Author: PCH Marketing

You don’t have to spend all your time enjoying the sun and sand to put yourself at risk for sun damage. In fact, the intermittent sun we experience here in Nebraska can sometimes be even more dangerous because we are often unprepared and go unprotected from the sunniest days in spring or summer.

While it’s critical to use shade, clothing, and sunscreen during all seasons of the year to protect your skin and prevent sunburn or other damage, it becomes even more critical during warmer months when people are outdoors more.

Your chances of skin damage or developing skin cancer increases with every sunburn. Other signs of skin damage include:

  • Wrinkles
  • Excessive dryness and cracking
  • Changes in skin pigmentation, such as age spots and freckles
  • Loss of skin elasticity and tone
  • Rough texture or uneven skin
  • Blotchiness

Remember too much sun is not the only way to damage your skin. Pollutants in the air, including smoke, cause damage, too. Other factors like dehydration, poor nutrition, and your overall health can also affect skin health.

Your primary care provider can address a wide range of skin problems and conditions that help to prevent and treat skin damage.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. And it’s on the rise. While anybody, with any skin tone and of any age, can develop skin cancer, the following factors put people at higher risk:

  • UV exposure from the sun or from tanning bed usage
  • Blonde or red hair, light complexion, and light eye color (blue or green)
  • Moles, especially more than 50 moles on your body
  • Family history of skin cancer or abnormal moles
  • Personal history of sunburns, especially in childhood

But it’s important to know, not all skin cancers are the same. 

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer.  Roughly 80% of basal cell carcinoma occurs on the face and head. This type of skin cancer can be locally invasive and destructive of skin and surrounding structures. 

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second-most common type of skin cancer. It can present as a papule, plaque, or nodule and can be rough, smooth, or ulcerated.  This wide variety of possibilities is why it is important to have a professional look at and biopsy any suspicious lesion to determine what it is. 

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. In the United States, it is the fifth-most common cancer in both men and women, and its incidence rate increases with age. Early diagnosis is crucial. If not diagnosed early, melanoma can spread quickly to other parts of the body and become deadly. While only about 2% of all skin cancers are melanomas, they account for most of the deaths from skin cancer.

Non-melanoma cancers usually occur in sun-exposed areas that accumulate sun exposure over time. On the contrary, melanomas tend to be associated with intense, intermittent sun exposure and sunburns, and they do frequently occur in areas exposed to the sun rarely or only sporadically.

When to See a Doctor

Skin cancer is very treatable – and curable – if found early. While PCH recommends an annual checkup that may include a full-body check for moles, it can also be beneficial to follow the “ABCDE” rule of thumb:

A stands for ASYMMETRY (one half is unlike the other)

B stands for BORDER –Look for an irregular border.

C stands for COLOR (multiple shades of red, blue, black, gray, or white) – Have your doctor look at any moles that vary in color from one area to another.

D stands for DIAMETER (greater than, or equal to, the size of a pencil eraser – about 6 mm)

E stands for EVOLVING (new or changing) – Has the mole changed in size, shape, or color? Has it become itchy or painful?

In general, if you find any spot, patch, or mole that looks different or is changing or itching, make an appointment with your primary care provider.

Skin Protection

You have the power to protect your skin by limiting your exposure to UV light, wearing sun protective clothing, and using broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30-50 every day.

Taking care of your skin from an early age is also very important. Parents should use sunscreen on their kids. Individuals who have had five or more severe sunburns in childhood or adolescence have an estimated two-fold greater risk of developing melanoma, the potentially deadly form of skin cancer.

Sunscreens should be applied about 15-30 minutes before sun exposure and then repeatedly throughout the day. Sunscreen lasts 90-120 minutes, depending on whether you sweat or get wet.

Using the “teaspoon rule” may be helpful. This rule says you should apply:

  • 1 teaspoon to the face and neck area
  • 2 teaspoons to the front and back torso
  • 1 teaspoon to each upper extremity
  • 2 teaspoons to each lower extremity

Wear hats, sunglasses, and sun-protective clothing. Seek shade during midday hours (10 am – 4 pm) and avoid tanning bed use.

If you would like to see a provider at Pender Medical Clinic or one of our satellite clinics. Call 402-385-3033 to schedule an appointment or learn more.

PENDER, Neb. (February 12, 2023) – Pender Community Hospital District (PCHD) has announced the establishment of a new endowment for Pender Community Health Care Foundation. This endowment was created in December 2023 through a partnership with Nebraska Community Foundation, a statewide nonprofit organization that serves more than 265 Greater Nebraska communities across the state.

“I’m excited to announce this new endowment and to thank Nebraska Community Foundation for its partnership,” said Shane Schuster, Chief Operating Officer at PCHD. “With this endowment now in place, Pender Community Health Care Foundation will be able to scale new heights while facilitating critical projects, building upon the work it has already accomplished and finding new ways to give back.”

The new endowment establishes Pender Community Health Care Foundation as a true philanthropic entity with the ability to solicit charitable giving, such as through gifts of grain, stock/IRA or estate planning. There is also a newly established employee-payroll deduction option, which allows employees to donate a small portion of each paycheck to the endowment.

The foundation was created in 1991 to help raise funds for critical PCHD initiatives and enable individuals, businesses, groups and other organizations to make charitable donations that benefit PCHD.

“I’m so grateful for our partnership with Nebraska Community Foundation.” Schuster said. “With this new endowment, we’ll be able to do more, finding new ways of giving back to PCHD and ensuring we can be the premier healthcare provider in our area.”

Since its founding, the Pender Community Health Care Foundation has played a key role in the coordination of new facilities for the Emerson Medical Clinic & Apothecary in 2019; the construction of the Pender Medical Clinic & Apothecary Shop in 2018; and the PCHD expansion project that created additional space for more physicians and physician assistants in 2001. Additionally, in 1996 and 1997, the foundation facilitated the capital campaign for the construction of an Outpatient Specialty Clinic, raising more than $1.1 million in pledges that enabled PCHD to complete this project.

To learn more about Pender Community Health Care Foundation, visit pchne.org/about-us/healthcare-foundation-auxiliary.


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 four years, from 2019-2021 and 2023. PCH comprises not only the hospital but four rural health clinics and three pharmacies, as well as Prairie Breeze Assisted Living and Little Sprouts Child Development Center. For more information, visit pchne.org.

About Pender Community Health Care Foundation
In 1991, the Pender Community Health Care Foundation was formed with one purpose – to encourage people, businesses, groups and other organizations within the community to give back to the hospital and residents of Pender, NE, through charitable donations. Overseen by a 12-person Board of Directors, the foundation accepts, administers and distributes these donations to different PCHD initiatives. Visit pchne.org/about-us/healthcare-foundation-auxiliary to learn more. About

Nebraska Community Foundation
Nebraska Community Foundation unleashes abundant local assets, inspires charitable giving and connects ambitious people to build stronger communities and a Greater Nebraska. Headquartered in Lincoln, the Foundation serves communities, donors and organizations by providing financial management, strategic development, education and training to a statewide network of 1,500 volunteers serving more than 265 communities. In the last five years, 45,993 contributions have been made to Nebraska Community Foundation and its affiliated funds. Since 1994, Nebraska Community Foundation has reinvested $517 million in Nebraska’s people and places. For information, visit NebraskaHometown.org.

Pender, NE (January 29, 2024) – Pender Community Hospital (PCH) has received a $550,000 behavioral health grant from the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), in partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The grant’s funds come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), distributed through the state of Nebraska.

“These funds mean so much for our hospital, especially considering our size as a 21-bed, critical-access facility,” said Laura Gamble, CEO at PCH. “It’s such an important grant and will benefit so many of our patients who need care. We are extremely grateful for the partnership we have with the BHECN and the University of Nebraska Medical Center”

The specific behavioral health grant PCH received is for telehealth support in rural areas. Using some of these funds, and through its accountable care organization (ACO) partnership with Bryan Health, PCH has already purchased a telehealth-cart equipment to assist with remote appointments for behavioral health, alcohol- and substance-use disorder appointments, senior behavioral and mental health appointments through PCH’s Working on Wellness (WOW) program and more.

“It’s not always easy for our patients to drive to Sioux City, Omaha, or another city to get the behavioral health treatment they need,” said Sonya King, Behavioral Health Manager at PCH. “This technology allows patients to see providers in a much easier way. The new telehealth cart has improved sound and picture, and there are even unique capabilities with the equipment like a provider being able to listen to a patient’s heart remotely. In addition, new iPad devices will allow for expanded access to care for our homebound patients.”

Receiving these grant funds has allowed for better mental health triage in the hospital’s emergency room (ER) department.

“It’s amazing how impactful these funds are to a critical access hospital like ours. We have been able to utilize the funds in so many areas across our system for different purposes,” King shared. “PCH can expand on its goal of providing quality care close to home through this grant by providing expanded care to our behavioral health patients.”

To learn more about behavioral health services offered at PCH, visit pchne.org/services/behavioral-health/ or call 402-385-3083, option 5.


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 four years, from 2019-2021 and 2023. PCH comprises not only the hospital but four rural health clinics and three pharmacies, as well as Prairie Breeze Assisted Living and Little Sprouts Child Development Center. For more information, visit pchne.org.

As winter begins, so does the increased threat of respiratory infections, and one virus that demands our attention is Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). This RSV vaccine is critically important for specific vulnerable groups: seniors and infants or children below the age of two.

Here’s a rundown of the most important RSV vaccine info you should know.

Understanding RSV and Its Seasonal Threats
RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a respiratory virus known for causing lower respiratory tract diseases, particularly pneumonia. Its prevalence peaks during the cold winter months, spanning from November through March. This seasonal pattern intensifies the need for awareness and proactive measures.

Protecting Vulnerable Populations
The RSV vaccine serves as a crucial shield against severe symptoms and complications, especially for seniors and infants/young children.

“Taking this vaccine decreases the chance of getting RSV and seriously lessens the severity of the virus for those who get it,” explained Dr. Matthew Felber, primary care physician at Pender Community Hospital and Medical Clinics.

Notably, the most severe cases have been observed in those under two years of age, as well as in individuals over 60. This makes vaccination imperative for these demographics. Pregnant women are also encouraged to receive the vaccine to provide protection to their infants.

Eligibility and Vaccine Administration
Currently, the RSV vaccine is limited to seniors, infants/young children, and pregnant women. Pender Medical Clinic administers the vaccine to pregnant women and infants/young children, while the Apothecary Shops in Pender and Wisner offers RSV vaccination services to individuals over the age of 60.

Understanding Side Effects
“While the RSV vaccine is generally well-tolerated, individuals may experience mild side effects like fatigue, muscle pain (especially at the injection site), and headaches,” Dr. Felber shared. “However, these effects typically subside within a few days.”

Pregnant women considering whether to get the RSV vaccine to protect their infant should be aware of a slightly increased risk of preterm labor and are advised to receive the vaccine between 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy.

Taking Action
RSV is a common and potentially severe respiratory infection that affected more individuals, particularly infants and the elderly, than COVID-19 in the previous year. The RSV vaccine stands as a frontline defense, protecting vulnerable populations and contributing to the overall health and well-being of the community.

For those looking to get the RSV vaccine or to schedule a vaccine for a loved one, setting up this appointment is the first step. Whether it’s to receive the vaccine or to discuss any concerns with a healthcare provider, taking proactive measures is crucial in safeguarding against this virus.

Seniors (those age 60 or above) can call the Apothecary Shop is Pender at (402) 385- 3350 or Wisner at (402) 529-3550 to schedule a vaccine appointment, while pregnant women and those with infants can call Pender Medical Clinic at (402) 385-3033 for an appointment.


Pender, NE (December 11, 2023) – Pender Community Hospital (PCH) has welcomed David Denman, MD, as its new visiting otolaryngologist, also known as an ear, nose, throat doctor (ENT).

“We are dedicated to elevating local healthcare. With Dr. Denman joining our ranks, we can keep setting new standards for healthcare excellence,” said Laura Gamble, PCH’s Chief Executive Officer.

Dr. Denman’s skill covers a wide range of procedures, such as tonsil removal, adenoid removal, ear tube placement and sinus surgery. He is board-certified in otolaryngology, as well as head and neck surgery.

“I’m thrilled to be caring for more patients through PCH,” shared Dr. Denman. “It’s an honor to be a part of this welcoming community, and I’m so glad I can contribute my part to the health and well-being of our patients.”

Dr. Denman is now seeing patients at PCH, ensuring people from Pender and nearby communities have convenient access to these services.

On the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, Denman sees patients, and performs surgeries at PCH. Dr. Denman completed his medical education at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and a surgery internship at Iowa Methodist Medical Center – Des Moines. He completed his residency in otolaryngology and served as Chief Resident at UNMC.


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 four years, from 2019-2021 and 2023. PCH comprises not only the hospital but four rural health clinics and three pharmacies, as well as Prairie Breeze Assisted Living and Little Sprouts Child Development Center. For more information, visit pchne.org.

Dr. David Denman

Pender, NE (October 23, 2023) – Pender Community Hospital and Medical Clinics have announced a partnership with AblePay, allowing patients access to a free program to save on medical bills.

“At Pender Community Hospital and Medical Clinics, we’re proud to partner with AblePay to offer this exciting new program.” said Laura Gamble, CEO at PCH. “By partnering with AblePay we are able to offer our patients flexible payment options and significant savings, highlighting our commitment to your health and financial wellness.”

AblePay is a free program to help patients save up to 13% on medical bills, which include out-of-pocket medical costs, deductible, coinsurance, and co-pays at Pender Community Hospital and Medical Clinics. They offer flexible payment terms (all with savings or 0% interest) that help meet patient needs.

To sign up, or for more information, please visit ablepayhealth.com/pchmb. Signing up today will allow you to use these savings and flexible payment terms on any unpaid or expected bill from your recent visit at Pender Community Hospital and Medical Clinics.


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 four years, from 2019-2021 and 2023. PCH comprises not only the hospital but four rural health clinics and three pharmacies, as well as Prairie Breeze Assisted Living and Little Sprouts Child Development Center. For more information, visit pchne.org.

Pender, NE (October 16, 2023) – Pender Community Hospital is expanding services, providing outpatient rheumatology care for patients through telemedicine. Rheumatology services will be available for patients starting October 23rd and will occur every fourth Monday of the month.

Dr. Rasha Alqadi with Teledigm Health and Bryan Telemedicine specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of systemic autoimmune diseases and diseases causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in muscles, bones, joints and ligaments. She manages a broad range of general and complex rheumatological conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and vasculitis.

Dr. Alqadi received her medical degree from Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, Jerusalem. She completed her internal medicine residency at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island and completed her Rheumatology Fellowship at Roger Williams Medical Center in Boston. She received board certification in Rheumatology in 2018 and has had training in musculoskeletal ultrasound.

“Telemedicine is transforming outpatient care at Pender Community Hospital,” explains Pender Community Hospital CEO Laura Gamble. “This partnership ensures top-quality care close to home. The expansion reaffirms our commitment to provide accessible, convenient, and trusted services for our communities.”

“Our specialists are available right in the room when they’re most needed,” says Teledigm Health and Bryan Telemedicine President and CEO Brian J. Bossard, MD. “Patients in Pender can receive the same state-of-the-art specialty care as someone in Lincoln or Omaha, because they have immediate access to some of the top specialists in the country.”

To make an appointment contact your primary care providers for a referral or learn more by calling the PCH Outpatient Specialty Clinic at 402-385-4090 or visiting www.pchne.org.

Rasha Alqadi, MD

Pender, NE (October 9, 2023) – Pender Community Hospital (PCH) will host All About HER: Thriving through Women’s Health and Wellness, on Thursday, October 19.

This open-house event will take place in PCH’s main lobby from 4 to 7 pm. With a focus on women and their specific health-and-wellness needs, All About HER will feature educational sessions, interactive activities, refreshments, hourly door prizes and more.

“We’re proud to offer this event to women in our communities,” said Laura Gamble, CEO at Pender Community Hospital. “The event will showcase many unique activities, giveaways and more. We’re hoping All About HER inspires and empowers women to take control of their own health-and-wellness journeys.”

The event activities planned for All About HER include women’s health physical-therapy education, a dermatology overview and free Botox giveaway, self-defense education, car seat checks, flu shots, chair massages, nutritional education and free samples, mammography education, highlight on robotic-assisted GYN surgeries, and a behavioral health services overview.

The event will also feature extended appointment times for 3D mammography, but these must be scheduled in advance by calling 402-385-4069 and require a written order from your provider. Limited number of spots are available.

“Women of all ages are encouraged to attend this event,” explained Gamble. “And, of course, men are welcome to attend, as well! There will be so much to learn, discover and do.”

The All About HER event is free, and there is no registration to attend. Those attending the event can simply show up between 4 and 7 pm on Thursday, October 19, at PCH (100 Hospital Drive, Pender, Neb., 68047).

Pender, NE (October 2, 2023) – Pender Community Hospital (PCH) and Medical Clinics were awarded $35,000 in funds by the 2023 Cattlemen’s Ball of Nebraska to fund health and wellness initiatives for the community.

“We are honored to have been chosen to receive this award by the Cattlemen’s Ball and are excited for the impact it will have on our patients,” said Laura Gamble, CEO at PCH. “Our hopes of enhancing patient comfort in our hospital, as well as improving many of the critical programs and tools at our medical clinics can now be realized.”

Cattlemen’s Ball is a 501(c)(3) charity focused on supporting cancer research and benefiting local health and wellness programs. Each year, the ball takes place in a new location. This year the event was hosted south of Pender, by the Weborg Family. After the event, 90% of the funds raised go to the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center for cancer research. The remaining 10% of funds are distributed to support local health and wellness initiatives.

This year, the Cattlemen’s Ball raised a record-breaking amount of more than $2.1 million. The hospital was awarded $25,000 of these funds, while the Pender Medical Clinics were awarded $10,000.

The hospital will use these funds to purchase new recliners for a number of patient rooms, which will improve patient comfort and well-being, as well as ensure all patients have a supportive and restful environment at the hospital. The medical clinics, plan to use funds to introduce a new Chronic Hypertension Program, which will address patients’ long-term hypertension management with the use of home blood pressure monitors. These funds will also enhance patient experience with digital stethoscopes that display patients heart rhythm and digital otoscopes that allow a picture of the inner ear to be viewed by the patient.

To learn more about Cattlemen’s Ball, visit cattlemensball.com. For more information on Pender Community Hospital and Pender Medical Clinics, visit pchne.org.


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 four years, from 2019-2021 and 2023. PCH comprises not only the hospital but four rural health clinics and three pharmacies, as well as Prairie Breeze Assisted Living and Little Sprouts Child Development Center. For more information, visit pchne.org.

Pender, NE (September 18, 2023) – Pender Community Hospital (PCH) has announced the expansion of its wound care services through the hire of Janis Harrison, RN, BSN, CWOCN, CFCN. Harrison has more than 30 years of nursing experience and has achieved national recognition for her work as a certified wound, ostomy and continence nurse (CWOCN), her work as a certified foot care nurse (CFCN) and her research on cutting-edge wound-care practices.

“We are so proud to announce the hiring of Janis Harrison,” said Laura Gamble, CEO at PCH. “By expanding these services at PCH, we are able to help so many more patients in the local community. Patients won’t have to travel far to receive this care.”

Harrison has already started seeing patients for wound-care, ostomy, continence treatment, along with foot care at PCH by appointment.

“I am excited to be part of the PCH team and share the expertise I’ve developed around wound care,” said Harrison. “It feels like the best place to serve as many patients as possible in my quest to heal and serve the rural population.”

These services are especially useful for individuals suffering from wounds that won’t heal properly due to infection, diabetes, circulation problems, lifestyle issues, coexisting health conditions, age, skin-tissue health, pain, anxiety, lack of knowledge or lack of ability to care for a wound at home.

To make an appointment with Janis Harrison for wound care, ostomy, continence care or foot and toe care, contact your primary care providers for a referral or learn more by calling the PCH Outpatient Specialty Clinic at 402-385-4090.


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 four years, from 2019-2021 and 2023. PCH comprises not only the hospital but four rural health clinics and three pharmacies, as well as Prairie Breeze Assisted Living and Little Sprouts Child Development Center. For more information, visit pchne.org.

Patients at Pender Medical Clinics will conveniently receive appointment confirmation
and reminders via text message service for streamlined communication.

Pender, NE (August 31, 2023) – On September 11, Pender Medical Clinic and its satellite clinics will launch a new appointment reminder texting service. First, this will be rolled out for patients of the medical clinics. Soon after, the service will expand to other departments.

“With the launch of this new tool, we hope to improve our patient experience by making sure all patients of Pender Community Hospital and Medical Clinics have the most up-to-date information about their care.” – Laura Gamble, CEO of Pender Community Hospital District. 

All patients of the hospital and medical clinic will be enrolled when the service rolls out, so there is no need to pre-register. For those without texting, phone calls will be made to landlines with the same messages. Messages will be sent in Spanish, for patients who have Spanish set as their preferred language.

When launched for medical clinic patients on September 11, text message notifications will be sent out 15 minutes after a patient schedules an appointment over the phone. This text message will include details about the appointment, such as the provider, date, time, and location. Closer to the appointment time, the patient will receive a text message that asks for confirmation of the appointment. Then, 24 hours before the appointment, the patient will receive an appointment reminder.

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.

Save time; schedule early and pre-complete your paperwork! Download your paperwork via the buttons below.

Virtual, In-Person Options Open to All

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6.6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 13 million.

Each person with the disease inevitably needs some type of help. Whether you provide daily caregiving, participate in decision making, or simply care about a person with Alzheimer’s disease – caring for someone with dementia demands a lot.

Get to know other people who truly understand.

Pender Caregiver Support Group
Pender Community Hospital has partnered with the Nebraska chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to create the Pender Caregiver Support Group for local friends, families and caregivers of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

“PCH saw the need for support and education for our families who are helping their loved ones through their journey with dementia, memory loss and Alzheimer’s,” said PCH therapist Krista Roeber, PLMHP/PLMSW.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, according to the Mayo Clinic; the disease is a progressive neurologic disorder that causes the brain to atrophy, which results in the decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills that affect a person’s ability to function independently.

At this time, there is not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which is believed to have contributed to the deaths of more than 120,000 people in 2019, according to the association. Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer’s Association is considered the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

PCH’s support group, which is facilitated by trained staff, is designed to provide dementia caregivers, including friends or family, with a support system that allows for:

  • the exchange of practical information and possible solutions
  • learning about available resources
  • a discussion of issues, concerns, and coping methods
  • sharing feelings and needs from the caregiver’s perspective

“We hope that those who attend the group meetings are able to leave with some education and support through the disease process,” said Roeber. “For anyone who is thinking about joining us, please feel comfortable and know that we are all learning together.”

Support Group Dates and Times
Virtual Meetings
Second Wednesday of each month
4:30-5:30 p.m.

In-person Meetings
Second Friday of each month at Pender Community Hospital
9:00-10:30 a.m.

To register, contact Krista Roeber at (402) 385-1897 or krista.roeber@pchne.org.

If you need assistance in finding respite for your loved one while attending the support group, please reach out to Krista Roeber at (402) 385-1897 or krista.roeber@pchne.org.

Additional Resources

Visit alz.org/nebraska to learn more about caregiver programs and resources.

To further extend your network of support, visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s online community ALZConnected at alzconnected.org. It’s a free online community for everyone affected by Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Pender Community Hospital is pleased to welcome Josh Ridder, PA-C, to its outpatient specialty clinic, where he will see pulmonology patients twice a month.

Ridder earned his degree as a physician’s assistant at Pennsylvania College of Technology, a Penn State affiliate located in Williamsport, Pa. and earned his certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

Ridder is particularly interested in pulmonary medicine and sleep medicine, which focuses on the diagnosis and therapy of sleep disorders. As a former respiratory therapist, Ridder worked in the intensive care unit at Creighton University Medical Center, where he had the opportunity to work with pulmonology and critical care patients; this experience led Ridder to pursue a degree as a certified physician assistant.

“My favorite part about medicine is interacting with patients,” said Ridder. “Being able to build a rapport with people and helping them understand their disease process is a rewarding experience for me. “    

The Pender Community Hospital Outpatient Specialty Clinic is staffed with caring, well-trained healthcare providers who are prepared to meet the medical needs of patients. Call the Pender Community Hospital Respiratory Department at 402-385-4059 to schedule an appointment with Josh Ridder.

Josh Ridder PA-C
Josh Ridder, PA-C

Get back to what moves you

Dr. Justin Deans adds to our orthopedic team, specializing in anterior hip replacement procedures

Hip replacements are the most common and long-lasting joint replacement, often with life-changing results that help people move better, feel better and get back to doing the things they enjoy.

At Pender Community Hospital, our skilled orthopedic teams provide customized treatments and solutions to help people relieve pain and regain mobility. To add to our full range of orthopedic services, PCH is pleased to welcome Dr. Justin Deans who specializes in anterior hip replacement procedures—an innovative alternative to traditional, or posterior, hip replacement.

Why a hip replacement?

As people age and accumulate more mileage on their hips, it’s common for arthritis to develop and become more painful—and even debilitating. Pain while walking, severe limping and avoiding activities they once enjoyed are common reasons why people choose to have a hip replacement procedure. When joints are replaced with a synthetic counterpart, functionality returns without the pain, and people can reclaim their mobility and quality of life.

Dr. Justin Deans

Welcome Dr. Justin Deans

Pender Community Hospital is excited to welcome Dr. Justin Deans, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who specializes in adult reconstruction and joint replacement surgery. After completing a fellowship in New York City, Dr. Deans returned to the Midwest and now provides customized treatments and orthopedic solutions to patients at PCH.

“As a physician, I want to help people,” Dr. Deans shared. “As an orthopedic surgeon, I get an incredible opportunity to see the results of treatments or procedures that we determine as provider and patient. I’m motivated every day seeing patients move in ways they didn’t think were possible and return to the lives they love.”  

Anterior hip replacement procedures

Unlike a posterior hip replacement, anterior hip replacement procedures are done from the front of the body. Dr. Deans offers this innovative procedure to patients at PCH where it’s closer for them and their families. Advantages of the minimally invasive procedure can include:

• Faster recovery time and less pain
• No need to cut tissues or detach tendons
• More immediate support and joint functionality
• Fewer restrictions after procedures
• Lower risk of hip dislocation after surgery

Patients who carry excess weight or have pelvic or femur issues may not be good candidates for an anterior hip replacement.

“Hip replacement procedures can change lives,” Dr. Deans shared. “When I see a patient walk in effortlessly for a follow-up appointment, and they could barely get around when I met them, it reinforces my decision to practice orthopedic medicine. I’m humbled to be able to help people regain not only their ability to move, but also their confidence. And it’s rewarding to see them with a renewed approach toward life.”

Get back to what moves you

Over 300,000 people in the United States have hip replacement procedures annually. Dr. Deans and our skilled orthopedic teams provide comprehensive, customized care—from consultation to complete recovery—right here where it’s closer for patients and families. To learn more joint replacement procedures or other orthopedic solutions, call 402-385-4090 or visit pchne.org/movebetter.

Pender Community Hospital is pleased to welcome interventional cardiologist Mir Rauf Subla, MD, FACC, FSCAI to its outpatient specialty clinic.

Dr. Subla is quadruple board-certified in internal medicine, critical care medicine, cardiology and interventional cardiology. Dr. Subla completed a Heart Failure Fellowship at Cleveland Clinic, as well as a Cardiovascular disease Fellowship at Mayo Clinic, where he also served as an assistant professor of medicine in the College of Medicine and Science in the Division of Cardiology and Critical Care.

“Every patient I see is a new book: a unique person with symptoms or needs as individualized as the person themselves,” Subla said, according to Siouxland Heart and Vascular Center. “I want to work with my patients to find just the right course of treatment for their lives. When I can help my patients and see that huge relief for them and their families, that’s really satisfying.”

In addition, Dr. Subla performs all major interventional procedures including TAVR, Mitra Clip, Watchmen, CardioMEMS and EKOS.

At Pender Community Hospital, we’re committed to providing high-quality heart and vascular care close to home for our patients. To provide this care, we utilize state-of-the-art technology and have a qualified cardiology team at our Outpatient Specialty Clinic. To make an appointment with Dr. Subla, call 402-385-4090.

Dr. Subla
Mir Rauf Subla, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Pender Community Hospital is pleased to welcome orthopedic surgeon Dr. Justin Deans to its skilled surgical team. Dr. Deans specializes in hip and knee replacement procedures.

Dr. Deans earned his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and a master’s degree in physiology from Georgetown University before completing his medical degree at Touro University Nevada. He then finished his orthopedic surgery internship at Larkin Community Hospital in South Miami, followed by a residency at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, Calif.

In addition, Dr. Deans is fellowship trained in adult reconstruction and joint replacement surgery following his studies at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Dr. Deans is board-eligible with the American Osteopathic Board of Orthopedic Surgery, and is licensed in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Among the services PCH’s orthopedic department offers are state-of-the-art CT and MRI imaging, knee pain management, knee scopes, carpal tunnel surgeries, minimally invasive shoulder procedures, and hip and knee joint replacement. Call 402-385-4090 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Deans, or learn more at pchne.org/GetMoving.

Justin Deans, D.O.

Legacy Garden Rehabilitation & Living Center in Pender, Nebraska has announced their planned closure of May 14th, 2022, after exhausting all efforts to keep the facility open.

“We are extremely saddened to be closing the doors of our long-term rehabilitation and living center, operated by the Pender Community Hospital District,” said Mike Minert, chairman of the board for the Pender Community Hospital District and Pender Care Centre District Board of Directors. “The staffing crisis of healthcare workers has deeply affected our organization. We have reached a point that we are at risk of being unable to provide the quality of care our residents deserve with the number of staff we have. Our resident safety is our number one concern and will continue to be as we work through this transition.”

Legacy Garden Rehabilitation and Living Center has provided care to those in the community for over 50 years in its current facility. This closure is one of many across the nation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next 60 days, staff will be assisting 18 residents and their families transition to area skilled care facilities of their choice, as part of the closure plan with the State of Nebraska.

“We cannot thank our Legacy Garden staff enough for the sacrifice they have made and the commitment that they have shown to our organization and our residents. They have made such a lasting impact on our residents and their quality of life,” said Minert. “All 15 full-time and part-time Legacy Garden staff are being asked to continue to work and receive their current pay through the transition period. Legacy Garden staff are encouraged to review and apply for current job openings at Pender Community Hospital. Staff that continue to successfully perform their duties throughout the transition will be supported in a number of ways, including a stay/severance package.”

Pender Community Hospital welcomes wound care specialist Janis Harrison, RN, BSN, CWOCN, CFCN, to our Outpatient Specialty Clinic in Pender. Harrison, owner of Harrison W.O.C. Services is now seeing patients at the outpatient specialty clinic each Wednesday.

In addition to operating her own wound care business, Harrison works as an independent contractor for medical entities throughout northeast Nebraska, caring for patients with wounds, ostomies, continence, and foot and nail needs. Harrison is a graduate of Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, and has more than 30 years of experience as a nurse, including 12 years as a certified wound, ostomy, continence nurse (CWOCH) and certified foot care nurse (CFCN).

Harrison is also involved in the educational aspect of wound care: Along with acting as a consultant, she writes case studies, poster abstracts, and newsletters, and is the chief clinical consultant for WoundRight, a mobile application for wound care management.

Harrison looks forward to providing comprehensive and effective care to patients with all types of wounds. To schedule an appointment, please call the Outpatient Specialty Clinic at 402-385-4090.

Janis Harrison, RN, BSN, CWOCN, CFCN

Recovery can be a long and winding road after an accident, illness or injury. Sometimes patients need specialized care to reclaim skills they once used in day-to-day living. At Pender Community Hospital, occupational therapists customize care and utilize a wide range of treatments to help people of all ages live more complete, productive and independent lives. PCH occupational therapist Haley Haymart explained the importance of this lesser-understood therapy—and how occupational therapists, patients and providers partner to establish goals that give patients the tools they need to live confidently at home, work or at school.

What is occupational therapy and how does it work?
“Occupational therapy is a holistic approach to healthcare,” Haley explained. “Therapists address clinical conditions, habits, routines and access each individuals’ occupation and activities.” After a thorough evaluation, occupational therapists customize treatments and draw from a number of resources, from finding interventions or making home modifications to utilizing technology advancements, that help patients reach their goals.

Goal getters
Therapists and patients establish goals—and no goal is too small—to help individuals live more successfully and independently. Tasks may include relearning life skills including how to eat, get dressed, use the restroom or pay bills. Therapists may also recommend modifications in the home or workplace so patients can live easier and return to their jobs.

Occupational therapy is for all ages
Older adults may receive occupational therapy services to restore balance, help prevent falls or learn how to adapt to using a wheelchair. OT is also common for people with joint and mobility issues or for those experiencing cognitive challenges. Younger patients may see an occupational therapist to learn how to hold a pencil or respond more confidently in social situations. Using innovative treatments, advanced technologies and modification techniques, therapists customize care to help patients live happier, healthier lives.

Occupational therapy is different than physical therapy
Haley illustrates the difference between occupational and physical therapies by using a favorite saying. “Physical therapy helps a ballerina learn to walk again. Occupational therapy teaches the ballerina to dance again.” Beyond the physical demands of recovery—where strengthening and exercising the body helps its function—occupational therapies help people master everyday tasks and activities that often make life more meaningful.

Why Pender Community Hospital?
According to Haley, the real benefit to occupational therapy at PCH is the continuum of care. “If we see you as an inpatient, the same therapist will transition care and see you as an outpatient to further assist you with meeting important goals,” she shared. Haley is especially proud of the compassion the PCH therapy team shows to each patient they partner with for care. “Everyone here is treated like family.”

Call for care or learn more
If you or someone you love needs help to recover daily skills—or rediscover a more confident and independent life—talk to the occupational therapy team at Pender Community Hospital. Call 402-385-2026 with questions or contact Haley directly at 402-385-1853.

Haley Haymart, OTD/OTR/L

Pender Community Hospital is pleased to welcome Dr. Hemantha Koduri to our Outpatient Specialty Clinic in Pender.

Dr. Koduri completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Illinois’ St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago, and then worked as an assistant professor of medicine and teaching hospitalist in internal medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Chicago. He completed fellowship training in vascular medicine at Cleveland Clinic; he then finished fellowship training in general cardiovascular medicine at Creighton University, Omaha, NE. Following his general cardiology training, he joined Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center, where he graduated in interventional vascular, cardiology and structural heart diseases.

Dr. Koduri is board certified in internal medicine, vascular medicine, vascular imaging, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, general cardiovascular medicine and interventional cardiovascular medicine.
Dr. Koduri has expertise in treating patients with thrombosis, hypertension, lipid disorders, heart rhythm abnormalities, heart attacks, heart valve and structural disorders, heart failure, and blockages in blood vessels of the neck, arms, legs, abdomen including aorta, kidney arteries and varicose veins. He performs high-risk coronary and peripheral arterial interventions including chronic total occlusions (CTO) for revascularization, transcatheter aortic valve replacement, venous ablation and stenting.

Dr. Koduri will see patients on the 1st Friday of every month. He looks forward to providing comprehensive and effective care to patients with all types of vascular disease. To schedule an appointment, please call 402-385-4090.

Pender Community Hospital is pleased to welcome Dr. Steve Henao to our Hospital Outpatient Specialty Clinic in Pender.

Dr. Henao obtained his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch and was a Southern Medical Association scholar. He completed his residency at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and subsequently completed his fellowship in vascular and endovascular surgery at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr Henao is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Surgery, Vascular Surgery. He is highly respected in his field, providing minimally invasive vascular surgery utilizing cutting-edge technology.

As a vascular surgeon, Dr. Henao treats all veins and arteries outside of the brain and heart. Common conditions include abdominal aortic aneurysm, carotid artery disease, peripheral arteriole disease, thoracic outlet syndrome, varicose veins and spider veins, limb preservation and wound treatment, pulmonary embolisms, deep vein thrombosis, dialysis access and hyperhidrosis.

Dr. Henao looks forward to providing comprehensive and effective care to patients with all types of vascular disease. To schedule an appointment, please call 402-385-4090.

Dr. Steve Henao

Pender Medical Clinics today announced it has been named a 2021 Guardian of Excellence Award® winner by Press Ganey, the national leader in healthcare consumer and workforce engagement. Press Ganey recognizes Pender Medical Clinics as a top-performing healthcare organization achieving the 95th percentile or above for performance in patient experience.

The Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award® is a preeminent, competitive achievement for leading healthcare organizations. Presented annually, the award applauds hospitals and health systems that consistently sustained performance in the top 5% of all Press Ganey clients.

“Press Ganey is honored to recognize Pender Medical Clinics as one of the nation’s leaders in patient experience,” said Patrick T. Ryan, chairman and chief executive officer, Press Ganey. “This award reflects an unwavering commitment to earn the trust and loyalty of patients throughout unimaginable challenges. We are humbled by Pender Medical Clinics’ incredible efforts, and their ability to adapt to imperatives of COVID-19 on top of the increasing demand for consumerism in healthcare.”

“We are so pleased to receive this prestigious award that recognizes the steadfast commitment our providers, nurses and staff have to our patients and our community,” said Shane Shuster, Pender Community Hospital interim CEO. “It’s a true honor to be chosen and we are grateful to receive this award recognizing our efforts.”

Director of Rural Health Clinics Lori Minert added: “Our team cares deeply about every patient, so it’s wonderful that their hard work and talent has been recognized with this patient experience award. We are fortunate to have such excellent staff and providers at Pender Medical Clinic and its satellites.”

To learn more about Pender Medical Clinics, including locations in Bancroft, Beemer and Emerson, visit www.pchne.org/facilities/medical-clinics/

About Press Ganey Press Ganey pioneered the health care performance improvement movement 35 years ago. Today Press Ganey offers an integrated suite of solutions that enable enterprise transformation across the patient journey. Delivered through a cutting-edge digital platform built on a foundation of data security, Press Ganey solutions address safety, clinical excellence, patient experience, and workforce engagement. The
company works with more than 41,000 health care facilities in its mission to reduce patient suffering and enhance caregiver resilience to improve the overall safety, quality, and experience of care.

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. Visit pchne.org to learn more.

Pender Community Hospital is pleased to welcome a new dermatology provider, Deb Baker, DNP, FNP-BC, to the outpatient specialty clinic in Pender.

Baker will offer a wide variety of dermatological services. She will treat skin conditions of the body including eczema, acne, mole removal, skin cancer and also help patients with concerns involving the hair, feet and nails. The licensed and board-certified nurse practitioner runs a practice in Fremont that specializes in medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatological services.

While dermatology has always been Deb Baker’s main interest, she has also worked in emergency medicine, intensive care and pediatric medicine. Baker has continued her education throughout her career and has earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Midland University, a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Creighton University, national certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and is also a member of the Dermatology Nurses Association.

Deb Baker will see patients every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month starting on November 1st. For an appointment call, Baker’s office at 402-936-6198 or to learn more about PCH’s dermatology services, call 402-385-4090 or visit pchne.org.

Deb Baker Headshot
Deb Baker, DNP, FNP-BC

Regular mammograms are the best defense against breast cancer.

About one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and nearly 85% of breast cancer diagnoses occur in women with no family history of the disease.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women, and in 2021, it’s estimated that around 30% of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be breast cancers. Also this year, an estimated 43,600 women nationally are expected to die from the disease. Yet even with such alarming statistics, many women delay—or avoid entirely—regular mammogram screenings that could protect their health and save their lives.

Why mammograms
Mammograms are imaging tests used to screen for breast cancer and in short, they are women’s best defense to detect breast cancer early. 63% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed before they spread, thanks largely to mammography and in these instances, there is a 99% survival rate. While the threat is very real, early detection means there is a greater likelihood to beat breast cancer, and an increased probability that the treatment used to fight cancer will be less radical and painful.

Life begins at age 40—so do mammograms
The American Cancer Society recommends women start getting mammogram screenings at age 40, with yearly mammograms ages 45 to 55. After age 55, women may switch to having the screening every two years or continue getting mammograms annually. Talk to your provider at regular wellness exams to determine what is right for you. If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, tell your primary care provider; he or she may recommend you start routine mammograms at a younger age.

It’s easier than many expect
The test is simple. During a mammogram, the breasts are gently compressed, one at a time, so the mammographer technician can capture clear, accurate x-ray images that would show indications of cancer or other concerns. During the short process, you will need to change positions from time to time, and while the pressure is uncomfortable for some, many have no issues at all. Even for those who are a bit more sensitive, technicians are very accommodating, understanding and frankly, really good at their jobs. They use techniques to customize the process so women of all shapes, sizes and comfort levels—both physical and psychological—can get the important imaging necessary to protect their health.

Approximately 20 minutes and you’re done
While mammograms aren’t often at the top of people’s favorites lists, the screening doesn’t take long and is practically over before it begins. A mammogram usually takes about 20 minutes—a small time investment to protect something as valuable as your health—and maybe even your life.

Early detection can win the race against cancer
While the statistics and seriousness of cancer diagnoses are rather overwhelming, there is encouraging news. The overall death rate from breast cancer has decreased by 1% per year from 2013 to 2018. This decline is very optimistic and is thought to be a direct correlation to both the advancements of treatments and earlier detection of cancers through mammogram screenings.

  • If you’ve already blown out 40 candles – or more – on your birthday cake, give yourself an important gift: Schedule your annual mammogram. Early detection is critical to beat against breast cancer. Please visit our calendar to see when our healthcare providers are available to see patients.

Help Keep Pender Community Hospital & Medical Clinics Healthy

As we continue to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important we all do our part to keep our community safe and healthy – and one way we can do that is through masking.

While masks are no longer required in all establishments, Pender Community Hospital & Medical Clinics still requires everyone to wear a mask while inside our facilities to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious illnesses. We ask that patients and visitors bring their own mask to wear as we are once again experiencing shortages of essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Masks are a proven strategy to reduce the spread of illness, along with other measures such as hand hygiene, physical distancing, covering coughs/sneezes, and vaccinations. For illnesses like COVID-19 that are spread through airborne droplets from your mouth and nose, a mask reduces the dispersion of these droplets—and as a result reduces the spread of infectious diseases.

Masks are a proven strategy to reduce the spread of illness, along with other measures such as hand hygiene, physical distancing, covering coughs/sneezes, and vaccinations. For illnesses like COVID-19 that are spread through airborne droplets from your mouth and nose, a mask reduces the dispersion of these droplets—and as a result reduces the spread of infectious diseases.

And while it’s important to take precautions in all settings, it’s especially essential in healthcare facilities where this is a higher risk of spread – both from people who are sick with these illnesses and to people who are more vulnerable to them because they are immunocompromised. By requiring masks in Pender Community Hospital & Medical Clinics, we are helping protect our patients and our staff to ensure the best and safest possible care. Masking, while it may seem inconvenient, is an easy yet effective way to protect those around you. So next time you arrive at Pender Community Hospital & Medical Clinics, please remember to mask up – it’s for the health of our community.