Burgess Family Clinics Receive Prestigious Award

 Congratulations to Burgess Family Clinic Mapleton, Sloan, and Whiting! They have been selected as the 2023 Population Health Pioneer Award Winner for Community of the Year from Signify Health for the state of Iowa!

The Population Health Pioneer Awards are presented each year to honor those who have best served their communities, patients, and the healthcare industry through their leadership and innovation over the past year.

This accomplishment was made possible by the efforts, focus, and determination of the Burgess Family Clinic’s Population Health Nurses, Dana Longlee and Becca Petersen, and with the support of the nurses, medical assistants, registrars and providers.

“I am so proud of the efforts made by Dana, Becca, and the entire team to ensure the health of our communities,” said Justin Hummelgard, Clinic Director. “None of this would have been possible without their hard work and dedication.”

Justin Hummelgard, Dana Longlee and Becca Petersen will be traveling to San Antonio in May to represent Burgess Family Clinics and to receive the award.

Sherri Johnston-McDowell Retires After 44 Years

On Monday, December 5th Sherri Johnston-McDowell was honored with a celebration for her 44 years of commitment and dedication to Burgess Health Center.

“Sherri truly leads with her heart in all she does. Watching her navigate all of her roles in her career and life is nothing short of amazing,” said Erin Brekke, Vice President of Support Services at Burgess Health Center. “She has an absolute heart of gold, who cares for all people.”

Sherri began her career at Burgess after she graduated from nursing school and the rest is history.  During Sherri’s 44 years she has held many roles, but none can compare to the role of caregiver.

“I have so many wonderful stories of my caregiving opportunities and have made so many lifelong friends along the way,” said Sherri. “As I reflect on my time here at Burgess my thoughts don’t take me to the positions I have held or my time as a Director, but the relationships and interactions I have had with my peers, patients, and the communities we serve.”

Through Sherri’s hard work and devotion to her Home Health and Hospice team and Burgess Health Center, she has ensured the success of the department for future generations to come.

Thank you, Sherri, for an incredible 44 years. Take the time to celebrate all of your accomplishments, enjoy your newfound freedom, and always remember what a positive difference you’ve made at Burgess.

Sharon Taylor – Leaving a Legacy

On Monday, November 21, Burgess Health Center celebrated Sharon Taylor’s legacy as she retires from full-time work at Burgess Health Center.

Sharon’s career began 48 years ago working part-time for Burgess to set up the education program. Since then, the impact she has had on Burgess is one for the record books.

“Sharon has always supported Burgess and has been the organization’s biggest champion and advocate,” said Erin Brekke, Vice President of Support Services at Burgess Health Center. “You can feel the pride Sharon has for this organization, and over all these years, through difficult times of change, that has never wavered. Even through a pandemic.”

Sharon was instrumental in the success and startup of many organizations, programs and departments at Burgess. Including establishing the education program, the Home Health Department, the Swing Bed Program, Employee Wellness and Community Wellness programs, and Burgess’ own employee-funded organization, Burgess People Care. In more recent years, she oversaw Infection Control and Prevention, Compliance and Risk Management, and Privacy and Accreditation.

For her commitment and devotion to Burgess, Sharon received a Guardian Angel Award and an engraved paver with her name in the Healing Garden both from Burgess People Care.

“It has been an honor to work at Burgess over the last 48 years, and I want to offer my sincere thanks to our employees whose hard work and dedication have allowed us to achieve so much,” said Sharon. “I also want to thank our patients and communities for their ongoing support. I have worked with many individuals over the years and am confident that my predecessors will continue excellent leadership for Burgess. It has been a pretty smooth transition.”

Sharon’s hard work and dedication to Burgess has created some big shoes to fill. The legacy she is leaving will be impactful for the future of Burgess, our patients, and the communities we serve. Sharon has decided to stay on as PRN (as needed) to assist in the transition of her multiple roles. Thank you, Sharon, for providing us with 48 years of knowledge and expertise. Here’s to a happy retirement and wishing you all the best!

Photo from left to right: (back row) Mark and Jenny (Taylor) Dehn, Sharon and Gary Taylor, Jessica Taylor (front row) Merrick Dehn, Graham Riley, Denver Riley


Guardian Angel Recognized at Burgess Health Center

Burgess Health Center is proud to announce the nomination of Dale Wolf for the Burgess Foundation Guardian Angel Award. Dale started out as a Hospice volunteer in 2011 and then graciously accepted the Hospice Chaplain role 7 years ago.

Sherri Johnston-McDowell, Rose Cummins and the Home Health and Hospice Team, want to recognize and thank Dale Wolf for always bringing joy, gratitude and love to their team. “He is our messenger and guardian angel for sure,” said Cummins. “Dale provides amazing spiritual care to our Hospice patients and their families. He greets all of us with a warm welcome and a beautiful smile.”

Dale also worked as a courier for many years here at Burgess Health Center. “During my times as a courier I have increased my friends by many and through volunteering at Burgess I have gained so many more,” said Wolf.  “I consider everyone at Burgess a friend.”

Burgess Foundation’s Guardian Angel program provides patients, family members, and friends a chance to show their gratitude to a physician, nurse, or another caregiver who has played an exceptional role in their lives. The Guardian Angel received an acknowledgment letter announcing that a donation has been made in their honor and given a custom-crafted lapel pin to wear proudly.

Did a caregiver at Burgess make a memorable difference for you or your family? If so, you can honor that special person in a highly visible way through Burgess Foundation’s Guardian Angel program. It is more than a pin. When you take advantage of our Guardian Angel program, you also help ensure the future of outstanding health care in the region.


Photo: Bobbi Johnson, Foundation Director, Carl Behne, CEO, Sherri Johnston- McDowell, Home Health/Hospice Director, Dale Wolf, Hospice Chaplain, Rose Cummins, Home Health Secretary, Scott Wolf, Tamala & Tony Pistello

Burgess to Close Dunlap Clinic, Pharmacy and Rehab

Burgess Health Center will be closing the Dunlap market at the end of February 2022, including the Burgess Family Clinic and Burgess Family Pharmacy, and Burgess Rehab Services. The closure comes with a very heavy heart and was a very difficult decision made by the Burgess Health Center board.

Over the past few years, the Burgess Health Center leadership has been monitoring the financial performance, patient volumes and decreasing insurance reimbursement from the Dunlap services. These factors, in addition to the need for building improvements, contributed to the decision to discontinue services.

“This decision is no reflection upon the quality of care delivered to our patients by our providers, nurses, and team,” stated Carl Behne, CEO of Burgess Health Center. “We are making decisions that will strengthen our organization, enable us to better serve patients in the future, and allow us to continue to provide quality care for our communities.”

Patients will receive a notice regarding these closures and explain how we can assist patients with transitioning their care to other Burgess locations or other local providers.

“We will continue to look to support care delivery in the Burgess Health Center and clinic network,” adds Behne. “We will also assist patients who choose to transition their care to other local providers. Ultimately, this is a patient preference and choice, and we hope they will want to continue to use the services provided by Burgess.”


Community Thanksgiving Dinner Canceled

The annual Burgess People Care Community Thanksgiving Dinner has been canceled this year due to the COVID pandemic.

Although last year’s event was hosted drive-through style, organizers determined it would be safest for guests and volunteers to postpone this year’s event. This will be the first time in 12 years that the Thanksgiving Dinner has not taken place.

“Nancy Broer started this tradition to bring community members who are alone or in need to enjoy a traditional dinner in a family atmosphere on the exact holiday,” says Nancy’s niece, Teresa Butler. “As soon as it is safe, our Burgess People Care and community volunteers will hold this event again. This was a hard decision for our organizers to make, but one that had to be made to keep everyone safe.”  Organizers hope the dinner will return in 2022.

First Baby of the Year Born at Burgess Health Center

Burgess Health Center welcomes the New Year with the announcement of its first baby of 2021. On January 12 at 7:57 a.m., a baby boy, Hudson Alan Blatchford, was born to Kurtis and Hannah Blatchford at Burgess Family Beginnings in Onawa. He weighed 7 lbs., 10.4 oz. and was 20.25 inches long.

As the Burgess Family Beginnings New Year’s Baby, Hudson and his parents received a personalized work of art made by Sue Cutler, a member of Burgess Health Center Auxiliary New Year’s Baby Gift Committee. In addition, the Kiwanis Club of Onawa presented baby Hudson with a hand-made quilt.

If you would like to find out more about Burgess Family Beginnings or the Burgess Auxiliary, visit www.BurgessHC.org.


Photo: Kurtis, baby Hudson, and Hannah Blatchford.

Watson Successfully Earns Certification

The Burgess Health Center Pharmacy Department is pleased to announce employee Leah Watson successfully challenged the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam this month.  Leah is joining a group of health care certificate holders that is nearly 700,000 strong nationally.

PTCB certification is not a given, as evidenced by an exam pass rate of less than 60%.  Leah has been receiving on-the-job training at the Whiting Pharmacy for the past few months, as well as taking the time to study the various areas that are tested on her own time.  Her dedication to improving her skills is undoubtedly deserving of commendation.

Congratulations Leah!

Burgess Public Health Reminds Residents Social Distancing is Important Outdoors, Too

Burgess Public Health thanks all residents that are following social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It’s important to remember to follow these guidelines even when outside.

“We encourage residents to spend time outdoors when possible because it’s beneficial to mental health, and physical activity is a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle,” said Burgess Public Health Director Erin Brekke. “Everyone needs to continue following social distancing guidelines when outdoors because close contact, even outside, can spread the virus that causes COVID-19.”

When spending time outdoors, all people should:

  • Maintain social distancing by keeping a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and anyone you encounter outdoors.
  • Spend time outdoors alone, or only with members of your household. This is not the time for team sports or recreation.
  • Avoid popular parks and trails that are frequently crowded.
  • Avoid touching surfaces like crosswalk buttons, park benches, etc. Carry hand sanitizer with you so you can clean your hands while outside, and be sure to wash your hands as soon as you return home.

In addition, everyone should follow these recommendations:

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • If you must go out for essential errands like getting groceries or prescriptions, go alone if possible and maintain social distancing.
  • Practice social distancing by staying 6-feet away from other individuals. Avoid groups of more than 10 people.
  • Consider wearing a cloth face covering when running essential errands to protect others in case you are infected with COVID-19 and have no symptoms, or have not yet developed symptoms.
  • No travel outside of Iowa, even though we are a border community.

As of today, April 21, there are 7 cases of COVID-19 in Monona County. The Burgess Public Health Department continues to work closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), and other state and local partners to respond to this ongoing pandemic.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the IDPH webpage at https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus and follow the department on Facebook at @IowaDepartmentOfPublicHealth and on Twitter at @IAPublicHealth.