Local health officials say overhaul good for public

Originally published in The Jamestown Sun on 6/29/2012.

Local health officials in Jamestown said Thursday’s Supreme Court decision upholding portions of the health care reform law would ultimately benefit the public.

“One of the biggest things is obviously the individual mandate,” said Todd Hudspeth, president/CEO at Jamestown Regional Medical Center. “It’s a good thing to have in place because you’re not going to have an effective health care policy if you can’t try to include everybody.”

Hudspeth said that the overriding concept of the universal health care bill is well-intended.

“Overall, the main design is that we want to take people out of getting care in the emergency room, and instead get them working with a physician in a primary care clinic,” he said.

Hudspeth said the court’s decision today brings the country closer to other industrialized nations around the world that view health care as a right, and not a privilege.

“Personally, I feel it’s morally and ethically the right thing, but beyond that, fiscally it makes good sense and it’s a good policy for health care in general,” he said.

Thursday’s decision also allows the public health care sector to continue emphasizing a message of prevention, according to Robin Iszler, unit administrator with Central Valley Health of Jamestown.

“The Affordable Care Act now shifts the health care system from one that focuses on treating the sick to instead focusing on keeping people healthy,” she said. “Working in public health, that’s a good message for us and hopefully it will reduce health care costs in the future.”

Iszler also said provisions within the law should help provide additional jobs as well.

“There are measures within the law that will help strengthen our work force and that’s a great thing as we’re always in demand for qualified employees to be a part of our health care system,” she said.

Iszler said there are many good provisions within Obama’s health care plan to help local residents, such as keeping kids under their parents’ health care plan until age 26, but also said there is work to do.

“At least now, with a decision having been made, they can move forward to continue working on it,” she said.

As for the impact on local businesses, Kimberly Saxberg, executive director for the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce, declined to comment regarding the court’s decision.

Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at bwillhide@jamestownsun.com

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JCB Construction Progress

Week of June 25-29

Construction continues on the Jamestown Clinic Building and is right on schedule. Curbs and gutters around the building and parking lots have been finished. The entire building will soon be enclosed as sheet rock and brick is installed.

Projects outside the building

  • Thursday (6/28): First layer of blacktop will be laid starting on the south parking lot and working the way around the west side to the north.
  • Once the brick is installed on the exterior of the building, sidewalks will be poured.

Roof construction

  • The roofing is 80% complete. It will be completed in the next couple weeks.

Main building

  • Installation of exterior brick has begun on the north side of the building. This will continue around the western side to the south side.
  • Starting July 9th, cement will be poured for the main hallway, bathrooms and lobby.
  • The week of July 16th, interior stud wall framing will begin and main duct work for heating and cooling will begin to be installed.

Future projects

  • Pouring concrete for MRI pad. Once this is complete the MRI trailer will be moved back to the west side of the hospital.
  • Interior construction of  Essentia and JRMC Clinics

JRMC Names Angela Neumiller as Physician Assistant

Jamestown Regional Medical Center is pleased to announce Angela Neumiller, Physician Assistant, has joined the JRMC surgical team.

“We are excited to add Angela to our healthcare team here at JRMC. Having a Physician Assistant (PA) will help our Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Michael Dean, perform more surgeries,” said Todd Hudspeth, CEO.

Angela Neumiller, originally from Jamestown, graduated from North Dakota State University with an undergraduate degree in Athletic Training. She continued her medical education at Midwestern University at Downers Grove, Illinois to become a PA.

Angela will provide healthcare services under the direction of Dr. Dean.  She will assist Dr. Dean to conduct hospital rounds, assist with surgery and in routine clinic follow-ups.

New goal for JRMC

Originally published in The Jamestown Sun, June  26, 2012.
By Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun

Jamestown Regional Medical Center hopes to reduce readmissions of patients with heart failure by 20 percent by the end of 2012, with the help of the national Partners for Patients campaign.

“We want to keep people out of the hospital, we do — because that is best for them,” said Jenna Bredahl, registered nurse and quality manager for JRMC.

JRMC sees about 10 to 20 patients with heart failure — which occurs when a person’s heart does not pump as much blood as the body needs — every month. Its readmission rate was a little more than 12 percent from 2010 to 2011.

The Partnership for Patients initiative was launched in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to reduce costs and improve patient care.

Its goal is to reduce preventable complications among hospital patients by 40 percent, and readmissions by 20 percent.

Hospitals can receive up to $10,000 in funding for the project, said Jerry Jurena, president of the North Dakota Hospital Association.

The initiative has 10 areas for hospitals to focus on, including adverse drug events, catheter-associated infections, injuries from falls and immobility, pressure ulcers and surgical site infections.

JRMC chose to focus on preventable readmissions, and it is beginning with preventing the readmissions of people with heart failure.

“I think every hospital would have to say everybody could improve in that area,” Bredahl said, explaining that JRMC already has focused efforts on falls and catheter infections.

JRMC is beginning with a focus on heart failure, but will then use its efforts in that area to springboard into other patient diagnoses.

Heart failure, according to information from the Mayo Clinic, means the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Many conditions leading to heart failure can’t be reversed, but heart failure itself can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes.

Patient education is critical in preventing readmissions of heart failure patients, so JRMC’s efforts have revolved around ensuring patients are well-prepared for life at home.

And there may be many changes for those patients. They have to weigh themselves daily, because if they see sudden weight gains they could be retaining water and need to change treatment regimens, Bredahl said.

They have to restrict salt and limit fats and cholesterol, but also, in some cases, limit fluid intake. They also have to be active and get exercise, according information from the Mayo Clinic.

JRMC’s efforts will include teaching patients and then getting patients to teach it back to hospital staff to ensure everything is properly understood, Bredahl said.

“We’re redoing our education sheets, our handouts, everything we give to our patients,” Bredahl said.

Before, the education sheet on heart failure had lots of information, but the new sheet of paper makes it clearer when a patient is seeing warning signs and when he or she should visit a doctor or the hospital.

JRMC is also creating a booklet for patients that will help them determine what their objectives are on a day-by-day basis, and help engage patients and their families in their own care.

JRMC’s next step is to gather together the different departments of the hospital — social services and the pharmacy, as well as anybody else who has contact with the patient — in order to improve cooperation.

The hospital’s efforts began March 22 and will continue through the year and into 2013.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at klucin@jamestownsun.com

Beat the Heat on the First Day of Summer

With the weather heating up and the first day of summer, here are some tips from eatright.org to keep you and your family safe while exercising in the hot weather.

  1. Keep an eye on the weather: if the temperature or humidity is high (ex. above 60%), cut back your workout.
  2. Dress appropriately: Light-cooler, sweat-wicking clothing is best for hot weather. Wear sunglasses and don’t forget the sunscreen. Choose sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15 or higher and one that says “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection”.
  3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Make sure to drink enough fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated and enjoy water-rich foods like crisp lettuce, watermelon, grapefruit, broccoli and yogurt.
  4. Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke: Dehydration is a serious medical condition. Exercise in hot, humid weather can rapidly raise your body’s core temperature, putting you at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke. Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.

With heat stroke victims, look for the following symptoms:

  • Hot, dry skin (no sweating)
  • Strong, rapid pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • A body temperature of above 103°F

If you see someone with any warning signs of heat stroke, call 911 immediately, then cool the victim however you can (for example, immerse the victim in cold water, spray the victim with a hose and move him/her to a shady spot.)

Source: www.eatright.org

JMB Construction Progress

Week of June 11-15

Construction continues on the Jamestown Medical Building and is right on schedule. Some new things being constructed around the building are the columns for the drive way canopy, dry wall and window framing on North side of building and underground utilities have finished being installed.

Projects outside the building

  • Monday (6/18): concrete will be poured for the curbs and gutters, weather permitting.
  • Paving of parking lots will possibly start next week

Roof construction

  • Plumbers have been working on finishing up drains on the roof.
  • Next week the roofing contractors will begin on finishing the roof deck.

Main building

  • Drywall has started to be installed on the exterior of the building – starting on the North walls.
  • Exterior brick have arrived! Placement of exterior brick will begin on the North side within the next couple weeks.

Future projects

  • Pouring concrete for sidewalks
  • Instillation of windows
  • Landscaping

Sanford displays its new helicopter in Jamestown

Originally published in The Jamestown Sun.

The latest Sanford Health helicopter was on display Tuesday at Jamestown Regional Medical Center.

The Sanford Lifeflight Team from Fargo touched down at the JRMC’s helipad to display its new Eurocopter for the public.

“The new air ambulance from Sanford Health will continue to help JRMC’s Emergency Department provide quick access to advanced care for patients in the area,” said Todd Hudspeth, CEO at JRMC.

Sanford will use the new helicopter beginning July 1. This will serve as one of three helicopters that JRMC utilizes for helicopter transportation, according to Michelle Kunrath, public relations coordinator with JRMC.

The new helicopter is a big improvement from previous ones Sanford has used, according to Chad Erickson, pilot for the Sanford Lifeflight Team.

“It’s a little bigger than the old one and has greater capabilities all around,” he said. “With its full autopilot feature, that’s going to be huge especially if we run into inclement weather during a storm or something of that nature.”

JRMC’s helipad also makes the helicopter trips better for patients.

“At the old hospital, we used to have to land at the airport and then take an ambulance from there to the emergency room,” said Jesse Tischer, Sanford Lifeflight Team paramedic and vice president of the Sanford Health Network Fargo Region.

Now that the helicopter can land almost directly next to the emergency room at JRMC, Tischer said, the level of patient care should be even more improved.

“It’s great because we can land right here and the patient gets care immediately,” he said. “And now on this new helicopter we’re able to have a critical care paramedic and nurse on every flight as well as a respiratory therapist if necessary.”

Tischer said the new helicopter makes for just under a 45-minute trip between Jamestown and Fargo.

Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at bwillhide@jamestownsun.com