Author Archives: Jennifer Kellner

FREE Screenings

Did you know people have no way of knowing they have high cholesterol or high blood pressure without being tested? We encourage you to learn more about cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart health.

High cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. As your blood cholesterol rises, so does your risk of coronary heart disease. The good news is, you can control it by eating a heart healthy diet. You can also manage other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Ringgold County Hospital (RCH) recognizes the importance of knowing and understanding your numbers. Free blood pressure and cholesterol screenings are being conducted at Ringgold County Hospital February 13-17 from 7:00 – 10:00 a.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis. You must be fasting to take part in these screenings. Your results will be sent directly to you and we encourage you to share a copy of your results with your primary health care practitioner.


Medicare Wellness Visits – What You Need to Know

Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare patients are eligible for wellness visits. There are two types: Welcome to Medicare Visit and Annual Wellness Visits. Patients are eligible for the Welcome visit the first year after signing up for Medicare. It is done by a healthcare provider and is covered one time at no cost to the patient (unless the healthcare provider adds on additional testing.) During the visit, patients will be checked for vision, risk of depression, memory, risk of falls, health risks, ability to care for themselves, and chronic medical conditions.

Once a patient has had Medicare for longer than 12 months, they may qualify for Wellness Visits yearly. This can be done by a health care provider or nurse. This too is at no cost to the patient. During these visits, the patient’s medical history and medications are reviewed. A Health Risk Assessment is completed along with testing for vital signs, vision, height, weight, and BMI. Patients are assessed for cognitive impairment, safety concerns, and risk of depression. A written plan is then reviewed with each patient regarding screening tests, shots, or other preventive services that are needed and what is covered by Medicare. Contact your health care provider at the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic to schedule a wellness visit.

Annual Wellness Visit & Preventive Screening Recommendations

Vaccines (flu, pneumococcal) – For all Medicare patients

Bone mass measurements – For Medicare patients at risk for developing osteoporosis

Cardiovascular screening blood tests  – For all asymptomatic Medicare patients

Colorectal cancer screening – For Medicare patients age 50 and over

Diabetes screenings – Medicare patients with certain risk factors

Diabetes self-management training –  Medicare patients at risk for complications from diabetes

Glaucoma screening – For people with diabetes mellitus or a family history

Prostate cancer screening – For all male patients 50 or older

Screening pap tests and pelvic exams – For all female Medicare patients

Screening mammography – For all females 40 and older

Smoking cessation – All Medicare patients

Walden Family Stays Well at RCH

Dick and Virginia Walden maintain their health at RCH

Dick and Virginia
Walden maintain their
health at RCH

In patients, out patients, Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic, Ringgold County Hospital, specialty clinic, you name it, and Virginia and Dick Walden have probably experienced it. Residents of Tingley, they’ve lived in the area since 2011 and are big fans of the hospital, the clinic, the entire staff, and particularly Dr. Bruce Ricker. “Dr. Ricker is so personable, and very thorough,” said Virginia. “He’s very caring, but not afraid to tell you if something’s wrong. He’s been very patient with us, and keeps us on a short leash,” she added laughing. “But seriously, if something should go wrong, he’s on it right away.”

The couple is in their mid-70s and have known each other since they met in nursery school in the early 1940s. A retired pastor and church musician, they’ve spent their lives caring for others so they really appreciate the care they receive from the RCH community. They moved to southern Iowa on the advice of their daughter, a nurse practitioner, who wanted them to be closer to her. Dick suffered a stroke in 2000 and was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010 at about the same time he had a quadruple heart bypass. With Dr. Ricker’s guidance, he’s no longer on any diabetes medicine and is controlling it with diet alone. He’s also had a hernia repaired and an endoscopy procedure with Dr. Wehling.

Virginia’s been hospitalized three times in the past five years with bronchitis, a broken arm and kidney stones. She also has an irregular heartbeat which is monitored through an implant and wireless technology. Two “trigger fingers” were repaired for her by Dr. Homedan who also worked with her on carpal tunnel syndrome. They monitor a myriad of health issues using a calendar on the side of the refrigerator to keep up with their appointments for blood work, tests, and checkups. “Everything has been coming out really well,” reports Virginia. “Of course for some things, we need to see a specialist in Des Moines. But the doctors here know when to recommend a specialist and when we can be treated locally. We are so fortunate to have this hospital in our community. We just love it here!

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Coach’s Corner – Caring for Yourself

Eat Well: It’s common to pack on 5-10 pounds during the holiday season, but there are ways you can eat both healthy and well! Know which foods are high in caloric contents and low in nutrition. You don’t have to deprive yourself, but indulge in moderation. Eat smaller meals instead of one huge buffet. Opt for healthy options at home so you can splurge a little at holiday parties. Remember to be aware of all calories – especially liquid calories in alcoholic beverages.

Stay active: Exercise is just as important during the holidays as any other time of the year. You should be active at least four to five times a week, preferably with some aerobic exercise every day. The weather may be cold outside, but it’s worth it. Bundle up!

Prevent illness and injuries: Colds and the flu are most prevalent in the winter. Prevent them by washing your hands regularly and urging others to do the same. Stay warm by dressing layers. Sprinkle sand on icy patches.

Help others: Depression and suicidal tendencies can increase during the holidays. Watch for signs of depression among your friends and family. Take an active role to support those in need.

Free Crisis Hotline
Cross Mental Health
Available 24 hours a day

Stay Safe During the Holidays!

Here at Ringgold County Hospital, we love our patients, but we don’t want to see you during the holidays because of an accident around your home. We hope you enjoy these basic safety tips to help keep your family healthy as we head into the new year.

Happy Holidays from RCH

Happy Holidays from RCH

Decorating safety

• Never use lighted candles near trees, boughs, curtains, or with any potentially flammable item.
• Small children may think that holiday plants look good enough to eat, but many plants may be poisonous or can cause severe stomach problems. Watch out for mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis. Keep them out of reach.
• If you display a live Christmas tree, put it up away from fireplaces, radiators, and
other heat sources. Make sure the tree doesn’t block foot traffic or doorways. Keep it well watered to avoid the dry branches from catching fire from the heat of light bulbs.
• If you use an artificial tree, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant.
Artificial trees with built-in electrical systems should have the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.
• Turn off all lights on trees and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Unplug extension cords when not in use.
• Avoid placing breakable tree ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower branches where small children or pets can reach them.

Hosting and Food Safety

• When preparing a holiday meal for friends and family, be sure to wash hands, utensils, sink, and anything else that has come in contact with raw poultry.
• Never defrost food at room temperature. Thaw it in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.
• Keep your knives sharp! Most knife injuries occur due to dull blades.
• Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in covered shallow containers within two hours after cooking. Date the leftovers for future use.
• The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year. You can’t avoid stress completely, but you can give yourself some relief. Take time to enjoy the season!

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