HomeArchives March 2010


First digital mammography service in area to be certified

Orange City Area Health System’s Mammography Department — which launched a new full-field digital mammography service last October — was recently given a “no findings” accreditation by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). In addition to the annual state inspection by IDPH, the health system submits data and images that are closely evaluated to meet requirements of the Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1992 (MQSA).

Orange City Area Health System (OCAHS) is the first Digital Mammography system in the area to be accredited — or certified — according to Marty Guthmiller, CEO of the health system.

“This was the first time that we have submitted ‘digital’ images for the inspection,” reports Darin Blankespoor, Radiology Manager at OCAHS. “A ‘no findings’ evaluation is the highest mark you can receive, and means that the inspectors had no recommendations on how the images could improve.”

According to Dr. Nicholas DeVries, radiologist at OCAHS, digital mammography offers the advantage of very high-resolution images. “We can adjust the contrast, magnify areas, and take a much closer and detailed look by enhancing the data rather than relying on standard films,” he explains. “We can also transmit images electronically, quickly, to other medical providers like oncologists and surgeons.”

Mammography is considered the gold standard for early detection of breast cancer, and OCAHS physicians and radiology staff follow the guidelines of the American Cancer Society that recommends annual, routine screening for women over 40.

Adds DeVries, “Besides the advantages of being able to see more detail and send images electronically, there are certain subsets of women for which digital mammography is particularly helpful in seeing abnormalities: women under 50 with dense breasts, and also pre- and peri-menopausal women.”

Since the transition to digital mammography, Blankespoor has seen an increase in patients coming to OCAHS for their screening mammograms. However, as important as digital mammography is to early breast cancer detection, other services related to breast health are just as vital.

“It’s important to us that we offer women a continuum of care,” explains Guthmiller. “That means providing a full range of both diagnostic and treatment services — on site — including stereotactic breast biopsies, sentinel lymph node biopsies, lumpectomies and mastectomies, chemotherapy, and more.”

Guthmiller adds, “We encourage our patients to learn as much as they can about the breast health services offered, and to ask their doctor if they can receive those quality services here, for convenience and peace of mind.”

Orange City Area Health System is a comprehensive healthcare provider with three family practice clinics, hospital, radiology, comprehensive surgical services, obstetrics and birthing center, home health and hospice, two nursing homes, and a senior living center. For news and events updates, people are encouraged to sign up for email newsletters at ocHealthSystem.org and join the health system’s Facebook page.

Occ Therapy four low resApril is National Occupational Therapy Month

Occupational Therapy enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, prevent – or live better with – injury, illness, or disability. It is a practice deeply rooted in science and is evidence-based, meaning that the plan designed for each individual is supported by data, experience, and “best practices” that have been developed and proven over time.

April is National Occupational Therapy Month, and Orange City Area Health System, together with on-site Therapeutic Health Services, honors and recognizes the important role their four occupational therapists play in helping people “live life to its fullest.”

“As an occupational therapist, I enjoy knowing I played a part in helping my patients engage in their daily lives,” reports Stacy Wernimont-Diehl, O.T.R./L. “The field of occupational therapy is dynamic,” she adds. “At Orange City Area Health System, I have the opportunity to work in multiple treatment settings (acute hospital, outpatient, nursing home and home health services) and in multiple areas of practice (orthopedic, neuro, pediatric, geriatric, and low vision just to name a few). Each experience is a unique opportunity to leave, as well as receive, a lasting impression of how to live life to its fullest.”

Chances are, someone you know will need occupational therapy at some point in their life, according to Diehl. She and her colleagues at Therapeutic Health Services/Orange City Area Health System encourage people to learn more about the value of occupational therapy, across the lifecycle, so they are ready to seek the right treatment when the time comes.

Orange City Area Health System is a comprehensive medical provider including family practice clinics, surgical services, radiology, a hospital, physical and aquatic therapy, and home health and hospice. For information, and to sign up for email newsletters, visit www.ocHealthSystem.org.

Health System offering screening clinic April 6
Did you know that every 53 seconds someone in America has a stroke? One of the ways to help prevent one is with regular vascular screenings. Orange City Area Health System’s radiology department is offering cardiovascular and stroke screenings on Tuesday, April 6, from 1 to 4pm. Three screenings include: Carotid artery/stroke screening,15 minutes; Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) screening, 15 minutes (fast for 6 hours prior); and Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) / peripheral artery disease screening, 15 minutes. Each screening is $40, or save $25 and receive all three for $95. Wear short sleeves and remove socks. Pre-registration is required by calling 737-5241. The Orange City Area Health System hospital and medical clinic is located at 1000 Lincoln Circle SE in Orange City. For more information or to sign up for email newsletters, visit ocHealthSystem.org or become friends on Facebook for news and events updates.
Orange City, IA — The Orange City Area Health System (OCAHS) Auxiliary gifted a record $60,000 to the health system as its annual contribution for 2010. The money – which comes from Auxiliary fundraising events and Gift Garden hospital gift shop sales – directly benefits patients and families. This year’s gift was used to purchase new carpet at Mill Creek Family Practice Clinic in Paullina, and a Central Monitoring System for the hospital. The monitoring system allows for continuous monitoring of a patient’s heart rhythm and heart rate, and communicates directly with the health system’s electronic medical records. A portion of the gift was also earmarked for the OCAHS educational assistance fund. “It is an absolute thrill to make such a significant contribution to the health system as a result of our fundraising efforts this past year,” reports Mary Plathe, Volunteer Services Manager. “It would not be possible without our tremendous team of outstanding volunteers, as well as the generous support from the people in the communities we serve.”

Concerned about prediabetes? Considered borderline diabetic? Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level  is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified  as type 2 diabetes. Still, the stakes are high. Without  intervention, prediabetes is likely to become type 2 diabetes. There’s good news, however.  Progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes isn’t inevitable. With healthy lifestyle changes you may be  able to bring  your blood sugar level back to normal. Learn how to prevent diabetes at a Prediabetes Class hosted by Orange City Area Health System. This two-class session will be held April 12 and May 10 from 3-5pm at the health system’s main campus lower level classrooms. Cost is just $25 per class (two-class session). Pre-register by calling the Diabetes Educator at 737-5356. Limited registration. Keep up with Orange City Area Health System news and events by signing up for email newsletters at ochealthsystem.org, or join their Facebook page.


Land acquired for new state-of-the-art facility in Orange City


Orange City, IA — Marty Guthmiller, CEO of Orange City Area Health System (OCAHS), announced the purchase of 37 acres of land on the north edge of Orange City for the development of a new 83-bed nursing home. The land, acquired by the Orange City Area Health Foundation, is located immediately west of OCAHS’ Landsmeer Ridge Retirement Community. “While not physically connected to Landsmeer Ridge,” reports Guthmiller, “there will be wonderful synergies with the new nursing home — from groundskeeping to maintenance — that will make this a very attractive and efficient senior care campus.”


The new state-of-the-art nursing home, with expected occupation in 2014, will replace Orange City’s two existing nursing homes, both owned and operated by OCAHS. Plans are to create a “cottage” style living facility in keeping with new trends and expectations for senior care, particularly as baby boomers seek to “reinvent” aging. Char TenClay, OCAHS director of senior care – along with the OCAHS and Foundation boards and administration — recognize the trends and are responding by planning a new nursing home that will be completely different from the community’s two existing facilities.


“Our new nursing home will be built around a ‘Village’ concept,” explains Ten Clay, “a place that feels like home, with a main street, cafe, chapel, beauty salon. The ‘cottages’ that extend off the ‘village’ will feature homey rooms each with their own bathroom.”


According to Ten Clay, about 60 to 70 percent of the residents in a nursing home have some level of dementia. That presents its own set of challenges, and the new facility will address that with a secure dementia unit. “But that also means that many of our residents are alert,” she says, “and we want to give all our seniors a comfortable place to live, with a high quality of life.”


We may not like to think too much about it, but many of us – about one in four – will eventually receive care in a nursing home environment, either for rehabilitation or as a resident. “Senior care is an important part of our continuum of care at Orange City Area Health System,” says Guthmiller, “and our seniors deserve to live out their lives in dignity.”


The new nursing home is expected to cost about $14-17 million. The beds will directly replace the current 83 beds in the existing Heritage House and Long Term Care nursing homes. According to Guthmiller, the state Certificate of Need Board determines the number of beds allowed in Iowa, and currently only existing licensure is possible.


Community support will be sought to help pay for this important new project. “We are very excited to take this first step on our journey to providing continued senior care living excellence,” says Dan McCarty, COO of Orange City Area Health System. “A key financial component of our building project will be fund-raising, and we will once again be looking to the generosity of our local communities.” McCarty adds that “We have not begun a fund-raising effort, but we have already received donations, and for that we can be very grateful.”


Donations to the new nursing home fund can be directed to Dan McCarty at Orange City Area Health System, 1000 Lincoln Circle SE, Orange City IA 51041. For more information, McCarty can be reached at 712-737-5374.


Orange City Area Health System is a comprehensive health system including a hospital, surgery center, diagnostic imaging, medical clinics in Orange City, Paullina, and Hospers, outreach specialty clinics, home health and hospice services, physical and aquatic therapy, two nursing homes, and a senior living center. For news and event updates, sign up for email newsletters at ochealthsystem.org or join the OCAHS Facebook page.

Do you enjoy spending time with seniors? Do you have a few hours a month to give to the elderly in our community? Consider becoming a volunteer at Orange City Area Health System’s Long Term Care or Heritage House nursing homes.

This rewarding experience helps improve quality of life for residents living in long-term care facilities. Volunteers are asked to visit residents three hours a month, and attend quarterly meetings. During visits, volunteers assist residents to understand and exercise their rights. They also work as a team to find solutions to resident and/or family concerns. Beginner orientation and on-going education is provided.

People who live in long-term care facilities need to speak with compassionate and objective adults who care about their rights. You may be eligible to serve even if you have a relative who is a resident of Orange City Area Health System’s Long Term Care or Heritage House.

For an application or more information on becoming a volunteer, contact Katie Mulford, Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman at 800-532-3213. Or visit www.state.ia.us/elderaffairs/advocacy/rac.html.