Wednesday, December 31, 2014

We're Celebrating a Great 2014! Check Out CH-F's Year in Review!


Roger Steinkruger Named CEO of Community Hospital-Fairfax

Fairfax, December, 2014: The Community Hospital-Fairfax (CH-F) Board of Directors is extremely pleased to announce that Roger Steinkruger has accepted the permanent CEO position. Roger joined CH-F in August as an Interim CEO after the resignation of Myra Evans.

“The Board of Directors and staff have been very impressed with Roger since he joined us in August. He brings strong leadership and many years of experience to the hospital and community. We couldn’t be more pleased that he accepted our offer to become the permanent CEO. ” Bob Jackson, Board Chair, explained.

Roger brings 40 years of healthcare experience to CH-F. Originally from rural Nebraska, he began his career with Bryan Medical Center first serving as a respiratory therapist and then in many additional leadership positions. After twenty years with the Bryan system, he returned to rural Nebraska and South Dakota serving as CEO of several different hospitals. Most recently, Roger was the CEO at Tri-Valley Health System in Cambridge, Nebraska, where he oversaw the construction of a new critical access facility.

Since joining CH-F as interim CEO in August, Roger has already been instrumental in many positive initiatives at Community Hospital-Fairfax. Under his leadership, CH-F has implemented a new quality program initiated with a survey by DNV in 2015. He has also formed a leadership team and restructured the organization. His goals for the future include growing services CH-F offers, developing a robust quality program and increasing community outreach.

“I have been very grateful for the warm welcome that I have received from staff and the communities within our service area. It is my honor to serve Community Hospital-Fairfax as CEO,” commented Roger.

About Community Hospital-Fairfax

Community Hospital-Fairfax (CH-F) is a non-profit, critical access hospital serving acute, skilled and obstetrical patients since 1949. In addition to inpatient services, CH-F is proud to provide therapy, radiology, lab, respiratory therapy, specialty clinics and surgery to Northwest Missouri. More information can be found at www.FairfaxMed.com

Friday, November 7, 2014

65 Years of Birthdays at Community Hospital-Fairfax!

In a day where most critical access hospitals have eliminated obstetrical care, Community Hospital-Fairfax (CH-F) is celebrating 65 years of birthdays! For many families, three  or even four generations now proudly call their place of birth Fairfax.
OB Suite in the Old Hospital

Obstetrical care has changed a great deal since the hospital's opening on November 7, 1949. In the 1980 version of the CH-F newsletter, The Pulse, the Community Hospital Association Visiting Hours and Regulations were published:
·         Siblings of newborns may visit the nursery window one time, for fifteen minutes between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
·         Fathers may visit in obstetric department any time between 12 noon and 8:30 p.m.
·         Children under 12 are not allowed in second floor waiting areas.

Dr. Burke gives Markie Lou a
 squeeze at her appointment.


Despite the changes in medical care and traditions, the joy of welcoming a new baby into the world remains the same. So does the personal care that families receive at CH-F. Just recently, Stephen, Tiffanie and Stevie Gaines welcomed a Markie Lou into their family. Tiffany and Stephen are both life time residents of Northwest Missouri. When time came for them to grow their family, choosing to stay local was an easy decision.

“I truly don’t think that there is a better place than CH-F to have a baby; the doctors, nurses, facilities and food are top of the line. Thank you again for the great care we received during our stay.”

Tiffanie and Stephen feel very comfortable with their decision to have Markie in Fairfax.

“In a bigger hospital, you might end up with whatever doctor is on call instead of the doctor that you are most comfortable with. I felt at ease knowing that Dr. Burke would be there when I delivered,” Tiffanie explained.
Drs. Burke, Carpenter and Luem celebrate with the
CH-F Nursing Staff after being acknowledged by
the March of Dimes for zero elective deliveries before 39 weeks.

Aron Burke M.D. and Dustin Carpenter M.D. continue the tradition of obstetrical care at CH-F. Both physicians spent their first day on earth at Community Hospital-Fairfax and both are now delivering the next generation of Atchison and Holt County residents!


For more information about CH-F obstetrical services contact Dina Ridley, RN or Marcee Dougan, RN at (660) 686-2211 or visit www.FairfaxMed.com

Today's Obstetrical Suite

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We are turning 65 this week!



1946         
-Front page news regarding an outbreak of polio. A Ball is held in Fairfax to raise funds for the children’s polio fund.
-The Sunday school lessons are printed in the local paper.
-Local residents receive care at St. Francis or St. Joseph. Appendectomies and infections make the front page.
-Bread at B.P. Hunters costs 8 cents a loaf.
-Rock Port Theater shows “Mom and Dad” Advertised as “many parents are making the same mistakes as Mr. And Mrs. Blake-trying to keep their boys and girls innocent thru ignorance. This story was ripped from the pages of everyday life. It will awaken you” Segregated audiences only. Show times for men and women listed.
-Dr. Templeton dies. He was born in Atchison County in a 2 room log house in 1854. Obituary reads “probably the life of no person has fully exemplified the character and admirable qualities of the pioneer country doctor than Templeton.” One 6 week period he made all calls by horse, foot and boat during floods. Delivered hundreds of babies. Obituary “only one mother died of causes not related to childbirth.”
-In March of 1946, a local Kiwanis club was formed.
-Sims Printing advertises the “little giant” the latest and best small automatic printing press.
-SJ Peterson, Mayor of Fairfax, recommends civic improvements for newly form Kiwanis Club.
-The Local Kiwanis Club received its charter. 220 were present including the governor of Missouri.
-Health concerns include high blood pressure due to stress and hard work.
-Small pox immunization clinics are held. All children are encouraged to attend.
-Army releases list of dead and missing of local soldiers.
-Dr. Wilson joins Dr. McDonald in Fairfax due to business of Dr. McDonald’s practice.
-Fairfax Kiwanis Club promoted the idea of building a hospital in Fairfax.  Twenty people attended a meeting on November 22.  By December 20, $115,000 was raised through selling stock.
-L.R. Sims, F.C. Whitford and Jack Pearce who were members of the public affairs committee of the Fairfax Kiwanis Club initiate meetings.
-Blue Cross first visits area to promote hospital benefits insurance plan.
-November 29, 1946. Announcement on front page: local group seeking $110,000 to build a hospital in Fairfax. Shares will sell for $110 a share. Volunteers canvas city and county asking for subscribers and promising 8% return. Subscribers are asked not to consider just financial gains, but to consider it an investment in the health of the county. A meeting is held at the school on November 29 where $83,600 was raised. By December 13, 112,530 had been raised. On the local committee were S.J. Peterson, John Sly, FC Whitford, Jack Pearce, L. Roy Sims. Article reads “so popular was the idea of building hospital in Fairfax, that many subscribers invited solicitors to call back if more money was needed. Petty differences were forgotten and all worked for the success of the drive.” By December 20, more than $115,000 was raised. By Dec. 27, an attorney was hired, articles of incorporation and bylaws were drafted.


1947        Little progress was made, but late in 1947 the lot was selected for the new hospital. Mrs.                     Anna Taylor, widow of a local physician, donated the land.

1948         -Site work begins. A Peterson drag line is used.
-A Mobile Chest X-Ray unit is brought to Tarkio. X-Rays are free to students and .75 for others. X-Rays are encouraged to detect TB.
-A Maytag washer is advertised by Nickersons in Rock Port for $114.50.
-Citizens enjoy city band concerts.
-Footings are poured in July of 1948.
-An Artist’s rendering is published in August of 1948 with details of a 132 ft. frontage, 42 ft. wide and a south wing. 16 double occupancy rooms with 1 4 bed ward, a nursery for 12 babies. The building was built to accommodate a 3rd floor.
-In August, the local Kiwanis organized a cornerstone celebration. The local Masonic Lodge officiated the August 21 ceremony.
-Glenn Carson was the architect. He was a Fairfax native.
-The operating room and nursery were to be air conditioned.
-Clinton Allen made the original cornerstone.
-The structural steel was completed in September of 1948.
-The roof was poured on a portion of the building in October.
-Atchison County elects Truman over Dewey by 318 votes.
-The walls were finished by November of 1949.
- Second stock issue raised an additional $70,000. 

1949        –The plumbing and heating were finished in Feb. of 1949.
-In 1949, consolidation of all Atchison County schools was considered on the ballot. It was handily defeated.
-The public was invited to view sample rooms in July of 1949. 200 came.
-Community groups furnish rooms.
-In September, equipment begins to arrive.
-In Rock Port, a heifer was sold at a cattle auction. Proceeds were donated to the hospital in the amount of $220.
-4 Nurses were hired. 3 were from KC. They boarded with a local woman.10 women began nurses aid training.
-In a letter to administration in 1983, “In 1949 Pauline Rhea, Doris Collins and I (Jean Bennett) went to Fairfax to open your community hospital. It was an unforgettable and challenging experience. I Have many wonderful memories of the town, the people and the countryside. I went from there to California and have since made my home here.”- Jean Bennett
-The open house was November 5 and 6 in 1949. The TB Assoc. purchased the first x-ray machine for $1000. The building took 6 cars of cement, 12 cars of sand and gravel and 1 car of plaster.
-Paul Musgrave was the first medical staff member.
-Robert Jones was the admin.
-The BOD was SJ Peterson, president, John Sly, FC Whitford, Weaver Walker, Cline Hawkins, Jack Pearce, L Roy Sims and Ralph Seymour.
-Billy Lee Smith, first baby, was born on November 9, 6:45 p.m. 8 lbs 1 oz.
-Fairfax Community Hospital, a 34 bed facility, opened for service November 7.  Some twenty-five persons and organizations furnished rooms with donations.  Three thousand people attended the Open House.  Medical staff was Drs. Wempe, Settle, Reuter, Musgrave, and Niedermeyer.  The three Registered Nurses were Doris Collins, Jean Bennett (Liles), and Pauline Rhea (McConnell).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Me Market Coming November 8!

The 2014 Community Hospital-Fairfax (CH-F) Me Market is finally here! Vendors, health booths, fantastic demonstrations and gourmet food will combine for a great outing for women on Saturday, November 8, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Tarkio High School Gym. Women are encouraged to enjoy a delicious menu of homemade soups, sandwiches and breakfast items prepared by Jim and Michelle Navin of Hy-Vee while participating in a day of shopping and good health.

In addition to traditional health booths like body composition, blood pressure and blood sugar, Community Hospital-Fairfax is proud to offer booths on ergonomics, good sleep habits and healthy eating. Women can also have their blood cholesterol checked between 9 and 10:30 a.m. (fasting required for 12 hours). Bone Densitometry is also offered for $20.00 all day long. The Northwest Area Agency on Aging will also have information about health insurance exchanges and Medicare Part D.

Over 40 booths will be on display with handmade gifts, health products and apparel. In addition to these shopping opportunities, CH-F is proud to offer a variety of demonstrations for women to learn from and enjoy. Tammy Askamit will be doing a Body Pump Boot Camp demonstration at 9:30 a.m., followed by Zumba by Tiffany Rhine at 10 a.m., Safe Stretching by Shannon Pruitt, CH-F PT at 10:30 a.m., a makeup demo by Haley Merriweather, A Perfect 10, at 11 a.m. and a scene from the play First Baptist of Ivy Gap, currently playing at The Liberty Theater, will be shown at 12 p.m.


For more information about the Me Market, visit www.Fairfaxmed.com or call (660) 686-2211.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sports Injuries on the Rise. CH-F Therapy Staff Visits High Schools to Talk Safe Stretching.

Community Hospital-Fairfax (CH-F) Physical Therapy staff is hitting the road this October to visit area high schools. Throughout the month, CH-F physical therapists and assistants will be visiting schools in Tarkio, Fairfax, Rock Port and Mound City to discuss safe stretching techniques.

“We are seeing more and more sports injuries in our therapy program among jr. high and high school athletes. As former athletes ourselves, we know the frustration of sitting out a game or a season to recover from an injury. We want to help kids avoid injury and stay in the game,” explained Shannon Pruitt, Director of Rehab Services.

Therapy staff are showing students how to use dynamic stretching instead of traditional static techniques. This kind of stretching has been proven to better prepare the muscles for the upcoming workout. Extending the range of motion through safe stretching makes it less likely that a sports injury will occur.

Shannon Pruitt, PT, demonstrates some of the dynamic stretching techniques that will be shown to students:







CH-F Therapy Staff will also be demonstrating safe stretching at the upcoming CH-F Me Market on November 8 at the Tarkio High School Gym. To learn more about these techniques or other services offered by the Rehab Department, visit www.FairfaxMed.com or call (660) 686-2211.



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Community Hospital-Fairfax Patient Tells Her Story with a Handwritten Note

Statistics show that the average American household receives a handwritten note just every two months. In this day and age, a letter or card among the avalanche of advertisements and bills is a rare and precious find.

This last June, Community Hospital-Fairfax (CH-F) was the recipient of not just one hand-written letter, but three delightfully written notes by Mary Just of Mound City, Mo.

Mary had experienced a broken ankle and wrist. Her orthopedic surgeon recommended that she receive therapy just down the street from her home at the CH-F Holt County Outpatient Clinic in Mound City. Mary began seeing Kylie Miller, PTA, Yoli Ackerman, OT and Beth Derrossett, OT two times a week. She explained that her time with the CH-F team was so pleasant it became a social outing for her.

“Kylie always greeted me with a smile and encouraging words and made my therapy a pleasure. Throughout my exercise regimen, Kylie demonstrated and explained each exercise, what they were for and how I would benefit from them and upheld her patience with me when I would get frustrated,” Mary explained.

Mary has completed her therapy at CH-F and now continues with her exercises at home. While she is not back to 100%, she is well on her way. She is looking forward to walking longer distances and doing some occasional jump roping for exercise.

Mary Just is not alone in recommending the services provided by CH-F. CH-F continues to outperform state and national averages in patient engagement in surveys conducted by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.) In fact, patients are recommending CH-F at higher rates than hospitals in neighboring towns.

“Engagement is so important to a good outcome for our patients,” explains Shannon Pruitt, PT and Director of Therapy Services. “That is why we make it a top priority at CH-F.”

Community Hospital-Fairfax (CH-F) is a non-profit, critical access hospital serving acute, skilled and obstetrical patients since 1949. In addition to inpatient services, CH-F is proud to provide therapy, radiology, lab, respiratory therapy, specialty clinics and surgery to northwest Missouri. More information can be found at www.FairfaxMed.com

Thursday, August 28, 2014

March of Dimes Recognizes Community Hospital-Fairfax For Its Work to Give More Babies a Healthy Start in Life

CH-F was recently recognized for 
ZERO Early Elective Deliveries!


Pictured Above are representatives from the Missouri Chapter of the March of Dimes along with Aron Burke M.D, Dustin Carpenter M.D. and Carl Luem M.D. CH-F Nursing staff pictured include Dina Ridley, RN, Tina Stiff, RN, Marcee Dougan, RN, Samantha Grist, RN and Kimberly Taylor, RN.

Community Hospital-Fairfax is recognized for reducing the number of elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. The March of Dimes says this will give more babies a healthy start in life. Babies delivered before full term are at increased risk of serious health problems and death in their first year of life.

“We’re proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who saw this opportunity to improve care in our community and put in place policies to avoid scheduling elective inductions or caesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary” said Roger Steinkruger, CEO.
          
This achievement is recognized through a banner from the March of Dimes and Missouri Hospital Association (MHA).

Babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. Recent research by the March of Dimes, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that although the overall threat is small, the risk of death more than doubles for infants born at 37 weeks of pregnancy when compared to babies born at 40 weeks, for all races and ethnicities.

According to Trina Ragain, State Director of Program Services, Advocacy and Government Affairs, March of Dimes Missouri Chapter, “The last weeks of pregnancy are extremely important.  Babies aren’t just putting on weight. They are undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs. “The March of Dimes commends Community Hospital-Fairfax for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”

A two year partnership between the March of Dimes Missouri Chapter and the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) is achieving its goal of significantly reducing early elective deliveries (EEDs) by the end of 2014. Of the 46 participating birthing hospitals in Missouri, 78 percent report a rate of five percent or less and 61 percent have had no EEDs in the last six months of reported data.    

Additionally, of the 46 hospitals, 87 percent now have a “hard stop” policy in place which establishes strict medical guidelines for when a physician may schedule a delivery.  Only 35 percent had a hard stop policy in place before the MHA/March of Dimes collaboration began. The policy prohibits doctors from scheduling a delivery – either by induction or cesarean section – before the baby is at a confirmed 39 weeks gestation.  The policy applies to non-medically indicated (elective) deliveries only.

According to Herb Kuhn, president and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association, "In the best interests of the health of mothers and infants, Missouri's hospitals have been working to reduce early elective deliveries. This is one of many quality improvements they are aggressively pursuing to achieve the Triple Aim of better care, better health and lower costs.”  More information is available at marchofdimes.org/39weeks.

The March of Dimes has been providing support to MHA hospitals in the form of its Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait program which includes educational materials and other resources.  Susan Bushnell, State Director of the March of Dimes Missouri Chapter, said, “This data provides hard evidence that more Missouri babies are being born full term, giving them the healthiest possible start to life.  We hope that all of Missouri’s birthing hospitals will embrace this initiative and eliminate early elective deliveries.”


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Family Nurse Practitioners are Vital to Rural Healthcare: Melissa Masonbrink FNP

The first advanced education program for nursing in the United States began in the 1960s as the demand for primary care began to grow beyond the number of physicians available to provide it. Today the need for primary care remains greater than ever due to an aging population and many new individuals with healthcare coverage as a result of Accountable Care Act.


In Atchison and Holt Counties, mid-level providers have been a mainstay of the healthcare team for many years. In Missouri, family nurse practitioners can meet many primary care needs and each FNP has a collaborative practice agreement with a physician. Mid level providers extend the reach of physicians, provide emergency care and fulfill specialized roles like pediatric care. The relationship Family Nurse Practitioners have with CH-F physicians also ensures patients have a quick and efficient avenue to the physician when needed.

Melissa Masonbrink FNP

Melissa Masonbrink, FNP enjoys seeing patients in several different settings in Atchison County. She works in the CH-F Emergency Room, in the women’s health clinic at the Atchison County Health Center and in Dr. Burke’s Tarkio clinic on Fridays. She loves the variety of patients that she gets to take care of from urgent to emergent.


“Nothing is more rewarding that seeing a patient have a good outcome and knowing that you were part of their recovery” explained Melissa. 

Melissa has lived in Rock Port for 9 years with her daughter Lydia, 11, who is a student at Rock Port Elementary School. She feels like she has become part of the community through her work, but also as a parent as she attends ballgames and school functions.

“Caring for my community is important to me and I’m glad that I get to practice in the place I call home,” Melissa commented.

This concludes our series on our Family Nurse Practitioners. We are so grateful to each one of them and the care they provide in our community!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Family Nurse Practitioners are Vital to Rural Healthcare: Joanna Burke, PNP

The first advanced education program for nursing in the United States began in the 1960s as the demand for primary care began to grow beyond the number of physicians available to provide it. Today the need for primary care remains greater than ever due to an aging population and many new individuals with healthcare coverage as a result of Accountable Care Act.


In Atchison and Holt Counties, mid-level providers have been a mainstay of the healthcare team for many years. In Missouri, family nurse practitioners can meet many primary care needs and each FNP has a collaborative practice agreement with a physician. Mid level providers extend the reach of physicians, provide emergency care and fulfill specialized roles like pediatric care. The relationship Family Nurse Practitioners have with CH-F physicians also ensures patients have a quick and efficient avenue to the physician when needed

Joanna Burke, PNP
Joanna Burke, PNP is a busy mother of three and wife of Aron Burke M.D. While she loves being on the sidelines or in the bleachers for her kids, Journi, Alex and Aiden, Joanna also spends a great deal of time with the children of Atchison County. She sees pediatric patients Tuesday afternoons and Thursday mornings at the Tarkio Family Practice Clinic and at the Family Medical Center in Rock Port on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons.

Joanna always had a passion for the medical field and chose to become a pediatric nurse practitioner because of her love for children. Joanna sees patients 18 and under and enjoys being a part of the lives of the children and families in our community.  

Joanna is a special part of our medical team whose expertise is greatly appreciated by mothers everywhere! 

We have one remaining post for our series on Nurse Practitioners. Stay tuned to read more about our very own Melissa Masonbrink in the next week. We are grateful for their expertise, their gentle touch and the love and compassion they show to our community. Next time you visit an area physician's office or the CH-F ER take a moment and join us in saying "thank you!"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Family Nurse Practitioners are Vital to Rural Healthcare: Pam Davis, FNP

The first advanced education program for nursing in the United States began in the 1960s as the demand for primary care began to grow beyond the number of physicians available to provide it. Today the need for primary care remains greater than ever due to an aging population and many new individuals with healthcare coverage as a result of Accountable Care Act.

In Atchison and Holt Counties, mid-level providers have been a mainstay of the healthcare team for many years. In Missouri, family nurse practitioners can meet many primary care needs and each FNP has a collaborative practice agreement with a physician. Mid level providers extend the reach of physicians, provide emergency care and fulfill specialized roles like pediatric care. The relationship Family Nurse Practitioners have with CH-F physicians also ensures patients have a quick and efficient avenue to the physician when needed.

Pam Davis FNP

Pam Davis FNP has been taking care of patients in Atchison County since she graduated from nursing school in 1978. When she is not camping with her husband, Jim, or doting on her adorable grandson, MJ, she is undoubtedly trying to make someone feel better at the Tarkio Family Practice Center or Rock Port Family Medical Center where she has been serving as a Family Nurse Practitioner for nearly 20 years.

“In 1993, Dr. Hrabik convinced me to go back to school to become a nurse practitioner. Advanced practice nursing was beginning to play an important role in healthcare in underserved rural areas at that time. I have always wanted to see that our county has healthcare available so I felt it was a good career move for me and good for our patients” explained Pam.


“I truly enjoy working alongside our physicians in striving to be available for the residents of our county and those surrounding counties. My goal is to stay current in health care issues and provide the best possible care to our patients. I love working with all stages of life and being a family nurse practitioner allows me to do so” explains Pam.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Meet our Providers: Connie Anderson, FNP

Our Family Nurse Practitioners: Vital to Rural Healthcare

The first advanced education program for nursing in the United States began in the 1960s as the demand for primary care began to grow beyond the number of physicians available to provide it. Today the need for primary care remains greater than ever due to an aging population and many new individuals with healthcare coverage as a result of Accountable Care Act.

In Atchison and Holt Counties, mid-level providers have been a mainstay of the healthcare team for many years. In Missouri, family nurse practitioners can meet many primary care needs and each FNP has a collaborative practice agreement with a physician. Mid level providers extend the reach of physicians, provide emergency care and fulfill specialized roles like pediatric care. The relationship Family Nurse Practitioners have with CH-F physicians also ensures patients have a quick and efficient avenue to the physician when needed.

Meet Connie Anderson, FNP

Connie Anderson, FNP brings a unique perspective to the CH-F team after running her own clinic while serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq during 2007 and 2008. While in Iraq, she provided primary care for both military and contract workers.

“Because I ran a clinic there, I have become more assertive and confident as a nurse practitioner, but at the same time, I have become more compassionate, because I experienced so much in Iraq,” she said.

Connie has been a nurse since 1970 and a FNP since 2004. She enjoys working at the CH-F Emergency Room because of the relationship among providers.

“There is a great connection between nurse practitioners and physicians. We are a great team,” explained Connie.


Connie is also a mom and grandma and makes her home in Maryville, Mo.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meet Our Providers: Becky Heits FNP

During the first two weeks of May, hospitals all over the United States celebrate Nursing Week and Hospital Week. We love the opportunity to celebrate our hardworking staff. We also feel it is a great time to tell you more about some of our fantastic providers, our nurse practitioners.

Our Family Nurse Practitioners: Vital to Rural Healthcare
The first advanced education program for nursing in the United States began in the 1960s as the demand for primary care began to grow beyond the number of physicians available to provide it. Today the need for primary care remains greater than ever due to an aging population and many new individuals with healthcare coverage as a result of Accountable Care Act.

In Atchison and Holt Counties, mid-level providers have been a mainstay of the healthcare team for many years. In Missouri, family nurse practitioners can meet many primary care needs and each FNP has a collaborative practice agreement with a physician. Mid level providers extend the reach of physicians, provide emergency care and fulfill specialized roles like pediatric care. The relationship Family Nurse Practitioners have with CH-F physicians also ensures patients have a quick and efficient avenue to the physician when needed.


Meet Becky Heits, FNP
Becky Heits began her career thirty years ago as a nurse’s aide at Community Hospital-Fairfax. She went on to become a RN. Through the years, she continued her education and in August of 2013, she celebrated her graduation from a nurse practitioner program. Shortly after her graduation, she began seeing patients in the CH-F Emergency Room.

When asked why she felt called to be a nurse practitioner she explained, “A nurse practitioner is a unique blend of nursing and medical. I wanted to partner with patients to assist them in attaining their optimal health. With the lack of primary care doctors in rural areas, nurse practitioners play an important role in providing healthcare.”

Becky thrives on the challenges provided by her work. She believes strongly in treating her patients with respect and compassion just like her own family.


Becky is a lifelong Northwest Missouri native. She currently lives in Tarkio, but was raised in Mound City. She is married to Todd and they have a son, Kyle.

Community Hospital-Fairfax is so proud of Becky and all that she has accomplished. We are so grateful to her and to all of our staff for choosing rural healthcare! Stay tuned to meet more of nurse practitioners through the coming weeks!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Jo Stevens Is on the Road to Recovery and the Bowling Alley

"Let's try driving," said Helen Jo Steven's friend on a winter day not so long ago.

"We went down to the park. I got behind the wheel and it was like riding a bike. I was so surprised and extremely grateful," explained Jo.

This winter Jo arrived at the CH-F Emergency Room after suffering a stroke. She explains that she never felt bad, but she had lost mobility in the right side of her body. After being evaluated in the ER, she was admitted to the hospital's inpatient floor to begin her journey to recovery.

Jo was a patient at CH-F for 23 days. During that time she was considered a skilled patient. This means that her care was heavily focused on restoring her health and enabling her to get back to her very active lifestyle. Each day Jo received physical therapy, which she calls invaluable to her recovery. Jo especially appreciated the kindness of the nursing staff and the whirlpool baths she was treated to several times a week!

"Seeing a patient admitted to the hospital with an illness or injury is always really difficult, but the day they leave with restored mobility or health is really exciting especially since so many that we care for are also our friends and family," Samantha Grist, RN, CH-F Med Surge Manager shared about the feelings of the nurses at CH-F.

 Jo was grateful to receive the care she needed close to home. As an avid bowler and former mayor of Rock Port, Jo has many friends and relatives. Her hospital stay at CH-F meant that she frequently had visitors. She explains that this made her days go very quickly.


Bowling is a passion of Jo's and with the purchase of a lighter ball, she plans to hit the lanes as soon as possible. Part of reaching this goal is the therapy she received which she shares "helped her tremendously."  She is determined to reach her average score of 130 again.

Shannon Pruitt, PT, Director of Rehab Services at CH-F says that Jo's effort made all the difference, "Throughout Jo's rehab journey, she never lost hope or sight of her goals. She always had a smile on her face and a good joke to keep us laughing. Her determination is a tremendous display of her achievements and will be what continues to help her improve in the future. She remains an inspiration to our entire team."

Ask your physician if skilled care and therapy services are an option for you. And remember that you can come to Community Hospital-Fairfax for skilled care, therapy or other services even if you had surgery elsewhere. For more information talk to your physician or call CH-F at (660) 686-2211.


Other News:

Monday, February 3, 2014

Craig Resident is Back on the Combine after Cardiac Rehab at CH-F

Two years ago, rural Craig resident, Richard "Pude" Jackson, was a very different man than today. Recovering from open heart surgery, returning home from a three week stint in an Omaha hospital and feeling extremely weak, he could not imagine a time when he would be behind the wheel of a combine again. 


It was then that Dr. Aron Burke took one look at him and recommended he enroll in the CH-F Cardiac Rehab program.
"When Pude came into Cardiac Rehab for the first time, he was using a walker. I watched as he became stronger and walked in one day with a cane. By the time he graduated from the program, he walked out on his own," commented Jackie Martin, RN and Cardiac Rehab Nurse.
Pude attended Cardiac Rehab over a 12 week period with 36 sessions. During this time, he learned how to use the treadmill and strengthen his arms. He also changed his eating habits substantially. He lost 20 pounds over the three months he was enrolled in the program.

After graduating from Cardiac Rehab, Pude did not stop with the transformation. He began walking two times a day for 30 minutes on the treadmill.  In the summer, he adds a quarter mile walk outside and sometimes uses his stationary bike as well. He has continued to lose weight and his wife, Pat, has joined him in the new healthy lifestyle.

Even though he continued to make strides with his health, Pude was still experiencing weakness in his left arm after the surgery. Once again, he turned to CH-F for help and began receiving physical therapy for his arm. Today, he feels better than ever.
"I'm 67 years old and this fall my neighbor asked if I could run his combine. I wasn't sure that I could, but I ended up putting 137 hours behind the wheel over two weeks. That is something I never thought I'd do again" Pude shared.
Today, Pude sees Dr. Ryan Whitney in the CH-F Cardiac Outpatient Clinic. His last report was glowing.

Dr. Aron Burke, Pude's Primary Care Physician, is proud of what Pude has accomplished, "Pude is an excellent example of someone who took what was learned in Cardiac Rehab and applied it to his life. His health has taken a significant turn for the better in the last two years."

For questions about Cardiac Rehab, please contact Jackie Martin RN at (660) 686-2211 or jackiem@FairfaxMed.com

Wondering about your risk for a heart event? Find out here:

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mental Healthcare Shortage in Rural Areas: CH-F's Efforts

Eighteen months ago, CH-F started on a journey to better understand the needs of our community. When we started the process of our Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), we knew that mental health would rise to the top as an unmet need in our community. For years, our physicians have told us that the need was great and the resources very limited. And time and time again, we have experienced it ourselves when a patient seeks the ER as a last resort.

What you might not realize about mental health in our community:
*14% of the U.S. population suffers from moderate to severe mental illness from short-term situational depression to long term chronic conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
*Suicide rates in rural areas are higher than urban areas.
*Rural areas have a higher proportion of people who are at risk for mental and behavioral health problems, especially older adults.
*Stress is associated with increased mental health disorders. Rural people experience stress with cyclical farm crisis, natural disasters and isolation.
*Rural populations have a greater portion of untreated mental illness than non-rural communities.
*33% of households responding to the CH-F CHNA survey reported depression as a minor or major problem in their household.

And here are a few facts about mental healthcare:
*Distance to mental health providers and transportation costs can be a barrier. There is no psychiatric care in Atchison or Holt Counties.
*Rural Americans are less likely to have health insurance that covers mental health.
*Atchison and Holt Counties are not alone. 104 of Missouri's 114 counties are designated by the federal government as mental health shortage areas.
*http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/nhqrdr/nhqr11/chap8.html

So what is CH-F doing?
We are so pleased to announce that Carl Greiner, M.D. will begin seeing patients in a psychiatry clinic in January. The clinic will be conducted using video conferencing where patients interact face to face with Dr. Greiner through the use of a screen.

With the shortage of psychiatric care, underserved communities all over the country are utilizing technology to increase access to mental health professionals. The CH-F Psychiatry Clinic is the first telemedicine clinic at CH-F.

Patients will be referred to the clinic by their primary care physician. Our staff will then schedule the patient for an appointment at the hospital. At the hospital, the patient will interact with Dr. Greiner face to face via a screen just like a traditional office appointment. After the appointment, Dr. Greiner and the patient's primary care physician will then collaborate on treatment recommendations.

Psychiatry has been a significant need in our community for many, many years. This clinic represents the first  step toward getting the patients the care they need close to home. We are honored to offer this service to our community.

Those interested in this clinic should contact their primary care physician.



Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Cindy Lewis Breathes Easy After a Visit to the CH-F Emergency Room

Being short of breath with a paling complexion were the first signs that something was not right for Cindy Lewis. When these symptoms turned into a struggle to breathe, it was time to seek help. She arrived at the Community Hospital-Fairfax (CH-F) Emergency Room that October afternoon struggling for every breath.


On duty that afternoon was Nurse Practitioner Melissa Masonbrink and registered nurse Bryan Krutz. The team quickly assessed Cindy's condition and began to examine what could be causing the dangerous symptoms. After giving Cindy blood and running a number of tests, it was determined that Cindy had bleeding ulcers and needed a procedure offered at The Nebraska Medical Center. Cindy was quickly transported north to receive the care she needed.

Not long after her recovery from the bleeding ulcers, Cindy found herself struggling to breathe once again. Without hesitation, she arrived at the CH-F Emergency Room where she was diagnosed with blood clots in her lungs within one hour of arrival. Soon, she was once again on her way to breathing easy.


Cindy Lewis is a believer in the CH-F Emergency Room, "I feel like they are going to figure out what is wrong with me very quickly. They are always friendly, attentive and efficient. When they order a test, it is done and the results are relayed to the patient quickly. When the diagnosis is made, they waste no time starting treatment or, if necessary, getting you to the right place to get the help you need."

Samantha Grist, RN, Med/Surg and ER Nurse Manager, is proud of the response time at the CH-F Emergency Room, "In many larger hospitals, patients wait hours to get help. In most cases, we are able to connect our patients with a provider very quickly. In a stressful situation, the last thing any patient wants is a wait."

Cindy wants to remind the community about the CH-F Emergency Room. She commented, "I lived in Kansas City for 28 years, so I know what it's like to wait for several hours in the E.R. when you're not feeling well.  The zero wait time here is a luxury that I very much appreciate."


The CH-F Emergency Room is staffed 24 hours a day with Family Nurse Practitioners or Physicians. Staffing the Emergency Room are specially trained individuals in emergency care. CH-F is also a stroke ready facility.

For more questions about the CH-F or the services offered, please call (660) 686-2211.