Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D. Tours Jamestown Regional Medical Center

Representative Rick Berg, R-N.D., toured the Jamestown Regional Medical Center Monday to learn how a rural, critical access hospital works.


Rick Berg, R–N.D., visits with Samantha Revering, marketing specialist, and Cindy Gohner, vice president of clinical services, at Jamestown Regional Medical Center Monday, February 20, 2012. Berg toured the hospital to learn more about critical access hospitals.

“My key purpose is the Obama budget reduces payments to critical access hospitals,” he said. “I’m fighting the view that every hospital has a city of 1 million nearby. I’m building the case for rural health care and looking for firsthand examples.”

Hospitals meeting critical access criteria receive reimbursements of 101 percent of costs rather than the 100 percent of cost normally paid by the Medicare program currently.

The cuts for rural health care could be as much as 2 percent, according to Alan O’Neil, JRMC chief financial officer.

“It is a 1 percent reduction in hospital payments,” he said. “For us it means about $250,000 to $300,000 annually.”

O’Neil said other changes could affect payments to physicians by as much as 27 percent.

Berg also asked about the steps the hospital is taking toward electronic records. He said he had a particular interest in that area because his wife is a physician.

“We’ve integrated a lot of our equipment so the data goes directly to the electronic record,” said Cindy Gohner, vice president of clinical operations. “It can be as much as a half hour of record keeping for every hour of patient care in some cases.”

Berg has other concerns regarding health care.

“About 80 percent of my focus is on critical access,” he said. “But the president’s health care bill thrust is consolidation, which is not good for rural health care.”

Berg also expressed concern about the upcoming farm bill debate.

“Crop insurance is key,” he said. “They held a hearing in the Senate last week. The Senate will act first and then the House will debate. The farm bill expires at the end of September. We’re committed to getting done but there is a good chance it will be extended.”

Berg, who is seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Kent Conrad, was in Jamestown for the District 12 Republican meeting. He is touring North Dakota this week.

Jamestown Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at

(701) 952-8452 or by email at

JRMC Speaks At Young Professionals of Jamestown Soup and Substance

The Jamestown Young Professionals (YPJ) Network is an organization of working individuals under the age of 40 dedicated to developing a local network to promote professional, civic and social growth in the Jamestown and surrounding communities.

The Jamestown Young Professionals (YPJ) Network will be providing monthly forums for the community to learn how local professionals have developed and become successful in their careers. This network looks to promote a mutually beneficial relationship for local businesses and local young professionals. The Young Professionals Network creates an opportunity for local businesses to “plug-in” young professionals to the community. It will also allow young professionals to grow professionally outside their place of employment. YPJ also grows/empowers young professionals within established businesses/organizations.

Note from Jamestown Chamber of Commerce:

Thank you to those who participated in the first Soup & Substance Luncheon Thursday, February 16, Noon – 1 pm, sponsored by the Professional Development team. Speakers included Todd Hudspeth, Trisha Jungels, Brittany Johnston and Emily Kjelland from Jamestown Regional Medical Center. Each spoke about their background, training and professional experiences.

For more information on Jamestown Regional Medical Center go to

For more information on future YPJ events, go to or contact the Chamber, 252-4830 or

Late Gackle Farmer and Teacher Bequeath Major Gift to JRMC

John and Leah Jerke, who grew up and spent most of their lives in the Gackle area, have made a major impact on Jamestown Regional Medical Center with a bequest of $100,000.
John Jerke passed away in August 2007 and Leah in September 2011. JRMC’s Radiology Department will be named in their honor.

At the time of John’s death, the couple had been married 66 years. Their niece Anna Schneck and her husband Alfred, who now live in Sedona, Ariz., shared their story:
John was a farmer and Leah taught school, beginning in one-room schools in the 1930s. In the 1950s she began teaching special education classes in neighboring Lehr. She retired from teaching in 1975.

John loved to fish, play cards and poker, go to casinos and cook. During the winters, when he wasn’t busy farming, he had dinner ready for his wife every night when she came home from school.

Each fall, after hosting Minneapolis hunters on their farm acreage, John loved to can the ducks, geese and pheasants they gave him.
“They never had any children,” recalls Anna, “so they treated us like their children, along with other nephews and nieces.”
The Jerkes wintered in Mesa, Ariz., for more than 20 years. They loved playing pinochle with other snowbirds and looked forward to going to pick-your-own citrus orchards, where they could choose their own fruit for 5  cents a pound. John planted his own citrus trees, too – grapefruit, lemon, orange and mandarin orange – at their Arizona home. “Once a farmer, always a farmer,” his wife would quip.
After selling the Arizona property in 2004, they moved back to the farm full-time.
“They both loved to dance. That’s how they met,” Anna says. “Over the years they also traveled extensively – Europe, Scandinavia, Germany, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. They enjoyed life very much.

Leah loved reading, but hated cooking. She took up painting after she retired.
Meanwhile John spent free hours building storage sheds and dog houses, as well as building and remodeling houses in the Gackle area.
John was widely known as a good farmer and a hard worker. He was very proud of the farm where they lived their entire married lives, which he had purchased in 1940. He kept it immaculately clean.
His niece and nephew say he was very conservative but also generous. Though he’d only attended school through eighth grade, he was an avid reader with a tremendous memory.
Averse to risk, he invested his money safely. He and Leah chose Jamestown Regional Medical Center for their bequest. “They had used it throughout the years, and much more later in life,” Anna explains. “They wanted to help secure its future.

Photo: John and Leah Jerke on their 50th anniversary in 1991.

Jan Barnes, Foundation Director

Jamestown Regional Medical Center Foundation

The ‘Low-Down’ On Lipids

High cholesterol and lipid levels significantly increase a person’s risk of developing chest pain, heart attack and stroke. The World Health Organization estimates that 20% of all strokes and over 50% of all heart attacks can be linked to high cholesterol. Unfortunately, this is a problem that many people do not take very seriously. After all, high cholesterol does not cause any symptoms until it is too late.

Debra Geier, MD, Sanford Health


Fats in the blood come in several different varieties. The details are sometimes difficult to keep straight. Let’s review:

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance circulating in the blood. Some cholesterol comes from the foods you eat, however much of it is produced in the liver. Cholesterol comes in several different forms. Usually, the focus is primarily on LDL and HDL.

LDL is also referred to as “bad cholesterol”. An easy way to remember this is to think of “L” as standing for lousy. LDL is generally the main treatment target.

HDL is “good cholesterol”. “H” stands for healthy. HDL helps bind bad cholesterol so it can be filtered out of the body. Higher is better!

Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. Although high levels do increase cardiovascular risk, triglycerides are generally considered a secondary target after LDL.

Ask your doctor…
Although this may seem simplistic, it is the true answer. When speaking of cholesterol, and more specifically of LDL, there is no normal range. What your value should be depends on your individual risk factors for heart disease. Major risk factors include cigarette smoking, hypertension, family history, age and low HDL. However, what if you are diabetic, or have peripheral vascular disease, HDL>60, or prior heart attack? One size does not fit all.

This also depends on each individual’s risk profile, however most agree that everyone with high cholesterol should start with a little “TLC”. I’m not talking about tender loving care. Actually, there is nothing tender or loving about it. It takes hard work and dedicated changes. TLC refers to therapeutic lifestyle change. These changes include diet, exercise, weight loss, reducing stress and quitting smoking to name a few. Even if your cholesterol numbers don’t budge these are healthy steps to take. Get motivated and get moving!

There are several prescription medication options for treatment of high cholesterol if therapeutic lifestyle change is not enough. Statins are the most powerful drugs for lowering LDL cholesterol and are the most effective drug for prevention of coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke and death. Not everyone can tolerate statins however. Other options include Zetia, bile acid sequestrants, niacin and fibrates. Your doctor can decide if these medications are right for you.

A wide array of nutritional supplements are available and marketed for their cholesterol-lowering effect. Although most are probably not harmful, the benefit of these supplements has not been demonstrated or proven.

The treatment of high cholesterol is a lifelong process which starts with knowing your numbers. Don’t put off testing or treatment for another year. Make 2012 a New Year for a New You!!

Prairie Reading Council Provides Gift Bags to JRMC Family BirthPlace

Pictured are Shannon and Brett with new born baby Asher Robert, born on February 8, 2012 and Family BirthPlace nurse, Marla Wagner. Shannon, Brett and Asher received one of 25 gift bags from the Prairie Reading Council.

Prairie Reading Council is an organization that promotes reading for all ages. They chose Jamestown Regional Medical Center for their Community Outreach Program for 2012.

February is designated as Reading Month in North Dakota. “We would like to present newborns at JRMC with a gift bag,” Prairie Reading Council.

The gift bags contain a book by Rosemary Welles, Read to Your Bunny, a bib embroidered with READ and a handout that encourages babies to become lifetime readers.

The bags with orange or yellow ribbons have a bib color that is appropriate for either a boy or a girl, the bags with blue ribbons are for boys and pink ribbons are for the girls.

One bag was supplied with an extra bib in the box in case of twins.

Congratulations Shannon and Brett!!