday tradition.”
Proceeds for this fundraiser will go toward the GRMC Auxiliary’s $150,000 pledge to the hospital’s Moving at the Speed of Life comprehensive campaign, with $100,000 committed to the GRMC Auxiliary Chemotherapy and Infusion Suite. The auxiliary’s lead gift for this new area was the catalyst for GRMC to move forward and complete this project.
Additionally, the GRMC Auxiliary supports various medical center and health education programs, including $5,000 in scholarships, books and gifts to newborns at the Kintzinger Women’s Health Center, and health education.
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. 25. While at The Glass Gift Box, shoppers can also purchase angels for the hospital angel tree in honor or memory of a loved one.
For more information on any of these events or to support the GRMC Auxiliary, call the GRMC volunteer coordinator at 236-2588. 


Thursday, November 13, 2014

New Signage at Ahrens Park

Ahrens Park added four large directional maps and eight distance markers to its walking path this fall. The purpose for the signage was to enhance the walking and exercising path and encourage physical activity by park users. Funding for the signage came from the Poweshiek County Transformation Grant (CTG), which was administered through Grinnell Regional Public Health (GRPH).
“The Ahrens Park Foundation seeks ways to improve accessibility and value for all individuals who use our park,” says Julie Gosselink, Ahrens Park Foundation board member. “So when the community transformation grant offered to fund signage, we agreed it was a great fit. The signs help individuals see the entire path and measure the distance they are traveling. This fit well with the goals of the CTG to encourage individuals to exercise more.”
Maps are located at the north end by the soccer fields, near the entrance to the softball and baseball complex and at the south end by the sledding slope. Markers are placed throughout the entire park along the walking path.
The Poweshiek County Transformation Grant funded the promotion of system level and community design changes, worksite wellness, community complete-street initiatives, community-based food environment projects, and smoke-free multi-unit housing initiatives to improve the health of residents in the county. It was administered locally through GRMC, and ended in the fall of 2014.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Monsanto Plants the Seeds to Harvest a Cure

More than 140 Monsanto employees and business associates teamed up during harvest to show support in the fight against breast cancer. They raised more than $3,400 through the sale of pink t-shirts that read: “Plant the Seed, Harvest the Cure.”
Monsanto employees are shown here at the end of October presenting the check to Grinnell Regional Medical Center representatives Kyle Wilcox, assistant vice-president of finance, and Matt Byrd, radiology director.
“In a company that is predominantly male, we were delighted at how many people purchased and wore the shirts. Many shirts were bought in memory or in honor of a loved one who has or had breast cancer,” says Teresa Gifford, RN, Monsanto Occupational Health Nurse. “Our employees rallied behind this cause. We sold the shirts to employees in our other Monsanto plants, too. It’s a great way to get our employees supporting breast cancer awareness.”  
John Hillier, Seed Technician, promoted breast cancer awareness to Monsanto’s contracted harvest truckers.
The t-shirt design was created by Gifford and Darcy Hall, Monsanto Seed Technician, shown center giving the donation to Wilcox. 
Gifford and Al Henderson, production site manager at the Grinnell Monsanto plant, have also submitted a request to the Monsanto Fund Matching Gifts Program, which will double the amount of the donation.
The funds raised will be used at GRMC to educate women in the GRMC service area about the need for annual mammograms. An estimated 5,000 women aged 40 and up in the greater Poweshiek County area have not had a screening mammogram in the past two years. According to County Health Rankings, only 64 percent of eligible women in Poweshiek County have had an annual mammogram; this is below the state average of 67 percent and the national average of 72 percent. Current statistics show one in eight women will have breast cancer.
“This gift will have a lot of impact by raising awareness about the importance of mammography screening,” Byrd says. “The key to successfully treating breast cancer is early detection and treatment.”


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Grinnell Regional Medical Center is Recognizing and Celebrating Home Health and Hospice Month

Grinnell Regional Medical Center is recognizing November as Home Health and Hospice Month. The goal of both Grinnell Regional Home Care and Hospice is to provide care and support to patients and their families so that they can live life as fully as possible during times of recovery or despite serious and life limiting illness. During the month of November, Grinnell Regional Home Health and Hospice is reaching out to thank its partners and the community for their roles in supporting and making services possible.
The motto of Grinnell Regional Home Care reads “Home is where the heart is.” Grinnell Regional Home Care provides in-home care for people who need assistance while recovering at home. Grinnell Regional’s staff understand the importance of recovering from an illness, injury, or debilitating condition in the comforts of home. It’s easier than ever with the wide range of services, technology, and most importantly, the caring professional staff of Grinnell Regional Home Care.  
Grinnell Regional Hospice provides caring compassionate support to individuals and families experiencing terminal illness. The philosophy of hospice is that death is a normal and natural part of living. It seeks to reduce suffering and to increase the ability of individuals and their families to live life fully as they approach the end of life. Grinnell Regional Hospice is a non-profit, Medicare certified program of Grinnell Regional Medical Center.
Thank you to the community for your support of our programs. For more information regarding home health services please call 641-236-2542. For more information regarding hospice please call 641-236-2418.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Grinnell Regional Hospice Recognized as a We Honor Veterans Partner

It may surprise many people to learn that 25 percent of those who die every year in the United States are veterans. To help provide care and support that reflect the important contributions made by these men and women, Grinnell Regional Hospice has become a national partner of We Honor Veterans, a pioneering campaign developed by National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
As a We Honor Veterans Partner, Grinnell Regional Hospice will implement ongoing veteran-centered education for their staff and volunteers to help improve the care they provide to the veterans they proudly serve.  The nation is seeing many of the veterans who served in World War II and Korean pass away—and the number of deaths of Vietnam Veterans is beginning to rise.
The We Honor Veterans campaign provides tiered recognition to organizations that demonstrate a systematic commitment to improving care for veterans. “Partners” can assess their ability to serve veterans and, using resources provided as part of the campaign, integrate best practices for providing end-of-life care to veterans into their organization. By recognizing the unique needs of our nation’s veterans who are facing a life-limiting illness, Grinnell Regional Hospice is better able to accompany and guide veterans and their families toward a more peaceful ending. And in cases where there might be some specific needs related to the veteran’s  military service, combat experience or other traumatic events, Grinnell Regional Hospice will find tools to help support those they are caring for.
“All hospices are serving veterans but often aren’t aware of that person’s service in the armed forces,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “Through We Honor Veterans we are taking a giant step forward in helping hospice and palliative care providers understand and serve veterans at the end of life and work more effectively with VA medical facilities in their communities.”
“VA shares a common goal with our nation’s hospices, and that is to provide the best possible care specifically tailored for veterans, meeting their goals of care in their preferred setting.  As we focus on working together and unite our services and skills, We Honor Veterans will channel our combined strengths directly to veterans - wherever they are receiving care,” Schumacher says.

The resources of We Honor Veterans focus on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgment, coupled with veteran-centric education of healthcare staff caring for veterans. To learn more about We Honor Veterans, call Grinnell Regional Hospice at 641-236-2418.  

Countrywide Response Preparations for Ebola Continue

Response preparations for a West African Ebola case are underway in Poweshiek County, even though no cases of Ebola have been reported to date in Poweshiek County or the rest of Iowa.
Grinnell Regional Public Health continues to work closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC), Grinnell College and local and county first-response teams.
The teams that would respond to a potential case of Ebola report that they are trained and have measures in place to respond safely if the need should arise.  
The Ebola outbreak is widely affecting the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a travel warning and is discouraging travel to these countries. Reliable information about Ebola and public efforts to control can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at
Many of the initial symptoms of Ebola resemble the flu, which is common this time of year. Health officials recommend that individuals who have not received a flu vaccine obtain one at a local physician’s office, the public health department or local pharmacies.
“The key point to remember is that Ebola is a very serious illness, and we need to follow the same contact precautions as with many other contagious illnesses, such as influenza, malaria, H1N1 and HIV,” said Michelle Rebelsky, MD, GRMC’s medical staff epidemiologist. “Proper protection while caring for patients who may or may not have the virus is the first step.”
“As a rural Iowa community, our overall risk is low for an Ebola infection,” said Trisha Rooda, Poweshiek County emergency management coordinator. “However, with our location along Interstate 80 and the two colleges in the community, we know we need to be prepared.”

Protocols and Resources
Protocols and resources for helping individuals who may show symptoms and have risk factors were discussed during last week’s Ebola response planning meeting in Grinnell. Participants represented the Poweshiek County Board of Health, Emergency Preparedness Office and Sheriff’s Office, the Deep River Fire/First responders, the  Grinnell police and fire departments, Grinnell College, Grinnell Family Care, Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Grinnell Regional Public Health, Mayflower Community, Midwest Ambulance Co., and Montezuma First Responders.
“Thankfully, our community has been discussing and planning for a while, so we ordered and have received protective gear,” said Grinnell Fire Chief Dan Sicard.
“First responders, like the medical clinic front office staff, face the risk of the unknown in every encounter,” he added. “We want to protect staff and avoid further spread of the virus. We really need people to be honest about their risks. This means telling the 911 dispatcher if you are a high risk. This information protects the EMTs and first responders as they assess the situation.”
“Grinnell College is working with local, state and national officials to monitor the situation and keep the campus safe,” said Deb Shill, RN, director of Student Health and Counseling Services. “We have no students abroad in the widely affected countries of Africa.  We don’t anticipate any cases of Ebola at Grinnell College, but we have screening processes and protocols in place to help manage a case if one should arise.”
 “We want individuals who have a potential Ebola exposure risk and symptoms to call their healthcare provider before they travel to a clinic or an emergency facility,” said Patty Hinrichs, GRPH manager.
“At that point,” she added, “if the individual says he or she has traveled and may have a high risk of contracting Ebola, that person will be instructed to stay home so as not to spread the virus. We will take the individual’s contact information and call the Iowa Department of Public Health, which will follow up and provide the person with instructions about where to receive evaluation and treatment.”
The healthcare protocol is to determine whether an individual has a fever and other symptoms such as severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal/stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising. If so, then the healthcare provider will ask whether the individual has recently traveled to or been in contact with someone who has traveled to Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone.

At the National and State Level
Screening of all travelers flying to the United States after visiting West Africa is being conducted at five major U.S. airports. These individuals are asked about things such as current symptoms and possible exposures to patients with Ebola while in West Africa. Anyone who has been in contact with a sick Ebola patient is to self-quarantine, and will be tracked for 21 days.
If needed, appropriate action is taken at that time; for example, travelers with symptoms consistent with Ebola are not being allowed to continue traveling until they are medically assessed. If they are well, they are given information about what to do once they arrive at their final destination, such as Iowa.
If, for example, that patient is traveling to Poweshiek County, local public health officials would be notified of the arrival of the traveler. The traveler would be re-interviewed to confirm health status and risk of exposure to Ebola. Appropriate action would then be taken in Iowa. This might result in the traveler staying at home and away from others for 21 days, or requiring the traveler to take temperature readings and report the results to public health officials for 21 days. 
This will lower the risk of Ebola spreading in Iowa, and help reassure the public that extraordinary action is being taken to protect Iowa residents.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Grant Funds Curbs Crosswalks, and Bike Racks in County

Sharing of grant results leads to improvements for Poweshiek County residents. The Poweshiek County Transformation Grant conducted Walking and Biking Suitability Assessments (WASBAs) in the county. It along with the Iowans Walking Assessment Logistics Kit (IWALK) implemented in 2013 by community volunteers and committee members of the Poweshiek County Transformation Grant found numerous opportunities throughout the county to improve healthy lifestyles through greater sidewalk and bike path accessibility. 
Results of the survey and assessment were are intended to be used “to create environments that encourage community residents to walk or bike safely”  . . . and “to improve health outcomes by providing additional opportunities to reach the recommended weekly 150 minutes of physical activity.” 
The results from WABSA were shared with Brooklyn, Grinnell, and Montezuma city managers for evaluation and implementation when city projects involve sidewalks. The CDC grant provided funding for bike racks and improve crosswalks and curb cuts for greater accessibility.
In Grinnell, the IWalk assessment with the WABSA results had an influence in last summer’s Fourth Ave. construction project in downtown Grinnell as well as painting crosswalks and adding bike racks in downtown Grinnell and worksites.   
Public Works Director Dave Popp reports, “The installation or upgrading of curb ramps that serve the city sidewalk system can be time consuming and expensive, but a necessity for citizens that use them. This grant money has aided Grinnell in the installation of curb ramps on corners that are heavily used by walkers.”
In total the CDC’s Community Transformation Grant funded 17 curb cuts in city sidewalks, paint for 23 crosswalks, and installation of 20 new bike racks in communities.
The county transformation grant, which ended Sept. 29, 2014, was administered by Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Grinnell Regional Public Health and the county’s Healthy Choices Coalition. The IWALK assessment kit was funded by the Iowa Department of Transportation and provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health “to promote improved access to exercise and wellness resources” and to reduce obesity.