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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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Horizon Employees Donate to the Wessington Springs Tornado Relief Fund

042Horizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon) employees have the opportunity to voluntarily contribute to a special fund for charitable donations by payroll deduction throughout the year. However, this year, with the recent tornado that destroyed many homes and businesses in Wessington Springs on June 18th, the organization chose to donate their first half of the year’s contributions to the Wessington Springs Tornado Relief Fund.

 “Giving back to our communities is important to the employees of Horizon Health Care, and when a tragedy like this hits so close to home, we are especially happy to help those individuals out that have lost so much.” said Dr. Lance Lim, Medical Director at Horizon.

On July 14th, Mayor Melissa Mebius received the check for $4,345.00, which was presented by the Jerauld County Community Health Center and Dental Clinic staff that also contributed to those in their community.

In addition to the individuals that donate annually, Horizon had several staff members that chose to donate money directly to the Wessington Springs fund. Throughout the organizations 18 clinics, 53 employees donated money to help out the Wessington Springs community.

PHOTO (From left to right): Wendy Bergeleen, Receptionist, Karen Mickelson, RN; Donna Jost, Dental Assistant; Mayor Melissa Mebius; Katee Olinger, CMA; Holly Feistner, CMA; Linda Grohs, CMA and Janet Kolousek, Office Manager.

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Construction Underway for Horizon Health Care’s Whiting Memorial Community Health Center

IMG_3779(WOONSOCKET, SD) – Construction is underway for Horizon Health Care’s Whiting Memorial Community Health Center (CHC). The 2,800 square foot space will have 3 exam rooms, a procedure and telemedicine room, lab and X-ray services. Construction completion is targeted for September of this year with an anticipated grand opening scheduled for mid-October.

Custom Touch Homes in Madison has completed the build out, sheet rocking, painting, and are now inserting the cabinets, shelves, and various work stations. The timeline for the clinic has been delayed from their original completion date due to the James River bridge repair on HWY 34 near Forestburg. Custom Touch Homes will have the clinic complete by July 18th. Once the bridge is complete, Custom Touch will move the new clinic and Quality Homes out of Mitchell will complete the remaining plumbing, electrical, HV/AC, and data wiring work on the facility.

“Custom Touch Homes has been very great to work with, everything has moved exceptionally smooth and on schedule,” said Jeff Mengenhausen, COO at Horizon. “We’re excited to move into this new clinic, which will allow us to continue providing quality health care to the Woonsocket community with our up-to-date equipment and clinic.”

The new clinic will provide an additional 1,200 square foot of space, which allowed Whiting Memorial CHC to include additional services into their floor plan. With the new site, Whiting Memorial CHC will include a procedure room, larger telemedicine room and nurses station.

“The purchase of this new building solidifies our commitment to the Woonsocket community,” said Mengenhausen. “We’re excited to be able to provide Woonsocket with high quality, affordable health care for many years to come.”

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Nelson Batoon, MD, Thane Hepworth, DDS, and Megan Leddy, CNP Join Horizon Health Care

Horizon Health Care, Inc. is proud to announce and welcome several new staff members to the Jerauld County Community Health Center and Dental Clinic in Wessington Springs. Horizon has recently hired Nelson Batoon, MD, Thane Hepworth, DDS, and Megan Leddy, CNP.

“We are excited about this positive step for Jerauld County Community Health Center and Dental Clinic,” said John Mengenhausen, CEO of Horizon Health Care, Inc. “We look forward to providing quality, personalized medical and dental health care to even more people in Wessington Springs and the surrounding communities with the addition of these three talented health professionals.”

Dr. Batoon, who has a doctorate in medicine, with a specialty in Family Medicine from Far Eastern University in Manila, Philippines, is excited to provide care in a rural, community-based network. Batoon completed his residency at the Center for Family Medicine in Sioux Falls, SD. Following his residency, he worked several years at the Bowdle Healthcare Center, in Bowdle, SD.

A recent University of Minnesota graduate with a Doctorate of Dental Surgery, Dr. Hepworth is enthusiastic to begin his career with Horizon. During Hepworth’s externship, he worked at the University of Minnesota Student Clinic, as well as the University of Minnesota Student Outreach. Through his externship, he worked and communicated with patients by addressing chief complaints, offering different treatment options and coming up with the best treatment plan for their situation.

Leddy, a recent University of Nebraska graduate; holds a Master of Science degree in Nursing. Prior to Horizon, Leddy was a RN for Sanford Health for the past seven years. At her time at Sanford, she worked within the Post Anesthesia Care Unit, the Adult Critical Care Unit and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

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Katy Goulding, CNP, Joins Horizon Health Care

Horizon Health Care Inc. (Horizon) hired Katy Goulding, CNP, to serve at the organization’s Aberdeen Community Health Center located in Aberdeen, SD.

Katy Goulding, CNP

Katy Goulding, CNP

“We look forward to continuing to provide quality health care to Aberdeen with the addition of this talented health professional to Horizon’s team,” said Lance Lim, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Horizon.

A graduate of University of Nebraska Medical Center, Goulding holds a Master’s of Science degree with a specialty in Women’s Health, and brings over eight years’ of experience in the medical field to her position as a Nurse Practitioner at Aberdeen Community Health Center (CHC).

A South Dakota Native originally from Aberdeen, Goulding is excited to continue a fulfilling career in the community she grew up in. Goulding, the daughter of Randy and Connie Grote, currently resides in Aberdeen with her husband Cody, and two children, Samuel (10) and Delilah (6). Goulding is also a proud member of the Aberdeen Community Theater and enjoys golfing, bowling and traveling on her spare time.

“Growing up in this community, I am proud to become a professional part of this healthcare system, and to be able to support and reach out to those who need care, while providing them with the best care they deserve.” said Goulding.

Goulding will be serving the Aberdeen community Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 p.m., at 422 5th Avenue SE, Suite 209, which is just northeast of the Alexander Mitchell Library.

Goulding is excited about serving the community with a variety of services. Several services that she will be providing will be comprehensive obstetric and gynecologic care in addition to contraception, infertility counseling, menopause issues, sexual issues including sexually transmitted infections, various gynecological issues, maternal and fetal well-being, high risk pregnancies, and post-partum care.

Aberdeen CHC also provides lab services, diabetes care, family health care, pediatrics, physicals, DOT physicals, women’s health care, OB/Prenatal care, and assistance and counseling with the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Community Health Center also offers free sports physicals for student’s grades 6-12.

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Horizon Health Care Now Providing Patients Online Services

Horizon Health Care Now Providing Patients Online Services
My Horizon Chart allows patients to view their health information online, anytime

With its launch of a new patient portal program this month, called “My Horizon Chart,” Horizon now offers patients the option to access select portions of their health records online, through Horizon’s website.

My Horizon Chart allows patients to more conveniently view, manage, transmit and download certain health records such as lab test results, immunizations, procedures, allergies and prescribed medications. The portal also enables users to view recent test results more quickly, send secure messages to your provider, check your account balance and share medical information with physicians instantaneously, at any hour and wherever internet access is available.

“My Horizon Chart signifies an important step towards improving patients’ healthcare experiences,” said Horizon’s CEO John Mengenhausen. “This program reflects Horizon’s ongoing commitment to advancing technology and providing all of our patients with enhanced access to, and ownership of, their personal health care information.”

Patients with a valid email address can begin to use the secure, web-based tool starting this March by registering for a secure patient portal account during their appointments or stopping into the clinic when it is convenient for you. Upon registration, My Horizon Chart provides a secure username and password to access patient record information. Parents will also be able to enroll their children 11 and under and access their accounts.

“With this next step, patients can review their prescriptions and health records on their tablets, send secure messages to their providers and check their account balance with the click of the mouse,” said Mengenhausen. “We are proud to offer the technology and accessibility that make healthcare easier for our patients anytime, anywhere.”

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Horizon Health Care, Inc. Secures New Location in Aberdeen

After their negotiations fell through just weeks before their opening date, Horizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon) is back on track with a new location.  With their new clinic located in the basement of the Johnson Professional Building, Horizon is excited to begin seeing patients on January 13th.

“We have definitely experienced our fair share of challenges, but we stayed positive and we are more than excited to have secured a location,” said Jeff Mengenhausen, Horizon’s Chief Operating Officer. “Thanks to RCE Properties, L.L.C. we are now on the fast track to finalizing our facility and begin seeing our patients.”

Horizon, a community-based network that provides affordable, high-quality primary healthcare throughout 18 medical and dental clinics in South Dakota, received federal funding September 13, 2013 to open a community health center in Aberdeen. The provided funding will help Horizon with their initial start-up costs, securing a permanent location, and continue to help with general operating support throughout the upcoming years.

With their new location, Horizon will provide the Aberdeen community with a wide range of quality health services such as family medicine, pediatrics, emergency treatment, x-ray, lab services and mental/behavioral health.

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 and acceptance of most health insurance, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Avera and Sanford.

Aberdeen Community Health Center is located at 422 5th Avenue SE, Aberdeen SD and will begin accepting appointments on January 13. Clinic hours will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  If interested in scheduling an appointment, please call 605-725-3900.

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Horizon’s Growth Leads to Appointment of Director of Operations

Horizon Health Care, Inc. (Horizon) today announces the appointment of Christina Konechne to the role of Director of Operations. Having experienced significant growth in the past year, the network of community health centers hired Konechne for primary oversight of all areas of the medical health center operations, including assuring the successful flow of patient care, as well as developing, reviewing, analyzing and controlling the medical facilities budgets. 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 18 medical and dental clinics in South Dakota.

“I am extremely excited to have Christina join Horizon’s leadership team, where we will benefit immensely from her experience,” said Jeff Mengenhausen, COO 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 harness this potential and fully realize the opportunities before us.”

Konechne most recently served as the Executive Director at Golden Living, where she lead and directed the overall operations of the facility in accordance with customer needs, government regulations and Company policies. Other experience includes being the Social Services Director, developing social histories, social assessments and care plans for each individual within her facility to help reach and maintain the facility’s business objectives.

With a Masters in Health Care Administration, a Graduate Certificate in Long Term Care Management, long-term care employment and health care employment, Konechne is well suited for her responsibilities at Horizon, including:

  • Monitor day-to-day clinical operations, development, management and oversight of all clinic sites assigned.
  • Ensures provision of safe, high quality patient care by the clinic staff and that all functional areas are effective, efficient and monitored for continuous improvement to meet the changing needs.
  • Create and implement goals for clinics and ensure that these goals are in line with organizational goals and objectives.
  • Leads review and implementation of industry best practices.​
  • Ensures strict confidentiality of all organizational information.
  • Compose, prepare, and review memorandums, correspondence, reports, public notices and documents as assigned; complete various forms; prepare and distribute reports for review and use; prepare and maintain a variety of forms used by an assigned department.
  • Prepare materials and correspondence for distribution internally and for other related external businesses and governmental agencies.
  • Oversee daily clinical operations, hold staff meetings and inform staff of organizational information and change.
  • Monitor and assist in the recruiting, interviewing and hiring process for clinical support and provider level staff to ensure clinics are properly staffed
  • Assist in developing goals and objectives for the department’s function; evaluate policies and procedures; implement new policies and procedures.

A South Dakota Native originally from Brookings, Konechne currently resides right outside of Madison, SD on an acreage with her husband, Marty Konechne and 7 month old son, Oliver Joseph. In her spare time, she enjoys being outside, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.

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