Friday, September 30, 2016

How to Grow Old Gracefully

The recipe for aging well is a blend of many factors. Margaret Christenson, a retired RN with an EdD from Oklahoma State University, will address this topic on Monday, Oct. 10, during the Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Senior Education Program. Christensen’s presentation focuses about what we can and cannot control that affects how we age.  She will review the role of genetics, environment, and life style.

Christensen, a native of Fonda, Iowa, taught Health Services Administration for about 20 years at Ohio University. She is also certified as a dementia practitioner helping families and caregivers understand and cope with dementia issues. Currently she is serving as office manager at her niece’s new geriatric clinic, Renfrow Senior Care, PC.  

This program is free and open to the public. It will be held at 10 a.m. in the Drake Community Library, with refreshments beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Parking is available at the Drake Community Library, along Park Street, on Fifth Avenue, and in the First Presbyterian Church parking lot. Seniors needing transportation may call GRMC Communications and Development at 641-236-2593 by the Thursday before the program.

Friday, September 23, 2016

SE*ED: Don’t Get Scammed

Imagine you get an email saying that a Nigerian Prince needs your help. He’s transferring money out of Nigeria and needs access to someone’s bank account to help store the funds. Whatever you do, don’t agree! It’s a scam. Scams against seniors are increasingly common, and are being called “the crime of the twenty-first century.” Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Senior Education Program will be presenting on crime targeting seniors and how to avoid it, on Monday, Oct. 3.

Sergeant Chris Wray will be presenting on various kinds of scams and tips on how to avoid them. He will share a checklist regarding likely scams. A Grinnell native, Wray has been a sergeant with the Grinnell police department for 15 years, and in law enforcement for 28.

How do you keep this from happening to you? There are a variety of ways. The most important is to never give anyone your bank information, social security number, or Medicare information without being sure that they are who they say that are, and that it’s necessary to give such information to them. Be suspicious of total strangers offering large sums of money or any official mailing that you are not anticipating. Remember: anything that sounds too good to be true probably is.

This program is free and open to the public. It will be held at 10 a.m. in the Drake Community Library, with refreshments beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Parking is available at the Drake Community Library, along Park Street, on Fifth Avenue, and in the First Presbyterian Church parking lot. Seniors needing transportation may call GRMC Communications and Development at 641-236-2593 by the Thursday before the program. 

Time to Review Medicare Plan Options

Only 13 percent of people with Medicare Part D plans change their drug plans each year (on average). Relatively few people on Medicare have used the annual open enrollment period from October 15 to December 7 to switch Part D prescription drug plans. Yet in Iowa, 50 percent of the people who received help from the state of Iowa’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) changed plans for 2016 and had combined savings over $16 million. If you’re not doing an annual check of your Part D coverage, you could be missing big savings.

Every year by September 30, people with Part D plans receive the “Annual Notice of Change,” sent out by plans to explain changes to the formulary (drugs covered), benefits, and costs. This is your first chance to review your coverage. You should also do a comparison of Part D plans to see if another plan would provide you better coverage at a lower cost for 2017.

If you would like help doing a comparison of plans, contact SHIIP. In one hour or less a SHIIP counselor can complete a review, let you know if you can save money, and make sure you have access to the drugs you need in 2017. In the GRMC service area, you may call 641-236-2588, or the state office at 1-800-351-4664, to find the SHIIP site nearest you. SHIIP’s services are free, confidential, and objective. Any change you make will be effective January 1, 2017.

Kris Gross from SHIIP, says, “We’re asking everyone to remind family, friends, and neighbors about these important dates. We don’t want anyone to miss the opportunity to make their choice of plans for 2017.”

The 2017 Medicare drug plans will be available on the Medicare website,, on October 1. Plans not renewing their contract with Medicare for 2017 must notify their members by October 2. “Notices of Creditable Coverage” are also due October 15. This is a notice from employer/union and other group health plans which tell Medicare eligible enrollees if their drug coverage will be “as good as or better than Medicare’s coverage” in 2017.

If you have questions about Medicare Part D contact SHIIP at 1-800-351-4664 (TTY1-800-735-2942), go to or e-mail

GRMC to Offer Advance Directive Seminar

Do you have your final wishes written down for family members? What would your family do if you became incapacitated in an accident or illness? An advance directive is a valuable tool during these times. Grinnell Regional Medical Center will host an advance directive seminar for the public to explain the value and need for advance directives in healthcare.

The program is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 11, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the GRMC Tomasek Conference Center – East. All adults are invited to learn about end-of-life wishes; and, how to put those 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 class will be led by Sheree Andrews, LBSW, M.Ed., GRMC hospice social worker.

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 cannot. The Living Will states a person’s wishes specifically for healthcare.  The Iowa State Bar offers these online at

Forms will be available at the program. Forms are also available by contacting Grinnell Regional Hospice at 641-236-2418.  Many family practice physicians also distribute the forms so they know their patients’ expectations.

This seminar is free and open to the public. Please make a reservation by calling 641-236-2418 by October 7. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

2016-2017 Seasonal Influenza Season

Grinnell Regional Public Health will offer public vaccination clinics at locations throughout the county for the seasonal influenza vaccine.

The upcoming season's flu vaccine will protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. GRMC will offer a quadrivalent flu vaccine, designed to protect against four different flu viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. The high-dose for individuals over 65 will be available as a trivalent vaccine. Vaccines will be injectable and the nasal spray will not be available due to effectiveness concerns with this year’s blend by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted this summer that live attenuated influenza vaccine, also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season.

“The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications,” says Patty Hinrichs, director of Grinnell Regional Public Health. “We strongly encourage everyone who can have the vaccine to receive this dose of prevention. Though it is not possible to predict how and when the influenza season will unfold, you can protect yourself by having a vaccination and following good healthy habits to stop the spread of germs. Equally important, you help prevent the spread of influenza to individuals who could become severely ill from the virus but can’t receive the vaccine.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. More information is available at

CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against flu soon after vaccine becomes available. The vaccine takes about two weeks after administration for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. Supply should be adequate for the fall and winter vaccination clinics.

Schedule of Public Health Influenza Vaccination Sites
Thursday, Sept. 29, 2 to 5:30 p.m. GARC, 1500 Penrose St, Grinnell
Monday, Oct. 3, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Mayflower Community, Carmen Center
Monday, Oct. 3, 3:30 to 6 p.m. BGM School - Cafeteria, Brooklyn
Thursday, Oct. 6, 10 to 11 a.m. Seeland Park - Social Center, Grinnell
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 10:30 to 11:30 p.m. Brookside South, Grinnell
Monday, Oct. 17, 3:30 to 6 p.m. Grinnell Middle School
Thursday, Oct. 27, 3:30 to 6 p.m. Montezuma School - South Gym, Montezuma
Monday, Oct. 31, 3:30 to 6 p.m. Grinnell High School
By appointment only at Grinnell Regional Public Health Office, 306 Fourth Ave.
Monday, Nov. 9, 9 to 11 a.m.
Thursday, Nov. 14, 9 to 11 a.m.        
Monday, Nov. 21, 2 to 4 p.m.

“Grinnell Regional Public Health uses electronic medical records and will be entering data into the system during the influenza vaccine clinics. This will allow individuals who have been seen at GRMC as a patient to have their vaccination in their medical record,” Hinrichs says.

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal influenza vaccine is designed to protect against the top four influenza viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season.

Children aged 6 months through eight years who need two doses of vaccine should receive the first dose as soon as possible to allow time to get the second dose before the start of flu season. The two doses should be given at least four weeks apart.

For more information, talk to your primary care provider or call Grinnell Regional Public Health at 641-236-2385 or go to

Prevention Tips
In addition to receiving a vaccination, you can take everyday preventive steps.
1.      Clean your hands with soap and water and alcohol-based cleaner if water is not available.
2.      Avoid close contact. When you are sick, keep your distance from others.
3.      Stay home when you are sick.
4.      Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
5.      Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
6.      Practice other good health habits like clean and disinfect surfaces frequently, get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.  

SE*ED: Planning for that Inevitable Day

What will happen to your assets when you die? That’s a question best settled now, not put off until tomorrow. Join Melissa O’Rourke, PhD, Iowa State University Extension, on Monday, Sept. 26, at Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Senior Education Program as she presents, “Top 10 Mistakes of Estate Planning.”

O’Rourke will present on common questions and mistakes, such as procrastination, failure to communicate final wishes with family members, failure to coordinate estate plans and property ownership strategies, and other blunders that might cause unnecessary worry and stress on heirs when that day comes. O’Rourke’s position at Iowa State University allows her to combine experience in law, education, and agriculture, in an unbiased and non-selling approach to help individuals document their wishes.

O’Rourke is an attorney experienced in agricultural law and estate planning. She teaches and presents seminars with the Iowa State University Extension.

This program is free and open to the public. It will be held at 10 a.m. in the Drake Community Library, with refreshments beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Parking is available at the Drake Community Library, along Park Street, on Fifth Avenue, and in the First Presbyterian Church parking lot. Seniors needing transportation may call GRMC Communications and Development at 641-236-2593 by the Thursday before the program. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Help Beef Up Healthcare

As the start date for the emergency department renovation draws closer, donors are coming up with creative ways to help Grinnell Regional Medical Center raise those last few dollars to reach its fundraising goals. 

“The staff in the emergency department are very passionate about the planned renovation and they wanted to do something to help us finish fundraising for the project. We’re very grateful for their support,” says Denise Lamphier, GRMC director of communications and development.

The staff donated a heifer to GRMC for silent auction with all the proceeds going toward the emergency department renovation. It will be divided into quarters; four winning bids will be accepted, one for each individual quarter. Go to to place a bid and keep checking in until the auction ends at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9. The four winning bidders will walk away with approximately 100 to 120 pounds of high quality, locally raised beef. (Average fair market value $650-$700.) 

For more information about the GRMC emergency department renovation project or to make a donation toward this effort, please contact Denise Lamphier, GRMC director of communications and development, at 641-236-2589.

New Physician Assistant Joins GRMC Medical Staff

Kate Van Wyk, MSPA, PA-C, joined the medical team at Grinnell Regional Family Practice. She will practice with Drs. Doorenbos, Koller, and Rebelsky as well as fellow physician assistants Jake Boyer and Kristin Phelps. This clinic is located on the third floor of the Ahrens Medical Arts Building.

Van Wyk recently graduated from Des Moines University with her master of science in Physician Assistant Studies. She is familiar with GRMC after completing two rotations in the master’s program with Surgical Associates and Grinnell Regional Family Practice. She also completed family medicine rotations at a Pella primary care clinic and a family health clinic in Alaska. She gained experience at the hospitals in Marshalltown, Urbandale, and West Des Moines, during internal medicine rotations.

Having grown up in Lynnville-Sully area and graduating from the Lynnville-Sully High School, Van Wyk was drawn to the home town feel of Grinnell.

“I’ve been drawn to medicine most of my life and have a deep personal desire to help people,” Van Wyk says. “This community is a great place and I’m excited to meet the residents and patients.”

 Van Wyk will see patients of all ages, providing primary care.

“We’re pleased to welcome Kate to our practice,” says Michelle Rebelsky, MD, Grinnell Regional Family Practice. “She brings in the latest in medical teachings and a great personality that our patients will appreciate.”
When not in the clinic, Van Wyk enjoys outdoors activities including biking, hiking, and kayaking; as well as reading and baking.

Grinnell Regional Family Practice, located at 210 Fourth Ave., Grinnell, accepts new patients. The clinic hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For appointments, call 641-236-2500.

“Welcome to Medicare” Seminar Offered in Grinnell

Dennis Day and Kathy Szary
Are you going to be eligible for Medicare in the near future?  Have you been on Medicare for a while and want to better understand what it offers?  Do you have a family member you help with Medicare issues.

“Welcome to Medicare” is for you!  This two-hour seminar offered by the Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s SHIIP counselors will be held Thursday, Sept. 29, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The seminar will be held at Drake Community Library, 930 Park St., Grinnell. Please register by Thursday, Sept. 22, by calling 641-236-2588.

“We’re excited to offer this free seminar to the community,” says Jeanette Budding, GRMC assistant director of communications and development and the SHIIP coordinator. “Medicare is such an important program and understanding what it offers helps assure that anyone eligible gets the health benefits they deserve. We have four excellent SHIIP counselors who will assist individuals with Medicare questions.”

 Maralee Kruse and  Montie Redenius
SHIIP counselors are Dennis Day, Maralee Kruse, Montie Redenius, and Kathy Szary. These counselors received training and certification from the Iowa Insurance Division this summer about the latest Medicare changes.

“Welcome to Medicare” seminar will cover Medicare Part A and Part B benefits, the prescription drug benefit (Part D), Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare supplement insurance. 

For more information or questions, leave a message at 641-236-2588. A volunteer will return your call.

SHIIP, the Senior Health Insurance Information Program, is a service of the State of Iowa.  SHIIP counselors are trained by the state and do not sell or promote any insurance companies, policies or agents.  GRMC is the local sponsor for SHIIP in Poweshiek County. 

SEED Welcomes Grinnell College’s Latham

Grinnell College is an integral part of the Grinnell community, with changes on campus causing changes in the rest of the community. Join Mike Latham, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, on Monday, Sept. 19, at Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s Senior Education Program as he speaks about Strategic Transformations at Grinnell College.

Latham will discuss steps that the College is taking to promote innovation in the liberal arts, such as promoting opportunities for student research, new steps in the “digital liberal arts”, innovations in global education, and plans for a new Humanities and Social Studies Complex.

Latham became vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college in 2014. An academic as well as an administrator, he has published several books, including The Right Kind of Revolution: Modernization, Development, and U.S. Foreign Policy from the Cold War to the Present and Modernization as Ideology: American Social Science and “Nation Building” in the Kennedy Era, as well as several articles. Before moving to Grinnell, he worked at Fordham University, where he received an award for outstanding undergraduate teaching in the social sciences.

This program is free and open to the public. It will be held at 10 a.m. in the Drake Community Library, with refreshments beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Parking is available at the Drake Community Library, along Park Street, on Fifth Avenue, and in the First Presbyterian Church parking lot. Seniors needing transportation may call GRMC Communications and Development at 641-236-2593 by the Thursday before the program.