Letters to the editor

A big thank you

Morton and BryanAcademy students, Site Coordinators and staff would like to express their thanks to all parents and students who came to recent open houses.  Special thanks to  Al Copper, and Brandon Malleck from Black Hills Energy, (formerly Sourcegas); Riley Gruntorad from Lexington YMCA, and Brenda Schwarz from the Lexington Public Library, Randy Schwarz & Puppet Team from Calvary Assembly of God, Pastor Kenny Schwarz also from Calvary Assembly of God for coming  and sharing their knowledge and skills, playing games, making  our events great learning experiences, and a whole lot of fun! We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedules.  

Site Coordinators would also like to thank our wonderful staffs, who provide expanded learning opportunities, homework assistance, enrichment programs on a daily basis.  Our staff members are priceless, as are our wonderful High School students who are volunteering in our programs. Nathan Chester, and Ernesto Valencia, thanks for your presence during our open house at Bryan!

Our programs LexingtonAcademy * Multiple Choices are a free after school program open to all our students. Presently we serve over seven hundred students on a daily basis at five separate locations.  Anyone interested in assisting may contact any of our Site Coordinators or Project Directors.  The SPF of our needs, are Supplies, Projects, and of course Funds.  Some supplies that would be utilized are books, games, puzzles.  We would love to have individuals to come in and read, play math games, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, come show us what you do.  You could be the one that sparks an interest in your trade.  We are the future.  Thank you to all who helped with our recent open houses, and to those who took time to come take a closer look, we appreciate you!

Your friends at Morton and Bryan  Elementary,

Tiffany Tingelhoff

 MortonSiteCoordinator-LexingtonAcademy

Melissa Dunn

BryanSiteCoordinator-LexingtonAcademy

Cindy Hendricks

PershingSiteCoordinator-LexingtonAcademy

Stacy Harris

SandozSiteCoordinator-LexingtonAcademy

Patricia Sanchez Stewart

Project Director

Multiple Choices -LexingtonMiddle School

Mr. Drew Welch

Principal- Morton Elementary

Project Director -LexingtonAcademy

Cynthia Boyd

Community Liaison

LexingtonAcademy * Multiple Choices

(Editor’s note: Letters regarding the hospital board race are presented in the order in which they were received. - Ben Schwartz)

Measures of Success

Quiet successes are not very exciting and usually don't result in headlines.

Cooperative successes may not only not be heralded, but, actually …go unnoticed.Perhaps such quiet endeavors hold less public interest because the conflict is absent.

For the past 20 years there has been a team of LRHC health care professionals working together in harmony and with a single minded dedication to do their very best for each patient within their charge.

That truly patient centered dedication was coupled with the team’s willingness to embrace hopeful innovations and to challenge themselves to succeed even in the face of active resistance from those reluctant to alter how things have always been done.

In the course of the past 20 years this team has built a body of work that is every bit as substantial as the bricks and mortar that have now risen within easy view at LexingtonRegionalHealthCenter.

The analysis of that group effort has been the basis for several scientific papers that have been presented at national and international surgical conferences and published in peer reviewed medical journals. The fact that this was accomplished at a small rural hospital and not a major medical center is unusual. It was the analysis of the body of work accomplished by a team, teamwork that is ongoing, representing a tangible measure of success.

Another measure of success in the medical field is when experts recognize the importance of innovations and the positive outcomes rising from them. This can be in the form of citing a scientific paper as a valued reference or in adopting the recommendations made based upon the body of work as  guidelines for others in the medical field or as a standard of care.

In the USA there exists a national surgical organization dealing with gastrointestinal issues called SAGES (Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons). This is a highly respected organization that publishes texts and manuals that list standard of care guidelines for the surgical management of a variety of medical conditions. The published papers based upon the body of work at LRHC were referenced in the SAGES manual and our recommendations were incorporated into its guidelines. A measure of Success.

This LRHC body of work was also cited and incorporated into a national surgical reference textbook publication, “The Obstetric and Gynecology Clinics of North America”.  A Measure of Success.

The same body of work has been recognized, referenced and incorporated into the published OB-GYN surgical guidelines and recommendations for an entire country …France.  A Measure of Success.

The work done at LRHC has been cited and referenced in at least 27 separate scientific surgical publications and textbooks around the world and on 4 different continents …North and South America, Europe and Asia.  The work done the past 20 years,here in rural Nebraska, is viewed as valid and important …from Slovenia to Chile, from China to France and across the USA. A Measure of Success.

Based upon the team’s work done at LRHC over the past 20 years and the related published papers, Dr. Buser, as the team’s representative, has been invited to and participated in several international surgical conferences as a lecturer and as the chief moderator on surgery panel sessions. He has lead discussions surrounding other new paper presentations, while fielding questions from the surgeons attending the conferences, concerning the work done in Lexington …at LRHC.  A Measure of Success.

The surgery team at LRHC was the first hospital outside of the University of Nebraska Medical Center to incorporate the “Wound Vac” into the management of chronic open wounds, leading the way with what is now a widely accepted innovation that has helped speed healing for countless patients. A Measure of Success.

The surgery team at LRHC developed and began practicing a “Time Out” pre-op check list to ensure patient safety, several years before it became a national guideline requirement. A Measure of Success.

In April of 2015 LRHC obtained the FUSE endoscopy system, one of three west of the Mississippi, and still the only one in Nebraska. This is a system that allows enhanced, 330 degree views within the intestine, nearly double the view of the old system. Disease is being found and dealt with every week here at LRHC that would have been previously missed.  A Measure of Success.

LRHC opened an Urgent Care Clinic, which has won national awards for patient satisfaction. A Measure of Success.

LRHC has recruited the first new physicians to the community in years and expanded the medical and surgical subspecialty access for its patients to include Urology,  Orthopedic and Spinal surgery and opened a large, state of the art outpatient treatment facility.  A Measure of Success.

The current administration at LRHC has fostered a respectful, team approach to the management of the hospital, and there is new optimism that permeates the medical staff and every department. Morale is very high. At a time when government regulations are presenting numerous difficult challenges this is an important accomplishment.  A Measure of Success.

LRHC has a dedicated and expanding team of physicians, nurse practitioners, PAs, respiratory therapists, Pharmacists, Radiology technicians, Nurses, and other ancillary staff members who are highly skilled and actually enjoy providing excellent, state of the art care for their patients. This may take the form of inpatient, outpatient, ER, Urgent Care …all at LRHC or via satellite clinics in Elwood or at area businesses.  These teams believe in true patient centered care, but do not believe that they own the patient.  They partner with the patients in the decision making processes and they support the patient’s right to choose where that care is given.  A Measure of Success.

It’s the outcome.  Results are evaluated. Patient satisfaction is very high while complications are well below national averages. Even so …every department is dedicated to continual improvement. A Measure of Success.

The future is bright for Lexington and its hospital, LRHC. There are many measures of success beyond financial. LRHC’s administration is very knowledgeable and has taken measures that should put the facility on a stable financial basis for years to come.

Disagreements may make headlines, but there have been many unheralded successes that should be weighed and measured in the public forum as well. The administration and the LRHC Hospital Board are to be congratulated and these quiet successes should be celebrated.

Kerrey Buser, MD, FACS

Chief of Surgery - LRHC

Lexington

Support for hospital administration

I do not live in Lexington, so I do not really know the community per say. 

Here is what I do know.  I know that being a nurse at LexingtonRegionalHealthCenter is something that I am very proud of!!!

I take care of many people that are in this community and I have experienced great things with this community.  I have also shared in the heartache with many from this community.  I have not only experienced the hospital as my place of work (which is by the way my second family) but as a patient and so I have seen both sides of the hospital bed.  This hospital is honestly a very loving, high quality place. I have been here since I was a nursing student and I met Leslie at that time and she was the Director of Nursing at what was then known as Tri-CountyHospital and the first time I met her she inspired me in a way that I can not even describe to anyone. 

I was hooked! She is such an inspiring person and wants health care in Lexington to be just as great and inspiring as she is!!! I hope that in my career I am at least half or one third as great as she is! So many parts of my life has included this hospital including the birth of my two beautiful and amazing boys.

Dr Miller delivered both of my boys and did a lot for me when I was in labor. I do not dispute that he or any of the providers at PCMG can be great doctors.  But part of being a part in that hospital means you see the good and the bad. So that means every human is possible of both, good and bad.  It's the people that show the good far more than the bad that make anything great and worthwhile.

Great things have come to this hospital because of Leslie Marsh and I am honored to say that I have been witness to them! I am honored to say I am a Nurse and even more honored to say I am a Nurse at LexingtonRegionalHealthCenter. But most of all I am honored to say that I know Leslie Marsh!

While all this has been going on Leslie has asked all hospital employees to not retaliate in all the negative effects and slander that has been thrown at every single person who works at LRHC. Instead she asked us to do what it is we do best, be there and support our patients. Be the bigger person!! That to me says something about a person’s real character!

If she did not care about LRHC, the staff, the community, and the patients, she would not hold back she would let everyone run their mouth amuck. Trust me there are a lot of things we would like to say, but out of the LOVE that we all have for our leader we did exactly what she asked, we stayed strong and cared for our patients and community!!

We let our names and motives go through the sludge that was thrown at us because we knew that our purpose was much more than taking the integrity of others down, we went on to lift people up!!

Because that's what we do and what we are all about! Wouldn't this world be so much better if we worked together to build a future for our kids and grandkids and theirs instead of fight to bring all around us down?

I love Leslie Marsh and the future she is building for me and the people that mean the most to me! These eyes of mine have seen so much about humanity, nurses truly are the windows of this world! We see people at their worst and their best.

So I urge you to listen to this open hearted nurse! I will always, now and forever stand by Leslie Marsh and follow in her steps of greatness to make this community a worthwhile community with great healthcare!!

Lacey Anderson RN, BSN

Rural DawsonCounty

Candidate appraisal

April 19th I attended a Town Hall meeting in Elwood, at the SeniorCenter sponsored by a committee called “a committee for a better board”.  I noticed a flyer posted in the Elwood Market for a Town Hall forum to meet 4 candidates running for 3 positions on the Lexington Regional Health Center (LRHC) Board.  This committee is headed up by Jean Ford, the wife of Dr. John Ford, of Plum Creek Medical Group (PCMG).  Dr. Ford does not have privileges at the hospital because he voluntarily resigned his right to admit patients.

Let it also be noted that we wanted a debate scheduled in Elwood with all 8 candidates, but when I asked Jean Ford prior to the Town Hall about a debate with all the candidates present on May 3rd in Elwood, she commented, “I don’t think my candidates will want to be there.”

The four candidates present at this Town Hall included Theresa Stuart of Lexington, Wayne Weston of Lexington, Paul Homan of Lexington, and Dave Irwin of Sumner.

In opening comments all 4 candidates expressed they needed to repair the relationship between PCMG and LRHC.  Let it be noted that November 21, 2014, PCMG doctors delivered a letter to the hospital “resigning their privileges to admit patients to the hospital, and commented they were moving on”.  We as the hospital, moved on, but when you have Jean Ford and others coming to the board meetings, slandering our administration, current board members and hospital staff, it is hard to believe they have moved on.  I was present at a hospital board meeting, when Dr. Jones (current board member) commented that you haven’t seen anything yet, World War III is coming.  As an elected board member, who does have a conflict of interest because he owns a clinic and the hospital has a clinic, he is not an effective board member.  Dr. Jones should be in support of the hospital, and that would mean using the hospital services for the betterment of his patients.  He does not do this.  Patients are told LRHC does not have those specialists, does not have certain services, or cannot do that test, and is sending those patients to Cozad or Kearney. 

There were about 80 hospital employees, some of us who live in Elwood and JohnsonLake, and approximately 8 residents of Elwood not employed by the hospital.  Several stood and expressed emotional encounters with PCMG physicians when they were on active staff at the hospital.  Comments of fear, harassment, demeaning comments, sometimes made in front of patients was a common theme.  Through tears it was evident there was a lot of emotion and passion.  Passion for the hospital and why they work at LRHC, respect for the current administration and leadership, and their commitment to high quality care with the desire to continue moving LRHC in a higher direction.

We need board members that can visualize health care in the future.  Progressive and futuristic by implementing up to date equipment and technological advancements.  Health care has changed, and the “old school” medical model needs to be retired.  Health care is all about bringing services/specialists to the patient locally, and state of the art surgical equipment to decrease in hospital days, which allows the patient to go home earlier.  It is analyzing the needs of the community and then working together to meet those needs.  In the strategic plan for LRHC, this is our reality.  The new addition includes specialty clinics, same day surgery suites, operating rooms, and the new sterilization center, are impressive and state of the art.  The addition with remodeled in-patient rooms, are evidence of sustaining the future of health care in our community.  Come see the new addition and judge for yourself. 

My view of the candidates and how I would vote:

All three incumbent candidates, Rob Anderson, Tara Naprstek, and Kerry Teetor, are true supporters and visionaries of the hospital.  A YES for my vote.

Tucker Case:  was not present at the Town Hall because he was told it was cancelled.  This speaks volumes.  Jean Ford did not want him there, because of his definite support of the hospital.   A YES for my vote.

Theresa Stuart:  In her own words, she described the actions of the PCMG physicians “terroristic” towards LRHC staff, and stated if she was on the board this environment would not be tolerated. She committed to developing relationships with LRHC staff and being an advocate.   A Maybe for my vote.  

Wayne Weston:  Yes he is a doctor, but the current doctor on our board is not an advocate for the hospital.  Wayne is definitely “old school” medicine and wanting the hospital to function as it did in the past.  A NO for my vote.

Paul Homan:  He did not know the facts of the hospital, only information given to him by Jean Ford.  He did not know how a board functions, and when a board member has a conflict with an issue, they are expected to excuse themselves from the discussion.  He called the action illegal, but in reality, that is how boards function.  He is ignorant on current healthcare issues.  A NO for my vote.

Dave Irwin:  He did not know the facts on several issues regarding the function of the hospital.  He commented he recently had a procedure done, but did not have that done at LRHC.  What was very evident was his aggressive behavior.  When a hospital employee asked a tough question, he would come from around the table the candidates were sitting at, stand in front of that person, and with a raised voice would interrupt the person talking.  This is a common behavior of a person wanting to intimidate another person.  A NO for my vote.

I ask that you research the candidates you choose to vote for, including Googling their names and reading about them.  Most importantly, vote.  Remember you can vote for 3 of the 8 candidates. 

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Foss, Nurse Practitioner

Elwood Clinic

Urgent Care at LRHC

Elwood

How did employees know about meeting?

Reading the story in the Wednesday April 20 paper, I have questions about the Sumner event.

Was it publically announced?

Why were so many of the LRHC employees in attendance?

How did they know about the meeting?

Were they told by LRHC board members to attend?

The voters would also appreciate Dr. Wayne Weston’s question answered.

Let’s get everything out in the open.

I would like to add, the hospital employees are very professional and helpful in their jobs. But I hate going to other hospitals just to see my doctor.

Nola Reed

Lexington

Chronic misinformation

The information that is circulating and being perpetuated by some of the people running for the Hospital Board position is astounding. It seems that the loudest are those who have talked to one side and one side only. Smart people look at both sides before making public statements. What many people do not know is that the doctors at PCMG CHOSE to relinquish their privileges at LRHC. That is the sole reason that those who want to see their providers at the hospital cannot. All providers who care for patients at ANY hospital must have privileges at that hospital. PCMG providers chose to make their patients drive out of town for medical care. One provider notably has made an astounding exception. She sends the “enemas til clear” patients to LRHC and sends all other to other facilities.

Since the PCMG providers relinquished their privileges, the mood at the hospital has been amazing. Previously, the  nurses stated that they constantly had to “walk on eggshells” because some of the PCMG providers were so disrespectful to them. On the other hand, some of the complaints I heard from the PCMG providers before they left  was that they felt nurses were watching their every move. Quite the contrary, we all work as a team at LRHC. I for one am very glad to have the nurses with me whenever I visit with patients. They actually know more about what is happening with the patient and their families , since they spent the day caring for the patient. Developing a trusting rapport between members of the team, which includes the provider, creates a greater opportunity for quality care. The goal of the LRHC team is to make the patient feel that he/she can participate in the quality care that we strive to give. Gone are the days of the paternalistic doctor. The evolving atmosphere of patient care takes into account the desires of the patient by keeping that patient well-informed and giving CHOICES.

One candidate claims that hospitals employ physicians for financial benefit implying that LRHC is doing the same. Wrong again. At LRHC, all providers have the freedom to use any lab, specialist or test center they deem appropriate. Yes, they are more likely to use LRHC but are not in any way shape or form required to use local facilities.

Among the candidates is one person who has information that is not only wrong and caustic but extremely biased. There are times when a board member must be excluded from some discussion because of the mere fact that there is extreme conflict of interest. History has provided many examples of the need for this type of exclusion. To this candidate, I say, “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.” 

In spite of the fact that the PCMG doctors printed a lie about me by stating I left because “they” would not sell. (Several of us, when I was still there, were talking about future plans with that as an option.) We all have to answer to our maker, so I will not speak badly of them nor will I lie to “look” better..  What I do know is that I made the right choice to leave PCMG. My focus is on providing care as I would hope someone would provide for my family. And for the critics about PA’s and NP’s, I can tell you that we have very knowledgeable and caring providers, and some of us are even physicians, who consult each other and call specialists when we need advice.

Persons who have enjoyed speaking badly about our CEO, have no idea how dedicated and committed to providing excellent care for the community she is. And, in contrast to the previous CEO, she listens to the Board and communicates openly with them. The Hospital Board now does something that it could not do previously. They actually can interact and ask spontaneous questions during an open meeting. That did not happen before. Healing is occurring slowly. In order to continue this stream, we really need to re-elect the incumbents. They care about your community. 

Fran Acosta-Carlson, M.D., M.A., M.S.

Lexington

Freedom of Speech

This is a very important right of all Americans, and is one that has been hard won throughout our nation’s history.  Nowhere is it written that ALL candidates for a public office must be invited to appear together in a public forum.  If only one candidate wishes to speak publically about his political standards, he may do that.   Donald Trump is a perfect example.  No one requires The Donald to invite all of the other presidential candidates just so that he may offer his opinions for the TV cameras. 

 The current hospital board members have an opportunity at each monthly board meeting to show the public how they stand on issues before the board.  The challenging candidates should be able to gather in public to listen to the concerns of the citizens of the hospital district.  The site of such a gathering has no relevance or relationship to the political views of the challengers, and is actually violating the right to assemble by denying the group the use of the facility.  But, that is not the issue here, freedom of speech is the issue.

Jean Ford

Lexington

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(1) comment

AshleyR

To answer some of the questions posed by Nola Reed...

Was it publically announced?
~There were flyers placed around Sumner.

Why were so many of the LRHC employees in attendance?
~I think the short answer is ...support of LRHC. Also as a member of the voting public, I have questions just like you do.


How did they know about the meeting?
~Some of us, myself included, are residents of Sumner.

Were they told by LRHC board members to attend?
~No. no one told me to attend.

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