• Did you know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

    October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same.  The best way to fight breast cancer is to have a plan that helps you detect the disease in its early stages. Call AAHS at 320.289.1580 to schedule your mammogram appointment on October 10 or 24.

  • Appleton Area Health Services Expands Clinic Hours

    You may not be able to control your schedule or the onset of sudden illnesses or injuries, but you can choose how and where you seek treatment. Appleton Area Health Services is excited to announce enhanced hours to provide prompt and personal treatment to help you feel better as quickly as possible.  To allow our patients more flexibility in their everyday schedules, we are offering expanded hours effective October 1  — Monday from 8 to 8 and Tuesday through Friday: 8:30 to 5. Schedule your appointment today by calling 289.1580.

     Appleton Area Health Services – we’re here for you.

  • 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.