Thanksgiving Food Drive

truckload of food shelf items
Rhonda Peterson (left) and Halle Brunzel (right) finished loading the second truckload of food and household items donated by BMC employees to the local food shelf.

BMC hosts multiple food drives throughout the year but our recent food drive was very successful. Every year around Thanksgiving BMC donates items to the local food shelf. We encouraged employees to bring in as many items as they were able to even if it was just one item because every little bit can make a difference. Canned goods, personal hygiene products, and even pet food were some of the various donated items. Many people brought in more than 30 items and in total we donated over 700 items to the local food shelf. BMC thanks our employees for their generous contribution to our community in need!

Veterans Day 2016

Burnett Medical Center CCC resident and employee veterans
Veterans Day, November 11th, is an annual holiday in the United States that honors all people who have served admirably in the military, both living and deceased veterans, in wartime and peacetime. The brave men and women of our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard demonstrate a resolute spirit and unmatched selflessness since they were willing to give themselves to make a difference in the lives of others. Our veterans left everything they knew and loved and served with exemplary dedication and courage so we could all know a safer America and a more just world. They have been tested in ways the rest of us may never fully understand, and it is our duty to fulfill our sacred obligation to our veterans and their families. BMC would like to thank these veterans for their service, to acknowledge their contributions to our nation, and to emphasize all they have sacrificed on behalf of our freedom. Not just on Veterans Day, but every day, let us show them the extraordinary gratitude they so rightly deserve, and let us recommit to pledging our full support for them in all they do. We'd especially like to thank those veterans who are residents living here at Continuing Care Center and to those veterans who continue to assist their community as BMC employees. We salute you and thank you for the many freedoms we enjoy because of your service.
(Pictured from left to right: Laverne Sandberg (Army), Ron Ylitalo (Navy), Ken Vallin (Army), Andy Anderson (Navy), Connie Martinson (Army), Robert Hammer (Army), Robert Peterson (Navy), Chet Lobert (Air Force), Butch Harmon (Army), Kathryn Hallgren (ADMI), Bert Lener (Navy). Not pictured: Joe Blount (Marines) and Dallas Johnson (Navy).

BMC Foundation Fall Fling

pie displayThe BMC Foundation held its 2nd annual Fall Fling Fundraiser in BMC's main lobby on Tuesday, September 20th. This year the Foundation hosted a pie social where everyone was welcome to come enjoy their favorite slice of pie and/or stock their freezer with frozen 10 inch pies. There was a pretty good chance to have one of your favorites as there were 8 different flavors to choose from. Attendees enjoyed pie while celebrating the impact their support has had on advancing healthcare for the patients, residents, and friends of Burnett Medical Center!

Grantsburg Community Sign

Rhonda Peterson, this year's Carlyle Sherstad race director, presented a check to Allen Johnson, the sign committee chair and recent past president of the Grantsburg Rotary, to help fund the Grantsburg community sign. The contribution was based upon profits generated by the recent Carlyle Sherstad race. Thank you Grantsburg community for helping make this possible. (Pictured from left: Rhonda Peterson, Allen Johnson, and Gordy Lewis)

Burnett Medical Center hosts Diabetes Education Night

Burnett Medical Center hosted their third-annual Diabetes Education Night last Thursday, November 12. With over ten percent of the local population over age 20 diagnosed with diabetes, the event was held in honor of American Diabetes Month to educate those affected by the condition.

The two-hour event featured a presentation by Burnett Medical Center Clinical Pharmacist, Kelsey Eckert, PharmD, titled "Understanding Your Diabetic Medications: Orals to Injectables." She spoke to the audience on how to better manage diabetes medications and how the medications work for the condition.

Participants also enjoyed the opportunity to visit with several exhibitors offering information on diabetes, enjoy diabetic-friendly refreshments, and sign up for door prizes.

Another feature of the 3rd annual event was an interactive panel discussion in which three individuals with diabetes shared their stories and lessons learned in managing diabetes.

Diabetes Education Night speakers and attendees.

Latest Lung Cancer Screening Services Offered at Burnett Medical Center

CT lung cancer screeningGrantsburg - A new lung cancer screening that can detect lung cancer in its earliest stages is now available at Burnett Medical Center (BMC). The screening, which uses low-dose CT (computerized tomography), is recommended for people at high-risk of developing lung cancer.

"With November being Lung Cancer Awareness Month, it's an important time to recognize that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women worldwide," said Angie Bonander, Radiologic Technologist at Burnett Medical Center. "CT lung screening can detect lung cancer in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable."

Studies have shown that for high-risk populations the screening can lower the risk of death from lung cancer by 20 percent.

Cindy Jensen, Radiologic Technologist and Diagnostic Imaging Manager, explained how the screening works, "CT lung screening is painless, noninvasive, and takes just a few minutes to perform. The patient lies on a table that slides in and out of the CT scanner as special x-ray technology takes a series of pictures of the patient's lungs. A computer then creates an image that enables providers to identify small masses of tissue in the lung called nodules."

If a nodule is detected, periodic follow-up scans may be recommended to monitor for changes. If a lung nodule is new or has changed in size, shape or appearance, further testing may be recommended to determine if it is cancerous.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, among others, recommend that current and former smokers at high-risk for lung cancer discuss the appropriateness of the CT lung screening with their primary care provider. BMC's Diagnostic Imaging Department offers CT lung screening to those who meet the following eligibility requirements:

Age 55 to 74 years old
Currently a smoker or have quit within the past 15 years
Smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day for 30+ years or two packs a day for 15 years
No history of lung cancer themselves

Coverage for CT lung cancer screening may vary among insurance companies. To ensure compliance with a patient's medical insurance, all orders are authorized through BMC's Prior Authorization Coordinator. If a patient does not have insurance, they need to cover the entire cost of the screening before services are performed.

An order for the CT lung screening must be placed by a patient's primary care provider. To schedule an appointment with a BMC provider to discuss whether or not the screening would be beneficial and safe for you, please call 715-463-5353 or 800-293-5353.

Now at BMC: Direct Access to Reduced Price Lab Tests

Direct Access Laboratory Testing is now available at Burnett Medical Center. This new service allows patients to order their own lab tests from a select menu of tests and pay upfront for the reduced cost.

Roxi Tucker, Laboratory Manager at BMC, explained how Direct Access Testing works, "To utilize Direct Access Testing, patients can either call to make an appointment or simply walk-in. When they arrive at BMC, they will select which tests they would like performed and pay upfront by cash, check, or credit card for the services requested. After the test is performed, results are mailed to patients with an explanation of the test. If patients are interested in discussing test results with their provider, an appointment is necessary; results are not forwarded to their provider."

By design, Direct Access Testing comes with many benefits to patients. Because an order from a provider to receive a lab test is not required, patients are able to have more frequent testing than their health insurance plan will cover. Furthermore, insurance is not billed for services received; instead, patients pay up front for the tests. This allows patients to assess and manage their health status on a regular basis while taking advantage of lower out of pocket expenses.

According to Heather Jensen, Clinic Administrator at BMC, "We are very excited to now offer this service to our patients. It allows them ease of access to tests they need, as well as decreased out of pocket costs for tests that are sometimes either not covered by their insurance or are subject to very large deductibles."

Direct Access Testing is available Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm.

For more information about Direct Access Testing and to view the menu of lab tests offered, please visit or contact the laboratory department at 715-463-7308.

BMC Celebrates National Nurses Week - Reflects on the Rich Legacy of the Nursing Profession

Dr. Hartzell and Ally Ramsdell in surgical settingEach year we celebrate National Nurses Week. It is our opportunity to recognize the many significant contributions nurses make to the medical profession and to our communities. To truly appreciate the nursing profession today, we can reflect on how it has evolved.

For Burnett Medical Center (BMC), our nursing legacy began in 1930 when Community Hospital, as it was then called, was formed. Lillian Lund was the head nurse, Dorothy Sandberg was the general nurse, and Neva Parker was the night nurse. Paid $60 to $75 per month, plus meals and laundry, these women paved the way for the nursing profession at BMC.

Ally Ramsdell, a current Grantsburg Resident who began working as a nursing assistant and then as a surgical tech at Community Hospital in 1955 and at BMC until 2003, reflected on what the profession was like back then. "I started out making 60 cents an hour, which was ten cents more than I made at the bakery, where Lois Riley, Director of Nurses at the time, recruited me from. After my first day I told Lois, 'Don't write my hours down for the next week because I may not be here; I can't empty bed pans.' She just laughed. But I stuck around."

In reflecting on a typical day in the profession, Ally noted, "We would work all day on the floor and then start surgeries at seven, eight, or sometimes nine o'clock at night when Dr. Jensen, a specialist from Minneapolis, arrived in Grantsburg after working the day in the city. After surgery, we would go home for an hour or two to freshen up before heading back to work. We were very dedicated. We all worked together as a team - the nurses, Dr. Jensen, and Dr. Hartzell, who really helped me advance in my career. It was wonderful; I loved every minute of it."

Ally also spoke about differences in how patients were cared for, "Sometimes patients were in the hospital for five to ten days and longer, whereas one to three days is more typical now. We did little things for them, like wash their hair and night gowns. When patients needed to use the bathroom, we would walk them down to the one bathroom on the floor. We took all the vital signs of patients at that time too, but we used a manual blood pressure cuff; now, vital signs are taken with a computerized monitor. And today, nurses chart all patient information electronically. Back then, everything was on paper."

Despite these differences over time, the value of nurses to the clinical setting has not changed. Nurses are the healthcare professional with whom patients and their families have the most direct contact. They continue to be the most trusted profession in the country, as measured by Gallup's annual survey.

"At BMC, we are extremely proud of our rich legacy of nursing", shared Carol Ahlquist, Continuing Care Center (CCC) Director of Nurses, "Nurses that served residents in the Continuing Care Center, like Emily Randolph, who was a nurse in CCC and in the hospital from 1970 until 1984, are now residents themselves."

As we celebrate National Nurses Week, we salute past and present nurses in the communities we serve and thank them for making our community and world a better place through their service.

Assisting with BMC Health Care Needs

Four years ago, the Burnett Medical Center Foundation was established to help Burnett Medical Center remain committed to serving current and ongoing health needs. Through various charitable events and other fundraising activities, the Foundation has raised and provided more than $125,000 for purchasing much needed equipment and upgrades. The most recent initiative is a new whirlpool hydrotherapy tub for the Continuing Care Center at a cost of $25,000. The tub has specialized features making it easier to transfer patients from a wheel chair into the tub. It also has specialized ultra-violet lighting designed to eliminate many types of infectious bacteria. The whirlpool feature increases circulation and endorphin production which strengthens the immune system, reduces inflammation, heals injuries, and energizes the body. Individuals interested in making a Foundation contribution can contact Stan Peer, Foundation Treasurer, at 715-689-2940.

More Info on BMC Foundation

Burnett Medical Center Installs Area's First ATM-Style Prescription Drug Dispenser: Offers Patients New Level of Care and Convenience

Burnett Medical Center recently began offering InstyMed machine InstyMeds, a fully automated ATM-style machine that dispenses prescription medications directly to patients immediately before leaving the emergency department or clinic. The system, the first of its kind in the area, offers a safe, convenient way for patients to receive their prescription medications.

This new system eliminates the need for patients to have to wait for their prescription at a pharmacy when they're not feeling well. They can now have those prescriptions filled right in the ED. InstyMeds helps patients get back on the road to recovery as soon as possible.

The InstyMeds system automates the entire process from the prescriber issuing the prescription, to the patient obtaining their medications, and payment collection. The patient can obtain their medications and be on their way in about the same time it takes them to use their bank ATM.

The added convenience will help ensure patients fill and take their prescribed medications leading to faster recovery. Burnett Medical Center continues to support our local pharmacies for the more complex or expensive medications; however for those patients who want the added convenience, particularly when the pharmacy is closed, the immediate service provided by the InstyMeds system is ideal.

How it works: The medical provider enters a prescription electronically and gives patients a voucher with a unique security code. Using the touch-screen of the InstyMeds dispenser, the patient enters the unique security code and their date of birth. The patient then swipes a debit or credit card to pay for the prescription. After the machine performs a triple bar code safety check, the pre-packaged, labeled product is dispensed from the machine to the patient.

Patient Compliance: Studies show that 30 percent of prescriptions that doctors write go unfilled and costs the health care industry $289 billion a year. The added convenience of the InstyMeds system increases the likelihood that the patient will fill their prescription and undergo their medication treatment plan.