swoosh

Author: Legato Marketing

Pender, Nebraska (December 27, 2023) – Pender Community Hospital recently announced that Shane Schuster has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer for the hospital district. Schuster acted as interim CEO until Laura Gamble was hired in that role in late 2022.

As COO, Schuster will maintain many of his current responsibilities in addition to maintaining provider relations, implementing strategic planning and working closely with the team to overseeing the district’s financials.

“As interim CEO, Shane has shown great leadership and ability,” said PCH CEO Laura Gamble.
“His new role as COO is a great next step to allow Shane to continue to lead our organization.”

Originally from Laurel, Nebraska, Schuster graduated from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy in Omaha. He worked as a pharmacist for 12 years before joining Pender Community Hospital as The Apothecary Shop pharmacy manager in 2014.

During his tenure as manager, Schuster led the opening of two additional retail pharmacy locations and optimized revenue opportunities through the federal 340B program. He also served as ancillary services director, overseeing hospital pharmacy, radiology, laboratory and rehab services.

Schuster resides in Pender with his family and is active on the Pender-Thurston Summer Rec Board of Directors and with the Pender Booster Club, while also volunteering as a youth sports coach.

About Pender Community Hospital District

Pender Community Hospital (PCH) has been providing quality healthcare in northeast Nebraska since 1913. The 21-bed critical access hospital (CAH) was recognized by the Chartis Center for Rural Health as a Top-100 CAH for three consecutive years, from 2019-2021. PCH comprises not only the hospital but also several clinics and apothecaries, as well as Prairie Breeze Assisted Living and Little Sprouts Child Development Center. For more information, visit pchne.org.

Pender, NE (December 19, 2022) – Pender Community Hospital and Medical Clinics have announced that it will be utilizing Bryan Health Connect as its Accountable Care Organization (ACO), effective January 1, 2023. The organization had previously worked with a different organization for ACO services.

An ACO is a collection of healthcare providers who work together with Medicare to offer patients high quality, affordable care. The coordinated care approach of an ACO is beneficial to Medicare patients for a variety of reasons; these organizations help reduce the need for duplicate tests or unnecessary appointments, while also boosting preventative screenings that identify health concerns in early stages.

“Pender Medical Clinic is excited to join the Bryan Health Connect Accountable Care Organization. This premier, Nebraska-based ACO aligns well with our Pender philosophy of providing high-quality, high-value care to our patients,” said PCH Chief Executive Officer Laura Gamble. “Bryan brings numerous resources, tools and technologies to enable our staff to further grow programs and services for patient care.”
For more information, Medicare patients should contact the Health Coach Office at (402) 385-3033 option 3.

About Pender Community Hospital District
Pender Community Hospital (PCH) has been providing quality healthcare in northeast Nebraska since 1913. The 21-bed critical access hospital (CAH) was recognized by the Chartis Center for Rural Health as a Top-100 CAH for three consecutive years, from 2019-2021. PCH comprises not only the hospital but also several clinics and apothecaries, as well as Prairie Breeze Assisted Living and Little Sprouts Child Development Center. For more information, visit pchne.org

Amy Schantz, LIMHP recently joined Pender Community Hospital’s staff as a licensed independent mental health practitioner in its Outpatient Clinic. 

Schantz, who has specialized training in trauma, parent-child interaction therapy, autism spectrum disorders and child behaviors, is available for both in-person and telehealth appointments the first and third Tuesday of each month.  

As part of her practice, Schantz performs assessments, diagnoses, psychotherapy, treatment planning and crisis management for children, adolescents and adults. As a licensed independent mental health practitioner, Schantz provides flexible therapy that combines psychotherapy with practical, problem resolution strategies. 

Schantz earned both her Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Wayne State College.

PCH offers several types of behavioral health treatment options for people of all ages. For more information, visit pchne.org/services/behavioral-health.

 

Pender Community Hospital District recently announced that Laura Gamble, RN has been hired as its new CEO. With more than 30 years of experience in rural healthcare in the surrounding area, Gamble has a myriad of administrative and nursing experience in critical access hospitals. 

A native of northeast Nebraska, Gamble was most recently employed at Twelve Clans Unity Hospital in Winnebago, and prior to that was Chief Executive Officer/Director of Nursing at MercyOne Oakland Hospital in Oakland. She earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Lincoln, as well as a certification in Healthcare Management from the Bryan School of Health Sciences in Lincoln. 

Gamble has also served rural healthcare in many capacities throughout the state, including working closely with the Nebraska Hospital Association (NHA), where she currently serves on the organization’s services board. She currently resides in Wayne but plans to relocate to Pender in the near future, is looking forward to getting involved in various community projects in and around the health district.

“I have always admired the town of Pender and the pride they take in and the support they give to their hospital. The compassionate and top-notch care given at PCH is impressive and I am very fortunate to be able to care for the people in this area.”

Pender Community Hospital welcomed Kate Mueller to its staff on Monday, Aug. 22. As a new part-time physician assistant in family medicine, Mueller will see patients in PCH’s ER, as well as at both the Pender and Emerson Medical Clinics. 

Prior to joining PCH, Mueller was employed at NuWest Medical Clinic in Norfolk; before that, she worked at Memorial Health Clinic in Aurora for nearly six years. As a physician assistant, Mueller has experience helping patients of all ages manage acute and chronic illnesses, as well as providing both routine and preventative healthcare. Mueller has also worked in ER settings, as well as inpatient admittance.

Mueller earned a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center; and earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry health science from Wayne State College.

In addition, Mueller has been certified in the following areas: Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS); Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS); Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS); Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP); Basic Life Support (BLS); and National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. She is also a member of several professional organizations, including both the American and Nebraska Academies of Physician Assistants.Family medicine providers at PCH offer a full-scope of comprehensive care for patients of all ages. For more information, visit our primary care page.

Pender Medical Clinics’ Director of Nursing, Cyndi Conroy, has been selected as a winner of Huron Consulting Group’s “What’s Right in Healthcare 2022 Hero Award”.

Nominees for the award were required to “have significantly impacted results related to enhancing the patient experience, employee/physician engagement, improvement of their organization with innovative ideas or outstanding service to improve the health within their community,” according to the application form.

Conroy, who has been employed with PCH’s Pender Medical Clinic for more than 30 years, was nominated by clinic director, Lori Minert, for her leadership navigating the PCH clinics through the COVID-19 pandemic, including traveling to provide more than 3,000 COVID vaccines in a sparsely populated rural area.

According to the nomination form, “Cyndi has gone above and beyond as our director of nursing; one of her most notable accomplishments was keeping our nursing staff intact, with almost zero turnover” since the start of the pandemic.

Recipients of the award receive a complimentary registration to Huron’s What’s Right in Healthcare event, an annual conference designed to educate and connect professionals within the healthcare industry. This year’s conference was held in Chicago, August 8-10. For more information about Huron’s What’s Right in Healthcare, visit huronconsultinggroup.com.

Pulmonary Rehab Q&A

We recently caught up with Bancroft resident Sondra Bennett, age 62, who successfully completed the pulmonary rehab program a few years ago at Pender Community Hospital. Here’s what she had to say about the benefits of PCH’s pulmonary rehab program:

How did you learn about pulmonary rehab at PCH?

I had some lung issues and had been in the hospital, and needed to be on oxygen, so my pulmonologist brought it up to me because they thought I could benefit from it.

Why did you choose pulmonary rehab at PCH?

It’s closest to where I live and it sure beat going to Norfolk. I had had good results at Pender before, and I’m glad I went. For one thing, I really like the therapists over there – they made you feel really comfortable. I never felt pressured and they taught me a lot of different ways to handle my shortness of breath. They’re very positive, very compassionate.

Can you describe a typical session at PCH’s pulmonary rehab program? 

It was usually an hour – they did my vitals, then my exercises, including breathing ones. They let me work at my own pace: If I needed to stop midway, they were okay with that. They even did the exercises with me – I really enjoyed our time together and I still use all those things today that they taught me because it does make a difference.

What challenges did your team help you work through? 

I had to learn how to cope with being on oxygen – all of the sudden, things were so different. When I first heard about the program, I thought “Great! I’ll give it a shot,” but when it came down to it, the day before, I thought it was going to be a waste of time. Then I got there and really enjoyed it – it was worth the time!

Would you recommend the program to others? 

Oh, yes – go for it! What do you have to lose? You’ll come out of there feeling better about yourself. I learned new techniques – for me, I was so short of breath, but learned how to control that – and that this was not the end of the world. 

How has your life improved after pulmonary rehab? 

I learned different ways to control my breathing and I learned to accept this as my new normal; I am thankful for every day when I wake up.To learn more about PCH’s expert pulmonary rehab services, talk to your primary care provider or visit our Cardiopulmonary Services page.

 

With PCH Cardiac Rehab

Research indicates that cardiac rehab reduces participants’ death rate by as much as 30% when compared to non-participants – and that the biggest factor in determining rehab participation is the strength of the recommendation made by the patient’s physician. 

Larry Rogers is glad he took his doctor’s suggestions seriously to participate in Pender Community Hospital’s cardiac rehab program.

“I had some heart issues; I had a vessel that was 95% blocked, so they put a stent in and that’s when my doctor told me about Pender’s cardiac rehab program,” Rogers, age 62, explained. 

Cardiac rehab can help patients experiencing: 

  • angina
  • coronary artery disease
  • heart attack or other cardiac events
  • heart surgery and procedures
  • cardiovascular disease

Cardiac rehabilitation has been proven to lower the risk of death and health complications for patients who have experienced a cardiac procedure or event, and also increases the likelihood of returning to an active lifestyle. Another key factor as to why heart health providers advocate for cardiac rehab: It significantly reduces hospital readmission for cardiac patients.

What A Cardiac Rehab Plan Looks Like at PCH

Cardiac rehab plans at PCH typically range from three to six weeks and offer a full range of rehabilitative services, education and support to alleviate symptoms and help people heal – and also to prevent future problems by strengthening a patient’s body and improve their quality of life. Most participants also report that cardiac rehab improves their mood and mental health. 

To create an effective, customized rehab plan for each patient, PCH’s skilled rehabilitation team collaborates with a variety of specialists and staff, including primary care providers, cardiologists, behavioral health and nutrition specialists and social services professionals. 

The cardiac rehab team examines each patient’s progress throughout the plan, and makes adjustments as necessary in nutrition, sleep and activity levels, as well as continuously monitors how the patient is managing stress and living with their condition. Each plan is designed to improve heart health while also improving strength, conditioning, and general well-being. 

The cardiac rehab therapy team also provides patients with the resources and support they need to succeed, including providing educational information about their condition’s risk factors, lifestyle adjustments, tobacco cessation and stress management techniques. 

Cardiac Rehab Worked for Rogers

Rogers said that he especially appreciated PCH’s flexibility; Rogers, who is a farmer in Lyons, experienced his cardiac event in the spring of 2021 – right as he was getting ready to plant.  

“Pender was very good to work with; I needed to plant, and their flexibility was awesome,” said Rogers, who commended the cardiac rehab team on working around his schedule. 

For example, the PCH rehab team recommended that Rogers watch educational videos while he was exercising, which allowed him to double up on what he wanted to accomplish in rehab while still meeting the timeframe for planting at his farm. 

“Everything was great, the nutrition and the exercise program,” said Rogers. “They work with you on everything; it’s a very good program. Everyone was fantastic to work with, and they really keep your spirits up. And they’re very good at telling you where need to be and how to get there.” 

Rogers says that after rehab, he pays much closer attention to his diet, which has helped him lose weight, and keep it off.

“If you listen to what they say, you’re going to be okay,” said Rogers.To learn more about PCH’s expert cardiac rehab services, talk to your primary care provider or visit our Cardiopulmonary Services page.

Pender Community Hospital recently announced that it has received a $1 million USDA Emergency Rural Healthcare Grant to increase its telehealth capabilities through an improved electronic health record (EHR) system. The current EHR will be phased out in December 2022.

The new EHR will provide seamless integration of all patient data, from scheduling clinic appointments and completing registration to results from diagnostic lab work and x-rays; the new system will also allow for the quick and easy electronic transfer of medical records.

“Since the start of the pandemic, our patients have looked to do more online, and our board and community is requesting a more developed patient portal and telehealth services,” said Interim CEO Shane Schuster. “Our goal in procuring our new EHR is that we can provide services to all patients, regardless of their location.”

The new system improves the access and timeliness of patient records, which is critical to providing rural patients quality care close to home. The cost of the new EHR includes not only the purchase of the system itself, but also the appropriate hardware and training necessary to optimize the new system.

About Pender Community Hospital District
Pender Community Hospital (PCH) has been providing quality healthcare in northeast Nebraska since 1913. The 21-bed critical access hospital (CAH) was recognized by the Chartis Center for Rural Health as a Top-100 CAH for three consecutive years, from 2019-2021. PCH comprises not only the hospital but also several clinics and apothecaries, as well as Prairie Breeze Assisted Living and Little Sprouts Child Development Center. For more information, visit pchne.org.