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MHP Wears Red for Cardiovascular Disease

(MAHASKA COUNTY, Iowa) – Feb. 2 was National Wear Red Day, when the American Heart Association encouraged everyone to wear red to bring awareness to cardiovascular disease and its effect on women.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. The goal of National Wear Red Day is to challenge women to know their risk for heart disease and take action to reduce their likelihood of developing the deadly disease.

“One of the main challenges this movement faces is convincing women that heart disease is actually a serious risk for them,” said Mahaska Health Partnership Cardiac Rehab Nurse Renee Edgar, RN. “Too many women are convinced that cardiovascular disease isn’t relevant to them because of their gender, age and lifestyle.”

Even with the increased efforts of the AHA, heart disease still kills more women than all cancers combined. “If you take the proper precautions ahead of time, you could save yourself from developing cardiovascular disease,” Edgar said. “Don’t wait for a heart attack or stroke to start eating healthy, exercising and if you smoke, quit.”

To further encourage heart health, MHP will be offering reduced-rate cholesterol screenings on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. The event will run from 6:00-9:00 AM on MHP’s Oskaloosa campus in the Cedar Bluff Learning Center, located at 1229 C Avenue East (entrance #3). No appointment is needed. In New Sharon, it will be held from 7:00-9:00 AM at the New Sharon Medical Center, 112 South Main Street. Appointments can be made by calling 641.637.2651.

The cholesterol screening is a Lipid Panel, which includes total cholesterol, HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol) and Triglycerides. The screening requires a 12-hour fasting. Along with the cholesterol screenings, cardiopulmonary experts will be on hand in Oskaloosa to give blood pressure checks. Registered Dietitian Lea Rice will be checking body mass indexes for free.

MHP celebrated Wear Red Day on Friday, Feb. 2, a day is designed to help raise awareness of heart disease in women. While not able to participate in the Jean’s Day MHP sponsored for employees, Surgical Services staff still showed their support by wearing red surgical caps.

MHP offers flu clinics until further notice

MAHASKA COUNTY – In response to the widespread level of influenza in the Oskaloosa community, the MHP Medical Group is now offering a flu vaccine clinic Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm by registering at door #4 on the MHP campus, until further notice.

According to Executive Director of Clinics Andrea Hagist, RN, MSN, people can stop by with no restrictions and no appointment, and insurance can be billed. “It’s not too late to get a flu vaccination,” Hagist said. “Health officials say that influenza will continue to circulate in the US and typically peaks in February. Getting vaccinated now will still offer protection for most of the flu season.”

Hagist said it’s always good practice to use the 3 Cs: Cover your cough or sneezes; Clean your hands often; and Contain germs by staying home when ill.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the predominant flu strain this season is AH3N2, which typically causes serious illnesses, hospitalizations and even death, particularly for those who are very young or old and those with weakened immune systems. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. It comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days, and often puts healthy people in bed for days.

“Remember, serious illness from the flu is more likely in certain groups of people, including people 65 and older, pregnant women, people with certain chronic medical conditions and young children,” Hagist stressed.

“It’s also important to contact your health care provider as soon as possible after flu symptoms begin, especially if you are at high risk of complications and serious disease. If you start on anti-viral medications within a day or two of when your symptoms start, your risk of serious disease, hospitalization and even death can be significantly reduced.”

MHP Hosting Community Blood Drive

Mahaska Health Partnership (MHP) in Oskaloosa will host a community blood drive from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Monday, Jan. 29 at 1229 C Ave E, inside of the Cedar Bluff Learning Center.

To donate, please contact the Blood Center at 800-452-1097 or visit www.bloodcenterimpact.org and use code 5047 to locate the drive.

Massages Help During Cold Season

Editor’s Note: This is a news release that was shared with 104.9FM KBOE from Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

(MAHASKA COUNTY, Iowa) – The cold and flu season is well upon us, when the weather gets cooler and germs are more prevalent. A massage to boost the immune system would be a good way to stay healthy, energized and reduce stress.

According to the American Massage Association, medical studies have found that massage may boost the body’s immunity. Several studies have measured the stress hormone called cortisol in subjects’ saliva before and after massage sessions, and found dramatic decreases. Cortisol, which is produced when you are stressed, kills cells important for immunity, so when massage reduces your stress levels and hence the cortisol in your body, it may help you avoid getting a cold or another illness while under stress.

Mahaska Health Partnership Licensed Massage Therapist Michelle Hynick said studies have also found that massage relieves stress by lowering blood pressure, relaxing muscles and increasing endorphins. “Massage is great for relaxation,” Hynick said. “It improves mental outlook, promotes relaxed states of mental alertness and enhances calm and creative thinking. I think many of us could use some relaxation after the holiday season.”

Hynick explained that massage techniques move the blood through the body which brings oxygen-rich blood to tense and/or sore muscles, which help them heal and rejuvenate. The squeezing and pulling techniques of massage also flush lactic acid from the muscles which improves circulation of lymph fluid that carries metabolic waste away from muscles and internal organs.

Recent scientific research also proves that massage therapy increases immune function, decreases stress levels and reduces recovery time in many medical conditions including:

  • Allergies
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Asthma and Bronchitis
  • Circulatory Problems
  • Insomnia
  • Sports Injuries
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)
  • Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Musculo-Skeletal Disorders

“Another great benefit of massage is relief of tension-related headaches,” Hynick explained. “Massage has been proven to decrease occurrences of headaches, sleep disturbances and distress symptoms. It allows people to maintain a level of relaxation and stress-relief, reducing the chances of stress induced migraines.

“While some people still consider massage a luxury, research continues to prove it also has many important health benefits,” Hynick said. “Massage can help you maintain physical, mental and emotional well-being, especially when it is part of your wellness routine.”

MHP Massage Therapy offers a variety of massage options and extended hours. It is staffed by Hynick and Licensed Massage Therapist Esther Rose. For more information or to schedule a massage, call MHP Massage Therapy at 641-672-3181.


Kevin DeRonde Named CEO at Mahaska Health Partnership

The Mahaska Health Partnership (MHP) Board of Trustees announces Kevin DeRonde as Chief Executive Officer. DeRonde brings more than 15 years of healthcare business management and executive leadership experience to MHP.  He is expected to join the organization on Feb. 19, 2018.

DeRonde is currently the CEO of Des Moines Orthopaedic Surgeons, P.C. (DMOS), the largest for-profit orthopaedic physician practice in Iowa.  Since joining DMOS in 2012, he has provided leadership to support physicians in their business operations and growth in new services lines.  He has also helped DMOS advance their presence in local and regional markets through benchmarking, innovation, business ventures, networking and best practices.

DeRonde has ties to MHP, serving as the Executive Director of Specialty Services and as a member of the Executive Team from April 2011 to November 2012. During his time with MHP, DeRonde helped drive growth through the recruitment of specialty physicians and by fostering collaboration between departments.

MHP Board of Trustees Chairman David Langkamp said the board unanimously chose DeRonde for the CEO position after a nation-wide search. “We’re very pleased with the leadership we received from Interim CEO Chris Jepsen, who will remain on the Executive Team.

“With Chris and Kevin working together, along with the rest of the Executive Team members, we feel that we have an unbeatable leadership team guiding the organization and we are so excited for what the future holds.”

Chief Medical Officer Tim Breon said he is thrilled to have DeRonde return to MHP. “Kevin brings passion, commitment and is a tireless worker. He has a strong desire to return to MHP and has a wonderful vision for our future as a county hospital serving our region,” Dr. Breon said.

DeRonde has a strong resume of healthcare business management, professional leadership, and has been recognized for building high performing, cohesive teams focused on delivering high quality, compassionate care. He has led strategic initiatives to improve financial operations and enhance employee and physician recruitment and engagement. In his previous management and executive roles at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., UnityPoint Des Moines, John Stoddard Cancer Center in Des Moines and MHP, DeRonde led numerous capital improvement projects.

“Mahaska Health Partnership is a vital part of this community, and I am so appreciative of the warm welcome that I’ve received from so many and really looking forward to working alongside this dedicated team,” DeRonde said. “I am proud to call Oskaloosa home and will do all that I can to make sure our community members continue to have access to the best possible care, right here close to home.”

DeRonde holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Masters of Healthcare Management (MHM) from Middle Tennessee State University. Prior to earning his Master’s Degrees and playing football in the NFL, DeRonde earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from Iowa State University, completed the Pre-Optometry program and served as a team captain for the ISU football team.

DeRonde will be relocating to Oskaloosa with his wife, Tori, and their rescue dog, Blitz.

Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit mahaskahealth.org.

Dr. Kym Life named MHP MVP for 2017

Each year the MVP Provider Award recipient is selected based on several factors, including patient care, employee relations, leadership and hospital engagement. This year, the Medical Staff was tasked with making the selection using these criteria, giving this an added depth of meaningfulness.  MHP Chief Medical Officer and General Surgeon Tim Breon, MD, said there are many outstanding providers at MHP and he is proud to be a part of a strong medical staff.

“We have tremendous people working to make healthcare personal, all day, every day,” Dr. Breon said. “I am very pleased to present this year’s Most Valuable Provider Award to Dr. Kymberly Life. Kym was selected by her peers for her exceptional patient satisfaction scores. She is soft-spoken, kind and compassionate to everyone she comes in contact with.”

Dr. Life has had a variety of experiences in medicine since beginning practice in 1991. She had a private practice in Internal Medicine, was a Hospitalist and works in Emergency Medicine. “Regardless of where she is working, Kym is thorough in patient work-ups and always takes time with each patient to ensure they are well cared for,” said Dr. Breon.

A few of the many patient comments received include: “Dr. Life was so good with my daughter! She made sure she was comfortable and made conversation to keep her distracted.” “Dr. Life always does a great job, very nice.” “Dr. Life is very attentive in our care. She showed concern and genuineness in everything she did from the time she entered the room to the time she left. She is a true blessing in the ER. Thank you!” “Dr. Life was amazing and very understanding. I would recommend her to anyone.” “Dr. Life was outstanding in caring for my father. Her kindness was very much appreciated.”

Other awards given at the dinner include the Newcomer of the Year Award to Dr. Angela Godejohn for being an exceptional addition to the Medical Group practice. She has been involved in several community activities, including being the featured speaker at this year’s Free Women’s Breast Health Night.

The High Speed Compassion Award went to Dr. Ronald Berges, Psychiatrist, for his life-changing care. Dr. Berges, and avid drag racer, is a great role model and team player.

The International Compassion Award went to Nurse Practitioner Jen Scott for her participation in a health outreach in Northern Thailand where they provide needed medical care to orphanages, remote villages and local tribes.  She will be traveling to Peru and along the Amazon River in 2018.

The Compassion for Free Award went to Dr. Sreedhar Somisetty, Orthopaedic Surgeon, for his yearly participation in a free medical health camp in Des Moines. Dr. Somisetty joins a group of volunteer medical professionals who provide a variety of services to more than 200 people.

The Doctoral Compassion Award went to Nurse Practitioner Tonya Johannes, who completed her doctorate in nursing in the spring of 2017. This education provides Johannes with an additional depth of knowledge that can be used to help her better treat her patients.

The Scientific Compassion Award went to Pediatrician John O’Brien and Nurse Practitioner Tina Main for being local judges at the Oskaloosa Christian School Science Fair. They had the opportunity to view and hear about some innovative new projects by local 6th, 7th and 8th graders.

Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, call 641.672.3240 or visitwww.mahaskahealth.org.

Safe Haven Babies Always Welcome at Mahaska Health Partnership

In August, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) officials used the state’s Safe Haven procedures for the 30th time since the law went into effect in 2002.

A girl was born August 21 at an Iowa hospital and the infant was released to the custody of the DHS. Through Iowa’s Safe Haven law, parents have the option to safely hand over custody of babies age 14 days or younger without fear of prosecution for abandonment. The parent or their authorized representative can leave the newborn at a hospital or health care facility and can remain anonymous.

Mahaska Health Partnership is among the health care facilities in Iowa that proudly provides Safe Haven zones.

“Having Safe Haven zones creates both comfort for the mother and protection of the baby,” said MHP Birthing Center Director Heather Cook. “These two things are very important when it comes to saving or helping an infant’s life.”

The Safe Haven zone at the MHP Emergency Department is accessible 24/7, providing a service to help ensure the safety of newborns. The hospital’s Birthing Center is also a safe zone. The Safe Haven law was approved in the wake of a high-profile case in 2001 involving a teen mother in eastern Iowa who killed her home-delivered newborn. Infants who are Safe Haven babies are placed with currently-approved foster or adoptive families.

Immunity from civil or criminal liability is provided for hospitals, health care facilities, and persons employed by those facilities that perform reasonable acts necessary to protect the physical health and safety of the infant.

“A parent must simply bring a baby to a safe haven location and make sure they locate a person who can receive the child,” Cook said. “As long as the child shows no signs of intentional abuse, no name or other information is required—it’s a ‘no questions asked’ situation.”

The Save Abandoned Babies Organization currently has 83 success stories on its website of families who have adopted a baby that was left at a safe haven zone. MHP has joined other healthcare facilities in the state to provide the opportunity to create more.

“To think of all the lives that have been touched because of this law, it’s really amazing,” Cook said.

To learn more about Safe Haven, visit dhs.iowa.gov/safe-haven

Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit mahaskahealth.org.

Smith To Be Named Chamber Director

The Mahaska Health Partnership Executive Board and Leadership Team met Monday evening to discuss business as usual. As the reports rounded the table, Jacky Bresnahan, Director of Human Resources, informed the board of various hires and resignations.

Bresnahan had gone through the listing of new hires, including a  Polysomnographic Technologist, and the listing of 13 other open jobs. She also noted that the Community Wellness Coordinator, Ann Smith, had given her resignation.

“We are looking at what that would look like, are we or are we not going to replace that at this time,” said Bresnahan.

She continued on to notify the board that Smith will be moving on to be the new Chamber Director.

“We are very excited to have Ann on board as the Chamber Director. She is an excellent communicator, and has proved herself to be driven and diligent in her work. She will undoubtedly be an asset to our organization,” said Carri Vander Ree, OACDG Board President.

Executive Director. Smith will be responsible for leading the Chamber’s efforts in community development, membership, tourism and events. Smith will fill her position on November 6.

Smith most recently served as the Mahaska Health Partnership’s Community Wellness Coordinator where she was heavily involved in community events and outreach ensuring wellness is an important part of the community. Smith graduated from Pekin High School and holds a BS in health sciences with an emphasis in Health and Wellness from William Penn University. Ann has a son, Ezekiel, in Newton. In her free time Smith enjoys drinking good coffee, reading European history, hiking, cooking and visiting with family and friends.


Interim CEO At Mahaska Health Partnership Announced

The Mahaska Health Partnership Board of Trustees named Chief Nursing Officer Chris Jepsen the organization’s Interim Chief Executive Officer during a special board meeting on Monday, October 9.

“After careful consideration, the board unanimously decided to offer her the Interim CEO position due to her past experience as well as her current working relationship with the senior team at MHP,” said MHP Board of Trustees President David Langkamp. “Chris brings outstanding qualifications with more than 30 years of healthcare leadership experience and we have great confidence in her ability to lead.”

Jepsen previously served as administrator of Parkland Health Center in Bonne Terre, Mo. She spent much of her career working for both large and small hospitals in Nebraska and Missouri in various leadership roles. Jepsen has a Masters of Nursing degree and is currently set to complete her Master’s of Health Administration.

“My husband, Gary, and I moved to Oskaloosa in August when I accepted the position of Chief Nursing Officer,” Jepsen said. “People have been so warm and welcoming to us. We feel embraced by the Oskaloosa community and are so happy to be here.

“I’m very passionate about providing high quality healthcare and I look forward to new challenges as I enter a slightly different role at Mahaska Health Partnership.”

Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, visit mahaskahealth.org.


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