• Jeffrey A. Cook Named AAHS’ CEO & Administrator

    Jeffrey A. Cook was named Appleton Area Health Services’ (AAHS) Chief Executive Officer and Administrator, beginning in August, 2012. Jeff grew up in Moorhead, Minnesota and currently resides in Fargo, North Dakota. Jeff is married to his wife, Elizabeth (Lisa) and has two children, son Noah (19) and daughter Hannah (15). Jeff is currently searching for a home in the Appleton community and will move to the area in the coming months.

    Cook received his AAS  in Accounting from Northwest Technical College in Moorhead, MN, then went on to receive his BS in University Studies  from the University of Minnesota-Moorhead in Moorhead, MN. In 2005, he received his MBA and a MSM in Management with an HR emphasis from the University of Mary in Fargo, ND.

    Prior to coming to AAHS, Jeff served as Essentia Health’s North Dakota  Division Manager for the past ten years. Essentia Health is a large health system with a presence in Minnesota, North Dakota and Idaho that employs 11,500 employees with over 40 clinics and 15 hospitals within the system. Cook recruited over 20 multispecialty and primary care physicians, developed an OB/GYN practice in one facility adding 100 births per year, facilitated a multi-million dollar construction project and consistently operated under budget.

    Cook also served as chief financial officer to Bridges Medical Center, a 25-bed critical care hospital and 49-bed nursing home for one year; recruiting two physicians, reducing inventories in excess of $50k and increased days cash on hand from 34 to 75. Jeff also gained 3 years of experience at Lisbon Medical, a 25-bed critical care hospital with a 56-bed nursing home as their chief financial officer. There, Jeff recruited three new physicians and two mid-level providers.

    In 2004, Jeff became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), a professional certification sponsored by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Candidates for the certification must meet certain educational and experience requirements, join and maintain tenure in ACHE, and pass an examination before the designation is awarded.

    Jeff is looking forward to re-entering the hospital and care center (nursing home) world after being in the clinic side for the last ten years. As our society ages there will be more community members moving toward retirement and more of a need to accommodate the aging population through our senior living apartments and care center.

    Cook is expected to have his nursing home administrator’s license by the end of 2013. In the meantime, Kathy Johnson, who has been serving as interim administrator and CEO at AAHS will act as the nursing home administrator.

    Jeff enjoys hunting, fishing, racquetball and watching the outdoor channel. Drop Jeff an email at

  • AAHS welcomes Jana Lilyerd

    Jana Lilyerd, MSN NP-C will join the family at Appleton Area Health Services (AAHS) on July 23, 2012. She comes to AAHS with over 25 years of nursing experience; most recently in Mora, MN. Jana received her AAS degree in nursing from Tacoma Community College, then went onto receive her BSN degree from Seattle Pacific University. In 2012, she received her master of science degree in nursing from the College of St. Scholastica.

    Jana is the third generation in her family to choose nursing as her career path. She is currently taking appointments for all ages; specializing in Geriatrics. She is looking forward to being with patients for the long haul.

    Jana has managed two health clinics, the build out of an electronic health record with a project team and telemedicine technology. She is passionate about community education and will be hosting educational events on a regular basis. Have a health topic that you would like to learn more about? Email it to

    Growing up in Washington state, her dad worked for a military brokerage company. She also lived in Colorado and Virginia for a period of time. So what drew Jana to Appleton? She loves open fields and country life and was impressed with the friendliness of the community during her visits to the area.

    Jana and her Siberian Husky, Blue are excited to become members of the Appleton community. Some of her interests include quilting, sewing, gardening and scrapbooking. She is also an avid outdoor person – you can find her fishing, hunting, biking and even rollerblading on a regular basis.

    Jana states it simple, “I am giving back what gifts I’ve been given and am very blessed to have this opportunity.” Meet her in person at Appleton Area Health Services’ Foundation 1st Annual Best Ball Golf Tournament on Saturday, July 28 at the Appleton Golf Course, social hour takes place at 4:30 p.m. with the brand unveiling to follow. To schedule an appointment with Jana, please call 289.1580.

  • June Happenings

    It’s hard to believe a month has passed since my last update. While we had many exciting things taking place in May, the momentum continues into June and July.

    Upcoming events & happenings include:

    ­          1st Annual Foundation Best Ball Golf Tournament – Save the Date – Saturday, July 28, 2012. Register your four-person team by contacting Janae Olson at 320.289.1580 ext. 416 or at

    ­          ­Facebook Promotion – We recently hit over 100 fans on Facebook. Be sure to like our page to get real-time updates and chances to win our giveaways.

    ­          ­Brand Re-launch – Last week, AAHS employees had the opportunity to vote on a new logo and color scheme for the facility. We’re excited to unveil our new look at our golf tournament in July. Even if you aren’t a golfer, join us for dinner and the unveiling. Contact for more information on purchasing a meal ticket.

    ­          ­FREE VNUS Procedure Screening – AAHS will be hosting a no-cost VNUS Procedure screening on Wednesday, June 27 from 9am-noon. Hurry, spots are limited. Call 320.289.1580 to schedule a screening.

    ­          ­FREE Car Seat Clinic – AAHS will offer a FREE car seat clinic by trained staff on June 28, 2012. If interested in participating in this event, please call 320.289.2422 and ask to speak with Char. Pre-registration is required; car & booster seats will be available if needed.

    ­          CEO Search – As some of you may recall, I came on board as interim CEO at AAHS in October 2011. In the coming weeks, we will have candidates onsite as we continue our search for a permanent CEO. Candidates will interviewed by our board, executive team and a group of employees. In the meantime, I will remain interim CEO. The board and I will continue to update you as we learn more.

    I also want to take a moment to remind our patients about our financial policy at AAHS. We appreciate every customer that walks through our doors and are passionate about providing high quality services that our patients have come to expect. To do so, we must receive payments for the services we provide.

    We offer a number of programs, including Charity Care to assist our customers with paying their bills. We ask that you partner with us to find a solution that fits your needs if you may need assistance. Tammy and Pam in the business office can be contacted during regular business hours and are here to help all patients that may need assistance determining a payment plan.

    Until next month, Kathy

  • Appleton Area Health Services Implements New CT Scanner

    From left to right: Toni Cam, RN, Char Lehne, LPN and Steve Nelson, Radiology Tech

    Doctors and technicians at Appleton Area Health Services (AAHS) are using the latest in CT technology. The Aquilion 16 CT system is among the most advanced in the field, making CT exams at AAHS safer, more comfortable and more accurate than ever before. For the patient, this new technology provides reassurance because the detailed images captured by the new scanner allows the radiologist to make more accurate diagnoses.

    The new scanner performs multi-slice CT scans in a matter of seconds. Multi-slice imaging means that more than one image is recorded at a time. This allows for a smooth transition through the machine and eliminates the abrupt starting and stopping motions common to single slice CT systems. Multi-slice systems reduce the amount of time patients must hold their breath or change position during the exam. This benefits trauma patients and others who are acutely ill. It is also safer; special filters reduce the amount of radiation patients are exposed to during the test.

    The 16-Slice scanner is an upgrade from the 4-Slice machine previously used at the hospital. The superior speed cuts the average CT exam time by more than xx percent. This means shorter exams and may lead to more rapid diagnosis and treatment.

    “We’re excited to have the opportunity to share this state-of-the art equipment with the community,” says Jason Boonstra, AAHS Lab & X-ray Manager.

  • May 2012 Happenings

    Great things are happening over at Appleton Area Health Services, but we sometimes forget to share the good news. In an effort to keep community members, patients and employees in the loop, we are ramping up our communication efforts! In fact, we recently hired Janae Olson, marketing manager to focus specifically on this topic. Jodi Cooley, human resource director also came on in the first quarter and has brought a total of 10 new employees to our team so far this year. We are excited to have Janae and Jodi bring their experience and insights to our leadership team. And, we continue to hire qualified employees that are dedicated to enhancing the health of our community. If you’d like to learn more about our open positions, please email

    Now, remember I mentioned there are great things happening over at AAHS? I should have said there are A LOT of great things happening. In fact, see for yourself:

    • National Hospital Week –This week (May 6-12), the AAHS team is celebrating National Hospital Week. National Hospital Week is the nation’s largest health care event, and is a celebration of the history, technology and dedicated professionals that make our facility provide quality patient care to the residents of Appleton and surrounding communities. I would personally like to thank each and every employee at AAHS. I am so proud to work with a team of such highly skilled, caring and compassionate people. If you are at our facility this week, please take a minute to thank those people that help keep you healthy.
    • Appleton Area Healthy Lifestyles Event –AAHS will also have a large presence at the upcoming Appleton Area Healthy Lifestyles Event May 10,from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. located in the ‘52 Wing. Be sure to stop by and say hello; special discounts and educational opportunities will be available for event attendees only!
    • National Nursing Home Week –National Nursing Home Week (May13-19) spotlights nursing home residents and staff and encourages all to celebrate those that make a positive difference in their lives every day. A supportive and caring environment, such as a skilled nursing care center, pro-vides enrichment for residents and families to continue growing, learning, and teaching through various ways. Did you know our facility is rated five stars? To see how other nursing homes in the area compare, go to And again, I want to express my gratitude for all of the people that make our nursing home such a great place to live and work.

    Want to continue to stay up-to-date on what’s happening over at AAHS? Be sure to read my future articles here in the press and like us on Facebook –

  • AAHS Partners with Big Stone Therapies

    Big Stone Therapies Partners with Appleton Area Health Services to
    Provide Physical, Occupational, and Speech Services

    Big Stone Therapies, Inc. is pleased to partner with Appleton Area Health Services to provide rehabilitation services to the Appleton area community. Our rehabilitation services include inpatient and outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy services as well as swing bed and long-term care services.

    The Big Stone Therapies rehabilitation department in Appleton is led by Neil Feist, PT. Neil’s responsibilities include managing daily operational functions, overseeing staff, and providing physical therapy services to patients. Our physical, occupational, and speech therapy staff will continue to grow to meet the demands of the Appleton Area Health Services and the community.

    Our physical therapists provide a full-spectrum of care to help patients regain strength, mobility, and functionality. We offer treatment for outpatients and inpatients including, but not limited to: orthopedics, post-surgical rehabilitation;  hip, shoulder, knee, and ankle rehabilitation; walking or balance disorders; back and neck disorders; joint and muscle pain; arthritis management; stroke rehabilitation; Parkinson’s issues; other neurological issues; and work-related injury rehabilitation.

    Our occupational therapy team helps outpatients and inpatients function to the best of their ability in activities of daily living. Services include, but are not limited to: hand therapy (elbow, wrist and hand); home safety assessment; upper extremity functional exercise (coordination, strengthening, range of motion, and sensory training); activities of daily living retraining (for home or work); and adaptive equipment recommendations; wheelchair evaluations; and cognition and memory assessments.

    Our speech-language pathologist works with the full range of communication and its associated disorders. She evaluates and treats speech, language, and swallowing disorders in outpatients and inpatients of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Therapies for swallowing disorders, stroke impairments, voice disorders, cognition and memory deficits, etc. are offered.

    Individuals who are considering if they might benefit from outpatient rehabilitation services can either talk to their doctor about a referral to Big Stone Therapies in Appleton, or give our clinic a call at 320-289-1580 and our staff will be happy to explain the process of obtaining a referral.

    Big Stone Therapies, Inc. operates 20 clinics in Minnesota and South Dakota. The clinics are either contracted through hospitals and long-term care facilities or are stand-alone, private clinics. Our locations include Appleton, Baxter, Benson, Browns Valley, Farmington, Graceville, Hendricks, Ivanhoe, Madison, Marshall, Minneota, Morris, Olivia, Ortonville, Thief River Falls, Wheaton, and Zumbrota in Minnesota and Milbank, Sisseton, and Watertown in SD. The company was formed 22 years ago by physical therapists Wade VanDover and Paul Treinen. VanDover, CEO, and Treinen, COO, continue ownership in the company today along with Roman Taffe, CAO, and Angela Meyer, Vice-President of Long-Term Care.

    To learn more about Big Stone Therapies, please visit our website at


  • AAHS receives first Meaningful Use Payment of $373,879.38

    Patient care organizations of all sizes and types have been moving forward on the Meaningful Use journey under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Meaningful Use in a health information technology context, defines the use of electronic health records (EHRs) and related technology within a healthcare organization. Achieving meaningful use also helps determine whether an organization will receive payments from the federal government under either the Medicare EHR Incentive Program or the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

    According to the Act, organizations that are eligible for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program and achieve meaningful use by 2014 will be eligible for incentive payments; those who have failed to achieve that standard by 2015 may be penalized. To receive the maximum reimbursement, physicians and hospitals must achieve Stage 1 of Meaningful Use for at least a 90-day period within the 2011 or 2012 federal fiscal year and for the entire year thereafter.

    Appleton Area Health Services (AAHS) received the first Meaningful Use incentive payment of $373,879.38 for meeting Stage 1 Criteria in April 2012. In order for us to keep up with technology and government requirements, we need to reinvest the dollars into an updated EHR solution in the coming years.  Up-to-date EHRs help deliver quality patient care,  and attract & retain physicians at our facility.

    AAHS is now looking into a no interest MN e-Health Initiative Loan from the MN Dept of Health that will reopen in Q1 2013 to help fund the additional cost of the EHR upgrade. The no interest loan is available to help hospitals update their computer systems. Once criteria is determined for Stages 2 and 3 of Meaningful Use, AAHS will plan accordingly to continue to receive maximum reimbursement.

    A big thank you to Judy Carruth, AAHS Clinic Manager along with the team of hospital and clinic nurses for leading this important effort. Now, onto Stage 2!