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  • Appleton Area Health Services Recognized for Efforts to Protect Patients from Influenza

    83 percent of facility’s health care workers received influenza vaccination in 2011-12

    Appleton Area Health Services (AAHS) was among 146 hospitals and nursing homes from around the state recognized this month by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for achieving high influenza vaccination rates among health care workers during the 2011-12 flu season.

    83 percent of AAHS staff, received influenza vaccinations during the second season of the FluSafe program. The facility received a white (Nursing Home) and red (Hospital) ribbon and certificate of achievement from Minnesota Health Commissioner Edward Ehlinger for its efforts.

    The FluSafe program aims to get 100 percent of all health care personnel at hospitals and nursing homes in Minnesota, except those with medical exemptions, vaccinated against influenza each season. According to state health officials, unvaccinated health care workers can pass highly contagious influenza to their patients, many of whom are at high risk for complications from influenza. National rates of influenza vaccination of health care workers are estimated at 63.5 percent. Minnesota’s rates are about 72 percent overall, as measured by MDH in 2009.

    “Our patients’ health is our first priority. Protecting them from influenza just makes sense,” said Jeff Cook, CEO of Appleton Area Health Services. “We also want all of our employees to be as healthy as possible during flu season. We will be working hard in the coming years to improve our influenza vaccination rate among employees even more.” AAHS will kick off its employee flu vaccination campaign for 2012-2013 this fall.

    A total of 199 facilities participated in FluSafe this year, with 146 facilities reaching vaccination rates of at least 70 percent. Of those, 44 reached vaccination levels of 90 percent or greater, 45 were in the 89-89 percent range and 57 reached 70-79 percent. There are 145 hospitals and about 375 nursing homes in the state.

    “We’re extremely pleased with the number of facilities that participated in the program this year,” said Kristen Ehresmann, director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology Prevention and Control Division at MDH. “We’re making progress in getting more health care workers vaccinated. Even among those facilities that didn’t reach 70 percent, many showed significant improvement in their coverage rates.”

    Under the FluSafe program, health care facilities receive guidance and access to tools and promotional materials from MDH and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help them increase their rates. The facilities record and document their vaccination rates through MDH’s electronic immunization information system, called MIIC.

    More information on the FluSafe program can be found on the MDH web site at

  • New Technology for Aging Veins at Appleton Area Health Services

    Did you know that half of all Americans over 50 (and two-thirds of women over 60) suffer from the pain and swelling of those big ropey leg veins? The condition is caused by failing valves in the primary veins that allow blood to pool up in the legs, and symptoms can range from aching and fatigue to skin ulcers and blood clots. Women who have had more than two pregnancies are at particular risk, and heredity, weight and careers that require a vertical position throughout the day, like nursing or teaching are risk factors as well.

    Back in the old days – the 20th Century –  the only surgical option for patients with severe varicose veins was a gruesome and painful procedure called vein stripping that left the patient scarred and laid up for weeks. Today, however, we have the next-generation medical technology to treat the problem – minimally invasive catheters that close the diseased main vein from within. The physician pulls the device through the vein, delivering bursts of energy through the catheter’s  heating element to heat and contract the vein walls. With the primary vessel sealed, the body automatically re-establishes healthier circulation and the varicosity symptoms quickly dissipate.

    Catheter devices fall into two categories – radiofrequency (RF) devices and lasers. Both are fast and effective, but Dr. Slater uses an RF device because it is a lot easier on the patient. Laser devices operate at over 800 degrees Fahrenheit, causing pain both during and after the procedure and leaving big bruises that take a while to heal. The latest RF device, the VNUS® ClosureFAST™ catheter, operates at far cooler temperatures, sealing the vein in three to five minutes with virtually no discomfort to the patient. The procedure is done in Appleton Area Health Services’ Operating Room and the patient is in and out in a few hours, usually resuming normal activity the next day. The leg pain and heaviness disappear almost immediately, and visible changes are evident in a few weeks.

    Clinical studies have found the new procedure to be more than 97% effective, and because it is considered a medical necessity in most instances, it is covered by most Medicare and private health insurance plans. Patients are delighted to have the zip back in their legs – and to be able to wear shorts – for some, the first time in decades.

    About Jared Slater, MD

    Jared Slater, MD is an outreach, general surgeon at Appleton Area Health Services. Slater attended Medical School at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. He earned his Undergraduate at St. Olaf in Northfield, MN, and did his residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  Dr. Slater is married to Julie Slater, and has a daughter, Madeline and Havanese dog named Murphy. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, boating, and relaxing at the lake.


    To schedule a FREE screening on September 12 or 26, call Amber or Bess at 320.289.2422 ext. 328.

    Indication: The VNUS closure treatment is intended to treat blood vessels with superficial venous reflux, the underlying cause of varicose veins.

    Contraindications: Patients with thrombus in the vein segment to be treated.

    Potential Risks and Complications: As with all medical procedures, there is the potential for complications including vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, infection, hematoma ,arteriovenous fistula, nerve damage, and skin burn.

    Consult with a physician to receive more information.

  • AAHS’ Foundation Raises over $10,000 at Recent Golf Tournament

    The Appleton Area Health Services’ (AAHS) Foundation would like to take a moment to thank everyone that supported our facility at our recent fundraising event. We had a total of 44 business sponsors, 71 golf participants and served over 100 dinners that evening. While golfers at all levels were encouraged to participate, we want to recognize the team with the best score – Craig Strand, Lucas Strand, Mark Irgens and Richie Voorhees.

    Participants also got a first look at our new logo plus had the opportunity to meet Appleton Area Health Services new nurse practitioner, Jana Lilyerd and administrator & CEO, Jeff Cook. Jana started with the facility in July while Jeff starts later this month. Fortunately, our facility has had the pleasure of Kathy Johnson’s leadership while we searched for a permanent CEO. Kathy has been with Appleton Area Health Services since October of 2011 and has helped see our facility through many successes.

    Dinner participants were entered into a drawing for door prizes; winners were announced after the logo unveiling and were: Keith Schueler (AAHS fleece), Steph Eschen ($100), Chris Aasland ($250) and Doug Gronholz ($500). Congratulations to all of our winners and a big thank you to Doug Gronholz for generously donating his winning to AAHS’ Foundation.

    The Appleton Area Health Services’ Foundation is led by a board of directors that consists of Sydney Masse, Rollie Schmidt, Craig Wilkening, Kerry Bonk and Dan Enke. We are grateful for the support of this group of individuals and look forward to seeing you at upcoming Foundation events.

  • Visit the LqPHN Booth at the Swift County Fair

    The Lac qui Parle Health Network will have a booth at the Swift County Fair Wednesday August 15 through Sunday August 19, 2012 at the Swift County Fairgrounds in Appleton. Stop by to learn more about the group and sign up to win a $100 Visa Giftcard! Learn more at

  • Join AAHS at the Healthy Food Fair!

    Join AAHS at the Healthy Food Fair — Fascinating presentations, handouts, and Q&A!

    September 4-6 from 6-8pm at the United Methodist Church in Appleton. $25 per person or $35 per couple. Reservations appreciated but not necessary—320-289-2247.

  • 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.