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Horizon Health Care, Inc. and Prairie Community Health, Inc. Merger Final

(HOWARD, SD) – As of January 1, 2016, Horizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon) and Prairie Community Health have successfully completed the previously announced merger that will expand Horizon’s network to include 24 medical and dental clinics across the state of South Dakota,

All located in northwestern South Dakota, Horizon will now operate: Bison Clinic, Family Health Center of Eagle Butte, Faith Community Health Center, Isabel Community Clinic, and McIntosh Community Clinic, plus one school-based clinic in LaPlant, SD. Three of these clinics participate as Veteran’s Administration Community-Based Outreach Centers (VA-CBOC) through Ft. Meade VA in Ft. Meade, SD.

While the clinics will see a few visual changes outside with new logos and signage, patients can be assured that the providers and staff they have formed relationships with over the years will still be providing quality care. “We are pleased with how smoothly the preparations for this merger went and are eager to continue building relationships in these communities that Prairie Community Health has created throughout the years,” said John Mengenhausen, Horizon Health Care, Inc. CEO. “We have a great team in our six newest Horizon locations and we will remain committed to serving our rural patients who deserve affordable health care.”

This merge will also bring new opportunities to Horizon’s northwestern sites in years to come, including access to Horizon’s telemedicine capabilities. These telehealth services will provide patients with expanded access to services and communications with mental health professionals and specialty physicians, without having to leave their local clinics and travel long distances. Horizon also currently provides dental services in four of their locations.

For over 35 years, Horizon Health Care, Inc. has been providing personalized, affordable, high-quality medical, dental and mental health care through a rural, community-based network in South Dakota. Horizon is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves the medical, dental and mental health care needs of South Dakotans in rural, medically underserved areas through 82,000 patient visits annually in 24 community health centers in: Aberdeen, Bison, Bryant, De Smet, Eagle Butte, Faith, Fort Thompson, Howard, Huron, Isabel, La Plant, Lake Preston, Martin, McIntosh, Mission, Plankinton, Wessington Springs, White River and Woonsocket. For more information please visit www.horizonhealthcare.org.

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Horizon Health Care, Inc. Receives USDA Grant to Expand Access of Rural Telehealth

Horizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon) recently received its fourth USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant, which will provide unprecedented health care access to rural populations through the expansion of their existing telemedicine capabilities.

The project proposed by Horizon, Horizon – Expanding Access through Rural Telehealth (HEART), is an innovative project that will be provided as a transformation of Horizon clinics to Patient-Centered Medical Homes. The PCMH model is a nation-wide movement that centers on a care team approach, as well as partnerships between patients and providers, and lastly expanded access of services and communication with specialty physicians. This transformation will ensure that all patients served have the coordinated, high quality health care in their own rural communities. Based on assessments of Horizon’s existing services and gaps in local availability of health care, the HEART project will focus on addressing the following issues by enhancing services through telemedicine:

  • Cardiovascular services to address the high prevalence and lack of control of cardiovascular disease risk factors.
  • High rates of diabetes and poor disease self-management among rural, low-income residents in the region require that access to specialty care (e.g. endocrinologists) and diabetes self-management education be easily accessible through telemedicine.
  • Access to behavioral health care continues to be a challenge for rural residents in the HEART program region – a situation that is evident in untreated and chronic depression and suicide, among the region’s adults and teens.
  • Limited capacity of primary health care providers in the project’s rural communities has led to many rural, uninsured or underinsured patients to rely on local hospital emergency departments as a source of primary care. Unfortunately, this care is costly for patients and often requires significant travel and can be fragmented, as the ability for emergency staff to coordinate care over time is limited, at best. As a result, primary care capacity of the CHCs must be expanded via telemedicine to ensure greater access, and to provide residents with a local, more coordinated source of care for non-emergency health issues.

During the three year project period, Horizon will work under the HEART Project to address these issues and make appropriate referrals to cardiologists, diabetes specialists, and behavioral health specialists via telemedicine and improve timely treatment of patients in each of these areas. “With this latest grant funding, we have a great opportunity to combine the HEART Project with Horizon’s existing telehealth efforts and over fifteen years of experience in delivering healthcare via telemedicine to help Horizon’s rural clinics move to the next level in delivering quality health care services and education,” said Scott Weatherill, Chief Information Officer of Horizon.

For over 35 years, Horizon Health Care, Inc. has been providing personalized, affordable, high-quality medical, dental and mental health care through a rural, community-based network in South Dakota. Horizon is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves the medical, dental and mental health care needs of South Dakotans in rural, medically underserved areas through 78,000 patient visits annually in 18 community health centers in: Aberdeen, Bryant, DeSmet, Howard, Huron, Fort Thompson, Lake Preston, Martin, Mission, Plankinton, Wessington Springs, White River and Woonsocket. For more information please visit www.horizonhealthcare.org.

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Horizon Health Care, Inc. Receives Over $1 Million in Grants to Assist in Renovation Costs, Expansion of Services

In a recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Horizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon) has been named as one of 160 recipients across the country to receive a $1 million Health Infrastructure Investment Program Grant, which enables health centers to renovate, expand, or construct new buildings to increase patient capacity and care. This is a portion of nearly $500 million in Affordable Care Act funding awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services to health centers across the U.S. in support of providing primary care services to those needing it most. Horizon was also awarded an additional $292,000 Expanded Services Grant.

“As Horizon Health Care continues to grow, these grants will be integral in optimizing our opportunities for expansion and continuing to provide quality health care,” said John Mengenhausen, CEO of Horizon. “Nearly 23 million people were served by community health centers in 2014, which is almost three times as many as the number served less than twenty years ago. We are proud to have played a role in that increase and are looking forward to continuing to serve our patients and responding to rural South Dakota’s health care needs.”

Horizon plans to utilize the Health Infrastructure Investment Grant with the renovation and expansion of their Aberdeen Community Health Center in Aberdeen, SD. “We have already been actively seeking an additional provider and have purchased a new, larger location in Aberdeen with the hopes of renovations being completed and a new clinic operational by Spring 2016,” said Mengenhausen.

Final details have not been established regarding the Expanded Services Grant, but Horizon plans to expand their oral health services into the Plankinton community, as well as continuing to expand and enhance their mental health program and telemedicine resources throughout the organization.

For over 35 years, Horizon Health Care, Inc. has been providing personalized, affordable, high-quality medical, dental and mental health care through a rural, community-based network in South Dakota. Horizon is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves the medical, dental and mental health care needs of South Dakotans in rural, medically underserved areas through 78,000 patient visits annually in 18 community health centers in: Aberdeen, Bryant, DeSmet, Howard, Huron, Fort Thompson, Lake Preston, Martin, Mission, Plankinton, Wessington Springs, White River and Woonsocket. For more information please visit www.horizonhealthcare.org.

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Horizon Health Care, Inc. and Prairie Community Health, Inc. to Merge

Horizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon) and Prairie Community Health, Inc. (Prairie) board members and leadership are pleased to announce the intended merger of their respective community health centers to form a network of 24 medical and dentals clinics throughout the entire state of South Dakota.

“After months of planning and execution, we are thrilled with this opportunity to join forces with Prairie Community Health and add five well-established clinics to our network,” said John Mengenhausen, CEO of Horizon Health Care, Inc. “Both organizations have a rich history in striving to improve the quality of life for those we serve through delivery of affordable health care in many of our state’s most rural areas.  Horizon will continue to provide Prairie Community Health patients with access to the same quality health care they currently receive.”

Prairie Community Health is a Community Health Center with five clinic locations in the communities of Bison, Eagle Butte, Faith, Isabel, and McIntosh, plus a school-based clinic in LaPlant, SD. Horizon and Prairie have been fortunate to have a long-standing relationship throughout the years, especially over the past fifteen years. Since 2003, Horizon has provided direct support to Prairie in the area of information technology, and most recently, the organizations have shared a partnership in the Prairie Health IT Network that provides shared IT staffing and health information technology training to staff.

Once the merger is complete, the Prairie Community Health clinics will operate as a part of Horizon Health Care, Inc.  The current Prairie Community Health employees and providers will continue to serve patients at each clinic site. Prairie Board Chair, Fred Hulm, has served on the board for twenty-five years and believes the merger will strengthen the services current patients are accustomed to, “As the only source of primary health care in many of our locations, we serve nearly 4,000 patients each year.  As a board, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to our patients and staff for their support over the past 35 years. We have had great success in recent partnerships with Horizon and I feel confident that they will continue to strive for excellence.”

As the organizations work to integrate their locations and services, Mengenhausen and Dave Schmidt, Horizon Board Chair, would like to see the merger completed by the end of 2015. “Throughout this upcoming integration period, Horizon is dedicated to merging the two organizations with minimal disruptions to patient care. As a board, we strongly believe that leveraging the strengths in both organizations will allow Horizon to improve and align processes in the delivery of quality patient care. We have a very exciting road ahead of us,” said Schmidt.

For over 35 years, Horizon Health Care, Inc. has been providing personalized, affordable, high-quality medical, dental and mental health care through a rural, community-based network in South Dakota. Horizon is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves the medical, dental and mental health care needs of South Dakotans in rural, medically underserved areas through 78,000 patient visits annually in 18 community health centers in: Aberdeen, Bryant, DeSmet, Howard, Huron, Fort Thompson, Lake Preston, Martin, Mission, Plankinton, Wessington Springs, White River and Woonsocket. For more information please visit www.horizonhealthcare.org.

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Horizon Health Care, Inc. Appoints Kimberly Sumpter as Director of Human Resources

Kim SumpterHorizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon) recently announced the appointment of Kimberly Sumpter to the position of Director of Human Resources, in which she will be directly responsible for the overall administration, coordination, and evaluation of the Human Resources Department.

Sumpter has served as the Human Resource Generalist for Horizon for the past year, and has over fifteen years of experience in the field. “I am extremely excited for Kimberly to step into the role of Director of Human Resources,” said Christina Konechne, COO of Horizon Health Care, Inc. “As Horizon continues to expand, we will benefit immensely from Kimberly’s knowledge and experience within the organization, as she will play an integral role in our daily operations, organizational development, recruitment and sustainability.”

Prior to joining Horizon, Sumpter was a Human Resource Generalist at Dakota State University in Madison, along with extensive work in Human Resources in Colorado and California. Born and raised in Westminster, Colorado, Sumpter has resided in Howard with her husband, Shane, and children, Libby, Cooper, and Perry, for the past three years. In her spare time, she enjoys watching her children’s sporting events, spending time with the family’s two Great Danes, attending art festivals, dining in Sioux Falls, and discovering new territories to camp and boat.

For over 35 years, Horizon Health Care, Inc. has been providing personalized, affordable, high-quality medical, dental and mental health care through a rural, community-based network in South Dakota. Horizon is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves the medical, dental and mental health care needs of South Dakotans in rural, medically underserved areas through 78,000 patient visits annually in 18 community health centers in: Aberdeen, Bryant, DeSmet, Howard, Huron, Fort Thompson, Lake Preston, Martin, Mission, Plankinton, Wessington Springs, White River and Woonsocket. For more information please visit www.horizonhealthcare.org.

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Horizon Health Care, Inc. on Track to Open Community Health Center in Fort Thompson

Horizon Secures Location and Staff for Fort Thompson Community Health Center

(FORT THOMPSON, SD) – Horizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon), a rural, community-based network providing affordable, high-quality primary healthcare throughout 16 medical and dental clinics in South Dakota, is on track to opening their newest location in Fort Thompson, SD.

Scheduled to begin serving patients on September 1, 2015, Horizon has hired Sarah Newton, PA, to serve at the organization’s Fort Thompson Community Health Center.  A graduate of University of South Dakota School of Medicine, Newton holds a Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies, and brings over eight years of experience in the medical field to her position as a Physician’s Assistant.

“We are looking forward to expanding our quality health care to the Fort Thompson area with the addition of this talented health professional to Horizon’s team,” said John Mengenhausen, CEO of Horizon Health Care, Inc. “We are confident that Sarah will continue to provide the utmost quality care that our patients are familiar with in our other locations.”

Horizon’s newest community health center will provide the Fort Thompson community with a wide range of health services such as family medicine, pediatrics, emergency treatment, lab services, and mental/behavioral health. Patients will also experience the benefit of enhanced resources such as the Sliding Fee Program, 340B Program, and acceptance of most health insurance. The new facility plans to partner with Sanford in Chamberlain for additional specialty services. “Our main focus is to offer quality health care that is accessible to the community as a whole,” said Mengenhausen. “We are establishing partnerships with providers in neighboring areas, as well as expanded medical services, to ensure the residents of Fort Thompson and the surrounding communities have access to the best care possible.”

The Fort Thompson Community Health Center will be located on SD Highway 249, east of Lynn’s Dakota Mart.  A modular clinic will be moved into the location in the next month and Horizon is expecting to begin scheduling appointments in mid-August. A grand opening event for the community will also be held this fall.

For over 35 years, Horizon Health Care, Inc. has been providing personalized, affordable, high-quality medical, dental and mental health care through a rural, community-based network in South Dakota. Horizon is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves the medical, dental and mental health care needs of South Dakotans in rural, medically underserved areas through 78,000 patient visits annually in 16 community health centers in: Aberdeen, Bryant, DeSmet, Howard, Huron, Lake Preston, Martin, Mission, Plankinton, Wessington Springs, White River and Woonsocket. For more information please visit www.horizonhealthcare.org.

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Horizon Health Care, Inc. To Open Community Health Center in Fort Thompson

Horizon’s Community-Based Health Care Network Welcomes the Opportunity to Provide Fort Thompson Patients Quality Medical Care and Financial Resources

(FORT THOMPSON, SD) – Horizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon), a rural, community-based network providing affordable, high-quality primary healthcare throughout 18 medical and dental clinics in South Dakota, received federal funding May 6, 2015 to open a community health center in Fort Thompson. The funding, which will go to 164 health centers in 33 states, is expected to increase access for over 650,000 patients.

Horizon’s newest community health center will provide patients with personalized, quality, primary health care with the extra benefit of enhanced resources like the Sliding Fee Program, 340B Program, and acceptance of most health insurance. The funding will help Horizon cover start-up costs and allow Horizon to offset the costs of providing reduced patient fees through the Sliding Fee Program.

“Our main focus is to offer quality health care that is accessible to the community as a whole,” said John Mengenhausen, CEO of Horizon Health Care, Inc. “And with Horizon’s Sliding Fee Program, partnerships with providers in neighboring areas, as well as expanded medical services, we’re excited about being able to serve even more people in Fort Thompson and the surrounding communities.”

The new community health center will provide the Fort Thompson community with a wide range of health services such as family medicine, pediatrics, emergency treatment, lab services and mental/behavioral health. The new facility also plans on partnering with Sanford in Chamberlain for additional specialty services. The Fort Thompson office will begin as a paperless office with the implementation of Horizon’s Practice Management/Electronic Medical Record and telemedicine capability.

Scheduled to begin serving patients on September 1, 2015, Horizon is actively looking for the location of the new health center and new staff recruitment is underway. Horizon’s existing providers in the surrounding areas will be available for training and to provide specialty services.

For over 35 years, Horizon Health Care, Inc. has been providing personalized, affordable, high-quality medical, dental and mental health care through a rural, community-based network in South Dakota. Horizon is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that serves the medical, dental and mental health care needs of South Dakotans in rural, medically underserved areas through 78,000 patient visits annually in 18 community health centers in: Aberdeen, Bryant, DeSmet, Fort Thompson, Howard, Huron, Lake Preston, Martin, Mission, Plankinton, Wessington Springs, White River and Woonsocket. For more information please visit www.horizonhealthcare.org

 

 

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American Cancer Society Grant Increases Efforts To Promote Health Equity in South Dakota

The American Cancer Society recently announced that another $50,000 grant has been awarded to Horizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon) to continue their important work to reduce the unequal burden of cancer. The grant will sustain Horizons efforts to provide cancer awareness, education, and screening for colorectal cancer to individuals for another year.

The grant is funded by the Walgreens Way To Well Commitment® program, Walgreens customers and the American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program.  Funding for the CHANGE grants comes from Walgreens customers nationwide, who choose to donate to the American Cancer Society as they pay for their purchases at checkout. The CHANGE grants help promote health equity and ensure that communities with a higher burden of cancer have equal access to education and screening resources.

“As part of the CHANGE grant project, Horizon has added a patient navigator position to provide regular reminders and cancer screening education to patients who are eligible,” explained Horizon’s CEO, John Mengenhausen. “Colorectal cancer screenings truly save lives.  Encouraging patients to get a screening early is the key.”

Colorectal cancer screening is recommended for men and women who are 50 years of age or older.  Patients who receive screenings and detect colorectal cancer in early stages have high rates of recovery. Early detection is the key component given colorectal cancer has the second highest mortality rate in the nation. Due to the variety of screening methods and individual family history, reviewing options with a primary care provider is important for each patient to determine the best option.

Beyond the addition of patient navigator services, Horizon will utilize grant funds to improve the organization-wide patient reminder system, reduce cost for screening to eligible patients, provide patient education and optimize the use of electronic medical records and the patient portal.

According to the American Cancer Society, disparities predominantly arise from inequities in work, wealth, income, education, housing, and overall standard of living, as well as social barriers to high-quality cancer prevention, early detection and treatment services. Additionally, persons with lower socioeconomic status are more likely to experience increased cancer risks due to tobacco use, physical inactivity and poor diet due to environmental or community barriers that provide fewer opportunities for physical activity and less access to fruits and vegetables.

The Society collaborates with community health partners to reach individuals in communities with high burdens of cancer and limited access to cancer screening. Through the CHANGE program, the Society provides resources to increase cancer screening rates in those communities. Since 2011, CHANGE has awarded 300 grants to partners reaching underserved communities across the country; educating over 889,000 individuals about cancer risk and prevention, and providing over 357,000 cancer screenings.

The Walgreens Way to Well Commitment program, which focuses on improving everyday health through the prevention and early detection of leading diseases, has been a supporter of the CHANGE grant program since 2012. But the company’s overall support of the Society spans two decades and has helped to raise a total of $34 million to date in local communities throughout the country in partnership with their customers. In addition to funding CHANGE grants, Walgreens served as a corporate enrollment site for the Society’s Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3), the historic research study that will help cancer researchers discover more ways to prevent, detect and treat cancer and save more lives.

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Hats off to the hat makers

Two volunteers knit hats to give to patients at Horizon’s James Valley Community Health Center

(L/R) Carol Whitted and Terrie Lynne Kjetland (Lynne) with several of the hats that they have made for the James Valley CHC patients.

(L/R) Carol Whitted and Terrie Lynne Kjetland (Lynne) with several of the hats that they have made for the James Valley CHC patients.

Recently, two local ladies began making a difference for the patients at the Horizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon) James Valley Community Health Center (CHC), one hat at a time.

Terrie Lynne Kjetland (Lynne) of Wessington and Carol Whitted of Huron recently began knitting hats from donated yarn to give to all patients at Horizon that came to the clinic without a hat.

It all began when the clinic began receiving yarn for another lady who decided to make stocking hats for patients; however, when they lost contact with the individual, they were left with a large box of yarn just sitting in their clinic.

One day, Lynne came in for an appointment and saw the box of yarn and asked an employee what they were doing with it. Upon learning that it was no longer being utilized, Lynne offered to make hats for any patients in need of a hat, at no cost.

This is when Lynne decided to ask her new friend Carol if she would like to help with the project, even though Carol had tried knitting before and wasn’t successful. However, with a teacher like Lynne, Carol quickly learned and began to enjoy the busy work.

The knitting is not only benefitting the patients, but Carol as well. Since Carol began knitting hats for the patients, her smoking habit has decreased from a pack a day to two cigarettes a day!

“We are killing two birds with one stone!” said Lynne.

The two ladies both agree that the job is rewarding and fulfilling.

“We came into the clinic one day and noticed that there was a teenage boy without a hat. We offered him a hat assuming he would say no, but he readily took it.” said Lynne. “It is so fulfilling to see the look on the kids’ and parents’ faces when they get a new hat.”

In just a month’s time, the two ladies have made over 50 hats for the patients, and are planning on continuing as more yarn is donated.

With the yarn, they make hats for newborns and up. They leave the bottom of the hat unhemmed so that the individual can style it anyway they want and so that it stretches to fit any size. As more yarn gets donated, the women plan on making scarves so the patient can choose if they would like a scarf or a hat.

­Anyone can come to the clinic to receive a hat, regardless of income.

“We want to give any patient a hat that needs one” said Carol. “If you come to the clinic not wearing one, we want you to leave with one on.”

Anyone interested in donating yarn to help Carol and Lynne continue making hats and scarves for patients may take their donation to the James Valley CHC at 1000 18th Street SW, Suite 27 (in the Huron Mall). The clinic is open Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 6:00 pm.

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Horizon Health Care Appoints Christina Konechne as Chief Operations Officer

Horizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon) recently announced the appointment of Christina Konechne to the position position of Chief Operations Officer. Konechne has served as the Director of Operations for Horizon for the past year and will succeed Jeff Mengenhausen who has served as Horizon’s COO for the past four years. Mengenhausen will be assuming his new role with Rapid City Regional Health in February 2015.

Konechne will be responsible for primary oversight of all areas of health center operations, including assuring the successful flow of patient care as well as implementation of federal grant and contract-funded programs. She will also be charged with the management of programs and support staff plus development of new service opportunities for the rural, community-based network that provides affordable, high-quality primary healthcare throughout 17 medical and dental clinics in South Dakota.

“I am extremely excited to have Christina join Horizon’s executive leadership team, where we will benefit immensely from her experience and proven record of success,” said John Mengenhausen, CEO of Horizon. “More than ever, Horizon’s  growth opportunities abound as a result of our effective delivery and support of community health care services. Christina’s leadership will help ensure we continue to harness this potential and fully realize the opportunities before us.”

Prior to Horizon, Konechne was the Executive Director at Golden Living, where she led and directed the overall operations of the facility in accordance with customer needs, government regulations and Company policies.

With a bachelor’s degree in Health Care Administration, a graduate certificate in Long Term Care Management, and a master’s degree in Health Care Administration, Konechne is well suited for her new responsibilities at Horizon, including:

  • Managing key indicators to monitor and evaluate performance of programs to ensure efficient and effective service delivery and attainment of organizational operational goals.
  • Planning, coordinating, and controlling the daily operation of the organization through the organization’s managers.
  • Developing grant applications.
  • Acting as a resource for staff including sharing of expertise and information; providing assistance, mentoring, leadership, and training opportunities.
  • Facilitating development and implementation of emergency preparedness plans and activities.
  • Dispensing advice, guidance, direction, and authorization to carry out major plans, standards and procedures, consistent with established policies and Board approval.
  • Meeting with organization’s other executives to ensure that operations are being executed in accordance with the organization’s policies.
  • Establishing and maintaining an effective system of communications throughout the organization, the communities, and with federal and state partners.
  • Leading and participating in the Quality Management process of identifying problems and participating in the development of criteria to study and improve the process.
  • Assuming the role and responsibilities of Corporate Compliance Officer.

A South Dakota Native originally from Brookings, Konechne currently resides right outside of Madison, SD on an acreage with her husband, Marty Konechne and son, Oliver Joseph. In her spare time, she enjoys being outside, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.

 

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