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Check out our hospital newsletter and remain current on news, events and activities going on at Nemaha Valley Community Hospital and Seneca Family Practice!

Message to Our Community

Dear Friends,

As we continue to evaluate the needs of our patient and reorganize staff to fill the void created by a temporary reduction in the number of doctors, we have I think it is only fair that we set realistic expectations for scheduling and availability of our providers. We have added staff to help meet the needs of our growing patient population at Seneca Family Practice (SFP). As of January 1st Alexis Stallbaumer, APRN will be working with Lori Luger and Erica Winkler at SFP. All three providers continue to cover shifts in the emergency room with Sheri Wessel and Marcy Evans.

Drs. Bartkoski, Snyder, and Myers are sharing care of patients in the clinic, hospital, and emergency room. We will also have additional providers filling in as needed. I am sure our staffing schedules will continue to evolve but based on our current levels, please note:

  • Monday through Friday patient appointments are required to be seen at Seneca Family Practice. Please call 785.336.6107 to schedule. The emergency room is always open if you need immediate attention.
  • Saturday mornings from 9 am to noon the urgent care clinic does take walk-ins. This is the only time we can accommodate walk-ins at the clinic.

When you call for an appointment or to talk to a nurse you may occasionally get a busy signal. This is an indication of the increase in the number of calls we are receiving. We have six phone lines coming into the clinic and from time to time they are all busy. Please be patient and call back at a later time.

You may find it easier to get a message to your doctor through the patient portal. You can send an email to the doctor through the portal. If you do not currently have access to the portal, please call Alex Harrison at 785.336.0350. There is no charge for this service, and it is a very efficient way to communicate with your provider.

On the recruitment front we are excited to have Dr. Alexander Hermesch join our staff in September 2023. We are also continuing the search for another female physician to join our practice. We have some outstanding prospects, but this is a process that takes time.

Thank you for your continued support of Nemaha Valley Community Hospital and its services, including Seneca Family Practice. This is an exciting time for our organization. Watch for more information on new services and providers in the near future.

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a healthy, happy new year!

Kiley Floyd
Nemaha Valley Community Hospital

NVCH Provides STOP THE BLEED Training

The NVCH Industrial Wellness Program is proud to partner with Nemaha County EMS to certify area businesses, organizations and our community members on the lifesaving skills course, STOP THE BLEED®. The goal of STOP THE BLEED® is to save lives by training people across the country how to stop traumatic bleeding. The training session will also include a CPR/AED refresher. 

STOP THE BLEED® is a grassroots national awareness campaign and call-to-action built on military experience and Hartford Consensus recommendations. The Hartford Consensus in an expert group convened in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. When experts looked back at the Sandy Hook school shooting, they found that some deaths could have been prevented if people on site were trained in basic bleeding control techniques. They describe the public as “immediate responders” and essential to providing point-of-injury hemorrhage control.

The importance of this recommendation becomes obvious when one considers that victims can bleed to death before the arrival of emergency medical services. Approximately 40% of trauma-related deaths worldwide are due to bleeding or its consequences, establishing hemorrhage as the most common cause of preventable death in trauma.

  • Average time to bleed out: 2 to 5 minutes
  • Average time for 1st responders to arrive: 7 to 10 minutes
  • Bystanders can fill the gap with STOP THE BLEED®

In October of 2015 the White House recognized STOP THE BLEED® as a national public awareness campaign. Since then, the STOP THE BLEED® program has continued to grow as we continue to witness or experience unexpected violence and injuries in our daily lives—on the highway, in the workplace, at schools and in other public places where we should be able to gather with an expectation of safety. 

NVCH will host their next STOP THE BLEED® training session in January. If you or someone you know is interested in attending the training session or if your place of business or organization would like a private training session, please contact Becky Bartkoski at 785-336-6181.

In-Lab Sleep Study: What’s in it for YOU?

A lot goes on in your brain and in your body while you sleep. Tracking this activity during a sleep study can help your doctor diagnose and treat a variety of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless legs syndrome, insomnia, and nighttime behaviors like sleepwalking and REM sleep behavior disorder.

A sleep study is a non-invasive, overnight exam that allows a sleep lab technician to monitor you while you sleep to see what’s happening in your brain and body. Sleep studies can be done in-lab or in-home. In-home sleep studies allow you to do the testing in the comfort of your own bed, but in-lab sleep studies provide a more detailed study and diagnose a broader range and severity of sleep disorders.

“An in-lab sleep study permits more detailed monitoring of the patient’s brainwaves, oxygen saturation, leg motion, heart rate, respiratory effort and airflow and other critical benchmarks for diagnosing many sleep disorders such as REM sleep disorders and insomnia,” said NVCH Respiratory Therapy Director Dawn Osterhaus, RRT. “In-home studies are limited to the diagnosis of only obstructive sleep apnea and cannot detect other sleep disorders.”

Sleep studies at Nemaha Valley Community Hospital (NVCH) are completed by one of our trained sleep lab technicians. The studies are usually scheduled for evening and night hours (7 p.m. to 6 a.m.) in one of our private sleep study rooms. “I arrived for my sleep study and Dawn got me set up for the evening, she explained everything in detail before I settled in for the night,” said Mark Studer who recently had a sleep study at NVCH. “I was comfortable and fell asleep right away.”

If the sleep technician suspects that you have obstructive sleep apnea, you may wear a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine during the second half of the night in the sleep lab. The technician will adjust the machine and monitor to see if it improves your sleep. “Within the first couple of hours Dawn noticed my oxygen levels dropping so she woke me up and fitted me for a CPAP, I slept great the rest of the night,” said Studer.

Studer also mentioned that after his sleep study Dawn reviewed his results with him in detail, helped get him fitted with the proper face mask for his CPAP machine and continues to check in with him frequently to make sure that everything is going well, and he is continuing to feel good. “Dawn and Danielle are incredibly helpful, caring and very knowledgeable,” commented Studer.

When asked about what symptoms prompted the need for Studer’s sleep study he mentioned waking up exhausted with a dry throat and continuing to feel tired throughout the day. He also remembers struggling to stay awake behind the wheel. Studer was aware that these symptoms were not normal, so he scheduled an appointment with his SFP primary care physician to discuss his options to improve his health and wellbeing. After meeting with Dr. Bartkoski, it was determined that a sleep study was necessary, so Dr. Bartkoski made the referral, and it was scheduled shorty after that. “It was an incredibly easy process,” said Studer.

If you are experiencing sleep issues or daytime symptoms such as fatigue, drowsiness, depression, or difficulty concentrating, schedule an appointment with your doctor today. These symptoms often have an underlying issue, and your doctor can help you determine whether a sleep study is right for your health and wellbeing. For additional information about in-lab or in-home steep studies at NVCH please contact Dawn or Danielle at 785-336-0589.

YOUR Mental Health Matters

Since the start of the pandemic, more and more people are talking about mental health. An increasing number of folks are starting to see it for what it is: one important component of your overall health and well-being, just like your physical health. But mental health conditions, resources, and conversations can still feel complicated and out of reach.

Are there common warning signs for mental health conditions or crises? Are there specific factors that can lead to mental health conditions or even crises? What resources are out there – and how do I know if they’re right for me?

Many people are learning about mental health topics for the first time. Having a widespread understanding of the topic can help you be more informed if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health condition or crisis.

Around half of people in the U.S. will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in their life, so everyone should know what to look out for.

Everyone should have the support needed to thrive. There’s often no one single cause for a mental health condition. Instead, there are many possible risk factors that can influence how likely a person is to experience a mental health condition or how serious the symptoms may be.

Some risk factors for mental health conditions include: trauma, which can be a one-time event or ongoing; your environment and how it impacts your health and quality of life (also known as social determinants of health like financial stability and health care access); genetics; brain chemistry; and your habits and lifestyle such as a lack of sleep.

Of course, understanding the risk factors for a mental health condition can be more difficult when it’s your own mental health. Take time to ask yourself about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to see if this is part of a pattern that may be caused by a mental health condition. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Have things that used to feel easy started feeling difficult?
  • Does the idea of doing daily tasks like making your bed now feel really, really hard?
  • Have you lost interest in activities and hobbies you used to enjoy?
  • Do you feel irritated, possibly to the point of lashing out at people you care about?

Our society focuses much more on physical health than mental health, but both are equally important. If you are concerned about your mental health, there are several options available. You are not alone – help is out there, and recovery is possible. It may be hard to talk about your concerns, but simply acknowledging to yourself that you’re struggling is a really big step. 

Please contact your SFP physician at 785-336-6107 for additional information. If you’re struggling with your mental health we are here to provide support and help you find the right tools to improve you mental health and increase your resiliency.

Progress Continues for NVCH Building Project

The Nemaha Valley Community Hospital’s building and expansion project is edging closer to reality as the team wraps up the design phase and is now working to establish a construction phasing plan for the 22-million-dollar expansion and remodel to the current hospital. “We are excited to report that we have had a couple of very effective meetings with AHRS and Health Facilities Group to work through details of the initial design,” said Kiley Floyd NVCH CEO. “The USDA loan application has been a work in progress as well.  Our Finance Department staff is working diligently to ensure we have all the information required for the final loan application.” 

The expansion and remodel project will strengthen our capabilities and provide the infrastructure necessary to continue the level of service and quality of care vital for our rural hospital. “There will always be change in the world of healthcare and adapting to that constant change is essential for us to continue to provide the level of service and high quality of care our patients and their families deserve,” stated Floyd. “This is an essential investment in our healthcare team and the success of our organization.”

The design will integrate new technology, create an environment that improves the patient experience and efficiency for staff, and ensure a sustainable future for health care in our area. Additions and upgrades to critical improvement areas throughout the facility including:

  • New nursing wing with 14 patient rooms, private family room and direct access to the Emergency Department.
  • Expanding and upgrading of the Emergency Department to meet the needs of today’s technology in addition to privacy and security requirements. It is also critical ‘safe’ areas are created for our staff, patients and visitors.
  • Enhancing the surgical and radiology wings to meet regulatory and equipment standards. 
  • New services including Oncology and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. 
  • Updating mechanical systems facility wide. The air handling units, medical air system, boilers and hot water heaters, and our electrical system have all outlived their life expectancy and are not suitable for meeting regulatory demands. 

These enhancements ensure that our patients can stay close to home when seeking the best medical care available. “We are always looking for ways to improve the patient experience while delivering the highest quality of care possible,” said Lynda Cross, NVCH Director of Nursing. “This new design will help us centralize patient care as well as enhance patient safety, privacy and comfort—all very important when it comes to delivering first-rate nursing and emergency care service.” 

The hospital expansion will be paid for through community support, grants, and loans from the USDA. The Nemaha Valley Health Care Foundation is proud to sponsor the Investing in Our Families and Future Capital Campaign to support the NVCH building and expansion project. “Nearly 200 hospital staff, community donors and local businesses have supported the campaign so far, and now, NVHCF is asking for additional support from the public,” said Courtney Schmelzle, NVHC Foundation Director. “It’s important that we continue to invest and support our hospital because medicine never stops growing. It’s always changing and have immediate access to health care in our community is vital.”

For more information about the Hospital expansion please contact Kiley Floyd at 785-336-6181. To learn more about the current Capital Campaign contact Courtney Schmelzle at 785-336-0426

Nemaha Valley Community Hospital Announces Expansion Plans

Nemaha Valley Community Hospital unveils plans to build a 22-million-dollar expansion and remodel to the current hospital. This project will address many critical improvement areas throughout the facility.

“The constant change in the needs of our communities, standards of care, new governmental regulations, and advances in medical technology require us to continuously evaluate our services, equipment, physical plant and staff. These evaluations are essential for us to continue to provide the level of service and high quality of care our patients and their families deserve,” said Kiley Floyd, NVCH CEO. “We have a beautiful building and have been blessed to have been able to maintain the infrastructure for such a long period. However, we now need to address some critical issues and expand to meet emerging services.”

• Critical issues include but are not limited to: The Emergency Room is too small to meet the needs of today’s technological advances in addition to privacy and security concerns.
• Decontamination facilities in our ER do not meet the state or national standards.
• Updated Radiology equipment needs a much larger space to meet patient comfort and regulatory standards.
• Respiratory Therapy currently works out of an area designed to be a storage closet.
• The ability to advance technologies in our laboratory are hindered by a lack of space for additional equipment.
• Surgery staff has had to take space away from other functions to meet standards. A larger space is needed to meet regulatory demands as well as our growing surgery services.
• Patient room bathrooms are too small and could create safety issues for patients and staff.
• Many of our mechanical systems are original equipment that are over 32 years old. They have outlived their life expectancy and are not suitable for meeting regulatory demands. One way or another these will have to be replaced.

“We believe the time is now to invest in the continued success of our organization and the infrastructure needed,” said Fred Henry, NVCH Board of Trustees Chairperson. “A great hospital is essential for our personal health and the strength of our community. The hospital expansion will be paid for through community support, grants and loans from the USDA. This expansion will not result in increased property taxes.”

According to T.J. Haverkamp, Chairperson of Nemaha Valley Health Care Foundation, “We are in the early stages of a Capital Campaign to raise $2.5 million dollars to support the hospital expansion project. We will be announcing the formal kickoff of the campaign in the next few weeks. We ask everyone to support this project because it is essential to the survival of the quality health care we have come to expect at NVCH.”

CEO Floyd added, “We are currently in the design phase. We are working with HFG Architects out of Wichita. The request for proposals for a Construction Manager have been published. That award will be made by the end of October. Our timeline for construction is then dependent on a number of things including the USDA loan process. We approached this project from the standpoint of ‘here is what we need’ and ‘here is what we can afford’.

We recognize this is a long process but want to do it right the first time. It is hard not to be excited about the hospital’s growth potential and opportunities with some additional space. The key is to set this organization up for at least another 30 years of continued success.

For more information about the Hospital expansion please contact Kiley Floyd at 785-336-6181. To learn more about the upcoming Capital Campaign contact Courtney Schmelzle at 785-336-0426.

Are you wanting to make some healthy changes in your diet and physical activity? Here are some of the best places to start!

  • What are you drinking? Take inventory of any beverage that contains calories and see where you are for the day, this includes adding anything to your coffee. That is one of the easiest ways to decrease calories and sugar. Drink primarily water (1/2 your body weight in pounds is the amount of ounces you should aim for). Tip: Alcohol has 7 calories per gram!
  • What are you snacking on? If you are eating 3 meals per day, aim for a 200 calorie or less snack. We tend to way over do it on snacks these days – 1 pop and candy bar = 400 calories! Find something with good protein and some fiber to keep you satisfied.
    How many fruits and vegetables daily do you take in? 5 servings per day is the minimum recommendation but we tend to fall well short of even that. Don’t like many vegetables or fruits? Double up on the ones you do like, limit or omit any added fats during cooking. Fresh, frozen, canned all count. A good variety helps fight many cancers.
  • How often are you eating out? Grabbing something from Casey’s counts! It has been well studied that the more we eat out the more calories we tend to take in. Pack your meals for work, save eating out for special occasions.
  • What is your activity status? For weight maintenance 225 minutes per week is required. That is 45 minutes 5 days per week. If you are nowhere near that, start slow with some form of activity you like and work your way up each week. Grab a friend or family member to walk or play hoops with. If you have young children get out and play/practice a sport with them.

All the diet advice can sometimes be overwhelming, begin by tracking your intake and activity on paper or by using a phone app to evaluate your current eating and exercise patterns. From there you can pick up on some areas that need work and make some goals on how you are going to change that behavior. Of course that can be a challenge as well so if further help is needed feel free to contact our Dietitian Leah Heinen, RD, LD at 785-336-6181 ext. 0322.

Positive Experience is Key

Sharing your recent experience with us is vital in helping us continue to improve our services for you and your family!

We value our relationship with our community and the surrounding communities. We are proud to be a trusted part of your family and look forward to providing personalized, compassionate care for many years to come. We are always exploring ways to improve our services for you and your family. For us to continue to improve these services we need your input! After your visit to the clinic or any of our ancillary services you may receive a survey via email. Click here to read what your friends, family and neighbors are saying about Nemaha Valley Community Hospital and Seneca Family Practice.

NVCH Provides STOP THE BLEED Training