Winneshiek County Emergency Responders Receive Clinical Save Award

Winneshiek County emergency responders were presented with a Clinical Save award for their role in a cardiac arrest event that happened in December. 

Cardiac Arrest Event

Cy Nelson of Decorah and his friend Kevin Locke, M.D., were together at Cy’s home when he collapsed on the driveway.  Dr. Locke called 911 and began CPR.  The Winneshiek County 911 and Communications Center activated emergency responders.  Decorah Police Officer Adam Ytzen arrived and administered the first AED shock, and they were immediately joined by off-duty paramedic Steve Vanden Brink, who administered a second AED shock.  The WinnMed ambulance and crew arrived along with two additional off-duty paramedics, and together, they used their skills and the life-saving technology to transport Cy to WinnMed to the emergency nurses and physician standing ready.  With emergency services still at work, Gundersen Air emergency flight crew landed at WinnMed and transported Cy to Mayo Clinic Hospital, Saint Marys Campus in Rochester, where he was treated.

“I hear about what happened from everyone else!” says Cy.  “I don’t remember a bit of it, until I woke up in Rochester.  I don’t know what the Lord has planned for me, but I have been given a second chance and am focusing on my mission going forward.”

Cardiac Save Statistics

At the Clinical Save gathering, Vanden Brink shared that 90% of cardiac arrest events are fatal.  Additionally, only 7% of those who survive sudden cardiac arrest will be discharged from the hospital with no physical and/or neurological effects.  Vanden Brink says, “The systems we have in place make a difference.  At my last count, there are over 150 AEDs in various locations in Winneshiek County.  With our people, skills, and equipment, we are better prepared to respond to events like Cy’s and see a positive outcome.”

Responders who were recognized include:

  • Dr. Locke who called 911 and immediately started CPR,
  • Winneshiek County 911 and Communications Dispatcher Isaac Phillips who dispatched the call to responders,
  • Decorah Police Officer Adam Ytzen who quickly arrived on scene to provide defibrillation,
  • WinnMed paramedics (on and off-duty) who provided both basic and advanced life support therapy on scene,
  • Emergency nurses and physician who continued life-saving care in the WinnMed Emergency Department, and
  • Gundersen Air flight crew who provided life flight transport to advanced cardiac care.

“I thank each of you for your role in keeping me alive,” says Cy. “I am so grateful.”

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The WinnMed Pharmacy in Decorah to open February 1

WinnMed will serve patients and the broader region in a new way beginning February 1, 2024 through the opening of their retail pharmacy.

Located in the renovated North Building on their Decorah campus, the WinnMed Pharmacy offers retail pharmacy services, including: prescription filling and education, over-the-counter medications, medication adherence packaging, medication synchronization, compounding, drug disposal, vaccines and other services. Future plans include pharmacists serving in a consultative role for the Mayo Clinic Health System clinical practice at WinnMed, and providing a meds-to-beds program for hospitalized patients ready for discharge.

The new WinnMed Pharmacy serves patients from all health systems and providers, and accepts most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, Blue Cross, CVS/Caremark, ExpressScripts, Optum and many others. As patients refill prescriptions or request new prescriptions, staff will work with them and their insurance carriers to ensure in-network coverage prior to filling.

They offer convenient parking including handicapped spaces; mail and delivery services, and the new pharmacy features a drive-through option. 

Hours of operation are Monday – Friday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm and Saturday, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.  The pharmacy is closed Sundays and major holidays.

The WinnMed Pharmacy phone number is 563-387-3000.

The Donlon to WinnMed Pharmacy Transition

The WinnMed Board of Trustees approved the acquisition of Donlon Pharmacy in June of 2023.  Following an extensive renovation of WinnMed’s North Building, the pharmacy will transition from its downtown Decorah location to the WinnMed campus.

Important points to support the transition are:

  • Donlon Pharmacy’s last day of operation is Monday, January 29, 2024. WinnMed Pharmacy will open February 1, 2024 on the WinnMed campus (901 Montgomery Street, Decorah).
  • Upon Donlon’s closing on Monday, January 29 at 6pm, any prescriptions not picked up at Donlon Pharmacy will be returned to stock and will not be available to refill until the reopening as WinnMed Pharmacy on Thursday, February 1 at 9am.
  • All Donlon patients will automatically transition to WinnMed Pharmacy, unless the patient notifies the pharmacy of alternate preferences.
  • All Donlon pharmacy staff are transitioning to WinnMed. Patients will see familiar faces in the new pharmacy and work with the same people they know and trust.
  • WinnMed Pharmacy will participate in insurance networks that Donlon Pharmacy participates in, plus additional networks. Medication costs will be comparable or better than what patients are used to.

Mark Branum, Pharm.D., BCGP, served as Pharmacist-in-Charge at Donlon Pharmacy and continues in that role at WinnMed Pharmacy.  He says, “Our entire pharmacy staff is excited to be joining WinnMed and look forward to expanding our pharmacy services to help benefit members of our community. We are particularly happy to welcome patients from all providers and clinics as we accept nearly every insurance plan and will be a preferred provider in those networks.”

Steve Slessor, WinnMed Chief Administrative Officer, says, “We are thrilled to be able to continue the long-standing tradition of locally owned pharmacy services here at WinnMed. We have tremendous respect for Donlon Pharmacy, that team and the work it does for the community. To have that team joining us and to work with them to continue to enhance retail pharmacy offerings in this community is beyond exciting.”

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Allergist Michael D’Netto, M.D., tells us what we need to know about the Allergy and Immunology department of WinnMed

Allergist Michael D’Netto, M.D., tells us what we need to know about the Allergy and Immunology department of WinnMed – WinnMed %

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© 2024 WinnMed. All Rights Reserved.

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WinnMed’s Transforming Tomorrow project receives Board approval

WinnMed continues to grow to meet the needs of the broader eight-county region. This growth includes the Transforming Tomorrow project, which involves a major facility expansion and remodel on the Decorah campus.

Following a public bidding process that concluded in November, WinnMed leadership presented a recommendation to the Board of Trustees at the December 6, 2023 meeting to proceed with the base bid.  The base bid included all elements of the project except the renovation of the current clinic space, which was bid as an alternate. The Board approved this recommendation through four separate resolutions that allow WinnMed leadership to engage in financing and construction plans.

Transforming Tomorrow project costs are budgeted at $50 million and will be financed in large part by low-interest USDA loans. The remaining balance will be funded by WinnMed dollars and loans from local banks. 

Transforming Tomorrow Highlights

  • A new, fully renovated birthing unit that features all Labor, Delivery, Recovery, Postpartum (LDRP) suites, and direct access from Obstetrics to Surgery for patients needing a C-section.
  • An expanded Surgery area to include larger rooms to accommodate new technology and an additional operating room to meet the growing volume of their surgical practice.
  • A two-story addition to house expanded primary and specialty clinics to the north of the current clinic building, allowing for additional access, growth, a better patient experience, and promotion of team based care.  To stay within the project budget of $50 million, renovations of the existing clinic space will be completed outside of Transforming Tomorrow as a capital project, pending the financial feasibility of this additional work in the future.

Next Steps

Once Transforming Tomorrow work begins, Steve Slessor, WinnMed’s Chief Administrative Officer, believes the work will take approximately 2.5 years. He says, “The team is outlining a plan that will allow for work to progress with minimal disruption to patient care activities. Patients will notice the construction, but we will ‘choreograph’ changes so services can continue at or near capacity.”

Chief Medical Officer Thomas Marquardt, D.P.M. says, “We are investing in facilities, staff and technology, and are actively recruiting physicians to join the Mayo Clinic Health System primary and specialty care practice here at WinnMed.  These are exciting times to be part of WinnMed as it grows into the future.” 

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Managing Grief During the Holidays

For many people who are grieving, the weeks and days leading up to the holiday are actually more difficult than the day itself. Nancy Haberichter, RN, director of WinnMed Hospice, shares strategies and tips to help cope with loss.

Tips to cope with grief

1. Understand that the holidays invoke such a sense of family, togetherness and joy. But if you are grieving the sense of family may be altered and there may not be joy surrounding you right now. Give yourself permission to mourn again because the grief seems to become raw again during the holidays when you are missing someone you love.

2. Try to plan ways to honor your loved one. Many times the people around you do not want to bring up your loss because they don’t want you to be sad. It may be easier for them and for you to find ways to honor your loved one. Ways in which other people can participate, which also gives them a sense of remembering for their own healing as well as helping you. (Memory wreath, box of memories, special reminders, quilt, ornaments, Chinese lanterns)

3. Take care of your health and well-being. It is easy to neglect your health and well-being when grieving. Try to eat well and get some exercise. Walking can take your mind to a different place for a while and is good for your overall physical and emotional health.

5. Only do what feels right. Take time to create peaceful surroundings. You may not feel like attending all the festivities that you have in the past. Give yourself permission to skip things or attend for a short period of time, giving yourself a break when you need it. You are not obligated to participate in anything that does not feel doable. Be gentle with yourself and your decisions for what you can handle. On the other hand, you may feel the holiday busyness brings a welcome distraction that may bring joyful feelings and memories in which case immersing yourself in those activities may be welcome to you. There is no right or wrong to how you decide to do the season. It is all OK!

6. Feel joy. Without guilt. Give yourself permission. The heart can feel joy the same time as sorrow, and it helps to balance the sadness. Allow yourself to experience moments of joy without guilt. Your spirit needs it.

8. Heal others. Do something in the community that lifts your spirits. It’s gratifying to help others, and is a good reminder that we are not alone in our struggles. It helps us keep perspective that the holidays can be hard for a variety of reasons, and helping others helps our own heart to heal. (Giving trees, random act of kindness, volunteering, making meals for others, donations to food banks or hospitals)

9. Seek out support. Sharing your emotions and feelings about missing your loved one during the holidays can lift the burden of grief by just talking about it to someone who listens to you. If you have someone in your life that will listen and companion you by letting you share your grief, it can be such a release for the pain. Grief support group meetings are extremely helpful and a safe place to share your feelings if you want. They are also a safe place to just listen to others who may be feeling some of the same emotions that you do.

10. Cry. Give in to the tears. There is no shortage of raw emotions over the holidays, and crying is not a sign of weakness. It’s how we release intense feelings. A good cry can be very healing and serves as an important part of our journey. Give other people permission to cry also. Let them know that can be healing for you as well. But not everyone grieves in this way and may try to avoid the sadness. Allow yourself and others to mourn how and when it suits their own experience of grief.

11. Accept your feelings. Inevitably there will be ups and downs. Grief does not come on a straight road. It is messy with many curves and mountains. Just as you think you have conquered it, it may return to catch you off balance. Do not despair or think there is something wrong, grief comes in like the waves of the ocean and eventually those waves die down and you can see the progress you have made with it more clearly.

12. Plan ahead. Sometimes the anticipation is worse than the actual holiday. You can plan activities that give you comfort ahead of time so that you have something to look forward to, rather than building up dread of the pain that the holiday will bring. You may want to try new activities that do not have previous memories attached. But remember that familiar traditions might be comforting as well, even if you have to adapt them because of your loss.

Habericheter says, “There is not one piece of advice that fits for everyone. People are uniquely different and therefore their grief journey is uniquely different.”

Additional Grief Support

WinnMed Hospice offers grief support group meetings monthly in Decorah and Waukon. Please call with questions on location and times: 563-387-3024.

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Women’s health care expands at WinnMed with new OB-GYN

Mayo Clinic Health System Decorah Clinic Physicians is pleased to welcome Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN) Specialist Mark Ballard, M.D. to WinnMed.

Dr. Ballard comes to northeast Iowa from a private practice in Rapid City, South Dakota. He earned his Bachelor of Science from University of South Dakota and his medical degree from University of South Dakota School of Medicine. Dr. Ballard completed his residency through Keesler Medical Center in Biloxi, Mississippi and is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Ballard served in the South Dakota Air National Guard, the Air Force Reserve and the United States Air Force – Active Duty from 1987-2001.

He says, “I was trained to view and treat my patients as if they are family, and to provide the level of care that I would want for my loved ones. I am bringing high-risk experience to the people of northeast Iowa for local care and look forward to helping women of this region with their obstetric and gynecological needs.”

At WinnMed, Dr. Ballard provides:

  • Routine and higher risk prenatal and obstetrical care
  • GYN specialty care and surgery: menstrual irregularities, pelvic masses, female urinary incontinence, cervical disorders
  • Infertility care
  • Contraception care
  • Menopause care
  • Preconceptual counseling

He joins a team of primary and specialty providers who practice full time in WinnMed’s Decorah, Ossian and Mabel medical clinics.

Dr. Ballard says, “Over my career, I have spent considerable time providing OB-GYN outreach care in rural communities. I love the atmosphere of smaller towns and when relocating, my wife and I considered the community as much as the medical practice when making our decision.  Having grown up on a farm in South Dakota, I am drawn to the lifestyle of a rural community. Decorah is clearly thriving and everyone I have met is friendly, welcoming and helpful. The positive morale in northeast Iowa is noticeable and I look forward to becoming a part of the community.”

He adds, “Mayo Clinic’s reputation for providing excellent care is known throughout the world and when the opportunity to join Mayo Clinic Health System and relocate to a smaller community came together, it was an easy decision for my family.” 

Make an Appointment

Dr. Ballard is accepting new patients at WinnMed in Decorah. To schedule an appointment, call 563-382-2911 or request an appointment through MyChart.

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Celebrate the season of giving with WinnMed Auxiliary’s Light for Life

The WinnMed Auxiliary invites the community to celebrate the season of giving through the 2023 Light for Life program.

Light for Life is the Auxiliary’s annual community giving campaign. For a donation of $15 or more, your loved one is honored or remembered with lighted snowflakes in the windows of WinnMed. The snowflakes light up WinnMed each night in December.

This year’s WinnMed Auxiliary Light for Life campaign will support the purchase of two items.

The first item is a Mobile Stairlift chair for the Ambulance department. Emergencies can happen in all locations and structures. The Mobile Stairlift is designed to help EMS staff transport patients up and down stairs safely and efficiently.

The second item will be in-room thermometers for the Med/Surg department, allowing the most-used patient rooms to have a designated thermometer for checking patient vitals. This highly-used equipment will improve staff efficiencies and patient safety.

Donations may be made at WinnMed or forms are available at  through December 31, 2023. Contributions are tax deductible. For further information, contact the WinnMed Auxiliary at 563-387-3036.

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Allergist Michael D’Netto, M.D. discusses the difference between our region’s seasonal allergens and irritants

Allergist Michael D’Netto, M.D. discusses the difference between our region’s seasonal allergens and irritants – WinnMed

© 2023 WinnMed. All Rights Reserved.

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Hannah Ingvalson, D.O. joins Mayo Clinic Health System at WinnMed

Mayo Clinic Health System Decorah Clinic Physicians is pleased to welcome Hannah Ingvalson, D.O. to WinnMed.

Dr. Ingvalson is a Decorah native and has returned to her hometown to provide family medicine and obstetric care. After graduating Decorah High School, Dr. Ingvalson earned her undergraduate degree from University of Iowa and then went on to Des Moines University for her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree. She completed her residency through Waukesha Family Medicine Residency at ProHealth Care in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.

At WinnMed, Dr. Ingvalson provides full-scope family medicine care from birth through end-of-life, as well as obstetric care. She joins a full team of primary and specialty providers who practice full time in WinnMed’s Decorah, Ossian and Mabel medical clinics.

She says, “I look forward to working with my patients to help them achieve optimal wellness and meet their individual health goals. As a family physician with OB, I enjoy providing care to growing families not only throughout pregnancy and delivery, but for many years thereafter.” 

Dr. Ingvalson and her family returned to Decorah to be near extended family and be part of Mayo Clinic Health System. She says, “I joined Mayo Clinic Health System because of their high standards, excellent reputation, and extensive support they offer physicians. WinnMed is the best of both worlds; I am able to develop patient-physician relationships with my community members while also being able to access the resources Mayo Clinic Health System has to offer.” 

Dr. Ingvalson is accepting new patients at WinnMed in Decorah. To schedule an appointment, call 563-382-2911 or request an appointment through MyChart.

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