AlterG Treadmill Helps Patients Rehab Pain Free

At 51, Dan Lies lost everything. Now, 18 months later, he’s slowly winning his life back through hard work in Jamestown Regional Medical Center’s Rehab Department.


Stilled by a stroke
Dan has been active throughout his life. He and his family live on a farm 10 miles south of Jamestown, where he and his wife Nancy have raised four children — April, Robert, Erika and Bethany.

He spent 15 years at Weedbadger in Marion, N.D., ultimately as its shipping manager. “After he’d basically worn out both of his shoulders from lifting,” says Nancy, “he was ready for what he called his ‘pre-retirement job.’” He went to work as a clerk at Bottles and Jugs in Jamestown.

Then the unexpected happened: Dan had a stroke. Nancy, who was a corrections officer at the Correction Center, spent long days at his side. His medical team advised her to say goodbye to her husband. “He basically wasn’t with us,” she remembers. “He could breathe above the respirator just a little, but he wasn’t conscious.”

Father Peter Hughes gave him last rites during surgery. After ten days in the hospital, however, Dan still hung on. He was transferred to Triumph, an acute longterm hospital and had inpatient rehab therapy at Sanford. Finally he was moved to Ave Maria Nursing Home for three months.

“He received very good therapy there,” his wife notes. “But then the insurance company sent him home.”

“It’s been quite a battle.”


Challenge is emotional, too
When Dan was sent home, Nancy resigned from her job to care for him. “The struggle comes more from the emotional part than the physical. I wasn’t prepared for that,” she says. “I did not see the depression coming at all … but I found out very quickly how real it is for people who have had strokes.”

Nancy brings Dan to JRMC for outpatient therapy in the Rehab Department. “It’s been hit or miss, whether we get there or not because of his depression,” she concedes. “He has always been stubborn. With the depression, now it’s really bad.” A new piece of therapy equipment called an AlterG treadmill, however, has improved the situation. Nancy learned about it first from Tracy Anderson of JRMC’s Rehab Department, who worked with him at their farm for about a month.

“Tracy talked about how she thought it would help Dan,” Nancy says. “I did some research myself and agreed that it would be great.” The state’s first AlterG unit was in a Bismarck private practice; they drove back and forth for a time, but, she says, “It was just too much.”

Impressed by what they had seen, Nancy brought the idea of AlterG to Jan Barnes of JRMC Foundation. “We made a donation toward acquiring one. I wanted her to understand that I was truly interested in the machine,” she confides.

“And several months later the Foundation acquired one!”


AlterG is showing real results
Now Dan is getting the good cardiovascular workouts he needs without the risk of injury. AlterG supports much of his weight during his sessions, allowing him to increase his mobility and balance without worrying about devastating falls. The therapy has definitely helped with his walking. His wife, too, reports that he seems somewhat happier and more alert, taking more initiative in pursuing daily activities. Along with the new equipment, Nancy is quick to credit JRMC’s rehab staff with her husband’s improvement.

“Cody, his physical therapist, is exactly what Dan needs. I think the world of him,” she says. “I’m happy with the whole Rehab Department,” she adds. “Cassie, the receptionist, always greets him. Lonna in speech therapy has helped him, and Amy has gone above and beyond. She has even gone out to the car and encouraged him when he doesn’t want to come in. If we don’t come in for an appointment, they’re on the phone checking to see how things are going.”

The Lieses have been married 28 years. Their youngest daughter, Bethany, is still at home, attending school in Montpelier. April, Jamestown, is a sterilization tech at JRMC. Robert, a machinist, lives in Elk River, and Erika is attending college in Wahpeton to become an LPN.

It’s a long road back, but there are bright spots for Nancy along the way. “I love this place,” she says of JRMC. “I’m so happy we got the AlterG treadmill.”


New treadmill based on NASA technology for conditioning astronauts to exercise while weightless
The JRMC Rehab Department’s new AlterG antigravity treadmill shares something with WD-40, artificial hearts and cordless power tools: Its roots are deep in the American space program.

NASA was looking for ways to enable astronauts to exercise in space, where weightlessness works against the load-bearing effect of earth-bound running and walking. It was designed to add weight.

But back on Earth, the AlterG rehab treadmill has proven its worth in a completely opposite way. It lightens (or “unweights”) patients, carrying as much as 80 percent of their weight.

They step into an inflatable chamber that hugs them from the waist down. It enables them to run or walk freely on the treadmill without pain or concern about balance.

Its manufacturer notes that the experience is almost like walking on the moon. For someone with limited mobility in his lower body, or for whom pain limits the ability to walk, AlterG can be an ideal tool for getting back on his feet.

“With AlterG you get all the gain without the pain,” explains Steve Basta of the California company licensed to produce NASA’s patent.

JRMC Rehab Manager Tracy Anderson calls the antigravity treadmills “a breakthrough in enabling our rehabilitation patients to get back to their lives as quickly and effectively as possible.”


Foundation donors step up
She notes that JRMC’s AlterG treadmill — purchased by JRMC Foundation with more than $40,000 in donations from the community — is only the second of its kind in North Dakota. “We let our wonderful donors know what we needed, and they stepped forward,” says Foundation director Jan Barnes.

Installed in July, the treadmill has been a busy addition to the department. It is useful for rehab patients with a variety of conditions. In addition to rehabilitation of stroke patients like Dan Lies, it can be used for those recovering from lower body injuries from accidents and sports incidents.

Using AlterG may help rehabilitate those who have had hip and knee replacements. It can be used for neurologic reconditioning after brain injuries, as well as promoting strength and fitness among geriatric patients. The treadmill can also be used for athletic conditioning.


Jerry Fuchs’ knee is good as new after replacement
When Jerry Fuchs asked orthopedic surgeon Michael Dean, MD, about having his left knee replaced last June, the doctor knew what was on his mind. “Dr. Dean told me, ‘Well, pheasant season starts the beginning of October,’” Jerry recalls.

“I asked him whether I’d be able to hunt this fall, and he told me, ‘Absolutely!’” Jerry’s knee was replaced June 18 at JRMC. After five days in the hospital and several weeks of therapy in the Rehab Department, he has his full range of motion back — and is back to hunting and fishing. He’s even doing a little yard work.

“In all honesty, I would say that Dr. Dean and the nursing staff were great!” he emphasizes. “I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again, and I recommend them.” Jerry — who retired in January 2011 — went to therapy twice a week. He’s a big fan of JRMC’s new AlterG treadmill. “That thing is wonderful,” he reports. “It takes some of your weight off your legs and feet, and you can actually walk without hurting, building strength without the pain that goes with it.”

At his last session, therapist Cody measured his range of motion. “I can still see his face,” Jerry says. “It measured at 130 degrees, and I was back to 0 in straightening my knee. It doesn’t get any better than that.”


Story originally published in the September edition of the AppleSeeds Newsletter.


JRMC Helps Patients Rehab Faster and Safer with the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill

Jamestown Regional Medical Center (JRMC) today announced that the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, the world’s first and only treadmill using NASA based anti-gravity technology, has been installed to help patients in their short-term rehabilitation programs.

Thanks to funds raised by the JRMC Foundation, the rehabilitation department is now able to serve neurological and orthopedic patients better by offering them the opportunity to rehab faster with the AlterG.

AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmills enable faster rehabilitation, safer conditioning for the geriatric population which can help remove major obstacles associated with these activities. Impact on the body and the pain of recovery are reduced, which helps people achieve better results. Patients at JRMC can now rehab better, train smarter, and exercise safer with the AlterG.

With the AlterG, patients can run and walk without bearing their entire weight, reducing the impact on the body to optimize rehabilitation and physical therapy outcomes. Its Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology applies a lifting force to the body that reduces weight on the lower extremities and allows precise unweighting – up to 80% of a person’s body weight, so people can find exactly where the pain stops and natural movement feels good again.

According to Rehab Manager Tracy Anderson, “This treadmill is a breakthrough in enabling our rehabilitation patients to get back to their lives as quickly and effectively as possible.”

There are a multitude of benefits when training and rehabilitating on the AlterG. Patients can use the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill to recover from injury and surgery and it allows them to immediately do partial weight bearing exercises. Patients with neurological disorders maintain, and in some cases even regain functionality and mobility working with the AlterG.

“With AlterG you get all the gain, without the pain,” says Steve Basta, CEO of AlterG. Adopted initially by nationally renowned hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, most recently nursing facilities are seeing the benefits the AlterG can provide for their patients. “We are pleased that Jamestown Regional Medical Center is one of those pioneers,” he said.  “Our unique approach to unweighted physical therapy preserves natural body movement, helps with fall prevention and benefits a broad range of medical conditions.”

“We are fortunate to be only the second facility in North Dakota to have a treadmill of this kind to offer advanced services to our patients,” stated Anderson.

AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmills are designed to be used for lower body injury and surgery rehabilitation, aerobic conditioning, sport specific conditioning programs, neurologic retraining, and geriatric strength and conditioning.

About AlterG AlterG, Inc. manufactures and distributes the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmills®, a revolutionary technology for rehabilitation and athletic training. AlterG is great for anyone who wants to reduce impact during exercise or have a smooth rehabilitation after surgery or injury, and is preferred and used by leading medical professionals and the world’s best athletes and teams. AlterG’s unique anti-gravity technology was originally developed at NASA and tested at Nike’s Oregon Research Project by America’s top distance runners and is the only FDA-approved device of its kind. Located in Silicon Valley, AlterG is now selling Anti-Gravity Treadmills worldwide. For more information visit or contact the company at

Family BirthPlace Patients Now Have Room Service

Jamestown Regional Medical Center (JRMC) is excited to announce the introduction of a new service for Family BirthPlace (FBP) patients: breakfast room service.

“It is great for patients to have the option of room service for breakfast in the Family BirthPlace as schedules with a new baby can be difficult,” said Emily Woodley, FBP manager.

This new breakfast option is available Sunday through Saturday and allows patients to order from a variety of delicious café options and determine when they would like to have their meal delivered. All food will be served fresh and hot at a time that is chosen by the patient. “Room service allows mothers to work around baby’s schedule to receive a hot breakfast,” stated Woodley.

In the future, JRMC hopes to expand the room service option to include patients beyond the FBP and to offer meals in addition to breakfast.

Medical Building Progress: First Phase of Project on Track to Finish in August

Todd Hudspeth, president and CEO of the Jamestown Regional Medical Center, talks Friday about the construction of the new medical building being attached to the hospital.

Originally published in The Jamestown Sun, June 30th.
By: Ben Rogers, The Jamestown Sun

Work on the Jamestown Medical Building is right on schedule, according to a hospital administrator.

“I think there’s a lot of excitement from employees and a lot of patients ask what’s going on,” said Todd Hudspeth, Jamestown Regional Medical Center president and CEO.

What’s going on is that crews from the Davis Group are making headway on the construction of the shell of a 46,000-square foot building connected to JRMC.

“Technically we’re not the landlord but we’ll be a tenant in the building,” Hudspeth said. Davis Group will own the building on land it will lease from JRMC.

JRMC will use 14,000 square feet as space for clinic space. Essentia Health will use 18,000 square feet as its new clinic. And the Veterans Affairs clinic could take up about 5,000 square feet, though nothing has been announced yet, he said.

The project is being completed in two phases. The first is the construction of the building’s shell. When completed in August the shell will be the outside walls, a cement floor and a ceiling overhead.

The second phase is the construction of the inside. JRMC has not designed its space yet and is currently working with architects. Essentia has its clinic space designed.

“It’s a pretty tight timeframe to get it done in six months,” Hudspeth said. “… Putting the shell up takes less time than filling it up.”.

Hudspeth said he’d like to see Jamestown’s other two health care clinics relocate to the JMB.

“We’re hopeful additional development will occur out near us too,” he said.

The steel outline of the building was complete in early June and the parking lot also started to take shape then. In the middle of June some outside structures were complete like columns at the entrance canopy. The north side of the building also had drywall installed at that time.

Exterior drywall work started around the middle of June and brickwork is being installed on the outside wall. Asphalt was laid Thursday and the roof is about 80 percent complete.

In the middle of July interior stud wall framing will begin and the main ductwork for heating and cooling will begin.

In August, interior design work will start.

Hudspeth said construction is on schedule for a January 2013 opening.

Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at

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

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.

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!!