Our Staff

Physical Therapist Kimberly Franzen Earns Certification as Lymphedema Therapist

We congratulate Physical Therapist Kimberly Franzen, PT, DPT, CLT on her recent certification as a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT). 

Kim’s certification included 135 hours total with 75 hours of online work and 60 hours of in-person class and hands-on work. Kim was in Minneapolis for the class from October 13th to the 20th for the in-person class, but all online class work was completed prior to attending. Both a written test and hands-on practical was passed for the certification. 

What is Lymphedema? Lymphedema is known as an abnormal accumulation of protein rich fluid that can occur gradually over time with increasing complaints of tightness or heaviness. Lymphedema increases one’s risk of infection or cellulitis. Typically lymphedema affects only one arm or leg, but can affect both as more commonly seen in the legs.

The certification consisted of learning the full CDT (Complete Decongestive Therapy) which includes not only performing manual lymph drainage (MLD) to reduce the amount of fluid accumulation, but performing and teaching/educating the patient on application of compression bandages or garments, exercise, nail & skin care, and other self-cares to assist with overall management of their condition.

Kim is now able to treat our patients who have lymphedema, lipidemia, or lymphedema which can occur due to other medial issues such as obesity, chronic venous insufficiency, lipo-lymphedema, or after a trauma or orthopedic surgery.

“Most people have not heard of or know much about lymphedema until they have been diagnosed with it,” said Kim. “I’m pleased to be able to offer this service to our patients who are diagnosed with this condition.”

Stay close to home, and receive your therapy and rehabilitation services with the experts at GMHC. For more information call 563-252-1121.

Robin Esmann Named Iowa Hospital Hero

Robin Esmann, Director of Performance Excellence at Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics, was recently selected as one of the Iowa Hospital Association’s (IHA) Hospital Heroes.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to announce our Director of Performance Excellence, Robin Esmann, was named a hospital hero. Robin’s knowledge and expertise coupled with her compassion and commitment to our community absolutely make her a hero to us,” said Tim Ahlers, CEO. 

“Over the past year, Robin has worn many leadership hats including Nursing, Incident Command, Employee Health, Infection Control, Safety, Quality, and she is an EMS member” reflected Lisa Manson, Director of Ambulatory Services. “Robin’s training in quality processes was apparent during the past year. She never settles for just good enough.” 

Robin took responsibility for spearheading the COVID-19 vaccination process in the community. She worked closely with county and state officials to procure an appropriate supply of vaccine. Robin also secured a site for the vaccination clinic that was close to the hospital. After establishing a call-in hotline, Robin and several volunteers began contacting thousands of people to make appointments. In addition, Robin took a clinic on the road to reach local manufacturing firms interested in vaccinations for their employees. She was relentless in assuring that everyone who was eligible and desired to be vaccinated could be accommodated. 

“Jim and I had the pleasure of working alongside Robin at most of the vaccination clinics,” said Sue Osterhaus, vaccination clinic volunteer. “In the face of an incredibly stressful pandemic, Robin acted with strength and integrity every day as she managed the clinics and answered countless emails, calls, and questions regarding the vaccinations.”

Commented Robin, “I am honored to not only be nominated for this award by my colleagues but to also be chosen for this award by the Iowa Hospital Association.  There is no doubt that this past year has been the most challenging of my career. I never imagined having to live through a pandemic and certainly not one of this magnitude.  Fortunately, we have a great team at GMHC and that team is still working tirelessly day in and day out to get us through this pandemic. I’m very proud of the work we do and all that we accomplish; everyone at GMHC plays a very important role on the team.”

“Robin has been a nurse for more than 30 years and has been dedicated to our organization and our community,” commented Tim Ahlers. “She has worked in many settings throughout the hospital as a bedside nurse, a quality expert and a leader, excelling in every role. Robin’s knowledge of infectious disease and her courage to lead us through the pandemic is inspiring. Her commitment to our community is heroic. Robin is kind. She is a collaborator. She is courageous. And she is a true leader.”

Since 2007, IHA’s Hospital Heroes program has celebrated employees who have acted courageously in a moment’s crisis or who have selflessly served their hospitals and communities throughout their careers. Last year, IHA recognized all hospital employees for their heroic efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and in response to the derecho windstorm in August 2020. In 2021, IHA returned to recognizing 10 hospital employees who exemplify the passion and purpose of the community hospital mission every day.

Robin will be recognized at the IHA Virtual Annual Meeting in October.

Our Hospital Hero

Kari Harbaugh, Family Resource Center Coordinator, delivering student hygiene kits to a local school.

Kari Harbaugh, GMHC Family Resource Center Coordinator, is selected as a Iowa Hospital Association’s Hospital Hero.

There is no question that each and every Iowa hospital has individuals who really know how to make a difference for their patients, communities and co-workers. We read about individuals and the recognitions they receive from their own hospitals, from state and national peer groups and from the communities where they work and live. They are the mentors, innovators and leaders who earn our admiration by challenging themselves daily to do a little more,” says IHA President Kirk Norris.


Kari Harbaugh, Family Resource Center Coordinator

It is easy to understand why Kari Harbaugh was selected as an Iowa Hospital Association Hero.

Under Kari Harbaugh’s direction, the Family Resource Center has grown to become a full-service center addressing the social determinants of health of our patients. There are over 4000 patient contacts each year. Kari understands that she cannot provide all services that are needed on her own, so she has developed an extensive collaborative network of agencies. She has also partnered with the local schools and churches as a way to reach more people.

“Kari is an amazing advocate for every client she assists. Her work has been so successful in helping our communities, it is becoming a model for other hospitals in Iowa, says Lynn Bockenstedt, GMHC Social Worker.

“Kari works behind the scenes to identify needs and makes every effort to find support, whether it is a much needed meal or a bed for a child sleeping on the floor. She is extremely deserving of this recognition,” adds Lisa Manson, Director of Ambulatory Services, GMHC.

Within the Family Resource Center, patients can find assistance with housing, utilities, food, clothing, and furnishings. Also available is access to transportation and assistance with financial program applications.

Collaboratively Kari provides support with violence and sexual abuse, Veterans assistance, special patient populations, food banks, mental health and childhood resources. Kari collaborates with a separate non-profit organization to provide resources such as a mentoring program, parent education, back to school supplies and Christmas for kids. Kari leads community support groups for cancer, grief, and children. She teaches Safe Sitter classes and leads after school programs and a backpack food program.

“I’m humbled to receive this award and share this honor with the out-standing partners and co-workers that I collaborate with to serve our communities,” says Kari.

Kari will be recognized at the IHA Annual Meeting in Des Moines on October 9th.

Since 2007, the Hospital Heroes program has celebrated more than 100 employees who have acted courageously in a moment’s crisis or who have selflessly served their hospitals and communities throughout their careers. Through the Heroes program, IHA shares the stories of these employees and honors their outstanding work and dedication.

About the Iowa Hospital Association: Among the more than 72,000 people who do their work in Iowa hospitals every day, there are countless heroes. To recognize and promote these individual hospital employees who contribute courageously and selflessly to Iowa hospitals and their communities, the Iowa Hospital Heroes Awards are presented annually at the IHA Annual Meeting in Des Moines.

Since 2007, the Hospital Heroes program has celebrated more than 100 employees who have acted courageously in a moment’s crisis or who have selflessly served their hospitals and communities throughout their careers. Through the Heroes program, IHA shares the stories of these employees and honors their outstanding work and dedication.