News

Keep Others Safe. Stay Home.

By Dr. Michele Dikkers, Physician at Cornerstone Family Practice and GMHC, Chair of Clayton County Board of Health

The Covid 19 pandemic is bound to impact all of us at some point. 

My sister and her two daughters have been fighting it for 2 weeks, with muscle/body aches and pains, chills, headaches and shortness of breath. They describe breathing as painful, relieved only by humidification.  They are fatigued, saying that even taking a shower is taxing.  My sister is 47, tall, thin, healthy and works out daily.  She is on day 14 and continues to have fevers intermittently of 101.  Her daughters are college and high school age and started recovering on day 8, but continue with fatigue and cough.  They live in Iowa.  

They are fortunate to be among the 80% that will become ill and won’t need to be hospitalized.  

The other 20% of those that become ill WILL need to be hospitalized. To understand how many people will be impacted, look at the temporary hospitals that are being put up in New York and other places around the country, tents in Central Park, ships in ports, arena’s and gyms, all there to take care of the 20% that will have severe symptoms.

PLEASE STAY HOME.  

The goal of social distancing is to slow the rate of spread.  We know that the illness is going to sweep through our communities.  The hope is to slow it down – so we have enough hospital beds, supplies and medical staff to care for the 20% when needed.  

We know people of our community will become ill. The statistics also tell us that if 5 people in a community died of influenza this year, approximately 10 times that, or 50 people, will die of Covid 19 in a community.

 

Slowing the spread is the responsibility of all of us.  It means isolating ourselves to homes, to our communities.  The less you venture out, the less you bring the virus into your home and into your community, and the less likely you are to spread the virus to your family, friends and neighbors.  

 

It is time to take care of ourselves and each other by staying home. We must in order to get through this.  

It will be a trying time, but we can do it! We can do it together!

If you have any questions, please contact your health care provider.

GMHC Opens “Ill” Care Clinic

GMHC Opens “Ill” Care Clinic

Clayton County COVID-19 Updates

Clayton County COVID-19 Update

GMHC Starts Well Care Clinics

Starting March 23, 2020 the Garnavillo and Edgewood Cornerstone Family Practice clinics will be opened regularly scheduled hours for Well Care visits ONLY.

What does this mean? Only healthy patients will be allowed to enter, including patients for medication refills, well child exams and immunizations, physicals and routine lab draws.

If you have an appointment scheduled at one of our three clinics (Guttenberg, Edgewood or Garnavillo) you will be contacted by our office for a screening.

You will be offered these options:

• Keep your scheduled appointment

• Reschedule to a later date

• Reschedule to the Well Care Clinic in either Garnavillo or Edgewood

We are evaluating our clinic access on a daily basis to meet our patient’s needs. As information changes rapidly, please see our GMHC Facebook page for updates.

NO VISITORS

In response to the current COVID-19 public health crisis, and out of an abundance of caution, the hospital is NOT allowing visitors at this time. Access to GMHC will be limited to outpatients and clinic patients (with one caregiver if needed) AND limited to our two main entrances: the main entrance of the hospital and the main entrance of Cornerstone Family Practice in Guttenberg. All who enter will asked screening questions. 

SPECIALTY CLINICS SUSPENDED

In addition, all specialty clinics will be suspended through the end of April. 

Thank you for helping us protect our patients and colleagues. 

As information changes rapidly, please see our GMHC Facebook page for further updates.

COVID-19: GMHC Urges Patients to Call First

Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics is requesting all patients who are experiencing respiratory symptoms of COVID-19 to call their primary care provider first before coming to the Guttenberg, Garnavillo, or Edgewood Cornerstone Family Practice clinics, main hospital or emergency department. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 in people who have been exposed can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. 

GMHC leaders continue to work closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Center for Disease and Prevention (CDC) and have developed a specific response plan for both the hospital and Cornerstone Family Practice clinics. 

“We urge all patients who are symptomatic and may have been exposed, to call their primary care provider first. The provider will determine next steps,” said CEO Tim Ahlers. “Of course, in an emergency, please call 9-1-1.” 

GMHC Events Canceled 

To ensure GMHC does not contribute to additional risk of exposure to the virus for the colleagues, physicians, patients and the communities it serves, effective immediately, GMHC will not participate in or hold external community events. This includes events within any of our facilities or within the community.

This action follows CDC guidelines to limit gatherings which could unintentionally put colleagues, patients and our community members at risk. These guidelines are in effect until at least April 15 and will be reassessed at that time. 

Prevention Measures

The most important thing for residents to do is to continue the prevention measures they would use for any respiratory virus. 

• Avoid close contact to people who are sick. 

• Clean your hands frequently with soap and water, keeping your hands away from your face. 

• Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or upper arm. 

• Contain germs by staying home when ill. 

• CDC and IDPH do not recommend face masks for the general public who are well. 

For the most current information about the novel coronavirus, visit IDPH or CDC.

 

GMHC Events Canceled

 To ensure GMHC does not contribute to additional risk of exposure to the virus for our colleagues, physicians, patients and the communities we serve, effective immediately, GMHC will not participate in or hold external community events. This includes events within any of our facilities or within the community. 

This action follows CDC guidelines to limit gatherings which could unintentionally put colleagues, patients and our community members at risk. These guidelines are in effect until at least April 15 and will be reassessed at that time. 

The most important thing for residents to do is to continue the prevention measures they would use for any respiratory virus. 

• Avoid close contact to people who are sick. 

• Clean your hands frequently with soap and water, keeping your hands away from your face. 

• Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or upper arm. 

• Contain germs by staying home when ill. 

• CDC and IDPH do not recommend face masks for the general public who are well. 

For the most current information about the novel coronavirus, visit IDPH.

Strategic Partnership Task Force Update – June 30, 2017

June 30, 2017                                                

Dear Board, Physicians, Employees and City Council Members,

This week, the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital (GMH) Strategic Partnerships Task Force (Task Force) delivered its final recommendations to the GMH Board which the Board endorsed. As a reminder, the members of the Task Force are:

  • Bill Allyn, Task Force Chair and Board of Directors Vice Chair
  • Russell Loven, Mayor
  • Karen Merrick, Board Member
  • Andrew C. Smith, MD, Chief of Staff

What was Recommended and Approved?

After a comprehensive and highly participative nine-month process, our recommendation was to begin to work on a Letter of Intent that would align our Hospital in partnership with Mercy Health Network (MHN) by working to develop a new Management Services Agreement (MSA).  The arrangement would align our two organizations as we move forward with a common purpose and shared goals.

Our plan is for the new agreement to remain in effect for at least two years which would enable many of our employees to vest in IPERS before any possible closer alignment or affiliation would happen.   During the period of the new MSA we will be working toward the achievement of some defined milestones under the Management Services Agreement. While not yet finalized, the milestones will be related to improvements made/accomplishments in the following critical areas:

  • GMH financial performance
  • Support of GMH physician practices
  • Success in the changing health care environment
  • Cultural compatibility

Under the new MSA arrangement we envision that GMH physicians will remain employees of GMH, and GMH provider team will receive clinical support from Mercy in Dubuque and Medical Associates in Dubuque as well as from the Mercy Health Network corporate rural healthcare division.

What Was the Rationale Behind the Recommendation?

As part of our evaluation process, the Task Force profiled 18 potential partners, conducted in-depth interviews with seven of these, and ultimately engaged in dialogue with three: Mercy Health Network, UnityPoint Health, and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

All organizations we evaluated are of the highest quality, with exceptional track records of success. In reaching our decision, which was not an easy one, we considered:

 

Dimension For example:
Financial Improvement ·   Help growing GMH’s services and market position

·   Continued access to insurance contracts

·   Cost savings through shared services/economies

·   Access to capital

Practice Support ·   Recruitment of primary care physicians

·   Access to specialists

·   Ability to transfer patients with ease

·   Current patient transfer and referral patterns

Success in the Changing Health Care Environment ·   Expertise in using data to improve health delivery

·   Expertise in population health

·   Collaboration with other Mercy affiliated hospitals in our region

·   Quality measurement and improvement infrastructure and expertise

Cultural Compatibility ·   High performance and high quality focus

·   Culture of teamwork and collaboration

·   Shared philosophy of how care should be delivered in rural communities

Where Do We Go From Here?

In the short term we will start the important work of bringing our organizations closer together. There will be challenges ahead, but there will also be opportunities. We will continue delivering outstanding health care to those we serve as we go through this process.

Final Thoughts and Thanks

We began this journey with a commitment to engaging our key stakeholders and keeping you informed at every step. Along the way, we:

  • Reported at 8 GMH Board meetings and 7 City Council meetings
  • Conducted 8 meetings with GMH staff and physicians
  • Provided updates in 3 GMH Employee Newsletters (GMH Pulse) and 1 GMH Community Newsletter (GMH News)
  • Published 6 stakeholder letter updates to provide more detail on the Task Force’s discussions
  • Reported progress in 6 articles in the Guttenberg Press
  • Maintained a dedicated corner on the GMH web site to house general information on the Task Force and its progress

Through these lines of communication, we learned what was most important to you and shaped our partner conversations and final decisions accordingly. While the Task Force was charged with shepherding this process, it truly was a community effort in every sense of the word. We are deeply grateful for the input and support we received from you.

Together, we have important work ahead: living our mission to improve the health and wellness of the communities we serve and fulfilling our vision to provide the best outcome for our patients.

Sincerely,

Bill Allyn,  Strategic Partnerships Task Force Chair and Board of Directors Vice Chair

National EMS Week

This week we celebrate National EMS Week. Do you know a first responder, EMT or paramedic? Tell them how much you appreciate what they do!

Did you know…

1. EMS stands for Emergency Medical Services. An EMS system involves the public, pre-hospital EMS staff (first responders, EMTs, Advanced EMTs and Paramedics); emergency department staff and all of the departments of a hospital.

2. The modern EMS system only started in the 1960s.

3. Training of EMS providers were limited in the 1960s with many only having perhaps standard first aid and maybe CPR training if anything.

4. In the early years a ride in the ambulance might have been considered a taxi ride but not today! Ambulances today have sophisticated equipment and medications to start your care as soon as they arrive at your side.

5. Today pre-hospital EMS staff may fill volunteer or career positions but all are professional health care providers with the same education, training and certifications.

6. Guttenberg EMS has a combination of career and on-call staff. The paramedics and some of the EMTs work in the emergency room at GMH when they are not on a call.

7. EMS is your entry point into healthcare when you have a medical emergency or injury. Make the right choice; don’t drive; call 911.

The Robot Has A Name!

Community members and school groups took  turns at controlling Guttenberg Municipal Hospital’s new surgical robot and learned more about the options for robotic surgery at an Open House.

The surgical team chose the winner of the Name the Robot contest. Our new robot’s name is RAHMA which means compassion, submitted by Kailey Dempster.

Thank you all who submitted entries and attended our program.

Dr. Mansfield with Kailey and RAHMA.

 

 

Strategic Partnership Task Force Update- February 3, 2017

Guttenberg Municipal Hospital

AN AFFILIATE OF UNITYPOINT HEALTH

February 1, 2017

Dear Board, Physicians, Employees and City Council Members,

Guttenberg Municipal Hospital’s (GMH) Strategic Partnerships Task Force (Task Force) is pleased to provide this fourth stakeholder update on our process and progress. As a reminder, the members of the Task Force are:

  • Bill Allyn, Task Force Chair and Board of Directors Vice Chair
  • Russell Loven, Mayor
  • Karen Merrick, Board Member
  • Andrew Smith, MD

Our Recent Work

In our last update to you, we described an interview process we would be using to learn more about six potential partner organizations and identify a smaller subset of these organizations to invite for on-site presentations to the Task Force in March. After an initial conversation with our consultants from ACCORD LIMITED, one of the original 6 organizations withdrew from consideration; ACCORD then completed interviews in early January with the following five potential partners:

  • Gundersen Health System
  • Mayo Clinic
    • Mercy Health Network
    • UnityPoint
    • University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

On January 24, members of the Task Force met with the GMH Board to share key findings from the recently completed interviews. The Board then deliberated with the Task Force and decided Mercy Health Network, UnityPoint Health, and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics should be invited for more in-depth conversations in March. While all five of the original organizations are outstanding health care systems, the Board’s selection of the three systems came down to several key considerations including:

  • The degree to which local residents already rely on these systems for health care not available at GMH and its affiliated clinics;
  • The flexibility these systems offer in terms of potential partnership models;
  • The broad range of support and services these systems can provide to rural providers like GMH; and
    • The specific support they can provide in recruiting new physicians to our

Of course, we still have much to learn about each organization and the value they might bring to health care in Guttenberg. The presentations planned for March will provide the opportunity to do just that.

 

Providing Additional Education and Securing More Input

The Task Force believes that it will be helpful for all key stakeholders, including themselves,to receive some additional education about trends in rural health care as we all prepare for the potential partner presentations . Therefore, we have invited Greg Boattenhammer,past Senior Vice President, Government Relations, with the Iowa Hospital Association, to conduct three group sessions here at GMH on February 2th. There will be separate sessions for: GMH Managers; GMH Board, Task Force and City Council; and GMH Physicians, with discussions tailored for each group. Each session will explore the challenges facing rural health care providers and how our peers have been responding. More detail will be available soon on the times for these educational sessions.

We will also be using these same sessions to get additional input on the most important questions to ask and issues to explore with each of the three potential partner organizations. Pam Knecht, President and CEO of ACCORD LIMITED,will be attending each session to facilitate discussions regarding specific questions that should be asked of each partner. These educational and input sessions continue our commitment to you-to seek your input and advice as we move through our process. Our goal is to leave no stone unturned-to learn all we need to know to make the best decisions for our future.

Responding to Questions from Our Stakeholders

Recently, many of you have asked for more information about why GMH should consider partnership now. In this update, we explore three important (although not the only) reasons.

Reason #1: Physician Recruitment

Physicians are the backbone of our health care system although it is increasingly difficult to recruit physicians to practice in smaller, rural areas like ours. Health care systems across the country are vying for the best and brightest physicians to serve their communities. A partnership with a larger organization provides expertise and resources to support GMH physician recruitment. With the right partner, we will have access to a broader pool of physician candidates and are more likely to “stand out” as these candidates consider their options. In March, we will explore this topic in more detail with the potential partners to learn as much as we can about how specifically each organization can help us with recruiting outstanding physicians to our community.

Reason #2: Better Models of Care Delivery

Quality health care requires close cooperation and integration across the entire system of care. Patients deserve easy access to all the care they need, a seamless and coordinated experience, one medical record, and a comprehensive medical team centered on their needs and supported by constant, effective communication. Delivering on this promise is one of the major reasons we consider partnerships. Especially as our population ages and chronic conditions become more prevalent, we cannot do it alone.A partner can help us to offer more specialties locally, support investment in new clinical services and medical technology,and fill in our continuum of care by adding services such as home health, long term care and hospice.

 

Physicians across the nation are challenged to keep up with shifting demographics and changing disease patterns, new payment models, increasing expectations from policy-makers; regulators, patients and their families, and constant innovation in treatments and technology. Such challenges are especially acute for rural providers, who are asked to do even more for their patients without the infrastructure and support available in larger communities. A relationship with a strong partner offers the potential for enhanced support to GMH-affiliated physicians. During our in-depth conversations with the potential partners in March, we will explore the specific ways in which each organization could help our affiliated physicians with their patient care needs; for example:

  • The specialists each system would bring to our communities to see patients close to home;
  • The remote support (e.g.,by telephone or telemedicine) they would offer to primary care physicians who practice here;
    • The systems they have for easy transfer of patients when care is needed that is not available at GMH;
    • The clinical support tools and continuing medical education resources they make available to community

Economies of scale also are possible through partnership, providing access to innovation and technology that we could never afford on our own. One example is telemedicine where our doctors work with specialists who are in another location. Through video and electronic monitoring devices, multiple physicians can “see” and treat a patient together, increasing the likelihood of an accurate diagnosis and decreasing the need for anyone to travel.

Reason #3: Financial Realities

Health care providers across the country face ongoing challenges to do more with less. Payments from all sources continue to be squeezed as we face the prospect that  recent coverage expansions under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will be scaled back. Added to this are the recent ruling by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that a portion of the historical payment that GMH received would no longer be provided, and the unique financial challenges we face because of our small sca le. Partnerships with the right partners can help GMH navigate future financial challenges-supporting our growth, helping us to participate in a wide range of insurance plans and products,and assisting in risk and expense management. As we explore potential partners and partnership models, we are especially interested in learning more about:

  • The resources that partners could provide to support the growth of local These,in turn, would bolster our revenue base and allow us to invest even more in new services and treatments;
  • Opportunities with the potential partners to participate in new insurance plans and products;
  • The extent to which the partners could help us to “weather the storm” if we were to experience periods of financial l

 

 

    • The economies of scale that we could achieve together and the likely savings to GMH from participating in shared system services such as group purchasing.

Improving Our Community’s Health

Change is a constant in today’s world and health care is no exception. Scientific breakthroughs and technological advances create new treatment options and offer new hope. Alternative settings of care enhance access and convenience and new health plan options sharpen our focus on prevention, wellness, and value for dollars spent. While these are only a fraction of the changes impacting health care today, they all are part of a larger story. Across the country there is a movement to innovate in all aspects of health care:to look at new ways of doing things and to explore new relationships and partnerships for greater impact. GMH must be part of this movement and for the best of reasons-to improve the health and wellness of our communities. We encourage your ongoing participation and input as we explore the potential value of partnerships (benefits relative to costs) for GMH and the people we serve.

Sincerely,

Bill Allyn

Strategic Partnerships Task Force Chair and Board of Directors Vice Chair