Tag Archives: new year

Growing Into 2020

Visiting Physicians Clinics Expanded

Bringing You More Local Services

Expanding the hospital’s Visiting Physicians Clinics has long been a priority for Ringgold County Hospital. Keeping patients close to home while they benefit from experienced, top-notch specialists contributes to a healthier community.

January of 2020 began with exciting news as Ringgold County Hospital announced a new partnership with Radiant Complexions Dermatology Clinics. Rodney Clark, ARNP, FNP-C, a certified family nurse practitioner trained in dermatology, treats patients with skin issues including psoriasis, ectopic dermatitis and various skin cancers.

In August, RCH  partnered with Des Moines Eye Surgeons to offer cornea and comprehensive ophthalmology with a focus on treating cataracts. Roughly 10 area residents received the gift of better sight in 2020 by electing cataract surgery in Mt. Ayr rather than traveling out of the area. 

During November of 2020, a partnership with Midwest Integrated Pain Care allowed area residents to benefit from pain management services at Ringgold County Hospital. Brian Jacobs, MS, CRNA, NSPM-C, joins Melissa Friedrich, current anesthesia provider at Ringgold County Hospital to provide local services such as: epidural therapeutic injections, image-guided joint injections, Botox, trigger point injections, and other therapy options. 

Ringgold County Hospital also broke ground on a building expansion that will provide additional space and allow more people to benefit from seeing specialists in the visiting physician clinic. In addition, the Senior Life Solutions program will be able to reach twice the number of people we are currently serving, and a new retail pharmacy will offer area residents greater access to necessary medicines.

Pandemic Preparations

After a relatively normal winter, the winds of March blew in the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that Ringgold County Hospital and the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic rose to meet the challenges. We continue to follow all the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and continue to work closely with Iowa Department of Health/Ringgold County Public Health to help those impacted by novel coronavirus. “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 response, the hospital implemented several new safety procedures, including a dedicated entrance where employees, patients and visitors are pre-screened prior to entry. In addition, car-side triage and services were offered to provide greater safety of both patients and healthcare providers. 

The Mount Ayr Medical Clinic also adapted by offering new telemedicine options for patients to visit with their provider virtually. Using a smartphone with a microphone and a camera, we are now able to conduct routine exams, diagnose illnesses, and even check in with people struggling with mental health issues. Patients don’t have to leave their homes, which helps prevent the spread of the virus.

Emphasis on Regular Screenings

As the COVID-19 pandemic raged across the country, many people put off routine health screenings. Even in rural areas like Ringgold County, healthcare professionals have advised patients to postpone some testing, but not forever. Bruce Ricker, D.O. said that when the pandemic was thought to last two to four weeks, it made perfect sense to postpone screenings like colonoscopies. “But as time marches on, we need to look at the risks versus the benefits.” Katie Willcox, D.O. also reminds parents to keep up with their children’s immunizations. “This is not the time to skip doses,” she said.

Even in the midst of the pandemic, we continued to remind residents of the importance of checking in regularly with your primary care provider. In March, we profiled Lonnie Hawbaker, who discovered a pre-cancerous mass in his colon after a routine colonoscopy. In June, we heard from Brett Ruggles, a local basketball coach who is a survivor of testicular cancer. During October, three breast cancer survivors shared their stories of how a simple 10-minute mammogram saved their lives.

Happy Holidays!

Gordon Winkler CEO
Gordon Winkler CEO

A message from Gordon Winkler, CEO

As we approach the end of another year, I’d like to reflect and express thanks for our hospital, our community, and the tireless service of the staff here at Ringgold County Hospital. You may have noticed that we have a new communication theme: Caring is our Calling. I think this speaks to the qualities found in those who serve at Ringgold County Hospital. We are dedicated to providing the best possible care to our friends, our neighbors, and our loved ones every day. Whether you’re visiting the Mount Ayr Medical Clinic for a well-baby checkup, or visiting an aging parent after surgery, I’m confident you’ll find the same level of commitment and compassion.

This year, I celebrated 30 years as the CEO of this institution. I couldn’t be more pleased and proud of what we’ve accomplished over three decades. I’m looking forward to 2018. Happy Holidays!

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!

Print and Read the Entire December Newsletter

Make 2016 a Great Year


The Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic is your partner in good health.

Did you make some New Year’s resolutions? Maybe you promised your children that you really are going to quit smoking. Perhaps it was a commitment to your wife that you will eat more vegetables and drop 20 pounds. Or it might have been a conversation with yourself to exercise more and lower your blood pressure.

Every January, many of us make resolutions big and small, and then often struggle to keep them. The great news is that you’re not alone! The staff at the Mt. Ayr Medical Clinic is ready to partner with you to help you reach your goals. Practitioners in the MAMC provide care to all ages.

To kick off 2016, we asked some of the clinic staff to provide their favorite tips for a healthy and happy year:
  • DO wash your hands; wash your hands; wash your hands!
  • DO take breaks during the work day. Get up and move around. Go outside and get some fresh air or stay inside and walk the hallways!
  • DO get up and workout in the morning before your brain has time to realize what it is doing!
  • DO replace your French fries with a side salad or vegetable when dining out.
  • DO make the decision to take control of your health care. Start with knowing your numbers and why they are important.
  • DON’T smoke or use tobacco. Many preventable illnesses are linked to smoking. Tobacco is linked to nearly 1 in 5 deaths in the United States.
  • DO limit alcohol to no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
  • DO eat healthy. Include four to five cups of fruits and vegetables per day. Eat whole-grain, high-fiber foods. There is no “magic pill or diet.” Eat breakfast and don’t skip meals. Aim for 8 glasses of water per day.
  • DO lose weight if you’re overweight. A high-fiber, low-fat diet and regular exercise can help you lose weight and keep it off.
  • DO exercise. It can help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and depression. Try to exercise for 30-60 minutes 4-6 times per week.
  • DON’T use tanning booths. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US. Wear SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, wear protective clothing and hats when outside and limit sun exposure.
  • DO keep your immunizations up to date. Check with your medical provider to review your records.
  • DO make time for yearly health screening appointments. Visit with your physician at least once per year to maintain your optimal health and well being and make sure you are actively preventing disease.
  • DO take charge of your life. Health is a state of mind and body. When you experience improved physical health, you will gain energy and a positive outlook on your life. Set small goals that are easy to add to your daily routine.

Print Health Tips