Category Archives: News

Gordon Winkler celebrates 30 years at RCH

Gordon Winkler CEO

Gordon Winkler is the longest running CEO in the State of Iowa! He began his journey at RCH on June 1, 1987. Ringgold County Hospital staff celebrated with Administrator/CEO Gordon Winkler on July 25 to recognize his 30 years of dedicated service. Family members Melissa Ballantyne (Daughter shown on left), wife Linda, and Heidi Bader (Daughter shown on right) were able to join the festivities.

Senior Life Solutions Earns Two Awards

Grace Warin (left), Debra Robertson (center), and
Becky Hunter celebrate their awards.

Senior Life Solutions staff was honored with two awards last month by their parent company Psychiatric Medical Care. Grace Warin, OPC, received Office Patient Coordinator of the year 2016. Grace was selected from 42 programs across the United States. A second award, Program of the Year 2016 Finalist, was presented to the Senior Life Solutions team, which includes Program Director Debra Robertson, RN, CCM; Therapist Becky Hunter, LSW; and Office Patient Coordinator Grace Warin.

The Senior Life Solutions clinic is located at the Ringgold County Hospital in Mount Ayr. Its vision is to redefine the treatments available to the elderly population with mental health issues. The goal is to provide a program that results in patients not only living longer, but enjoying the quality of life that comes with aging. “We are honored to receive such outstanding awards,” said Debra Robertson. “Our success wouldn’t be possible without the support and partnership of Ringgold County Hospital and its staff.”

Seniors and their caregivers are invited to learn more about the program and how it can be beneficial during the next “Food for Thought” on Tuesday, May 9 at 5:00 in the hospital cafeteria. The program is free, but reservations are requested. Call 641-464-4401.

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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Thank You For Placing Your Trust In Us

Gordon Winkler CEO

When the calendar flips to the month of December, it reminds us that another year is nearly over. It seems appropriate that the holiday season begins with Thanksgiving and carries through to New Year’s Day. We have eleven months to reflect back upon the blessings we received and how much we have to be thankful for. Certain events and accomplishments stick out in our minds, the birth of children or grandchildren, or maybe a wedding was part of this past year for you. Here at Ringgold County Hospital, we can be thankful for the many opportunities we have had to assist families, neighbors and friends with their healthcare needs. Some have needed surgery, some have anxiously waited on results to diagnose medical issues, some have required rehab, but all have looked to us for support and placed their trust in us.

Gordon Winkler CEO

Greetings from CEO Gordon Winkler

My family has had a recent patient experience at RCH. My father was admitted to Skilled Care for rehab following a hospitalization for a blood clot and congestive heart failure. I am thankful for the role each hospital employee played in his care. I was confident in the quality of care he would receive at Ringgold County Hospital. His goal was to be physically able to return home. He commented frequently on the smiles and friendly conversations he had with many of our staff members. Dad felt genuinely cared about. My father’s experience is not at all unusual. Over and over I hear from our patients and their families that Ringgold County Hospital staff provided encouragement, comfort, and excellent care. I’m proud to be a part of such a warm and considerate group.

As we end the year and prepare to start 2017, I want to thank all Ringgold County Hospital employees for their hard work and superior care. I also want to thank you for placing your trust in us. Here’s to a happy and healthy New Year for all of us!

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Rising to the challenge

Dr. Wehling and Melissa Friedrick

Ed Wehling, D.O. and Melissa Friedrich, CRNA

Dr. Ed Wehling and his family are enjoying life in a rural setting while he performs surgeries and treats patients in the same community. When he arrived in Mt. Ayr a couple of years ago, his goal was to provide the people of Ringgold County the option to stay in town instead of traveling to Des Moines for many surgical procedures. He’s pleased with the response. “We seem to have educated patients on what we can do,” he said. “They’ve been very receptive. It’s been great to be able to bring a few new services to the community and keep people from traveling long distances.”

He performs a wide variety of vascular surgeries, including minimally invasive procedures, rather than making surgical incisions. He’s also performed several thoracic procedures in the lungs that have had very good outcomes. One of the most common conditions he treats includes gastric reflux disease and hiatal hernias. “We’re taking care of three to five a month here now,” he said. “The procedure corrects the effects of stomach acid going up into the throat which causes discomfort and can be pre-cancerous.”

With the goal of taking care of people close to home, his team has been able to do many dermatological procedures too. “Now we can treat skin cancers and do biopsies right here. In the past, a patient would have had to go to Des Moines for anything beyond a simple freezing.” Of course, not all surgeries can be planned and scheduled in advance. Traumas and emergencies always take precedence. According to Dr. Wehling, they’ve expanded their trauma capabilities and can keep someone in town who otherwise would have been transported to another facility. “We keep them in a situation where they feel safe.
It’s really important.”

Dr. Wehling hasn’t been surprised by his team’s success, but he commented that it has been a change for the people who have “grown up” in this facility. “Previously, patients that had some of these issues
wouldn’t even be referred here, because we couldn’t have helped them. Unless you can serve them, you don’t see them.” He applauds the surgical staff. “They’ve risen to the challenge and our patients benefit. They can take advantage of this efficiently run facility, which also has lower infection rates than a big-city surgical center. We’re very busy. We do six to nine surgeries a day of varying intensity. We’re able to do that because the staff is so efficient.” Dr. Wehling can’t say enough good things about the surgical team, although he thinks some have been astonished by what they’ve been able to accomplish.
“They have embraced our new capabilities as a challenge, and they have risen to the challenge.”

Join Dr. Wehling for a free educational seminar on Thursday, June 30, at 5:00 p.m. in the Hospital Cafeteria to learn more about the surgical and testing capabilities at Ringgold County Hospital. The program is free, and dinner will be provided, but please call 641-464-4401 by Monday, June 27 to reserve your place.

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