Learning for Life Hosted I-Smile Event

The Learning for Life Program, offered by Burgess Health Center through Public Health, held a group connection event, I-Smile, at the Onawa Public Library on July 17, 2019. I-Smile provided a presentation to children and their families.

Families were able to learn about dental care and how to help their children take care of their dental hygiene. Guardians and children were able to ask questions and have their child’s teeth checked by a dental hygienist. Once their teeth were checked, they were given a bag of goodies, filled with a toothbrush and fun information. The children were also able to play with a dinosaur that taught them proper brushing techniques.

If you or a friend would like to know how to enjoy group connection events, and to learn how to participate in educational home visits that help your child’s growth and development and better prepare them for preschool and kindergarten, please contact The Learning for Life Program, at 712-423-2311.  Sara Keenan or Debie Lahr would be happy to talk to you about this exciting and beneficial program available in Monona County.

Learning for Life is a free home visiting program for families with children age 5 and under and for expecting mothers. It is funded by grants from the Harrison, Monona, and Shelby Early Childhood Iowa (ECI) board and the Iowa Child Abuse Prevention Program (ICAPP).

Burgess Health Center, Monona County Public Health to Collaborate

Creating healthier communities has always been a top priority for the Monona County Board of Health. Recently, the Monona County Board of Health and Board of Supervisors, and Burgess Health Center decided to combine efforts to better meet health needs for residents of Monona County.

This collaboration will allow individuals to receive the resources and services they need through effective and engaged community-based systems.

“We all share a common goal of improving population health,” said Burgess Health Center President, Fran Tramp. “This was a great opportunity to raise awareness of the services each organization provides to solve community health problems.”

There is great potential in leveraging the strengths and resources to integrate public and population health needs to create healthier communities. In mid-September, the Learning for Life program and staff will move from the county courthouse to Burgess Health Center.

“It’s the right time to combine public health and private health care in our rural community,” adds Tracy Kahl, DO at Family Medicine Clinic and Chair of the Monona County Board of Health.  “We both have the same goals, improving health for our residents.”

To learn more about Public Health, visit www.burgess.org/services/public-health or 712.423.9153.

Burgess Welcomes Pet Therapy

Burgess Health Center is now offering pet therapy for patients, visitors, and staff. The new program allows a volunteer and their certified dog to make scheduled visits with patients and provide much-needed support to those going through a tough medical situation.

Sloan resident’s Addy Johnson, mom Jamie, and their eight-year-old Cavachon, Mira, are the first therapy team to kick off the program. Addy and Mira gained certification through Alliance of Therapy Dog, whose objective is to “form a network of caring individuals and their special dogs are willing to share smiles and joy with people, young and old alike.”

This is the first year Mira has been visiting nursing home residents and patients as a certified pet therapy team.

“She can run into a room, tail wagging, and bring the biggest smile to any patient,” Addy Johnson said of Mira. “I’m happy that she is able to provide such joy, but also help the patients in their healing process.”

“We have been researching the benefits of pet therapy and were referred to Alliance,” said Katie Knutson, Director of Marketing and Patient Experience at Burgess Health Center. “Within one week, we found our perfect match with Addy and Mira. Seeing the patients interact with the duo is incredible.”

Pet therapy has been known to help relieve stress, reduce blood pressure, and improve the overall healing process.

To learn more about Alliance of Therapy Dog, check out their website www.therapydogs.com


Photo: Darrell Wessell, Addy Johnson, and Mira


Taylor to Speak at Coverys Risk Management Summit

Burgess Health Center’s Compliance and Privacy Officer, Sharon Taylor, is set to speak at the 2019 Coverys Risk Management Summit on August 13, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa.  The theme, “Connecting the Dots” links Taylor’s topic, “Wearing Multiple Hats Successfully in the Smaller Facility Environment.”

This annual meeting features presentations by leaders and experts in healthcare risk management and offers attendees the opportunity to network with peers.

“Sharon wears many hats here at Burgess,” said Burgess Health Center President, Fran Tramp. “She keeps us informed of certain industry changes, education opportunities, and works very hard at keeping our patients safe as well as our staff.”

Taylor has served in a variety of capacities in her 45 years at Burgess. Currently, she is the risk, safety, compliance, privacy, regulator, and infection control director.  Taylor has taken Burgess’ risk, compliance/privacy, and regulatory programs from one that had only a policy to an active and engaging program embedded throughout our organization. She continues to attain certifications, and just recently completed the requirements to be re-certified as a Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management by the American Hospital Association.

Photo: Sharon Taylor

Burgess People Care Hosted Food Drive

It was Christmas in July at Burgess Health Center! Burgess People Care hosted a non-perishable food drive on Thursday, July 25, 2019, in the cafeteria at Burgess Health Center.

Employees from the hospital and area clinics came together to donate hundreds of non-perishable food items, totaling nearly 300 pounds.  In addition, $400 in cash donations were brought in as well. Burgess People Care members, Janie Schlitter, Brooke Mills and Lori Jensen, were on-hand to receive the donations.

“We are always looking for ways to help our community, and when Brooke came up with the idea, we ran with it,” said Schlitter. “Burgess employees are very generous, especially when it comes to helping those in need.”

A free hot dog bar and a cookie decorating contest were set up for those who donated. All food and cash donations were given to West Central’s food pantry for Monona County.  Cash donations were also given to each of the food pantries in Dunlap, Mapleton, and Sloan.

PHOTO: Janie Schlitter and Lori Jensen.

Burgess Health Center receives eCARE Emergency funding

In a medical emergency, a quick response from board-certified emergency physicians and critical care nurses can mean the difference between life and death. Burgess Health Center will soon have access to these services, thanks to a new eCARE Emergency telemedicine program funded through a grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Rural Health Program.

The $170,988 grant will allow the facility to acquire equipment and training to connect with Avera Health in Sioux Falls, S.D., where emergency staff will be on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help local medical providers deliver the best possible care in the shortest possible time.

High-definition cameras and microphones will allow the eCARE Emergency virtual team at Avera to both see and hear everything that is taking place in the emergency room. They can guide rural nurses and other providers in patient care until a rural physician arrives. They can also consult with doctors on difficult cases.

“We are committed to delivering the best possible healthcare to our community, and this technology takes a big step toward meeting that commitment,” said Fran Tramp, president of Burgess Health Center. “We really appreciate the assistance of the Helmsley Charitable Trust  to make this possible.”

The new eCARE Emergency service is expected to be operational by September 2019.

This type of hub-and-spoke health delivery, pioneered by Avera and Helmsley, is also being used to bring pharmacy services and intensive care specialty access to rural hospitals and patients across the seven-state region.

The eCare programs are part of The Helmsley Charitable Trust Rural Healthcare Program’s ongoing efforts to improve the lives of rural residents in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Programs include telehealth services, training, emergency medical care, diagnostics, cardiac care, cancer care and research into innovations that specifically address the challenges of healthcare delivery in Rural America.

“Our goal is to ensure that people who live in rural America have access to quality healthcare as close to home as possible,” said Walter Panzirer, trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “To achieve this, rural hospitals need to be viable and they need to have up-to-date equipment, so patients can receive essential healthcare services locally. This initiative is one of many that aims to improve healthcare access and health outcomes in our region.”


Burgess Health Center Contact:

Katie Knutson
Marketing Director
1600 Diamond Street
Onawa, IA 51040


Elizabeth Ruen


About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $2 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley’s Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $380 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. For more information, visit www.helmsleytrust.org.




Archer Passes LPN Boards

Burgess Health Center is proud to announce that Hannah Archer recently earned the credential of Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) after successfully completing a rigorous national exam. This license is critical to providing patients with the highest quality of care.

Archer worked in registration at Burgess Health Center before making the decision to continue her education to become an LPN. This fall, Archer plans to continue improving and validating her knowledge and skills by enrolling to become a Registered Nurse (RN) at Western Iowa Tech Community College.

“We are so proud of Hannah,” said Tami LeFebvre, Specialty Clinic Supervisor at Burgess. “She dedicated herself, and in the end, Burgess patients are the ones who will benefit the most.”


Photo: Hannah Archer, LPN


Burgess Offers Telemental Health in ER

Burgess Health Center now offers a telemental health services in order to meet an urgent need for psychiatric and substance abuse cases in the emergency department. This service will provide more timely access to mental health evaluations in a rural hospital setting.

“We’ve been facing an increase in mental health and substance abuse cases coming through our emergency room doors,” said Karla Copple, Director of Emergency Services at Burgess. “This option will give our physicians and nurses’ real-time support, not to mention increasing quality of care and decreasing costs for our patients.”

Patients that arrive with psychiatric and substance abuse often face long wait times to be evaluated by a trained mental health provider. Some patients may also be discharged from the hospital before receiving an evaluation or roomed in a hospital bed for observation, reducing the quality of care and increasing costs with repeated visits.

Photo: Karla Copple, Director of Emergency Services