Category Archives: News

Hospital is Prepared for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Ringgold County Hospital is following all the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Iowa Department of Health in response to the current Coronavirus pandemic affecting the nation. “We’re healthcare professionals, and along with everyone else in the country, we’re taking this situation very seriously,” said Gordon Winkler, CEO of RCH. “In order to protect the safety and well being of all our patients and staff, we are pre-screening everyone wishing to gain entry to the hospital for fever, chills or sweats, cough, shortness of breath, or nausea/diarrhea.” Some routine exams and wellness visits at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic have been rescheduled to reduce the potential spread of this virus. Winkler added that the hospital has specific requests of the community:

1. Whether you are sick or not, stay home. Social distancing will slow down the spread of COVID-19.
2. Wash your hands frequently and clean all the surfaces in your home.
3. If you feel sick, call 641-464-3226 before coming into the hospital. You will be directed to the appropriate department for help.
4. Call “211” in Iowa, or 877-435-8411 in Missouri, to receive general information on COVID-19.

Although there have not been any COVID-19 cases reported in Ringgold County to date (as of 4/6/2020), the hospital has made changes both physically and operationally to ensure the safety of patients and healthcare workers. A dedicated entrance to the hospital has been created for those experiencing breathing issues. The dedicated entrance is on the north end of the hospital next to the Emergency Room
entrance. In addition, car-side triage and services have been implemented to add to the safety of both patients and healthcare providers. Patients can have simple services like blood drawn without ever leaving their cars!

Visitor access to the hospital has been restricted and entry to the building is limited to the two main entrances. The main entrance is open between 6:30am and 5:00pm Monday – Friday, and the Emergency Room entrance is open at all times. Anyone who enters the hospital will be pre-screened for temperature and other COVID-19 risk factors. No public walking is allowed until further notice.
Additionally, we are instituting strict visiting restriction. For the immediate future, NO visitors will be allowed in our facilities.

Visitor Restrictions
NO visitors will be allowed in our facilities.
Some exceptions will be made for extenuating circumstances.
Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis for:

  • Children admitted to the hospital
  • Patients receiving end-of-life care

For approved exceptions, only one visitor per patient will be allowed. They must be:

  • 18 or older
  • Either immediate family members, powers of attorney, guardians or patient representatives

Checklist to prepare and protect yourself and your family (DOWNLOAD AND PRINT)

PLAN AND PREPARE: TAKE EVERYDAY PREVENTIVE ACTION: TAKE CARE OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD’S
EMOTIONAL HEALTH:
• Get up-to-date information about local
COVID-19 activity from public officials and
departments.
• Create a list of important organizations and providers your household can call in case of emergencies.
• Choose a designated room that can be used to separate family members who are sick or under quarantine.
• Stay in touch.
• Stay informed about the local outbreak situation.
• Notify your work or school if your schedule or arrangements need to change.
• If you live alone, ask family, friends, and health care providers to check on you during the outbreak.
• Stay in touch with family and friends with chronic medical conditions.
• Wash your hands frequently.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Let family members who are sick or have underlying issues stay at home and away from the office, school or crowded places.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• Avoid sharing personal items.
• Outbreaks are stressful for both adults and children. Find resources here.
• Children may respond differently to stressful situations.
• Talk with your children and answer their questions. Let them voice out their fears or worries.
• Practice meditation.
• Stick to a schedule.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit the Iowa Department of Health: www.idph.iowa.gov and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www. cdc.gov.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – What you need to know

Ringgold County Hospital, an affiliate of MercyOne, continues to closely monitor the international situation concerning COVID-19. COVID-19, originally referred to as 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCOV), recently discovered in Wuhan, China. Cases of COVID-19 are appearing across the globe, and we are monitoring the virus to help keep our communities healthy.

At Ringgold County Hospital, we are following guidance provided by the CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health to screen patients for symptoms including fever and respiratory signs as well as the patient’s travel history and exposure to those who have traveled. If a person is found to have symptoms and travel history, Ringgold County Hospital will isolate the patient and alert the Iowa Department of Public Health to coordinate testing. 

If you begin to experience symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, call your primary care provider before coming in.

What are COVID-19 symptoms?
Coronaviruses are respiratory, meaning most people who have a Coronavirus will have a cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, and fever. 

In 80% of patients, COVID-19 causes only mild cold symptoms. The elderly, and those with pre-existing medical conditions appear to be more vulnerable to the virus.

If you begin to experience symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19, call your primary care provider (contact Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic at 641-464-4470) before coming in.

How do people get Coronavirus?
COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, similar to the flu – through the air from a cough or sneeze of someone who has the virus.

It may be possible a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object which has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. 

How can we prevent the spread of COVID-19?
To help prevent the spread of all viruses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Should we wear facemasks to prevent COVID-19?
The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain like grocery stores and pharmacies. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected. Learn more about cloth face masks.

If you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, follow the steps below to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home and community:

  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Wear a facemask
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
  • Monitor your symptoms

10 ways to manage respiratory symptoms at home – print instructions

Additional Information
More information about the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa can be found on an IDPH website dedicated to the outbreak. Iowans can also call 2-1-1 to get answers to questions about COVID-19. The hotline is staffed 24/7. For the latest CDC guidelines, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

New Dermatology Clinic

Alison Metzger, MSN, ARNP, FNP-C

Ringgold County Hospital is pleased to announce a new partnership with Radiant Complexions Dermatology Clinics. Alison Metzger, MSN, ARNP, FNP-C, will be seeing patients once a month in the Visiting Physicians Clinic. Alison is a nationally board certified family nurse practitioner trained to provide care for the entire family. She is also fellowship trained in dermatology. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Grand View University in 2010, she earned her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Maryville University in 2015.

A native of Iowa, Alison grew up in Carroll, and recently moved with her husband and two dogs to Norwalk. Dermatology appeals to her because, “I like to be able to see things and fix the things I can see. It’s a very challenging practice. We’re much more than just pimples.” In fact, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It is estimated that approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. Research estimates that nonmelanoma skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, affects more than 3 million Americans a year. Radiant Complexions is one of 13 clinics owned and operated by Iowa Dermatology. According to Alison, Charles Love, M.D., the owner, believes in bringing dermatology into the community by training nurse practitioners like herself through his fellowship programs. “The whole idea is to reach people who otherwise wouldn’t have access,” she explained. “Patients can get in and take care of things earlier and more easily when they have access to a dermatology specialist and don’t have to travel.” Alison is trained and ready to treat patients with skin issues across the board. From psoriasis to ectopic dermatitis to all kinds of skin cancers. “I am absolutely excited to be in Mount Ayr every month,” she said. “Our patients are going to see better results when they’re treated sooner rather than later.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (641) 464-4409. 

Welcome Zeeshan Jawa, MD

Welcome Zeeshan Jawa, M.D.

The Visiting Physicians Clinic at Ringgold County Hospital welcomes Dr. Zeeshan Jawa. He will be providing Oncology and Hematology services on the second Thursday of each month beginning January of 2020.  Dr. Roy Molina, who previously staffed the Oncology/Hematology Clinic for many years, is retiring. The entire team at RCH thanks Dr. Molina for his service. We will miss him and wish him well in retirement. 

Roy Molina, M.D. retired December of 2019

Dr. Jawa received his medical training at Lahore Medical and Dental College in Lahore, Pakistan, followed by an internal medicine internship and residency at St. Francis Hospital (University of Illinois at Chicago) in Evanston, IL. He completed his fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He joined MOHA in 2018.  To set an appointment with Dr. Jawa, call 641-464-4409.

Welcome Nurse Practitioner Denise Coleman

Denise Coleman, Nurse practitioner and lifelong learner

Denise Coleman didn’t plan to go into medicine. She had a pretty typical childhood growing up on her family’s farm near Bedford. She had her three sons very early and settled into a factory job where she assumed she would stay. When the factory closed, she had to make a decision. “We had an opportunity to go to school to learn new skills, or to find another job,” she explained. “A really close friend said ‘Denise – we’re going to nursing school!’ and so I went. It was the luckiest thing I ever did!”

After commuting 90 miles a day for two years to attend Southwestern Community College in Creston, she earned her associate degree and became a Registered Nurse. She had done her clinical training at Ringgold County Hospital and when she graduated, she was offered a job immediately. “I’ve done a lot of work in the Emergency Room,” she said. “ER is my baby. I worked there and did bedside nursing with medical-surgical patients for two years.” At that point, she was approached by the hospital’s leadership to help build its electronic medical records system. “I did that for about a year and enjoyed it. I’m a jack of all trades,” said Denise. In the meantime, she was promoted to be the manager of ER and Med-Surg.

Not satisfied with the status quo, Denise went back to school in 2015 to earn her bachelor’s and then her master’s degrees. She has now completed all the work necessary to become a Nurse Practitioner. “I can diagnose, treat, prescribe, and provide medical advice,” she explained. “I could open an independent practice in the state of Iowa.” But she has no plans to open her own clinic. Ringgold County Hospital is her home away from home. “The hospital has been my employer for 11 years. I love the variety of my job. I’m a utility player. Somedays I’m in the ER, I do some hospital rounds, and I care for sick patients in the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic. That allows the clinic staff to keep appointments available.” Caring for patients who are part of a rural population is particularly rewarding for Denise. “I’m dedicated to providing the best care – no matter where you live. Our patients become our family. I love getting them well and keeping them well.” Denise’s hard work and dedication has contributed to her success while providing an extraordinary role model for her three sons, now in their 20s. “They’ve absolutely seen the value of hard work and of not being complacent.” She’s not about to rest either. “I’ll continue my education and add some more certifications!”