News

  • Golf Tournament Registration Now Open!

    The AAHS Foundation invites you to participate in our 6th Annual Golf Tournament! This year’s proceeds will be designated to an A/C unit for our Care Center. This unit will help our residents beat the summer heat and allow them to control their own room temperature! Registration will open at 10:00 am for shotgun start at 10:30 am. Late starts can join anytime before 2:00 pm. This is a 4-person team scramble with the option to play 9 or 18 holes. Cash prizes will be awarded for 1st ($400), 2nd ($300) and 3rd ($200). Burger baskets will be available for participants from noon until 5:00. If you would like more information or would like to become an event sponsor contact Jess at 320.289.8510 or email jwollschlager@aahsmn.org.

    Click to register and pay here!

    Click to download registration form

    Click to download sponsorship form

  • Time to Get Stroke Savvy

    Public Encouraged to Learn Warning Signs, Prevention and Treatment Tips
    For May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month

    With more than 795,000 strokes occurring every year in the United States across the age spectrum, it is critical that all Americans adopt preventive lifestyle habits, know the warning signs, and understand the treatment options available to themselves and their loved ones should a stroke occur. May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month—a time for Appleton residents to become stroke savvy.

    Although it’s more common in older adults, stroke can affect anyone. In fact, stroke is trending upward in younger Americans. A recent study showed that the rate of stroke increased by 147% in people ages 35–39, 101% in people ages 40–45, 68% in people ages 45–49, and 23% in people ages 50–54.

    Lifestyle Modifications
    Although not all strokes are preventable, certain lifestyle habits can reduce a person’s risk of having a stroke. Factors that work in a person’s favor include maintaining a healthy diet and low cholesterol, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol consumption, and refraining from smoking.

    Early Action Is Vital
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 38% of respondents to one survey were aware of all major symptoms and knew to call 9-1-1 when someone was having a stroke. Patients who arrive at the emergency room within 3 hours of onset of their first symptoms often have less disability 3 months after a stroke than those who receive delayed care, states the CDC—thus, recognizing the signs and taking quick action is key.

    If you suspect someone is having a stroke, act FAST:
    • Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?
    • Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one arm weaker?
    • Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
    • Time to act is now if you see any of these signs! Call 9-1-1 right away.

    Treatment Transforms
    Of the 750,000+ Americans who suffer strokes annually in the United States, more than 130,000 die. For those who survive a stroke, quality of life is an important issue. In addition to regaining physical abilities such as the ability to walk, get dressed, and bathe independently, one’s capacity to communicate may also be severely damaged by a stroke.

    “A person’s ability to communicate is the foundation of just about everything they do, and every interaction they have,” said Appleton-based Speech-Language Pathologist Melissa Marihart M.S. CCC-SLP. “Beyond just having their basic needs met, the degree to which communication skills are restored affects stroke survivors’ social interactions and relationships, employment status and success, and overall satisfaction and participation in life. Seeking treatment from a speech-language pathologist can make a transformative difference in helping people enjoy a fulfilling post-stroke life.”

    One of the most common communication challenges that follow a stroke is aphasia, a disorder that affects a person’s ability to understand or produce language. About 25%–40% of stroke survivors acquire aphasia. Other communication difficulties include slurred speech due to weak muscles and difficulty in programming muscles for speech. In addition to these challenges, speech-language pathologists help with cognitive challenges following a stroke—which may include memory and problem-solving skills—and swallowing problems that result from weakness and/or incoordination of muscles in the mouth and throat.

    “During Better Hearing & Speech Month, we want stroke survivors and their loved ones to know that speech-language pathologists are here to help,” Melissa added. “We offer a range of therapeutic services to meet the challenging needs of these individuals.”

    CONTACT: Melissa Marihart CCC-SLP
    Big Stone Therapies Appleton Clinic
    320-289-8503 melissa.marihart@bigstonetherapies.com

  • New Volunteer Group for AAHS

    Helping Hearts volunteer group forms to help support AAHS

    A new group has been formed to help support Appleton Area Health Services: Helping Hearts for AAHS.
    This volunteer group will begin their mission by helping AAHS raise funds for needed projects. Their first undertaking will be to help raise funds for air conditioning units at the Care Center.
    The A/C units in the north and south wings of the Care Center were struck by lightning last fall and are no longer operational.
    AAHS Environmental Services Manager Amery Longman has been investigating options for the AAHS Board to consider.
    He found that in order to replace the current unit that was struck by lightning, the total cost for the facility would be $197,086. This included an insurance payout of $15,000 and a $4,500 grant from Otter Tail.
    The second option was to install mini-split systems. This system is currently used in the east wing and is well liked by the residents; they are able to control their own rooms.
    A bid received from Clemen Electric of Appleton for the mini-spits ranges from $95,755 to $115,122.30. This includes all electrical, equipment, inspection cost, and a rebate of $14,000 to $18,000.
    The AAHS Board has approved moving forward with the mini-split systems, but are currently looking at ways to fund the project.
    “While we are holding off on all major projects while we stabilize our financial status, the Care Center air conditioner is a must for the comfort and well being of our residents,” said AAHS CEO Kathy Johnson. “To beat the heat, we are going to have to move forward with this purchase within the next week, as it takes some time to get it here and installed. We are exploring options to finance this project and are grateful to Helping Hearts for getting the ball rolling with the fund raising. Any and all assistance is greatly appreciated.”
    Helping Hearts for AAHS will kick-off their fundraising towards the A/C units with a Spring Salad Luncheon. The luncheon will be held on Administrative Professionals Day Wednesday, April 26, at Apple Ridge Estates from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
    As a newly formed group, Helping Hearts for AAHS is looking for volunteers to both provide salads and work at the luncheon. They will also be looking for Silent Auction items to be held in conjunction with the luncheon.
    Attending the initial meeting of Helping Hearts was Andrea Brooks, Leslie Ehrenberg, Sydney Massee, Pam Perseke, and Jess Wollschlager.
    If you would like to be a part of Helping Hands by joining the group or by being placed on a volunteer list, please call Perseke at 289-1933 or Ehrenberg at 289-1323.
    “We welcome anyone who would like to volunteer within Helping Hearts,” said Perseke. “Having a health care facility in your town is important. When you find yourself in a life and death situation, you need to be able to reach help within minutes; it can make a huge difference in your outcome.”
    If you would like to donate an item to the Silent Auction, they can be dropped off at AAHS or The Appleton Press.

    Written by Leslie Ehrenberg of the Appleton Press

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield – Write to your Legislator

    Appleton Area Health Services is not included in Blue Cross Blue Shield’s individual market plan Sanford Connect which has a limited health insurance provider network. This could mean your most convenient option for care will not be covered. This does NOT affect Medicare recipients. We’re disappointed that our patients in southwest Minnesota will now have limited options. Read Kathy Johnson, CEO’s response in the Appleton Press by clicking here. Here is how you may be affected by the limited network option:

    • You’ll have to drive to another community for your care.
    • You can’t keep the provider you know and trust.
    • You may have difficulty setting up appointments due to insufficient capacity of in-network providers to handle new patients.

    Please contact Minnesota officials about your concerns. Click here for sample letter

    The Appleton area is covered under District 17A. Below is contact information:

    Representative Tim Miller
    415 State Office Building
    100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
    Saint Paul, Minnesota 55155

    Phone: 651-296-4228
    Email: rep.tim.miller@house.mn

    Senator Andrew R. Lang
    95 University Avenue W.
    Minnesota Senate Bldg., Room 3205
    St. Paul, MN 55155
    Phone: (651) 296-4918

  • Welcome Kathy Johnson, Interim CEO

    The Appleton Area Health Services (AAHS) Board of Directors are pleased to announce the hiring of interim CEO Kathy Johnson.

    Johnson brings with her over 40 years of experience in the health care industry. She has worked in every stage of nursing, beginning her career as a nursing assistant. She then moved on to become an LPN, RN, assistant
    nurse manager, director of nursing (DON), chief operating officer (COO), and finally a chief executive officer (CEO).

    She holds an associate’s degree in nursing, a fouryear degree in organizational management and communication from Concordia, St. Paul, and is a certified health care executive through the University of Minnesota Independent Study Program.

    Johnson retired as CEO of Johnson Memorial Hospital in Dawson in October of 2015. During her time as CEO in Dawson, she was recognized at both the state and national levels for quality and service excellence. Just as she was about to retire, Johnson Memorial was recognized nationally for financial stability.

    Since her retirement, Johnson opened her own company, Dynamic Advantage LLC. Through her company, Johnson’s goal is to mentor CEOs who are struggling. She has also done some education through a webinar for the National Rural Health Resource Center on the cost of turnover and the value of feedback from your employees.

    Active in her community, Johnson has served on the Dawson Development Committee, and been a member and president of the Dawson Chamber of Commerce. Currently, she serves as president of her church, Crossroads Lutheran Congregation in Dawson. She has also served as president of Medi-Soda and the Lac qui Parle Health Network. Johnson and husband Dwayne have two children, a son and daughter; seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. “Dwayne and I put in a huge garden and can until we are crazy,” she said with a laugh. “We have a huge yard that looks
    like a park.” Dwayne is a retired chef, and every Wednesday night the couple volunteers to cook for 70 to 100 people at Crossroads Lutheran Congregation for the AWANA program. During her spare time, Johnson enjoys crafts, primarily crocheting, but also a little embroidery. Lately she has been enjoying working with water colored pencils.

    Johnson is not new to AAHS. She served as interim CEO for 10 ½ months in 2012. “This is where I want to be,” she said of AAHS. “We have a lot of good people here at the facility and in the community. As a facility we need to earn the community’s trust back, and the community needs to support us if they want a health care facility in their community.” “Appleton is in a crisis right now,” Johnson continued, “but we will turn it around. In my experience, if we concentrate on employees, quality of service to the community, and the culture, all the other financial stuff falls into place.” Johnson believes in being transparent, and invites anyone with questions, concerns, and ideas to visit with her. “I will tell you the answers, if I know it, and if not, I will find out. At times there are things I can’t share. For instance, when an employee leaves they are free to say anything they want, but we at the facility cannot. I will tell you, ‘I know that, but I can’t share it with you,’” concluded Johnson.

    Residents can find Johnson at her office at AAHS (just ask at the front desk if you need directions), by phone 289-1580, or via email: kjohnson@aahsmn.org.

    Article Credit: Leslie Ehrenberg of The Appleton Press
    View PDF here

  • 5th Annual Gala a Success

    The Appleton Area Health Services (AAHS) Foundation 5th Annual Gala raised $12,370!

    These proceeds have purchased three Pedal Wheelchairs for AAHS. Pedal wheelchairs will bring a new option for daily exercise to residents, tenants and patients at AAHS. Residents of the Care Center have already started using them. “I would like to use them every day!” stated Leona, Care Center Resident.

    The Gala was held on March 10th at Shooter’s Bar and Grill. Approximately 110 attended the event, which featured Diva’s Through the Decades who performed female hits from the 40’s through today. They really got the crowd involved in the show and topped off the night’s events perfectly.

    During the social hour, a wine pull was held, sponsored by Shooter’s. 50 bottles were available for purchase at $20 a cork, with six lucky individuals receiving $50 cash each. Many guests also participated in a Heads or Tails 50/50 Raffle where participants were eliminated with a coin flip. The last one standing got half the pot.

    There were 16 items, mostly donated by local businesses, for the silent auction. In the live auction, items up for bid included a Larsmont Cottage Getaway, Mall of America Gift Package, watches and more.

    Raffle winners for Minnesota lower level seating spots events were:

    • Juston Golden, of Holloway, MN Wild Tickets
    • Lisa Nichols, MN Timberwolves Tickets
    • Dean Isaacson, of Holloway, MN Twins Tickets

    It was a fun night and we greatly appreciate the support of everyone involved. Look forward to something new in 2018.

    Platinum Table Sponsors: Farmers & Merchants Bank, Athena Health and Pope Architect
    Platinum Sponsors: KLQP-Q92, Prairie Lakes Healthcare System, CMDI, RJM Construction, Shooter’s, Lewis Family Drug
    Gold Sponsors: G&R Controls, USI, Vaaler Insurance/HCIS, Appleton Dental Care, ACIRA, Prairie Sun Bank, Odden and Zimbelman, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., MN Energy, Appleton Building Center
    Silver Sponsors: SFM, The Appleton Press, Otter Tail Power Company, Big Stone Therapies, Appleton Oil
    Other Donations: Jim & Sydney Massee, Tronex Healthcare, Madison Bottling, City of Appleton, Cut Maps, Escape Fitness, Pioneer Public TV, Hope Schmidt Origami Owl, Prairie’s Edge, MN Timberwolves, Clemen Electric, High Voltage, Kerry Bonk, Ellen J Arnold – RR Clothing Co., Creative Cuts, MN Wild, Country Floral, Curtis & Gloria Johnson, Bird & Cronin, House of Spirits, SEWearable Design

  • Valentine Celebration

    In celebration of Valentine’s week the Activities department in the Care Center hosted Minute to Win it games on February 13th. Staff members paired up with a resident and played a variety of games. The winning pair of each game got a box of chocolates. There were lots of laughs and smiles from the residents and staff alike!

    Coronation was held on Valentine’s day. The court had five nominees each for men and women.


    Ralph Hoffman, George Clemens, Bernard Westhausen, Ron Monson and Mike Rudnick.


    Vi Risch, Rose Winters, Audrey Schliemann, Olive Dalen and Vera Larson

    Crowned Queen at the Valentine Coronation was Vi Risch and King George Clemens!
  • 5th Annual Gala! Friday, March 10th

    We invite community members, vendors and friends to join us at our 5th Annual Gala on Friday, March 10th at Shooter’s Bar & Grill! This year proceeds will be designated to the purchase of wheel chair pedal bikes. These chairs will enhance the quality of life of our residents, tenants and patients by assisting in improving mobility and by being a new option for daily exercise.

    We are excited to announce entertainment by, Divas Through the Decades, a musical tribute to some of the most influential female vocalists in American pop music, featuring songs from the 40’s, through today’s current hits! The show features music made famous by various Divas including Tina Turner, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Estefan, Madonna, Beyoncé, Shania Twain, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and many more. The Diva’s stage show is filled with electrifying vocals, cutting edge choreography, great costume changes, and a high energy performance that is second to none!

    Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m.; attendees are invited to dress semi-formal. Meal will include your choice of Butterfly Shrimp or Garlic Parmesan Chicken with salad, veggie, potato, dessert and beverage. During the social hour guests can participate in the wine pull. By purchasing a $20 bottle of wine you will not only receive that bottle of wine, you will be entered into a drawing for cash prizes.

    There will also be silent and live auctions. One of the items up for bid is a Mall of America package including 4 admissions to Nickelodeon Universe, Moose Mountain, Crayola Experience, and Sea Life. Donations to the auction are greatly appreciated! If you would like to donate an item, please contact Jessica Wollschlager at 289-8510 or drop your item off at Appleton Area Health Services.

    You can also support the event by purchasing raffle tickets – on sale now! The drawing will be held at the Gala, but you do not need to be present to win. The winner will have the opportunity to pick their prize, if present. If not present, the winner will receive the item remaining with the highest value. Prizes are 1st Place – 2 tickets Section 102 (lower level) Row 2 to the Colorado Avalanche @ Minnesota Wild Game on Sunday, April 2nd at 5:00 p.m. 2nd Place – 2 tickets Section 124 (lower level) Row R to the Sacramento Kings @ Minnesota Timberwolves Game on Saturday, April 1st at 7:00 p.m. 3rd Place – 2 tickets Legends Club K Row 2 (lower level) to the Boston Red Sox @ Minnesota Twins Game on Sunday, May 7th at 1:10 p.m. The drawing will be held at 7:30 p.m. Purchaser must be 18 years of age or older. Ticket prices are $10 each or three for $25.

    Tickets for the Gala are $45 and can be purchased at Appleton Area Health Services; from any AAHS Foundation Board member or AAHS manager by February 27th Tickets are $45. We hope to see you there!

  • $5,755 raised on Give to the Max Day

    The AAHS Foundation is very grateful to those who donated on Give to the Max day and would like to thank generous givers for helping us raise $5,755! These gifts will be designated to the dialysis unit fund.

    Information on GiveMN.org

    GiveMN launched in 2009 as a collaborative venture led by Minnesota Community Foundation and many other organizations committed to helping make Minnesota a better place.

    To generate excitement, they organized a little something called Give to the Max Day. That spark touched off a blast of online giving — $14 million in 24 hours. Since that trial run in 2009, Give to the Max Day has become an annual tradition. Every year thousands of organizations raise money to improve the quality of life in Minnesota and communities around the world. This year’s total raised: $20,149,492.17!

    GiveMN is more than a one-day giving extravaganza the website is available year-round to link people with nonprofits and schools to make giving soar.