Author: PCH IT

In the past few months, information on the health effects of e-cigarettes and vaping have been in the news. As of November 13, 2019, 2172 cases of lung injuries related to e-cigarettes and vaping have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). With all of this information, what are the most important things for you to know about this nicotine product?

Created as an alternative to tobacco products, e-cigarettes are mechanical devices that deliver a dose of nicotine. Vaping occurs when you inhale the aerosolized solution released with these devices. It has become a multibillion dollar industry in the U.S., with more than 450 brands on the market. Often, people who are trying to quit smoking turn to this solution to decrease their use of, and risks related to, tobacco. Although most states prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to youth under the age of 18, teen use is steadily rising.

Here are the facts on e-cigarettes:

  • They go by many names, such as e-cigs, vape pens, e-hookah, e-cigars, mechanical mods and pod systems.
  • They come in many forms and can resemble cigarettes, cigars, pipes, flash drives or pens. These devices can be used to deliver other drugs, such as marijuana.
  • The nicotine solution used is often flavored, such as fruit, candy and bubble gum, making it appealing to kids. Kids who use e-cigarettes are much more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes.
  • Although the solutions contain fewer toxic chemicals than cigarettes, e-cigarettes still contain harmful and cancer-causing chemicals, such as formaldehyde, lead and acrolein. These chemicals are addictive and can cause irreversible lung damage. E-cigarettes have an especially negative effect on kids because their brains are still growing.
  • The most popular e-cigarette used by teens is the JUUL. In the form of a flash drive, a single JUUL pod contains high levels of nicotine—roughly the same amount of nicotine as one pack of cigarettes.
  • Research shows that smokers are actually LESS likely to quit if they are using e-cigarettes. No conclusive data supports the claims that e-cigarettes are helpful to quit smoking.

For more information on e-cigarettes, go to the CDC website:

There are a lot of mixed messages out there about what vitamins women need-or don’t need. It’s a confusing and highly personalized topic, but there are a few basic guidelines that can work for nearly everyone. In many cases, women don’t need vitamin supplements because they are getting what they need from their diet. In other cases, it’s advisable to have some extra support. As always, talk to your doctor before starting anything new, and when you do, ask if any of the following suggestions might be right for you:

Under 40: Women who are under 40 may need extra iodine. For those who are considering becoming pregnant, you may want to take folic acid.

Between 40 and 50: If you’re between 40 and 50 you are likely experiencing perimonopause or menopause and may need to take iron supplements. Iron is important for a number of reasons: It helps give you energy, supports red blood cells, and speeds wound-healing, to name a few.

Over 50: Older women are at an increased risk for developing osteoporosis, which means weaker bones and an increased risk for fractures. Women over 50 should take additional calcium and vitamin D for bone health if recommended by her doctor. Older women may also benefit from more B vitamins, which can improve health and help prevent conditions that primarily impact women over 60.

Over 70: Women over 70 need even more vitamin D, so be sure to confirm with your doctor that you are getting enough. 

Pregnant and breastfeeding moms: Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also ask their doctor about additional vitamins they may need. These usually include increased amounts of iodine and folic acid. 

Remember, your doctor knows best. Don’t trust an internet search with something as important as your health. If you’re wondering what vitamins to take-or if you have any questions about your health at all, make an appointment with a provider at Pender Community Hospital today by calling 402-385-3083.

Pender Community Hospital & Medical Clinics welcomes Chelsea (Brinkman) Moore, PA-C to their list of providers. She will primarily care for patients in the PCH emergency department. As a passionate, skilled medical professional and native of Pender, she will be an invaluable asset to the healthcare system.

Chelsea recently graduated from UNMC and is excited to be able to start her career in the same place that rooted her desire to help others. Being born and raised in Pender made it an easy decision to return and give back to the community that has supported her throughout her education.

“The desire to help others and also expand my knowledge in the ever-changing field of medicine is what inspired me to become a Physician Assistant,” Chelsea shared.

Pender Community Hospital was the first critical access hospital in the state to offer robotic-assisted surgery, making expert care and state-of-the-art technology accessible where it’s closer for patients and their families. Relationships with outreach surgeons like Dr. Volz, combined with advanced technology, PCH provides patients with the expert services they need, and the local, personalized care they’ve always trusted.

She will be stepping into a new role at PCH that will further support their mission to provide the highest quality care for patients. Her main care focus will be within the ER, where she will provide daytime coverage four days a week and night coverage twice a month. This will allow other providers to focus on patients at the medical clinic. Chelsea will also provide clinic coverage as needed.

The addition of another full-time provider at PCH is a great benefit to patients, staff and the community.

In her downtime, Chelsea enjoys spending time with her husband Spencer, their corgi Archie, and friends and family. She also enjoys cooking, watching movies, reading books, and being outdoors as much as possible through camping and hiking.

More than a year after COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic in the U.S. we are now seeing a glimmer of hope on the horizon. A return to normalcy–or some form of it–appears within reach. And that is due in large part to the continued distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations.

The COVID-19 vaccine, like any medical decision, is one we each must make based on what’s best for our health and aligns with the recommendations of our healthcare providers. But wading through the ocean of information on the vaccine to make that decision can be daunting.

To help break down the details of the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Matt Felber, Pender Community Hospital & Medical Clinics Physician is sharing helpful information to clear up misconceptions and explain why it’s a safe choice for most people to make.

“Vaccines in general are very safe,” Dr. Felber said. “They’ve been around for decades and have saved millions of lives and prevented a lot of diseases so well that people don’t even remember them. They’re an important part of society’s well-being and healthcare.”

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines and the perception that they were developed too quickly to be fully safe, Dr. Felber notes that they were still required to pass the same rigorous testing protocol as other vaccines. Due to the urgent need for them and the funding provided for the research, they were simply able to move through the development and testing process much more rapidly.

“Most vaccine trials have 5-10,000 volunteers in their trials. These vaccines had over 100,000,” he explained. “Because so many people had COVID it made it easier to get volunteers for the study and there was a great amount of funding invested into them, which helped accomplish the testing more quickly than other vaccines. In my opinion, the COVID-19 vaccines are very safe.”

Currently, there are three vaccine variations available–from Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. None of them contain any live virus, so they can’t make you sick with COVID-19.

Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which teach cells to make a protein that triggers an immune response against COVID-19. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an adenovirus-based vaccine, in which the COVID-19 virus spike protein is added to an adenovirus to generate an immune response.

“Research on the technology used for the Johnson & Johnson vaccines has been studied for more than 10 years,” Dr. Felber shared. “An Ebola vaccine approved for general use last year uses the same technology. It just wasn’t as widely known until now.”

Besides the accelerated timeline of their development, there are other questions and rumors that have arose about their safety. Dr. Felber shares that most of the extreme negative side effects that people may be anxious about simply aren’t true. 

“There is no live virus in these vaccines, and there is no evidence they will alter your DNA,” he said. “The same goes for causing miscarriages or that they’re harmful to pregnant or breastfeeding women. Unless you have an allergy to a component of the vaccine, they are generally safe for the majority of the adult population.”

In Dr. Felber’s opinion, the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines far outweigh the risks.

“Of course, you should always ask your healthcare provider if you are uncertain about getting the vaccine,” he said. “But overall, these vaccines seem very safe. And research shows that the immunity they provide increases with time. By getting vaccinated you help keep yourself, your family and your friends safe.”

Know your risks of diabetes–and get help to manage or avoid the disease

The fourth Tuesday of March is National American Diabetes Association Diabetes Alert Day –a day to understand the seriousness of the disease that over 30 million Americans have.

Diabetes is when blood sugar, or blood glucose, is too high and insulin, a hormone in the body, is unable to transport glucose to the blood or cells. In addition to gestational diabetes which is brought on by pregnancy and usually resolved after birth, there are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes–formerly called juvenile diabetes–is when the pancreas doesn’t make insulin the body needs. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin, injected via shot or through a pump, for the rest of their lives to manage their health. Type 2 diabetes, usually diagnosed when people are older, is when the body can no longer respond to insulin as it should. Unlike type 1 diabetes, people with type 2 diabetes can manage the severity of the disease or even prevent the disease through healthy lifestyle choices. And with seven million people living with the disease who don’t know it, use Diabetes Alert Day as a “wake up” call to evaluate your health–and the health of those you love. If you’re at risk, take the American Diabetes Association risk assessment survey and talk to your primary care provider.

Diabetes Education at Pender Community Hospital
At Pender Community Hospital, experts help patients manage diabetes and maximize their health. From education about the disease’s impact on the body, to tools and resources to help patients prevent long-term problems, Stacie Petersen, Registered Nurse (RN), Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) and Clinical Health Coach, explained how the team personalizes care to help people live their healthiest lives. She urges people to use the resource for education–and ongoing support after the course.

The comprehensive services of Pender Community Hospital Diabetes Education include:

  • Help with all aspects of care. From help with medication, monitoring blood sugars, to suggestions on diet and exercise, care is personalized to each person. “I provide education on healthy eating, activity, monitoring blood sugars, medications including starting injections, problem solving, healthy coping, and risk factor reduction,” Stacie said. “I train people to monitor blood sugars and start insulin or other injectable medications, instruct people how to use continuous glucose monitors and am able to assist with insulin pump adjustments/issues.” Stacie said the team also follows up after education plans are complete to make sure patients were successful if adjustments and changes were made to their care protocol.
  • Connecting patients to additional resources and assisting with patient referrals. The Diabetes Education team stays current on the latest resources to help patients. “I can assist patients with referrals for various services they require. I also serve as a “bridge” for people with diabetes and their health care provider to address various diabetes-related issues,” Stacie said.
  • One-on-one education. “We do individual face-to-face sessions here at Pender Community Hospital,” Stacie shared. “We have a formal curriculum that we follow and use reputable materials that are approved by the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists.”
  • Personalized education for patients and their families. “The sessions are patient-driven and are individualized to each person,” said Stacie. “They are interactive, and I encourage family members to attend. Attendees receive printed resources, discharge instructions, contact information, and a follow-up phone meeting is set after education. I encourage them to call if they have any questions and concerns.”
  • Help setting health goals. Educators work with patients to set individualized goals, based on their priorities. The team focuses on seven key self-care behaviors during sessions: healthy eating, an active lifestyle, monitoring blood sugars, guidance for taking medication, problem solving, healthy coping and reducing risks.

What should you know about Pender Community Hospital & Medical Clinics Diabetes Education?

  • Accredited Diabetes Education program through the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists. Having an accredited program is a notable accomplishment for a smaller healthcare system. This accreditation allows the facility to provide structured, quality formal education that meets the national standards required for diabetes education. PCH also has a diabetes educator who has met the criteria to become a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. This certification means she possesses comprehensive knowledge and experience in diabetes prevention and management.
  • Available through telehealth. PCH also does diabetes education via telehealth. Patients have two-way interactions with a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist from the comfort of their homes using a smart-phone, computer, tablet or other electronic device with audio and visual capabilities.
  • On-staff clinical dietitian. A registered dietician provides nutrition consultations and services are covered by Medicare, and most insurances, for people with diabetes. Appointments are scheduled by PCH health coaches.
  • Health Coaches. Health coaches are registered nurses who help patients with their diabetes management. At Pender Medical Clinic, health coaches can help patients during and after clinic appointments.
  • Covered by most insurance plans. Diabetes education is a covered benefit under Medicare and most insurance plans but patients are encouraged to check with their insurance providers.
  • A referral is needed. Ask your primary care provider for a referral to diabetes education from PCH.

Call for more information.
Stacie urges anyone interested in diabetes education to speak to their health care provider or contact her directly at 402-385-1956 with questions.

Pender Community Hospital welcomes Dr. Lawrence T. Volz, MD, FACS, of Midlands Clinic, who will provide general surgery services at the healthcare system. Dr. Volz’s vast medical experience and surgical expertise will give community members access to state-of-the-art surgical services, utilizing innovative technology that is usually found in much larger hospitals

An accomplished surgeon with 23 years of experience, Dr. Volz is proficient in robotic-assisted surgery and has utilized the technology in over 300 procedures. “Minimally invasive, robotic-assisted surgery has many advantages,” said Dr. Volz. “It allows surgeons to use great precision so incisions are smaller, healing is faster and scarring is minimal. Patients also experience less pain, so they don’t need strong medications, like opioids. And they can leave the hospital sooner to return to their normal lives.”

Dr. Volz graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska and completed a general surgery residency at Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts. In addition to robotic-assisted surgery, he performs other minimally invasive procedures, general surgery, laparoscopic procedures, hernia repair, gallbladder surgery, breast and abdominal surgeries and vascular access procedures. Dr. Volz holds medical licenses in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota and begins seeing patients at Pender Community Hospital this month. 

Pender Community Hospital was the first critical access hospital in the state to offer robotic-assisted surgery, making expert care and state-of-the-art technology accessible where it’s closer for patients and their families. Relationships with outreach surgeons like Dr. Volz, combined with advanced technology, PCH provides patients with the expert services they need, and the local, personalized care they’ve always trusted.

Pender Community Hospital Welcomes OB/GYN Physician and Three Behavioral Health Providers.

Pender Community Hospital in Pender, NE, welcomes four new providers to supplement care offerings for patients in the communities the PCH healthcare system serves.

Dr. Gregory Heidrick is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and specializes in operative gynecology. He is highly skilled in minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery. With over 30 years of expertise, his unique approach customizes procedures to fit the person, rather than using a one-size-fits-all standard, so every patient receives her most effective treatment. Providing this personalized care has enhanced Dr. Heidrick’s surgical repertoire and made him a pioneer, and leader, in OB/GYN procedures in the region. To date, Dr. Heidrick has performed more than 3,000 robotic-assisted procedures and looks forward to helping PCH patients. He will begin seeing patients at the PCH Outpatient Specialty Clinic every other Tuesday starting September 1.

Jenna Johnson, APRN-NP, will support the PCH behavioral health team, treating children, teens and young adults. Jenna will provide psychiatric evaluations and medication monitoring for patients ages 5 to 23 and believes in providing patient-centered care to help young people get the support they need to live their healthiest lives. She is currently seeing patients at the PCH Outpatient Specialty Clinic on the first Tuesday of each month.

Brooklee Tynes, PhD and clinical psychologist, will treat patients ages 5 to 19. Dr. Tynes conducts social/emotional, developmental and cognitive assessments for this younger patient group and also provides therapy services. She delivers evidence-based interventions to children, adolescents and their families to educate both the patients and their support systems, to better facilitate mental healing and meaningful behavior changes. Brooklee will see patients at the PCH Outpatient Specialty Clinic on the first Tuesday of each month.

Nikki Houlden, APRN-NP, will provide behavioral health care and support for adult and geriatric patients at PCH’s outpatient clinic. A strong advocate who believes that overall health is directly impacted by proper mental health care, Nikki will provide psychiatric evaluations and medication monitoring for patients over age 24. Nikki is currently seeing patients at the PCH Outpatient Specialty Clinic on the third Tuesday of each month.

“We are proud to enhance our already strong team at PCH with the addition of these experienced providers,” said Melissa Kelly, CEO of Pender Hospital Community. “They provide an incredible blend of education and knowledge and share PCH’s mission to provide exceptional healthcare services and compassionate patient care.”

For an appointment with our new OBGYN, Dr. Gregory Heidrick, call the PCH Outpatient Specialty Clinic at 402-385-4090. If you’re looking to set up an appointment with one of the new behavioral health providers, call the PCHBehavioral Health team at 402-385- 1898. Check with your insurance first to see if a referral is needed; if required, contact your primary care physician or any Pender Medical Clinic and ask about setting up the appropriate referrals.

About Pender Community Hospital District
Pender’s hospital dates back to 1913. Over the years, the Pender Community Medical System has become a model of an effective Rural Health System. Through the loyalty and generous support of everyone making up the hospital district, plus the dedication of the medical staff, board of directors, and hospital staff, we continue to deliver top quality health care.

Infectious diseases have always been part of life. And, like generations before us, we will get through the recent health crisis if we all work together. As we all continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers, health experts and physicians are emphasizing the importance of wearing masks to slow the spread of this highly contagious virus.

“Wearing a mask is one of the simplest things we can do to help decrease the spread of COVID-19 and, quite honestly, save lives,” said Dr. Cole Reha, Pender Community Hospital Medical Director. In addition to other precautions like frequent hand washing and staying socially distant, Dr. Reha added, “If everyone wore a mask when in areas where social distancing is difficult, such as indoor places, it would decrease the risk of virus transmission. This is a simple act that can protect yourself and others right here in our community.”

Physicians, researchers and public health experts have spent long hours helping those infected who need advanced care, but many people may be carriers of the virus and not even realize it. Masks reduce the spread of COVID-19 by containing respiratory droplets–invisible to the naked eye–that are released each time we talk, cough, sneeze or sing. By wearing facemasks whenever we’re in public, studies have proven that we can help slow the spread to help keep our family, friends and our community safe.

When should you wear a mask–and who should wear one?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone over the age of two wear masks in public settings, or when spending time with people who don’t live in our same household. Wearing masks indoors has become a mandate in many areas. Even outside, in highly populated areas, wearing a mask and staying socially distant–at least six feet from others–greatly helps control the spread of aerosols that could contain the virus. People with developmental disabilities, mental health conditions or other special health considerations should speak with their providers for guidance about wearing masks.

What’s the proper way to wear a mask?
Wash your hands before–and after touching your mask. For the best protection, masks should cover your chin, mouth and nose and can be looser-fitting–as long they are secure–so they’re most effective and you’re less tempted to touch your face to reposition your mask too often.

What types of masks are available?
There are many types of masks available and researchers have conducted in-depth studies about the effectiveness of the different styles and types. And while common sense says that some coverage is better than nothing, there are some masks that are better at containing respiratory droplets.

  • Medical or surgical masks are most often worn by healthcare workers. They vary in grades and styles, depending on the level of protection the user requires. They are disposable and often made from non-woven fabrics like polypropylene, and create a barrier between medical professionals and the people they treat.
  • Hygienic masks are not intended for healthcare workers, but the fibrous structure helps the wearer contain droplets emitted when they speak, cough or sneeze. These disposable masks can be reusable when accompanied by a quality certificate, but they are usually discarded daily, or if they become compromised or soiled.
  • Fabric masks when worn correctly, create barriers making it harder for droplets to be emitted, but it’s important to choose the right material for the best level of protection. Choose fabric masks made from tightly-woven fabrics, think of the material of bed sheets for example. Stretchy materials or fabrics that can be seen through are not the best choice. Masks with vents or valves are also not recommended and may do more harm than good.

The impact of COVID-19 is already staggering and it could be many months before we fully understand the long-term health effects on our community, and our country. To everyone who has been so supportive of our Pender Community Hospital medical professionals, we thank you most sincerely for your kindness. Thank you also to everyone who is already wearing masks. You are making a tremendous difference to people you don’t even know–and we urge everyone to do the same.

Pender Community Hospital & Medical Clinics urge the community to be proactive when dealing with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The most important thing people can do right now is to stay home, wash your hands frequently and practice social distancing. Social distancing is a proven tool to stop or slow down the spread of contagious illnesses, such as COVID-19. To practice social distancing, avoid shaking hands, cancel large events, avoid large crowds, and keep a 6-foot distance between you and others.

“It’s critical that we take action now in order to protect our vulnerable population,” said Melissa Kelly, CEO. “Our community has a large, high-risk population that includes older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. Because of this, it’s imperative to take social distancing and self-isolation very seriously.”

For individuals who feel sick or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (symptoms include fever greater than 100.4, cough, shortness of breath, and sore throat) it’s essential that your entire family self-quarantine. If possible, the individual with symptoms should isolate separately within the home, staying in a separated bedroom and bathroom area. When your entire family is under self-quarantine, no one should leave the home unless medical care in needed. This is absolutely essential to avoid spreading this highly contagious virus. Plan to have other people drop off needed supplies outside to prevent the disease from spreading to others.

Pender Community Hospital & Medical Clinics also want community members to know that if you have mild symptoms that appear like a cold, such as sneezing, running nose, cough, sore throat, you don’t need to be seen by a provider immediately. Patients experiencing symptoms are first asked to self-quarantine their entire family at home. If symptoms continue for 3 days, are getting worse, you are having difficulties breathing and/or shortness of breath,contact Pender Medical Clinic to visit with a provider. From there, providers will screen over the phone to assess your risk level and determine next steps.

It’s hard to understand when looking at worldwide statistics what this means to our own community. To put it into perspective, Pender Community Hospital and Medical Clinics see roughly 12,000 unique patients over a 3-year period. Using this number as a baseline population, the data starts to paint a concerning picture. Based on information we have available it’s estimated that 30 to 70% of our population will be infected with COVID-19. Of those, 10% would require hospitalization. In addition, 3% would need an ICU bed. These generic percentages don’t account for the increased at-risk population within our community compared to others.

Pender Community Hospital is a 21-bed facility and doesn’t have the same amount of resources as larger facilities. Even though PCH does provide services that rival those of larger facilities, when faced with a global pandemic, there simply aren’t enough resources to serve a large influx of patients at once, which could happen if people do not take social distancing, self-quarantining, and other measures to slow the spread seriously

In addition, the staff at PCH is smaller, so if predictions are correct, the hospital doesn’t have the bandwidth to support the estimated patients who could need care, at one time, if the community is not proactive. Pender Community Hospital and Clinics want to make sure that those who need medical attention will have healthy staff available to properly care for them.

PCH stresses that the intent of this information isn’t to scare anyone, but rather to reinforce the magnitude of the situation we are currently facing. People have a very real and important impact on helping our healthcare system, our healthcare providers, our community, and helping to avoid a potential crisis. Please, stay in. Practice social distancing. Finally, if you are sick, self-quarantine is not only important, but vital to protecting yourself and others in this wonderful community that we all share.

About Pender Community Hospital District
Pender’s hospital dates back to 1913. Over the years, the Pender Community Medical System has become a model of an effective Rural Health System. Through the loyalty and generous support of everyone making up the hospital district, plus the dedication of the medical staff, Board of Directors, and hospital staff, we continue to deliver top quality health care.

Heart disease is the silent killer, but what if you could know if you are at risk before something serious occurs? Calcium scoring is a simple CAT scan that detects plaque levels in the heart. The build-up of calcium and fat causes calcified plaque, which narrows arteries, closes off blood flow to the heart, and causes coronary events, or heart attacks. With a quick test, your physician can see potential problems, even if you have no symptoms at all.

A calcium scoring is a very advanced method to detect heart disease in its very earliest stages, but the test itself is very simple. Once patients receive a referral from their primary care provider, they are sent to the radiology department for the simple, 15-minute screening. There is no lengthy prep or diet restrictions; technicians place electrodes on the patient’s chest and he or she lays down on a table. The non-invasive scan calculates the patient’s risk of developing coronary artery disease by measuring the amount of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries.

“A calcium score is one of the most useful assessment tools to check for a patient’s risk for heart disease,” said Dr. Matthew Timm, medical director and primary care physician at Pender Medical Clinic.

“Calcium scoring measures the amount of calcium in the blood vessels of your heart. If the score is very low, a patient’s risk of heart disease is minimal.” Dr. Timm added. “Patients with higher scores meet with their physicians to decide what to do next. We may advise certain lifestyle changes, determine if medication is the best course of action, or refer them to a cardiologist for advanced testing.”

“For people with a family history of heart disease, the test can be a very worthwhile investment to detect blockage and problems early, when they’re most easy to remedy,” Dr. Timm continued. “It can provide great peace of mind for people concerned about their potential risk.”

Here is an example of calcium scoring results:

Zero: No plaque. This score shows that your risk of heart attack is low.

1 – 10: Small amount of plaque. A score of 1 to 10 indicates that your chance of having heart disease is less than 10 percent and your heart attack risk is low.

11-100: Some plaque.Your doctor could recommend some treatment, in addition to suggesting lifestyle changes. This score indicates that you have a moderate chance of a heart attack and mild heart disease.

101 – 400: Moderate plaque. This score indicates that you do have heart disease and plaque may be blocking an artery. It also shows that your chance of having a heart attack is moderate to high. Your health care provider will likely want to start some course of treatment and take more tests. 

Over 400: Large amount of plaque. A score of over 400 indicates that you have more than a 90 percent chance that plaque is blocking one of your arteries and your chance of heart attack is high. Your health care provider will want to start a treatment plan, order more tests, and will likely refer you to a cardiac specialist. 

Even people who are physically active, maintain a healthy weight, and have no other risk factors may be candidates for a calcium scoring because so much of cardiac health hinges on family history and hereditary. Heart disease is extremely common but catching it early, and when it’s most treatable, could save your life.

For more information about calcium scoring, make an appointment with your primary care provider or message them via your patient portal. 

Pender Community Hospital in Pender, NE today announced it has been named a 2020 Top 100 Critical Access Hospital by The Chartis Center for Rural Health. This annual award honoring rural hospital performance is determined by the results of iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2020.

“We are honored to be recognized as a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital,” said Melissa Kelly, CEO. “I whole-heartedly believe that this great achievement is the byproduct of the hard working, dedicated physicians and staff at Pender Community Hospital. We have high expectations as an organization, and together, we can achieve great things.”

Based entirely on publicly available data, the INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance. Utilizing 50 independent indicators, the INDEX assesses performance across eight pillars of performance that span market-, value- and finance-based categories. Hospitals recognized as a Top 100 facility had one of the 100 highest overall scores among all Critical Access Hospitals nationally.

“The Top 100 Critical Access Hospital award program reminds us that rural providers haven’t lost touch with their mission and are committed to delivering better quality, better outcomes and better patient satisfaction. It’s a pleasure to be able to not only recognize this year’s recipients, but our larger group of top 100 alumni as we celebrate 10 years of The Hospital Strength INDEX,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader, The Chartis Center for Rural Health.

Top 100 Hospital Resources:

The list of this year’s Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals as well as the INDEX methodology can be found at www.ivantageindex.com/top-performing-hospitals.

To learn more about The Chartis Center for Rural Health or to speak with someone regarding the INDEX and the Top 100, please email Billy Balfour at wbalfour@chartis.com.

About Pender Community Hospital District
Pender’s hospital dates back to 1913. Over the years, the Pender Community Medical System has become a model of an effective Rural Health System. Through the loyalty and generous support of everyone making up the hospital district, plus the dedication of the medical staff, Board of Directors, and hospital staff, we continue to deliver top quality health care.