Media Releases

Portage Health gathers more than 1,000 lbs. for Harvest Gathering

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  Harvest Gathering 2010 2 
  Luci Sintkowski, Director of Volunteer Services, weighs food in the Portage Health main lobby in Hancock.
   
 Note: This was originally posted on: 11/02/2010 

HANCOCK —Portage Health would like to thank everyone who participated in the Michigan Harvest Gathering food drive. During the month of October, Portage Health’s donation sites garnered 1,159 pounds of food and personal care items for the needy in our community.

All of the donated items will be distributed to people in our local area by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army.

The Michigan Harvest Gathering is held each autumn to help Michigan families who need emergency food.

For more information about the Harvest Gathering, please call Luci Sintkowski at 483-1551.

Note: This was originally posted on: 11/02/2010 

Portage Health invites community to join in Harvest Gathering

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      Harvest Gathering 2010 
   A variety of food and paper items have been donated to Portage Health's food donation. 
     
Note: This was originally posted on: 10/26/2010 

HANCOCK — Portage Health invites the community to participate in the Michigan Harvest Gathering, a food and fundraising drive that is held each autumn to help Michigan families.

During the month of October, Portage Health is collecting non-perishable food items and household paper goods. All donations will remain in our local area and will be distributed by local agencies.

Donations may be dropped off during regular operating hours through Sunday, October 31. Collection sites are: the Portage Health main lobby and PortagePointe (Hancock main campus); Home Care and Hospice (Water Street, Hancock); Portage Health University Center (SDC); Ontonagon Community Health Center; Lake Linden Clinic; Portage Health Houghton (Sharon Avenue) and Calumet Rehab.

Ideal items for donation include commercially canned meats, fruits and vegetables, dry foods including cereal and box mixes, and paper products including disposable diapers. In 2009, Portage Health collected 1,626 pounds of food.

For more information about the Michigan Harvest Gathering, please call Portage Health Director of Volunteer Services Luci Sintkowski at (906) 483-1551.

Note: This was originally posted on: 10/26/2010 

Portage Health succeeds in attaining Organ Donor Drive goal

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Note: This was originally posted on: 10/21/2010 

HANCOCK — Portage Health announces it has met its goal of adding 400 new names to the national Organ Donor Registry during Donor Drive 2010, a statewide campaign underway through the end of the year. In April, Portage Health pledged to add one new name to the registry for every two employees, an initiative led by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.

"That was a lofty goal, as we have fewer than 800 employees, and many of them were already registered organ donors when we began the campaign," said Portage Health Dialysis Director Karen Kelley, spokesperson for Portage Health's donor drive. "We knew we had to extend our education about the registry to the larger community, and the people of the Copper Country did not let us down."

Through a varied and extensive marketing campaign including radio ads, special events, a designated donor drive computer station, presentations and collaboration with Michigan Technological University business students, Portage Health soon emerged as a healthcare leader in the state's Organ Donor Drive. In August, Gift of Life-Michigan Corporate Communications Director Tim Makinen presented Portage Health with a "Champion Award" for its efforts and announced that Portage Health led the state's small hospitals. Currently, with 411 registrations, Portage Health is sixth in the state, ahead of Henry Ford Hospital (23,000 employees), Spectrum Health of Western Michigan (17,500 employees) and Allegiance Health in Jackson (3,500 employees).

"Portage Health has been a model for how a hospital can embrace a public health campaign and benefit its community," Makinen said after learning Portage Health had reached its goal. "Its campaign has been smart, efficient and effective. In fact, Portage Health's number of donor registrations exceeds that of many much larger health institutions in Michigan. Portage Health should take pride in its success and take comfort in knowing that they have helped the residents of our state who are waiting for these life-saving, life-improving gifts."

Portage Health President and CEO Jim Bogan lauded Kelley and the Portage Health Marketing and Communications Team for their accomplishments.

"I am proud and happy that we have met this goal, but not surprised," Bogan said. "Our staff is dedicated, innovative and determined to make a difference in people's lives, whether that's a patient coming through our door or one of the 3,000 people waiting for a transplant. Our small size is not a measure of our heart."

To learn more about Portage Health's ongoing Organ Donor Drive, visit portagehealth.org/donordrive

Note: This was originally posted on: 10/21/2010 

Portage Health Houghton - Express Care providing flu shots

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Note: This was originally posted on: 10/20/2010 

HOUGHTON — Portage Health announced today that its Express Care service within Portage Health-Houghton will be offering flu shots on an ongoing basis throughout the flu season.

The shots are $25 and will be given to anyone ages 3 and up any time during Express Care operating hours of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

Express Care is located within Portage Health-Houghton at 921 W. Sharon Avenue.

For more information on Express Care, visit portagehealth.org or call 483-1777.

Note: This was originally posted on: 10/20/2010 

Men get Tuned Up at Portage Health Men's Health event

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     Men's Health 2010 - 1 
   A crowd gathers for Portage Health Dietitian Melanee Tiura's healthy cooking demonstration during Saturday's Men's Health Tune-Up at Portage Health. 
   Men's Health 2010 - 2
   Mike Karinen takes advantage of a bone density screening during Saturday's Men's Health Tune-Up at Portage Health in Hancock. 
    
 Note: This was originally posted on: 09/27/2010 

 

HANCOCK — Screenings, information and a welcoming environment drew a crowd to Portage Health's Men's Health Tune-Up Saturday. Like last year, organizers had to turn people away after reaching the maximum number of 75 registrants.

"It's such a deal that people really want to come and we were maxed out before our registration deadline this year." said organizer Arnie Kinnunen, Portage Health Community Outreach Coordinator. Kinnunen said despite the numbers, everything went even smoother this year than at last year's inaugural Men's Health Tune-Up.

"We listened to people's suggestions about drawing the blood earlier and we had extra staff on hand to make sure that went more efficiently," he said. "We had a lot of volunteers and great staff who helped make each part of this event a success."

For $20, attendees received cholesterol, glucose and lipids results, bone density and blood pressure screenings, a hearing test and new this year, a prostate cancer screening (PSA). Urologist Dr. Andrew Jahoda was the day's keynote speaker, giving an informative presentation on prostate health and other men's health issues. A wild game lunch included duck, venison sausage, salmon and smoked late trout. A healthy cooking demonstration, ergonomics demonstration and a chance to win raffle prizes also drew participants in.

"My wife encouraged me to come, but really, she didn't have to do much persuading," said James Gondek, 59, of Painesdale. Gondek took advantage of all of the screenings, including a bone density screening which he had not had before. "My numbers were good for that, so maybe that means what I'm doing at home for my health is working," he said.

Gondek also said Dr. Jahoda provided a very worthwhile presentation. "It was very interesting and well worth the entrance fee," he said. "I believe I'll be back next year."

Note: This was originally posted on: 09/27/2010 

Community Flu Shot Clinic October 16th

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Note: This was originally posted on: 09/22/2010 

HANCOCK – Western U.P. Health Department, Aspirus Keweenaw, and Portage Health will hold their annual community flu shot clinic Saturday, October 16, from 10am to 1pm at Hancock High School.

The clinic will feature walk-in service as well as curb-side vaccination for people who would have difficulty walking through the clinic. At last year’s clinic, the average time from start to finish was under five minutes per person.

This year, for the first time, the seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. The 2010 regular seasonal flu vaccine will provide protection for three different strains of flu, including last year’s H1N1. Children under 9 years of age may require two doses, given one month apart, depending on how many flu shots they received last year. Check with your healthcare provider or the health department to find out what your child needs this year.

“Young children, pregnant women, senior citizens, and anyone with certain chronic illnesses like diabetes and asthma, are at higher risk for serious complications from the flu, so it is particularly important that they get vaccinated,” said Dr. Terry Frankovich, Health Department medical director, “but as we learned from the H1N1 epidemic last year, even healthy adults can become very ill with the flu—so everyone should protect themselves by getting vaccinated this year.”

Flu shots will cost $25 per person, with no charge to clients who present a current Medicare Part B, or Michigan Medicaid card. Most children qualify for free or reduced rates via the Vaccines for Children program. Receipts and billing forms will be provided to those people who will bill private insurance for reimbursement.

“This clinic is also a run-through of our community preparedness plans,” said Pete Baril, Health Department emergency preparedness coordinator, “By attending, members of the public can receive their annual flu shot and also help us enhance our community readiness to deliver medications or vaccines in the event of a public health emergency. With staff from local health care organizations and other volunteers, the clinic is quick and efficient, with minimal wait times.”

For more information, call Western U.P. Health Department at 906-482-7382, Aspirus Keweenaw at 906-337-6500, or Portage Health at 906-483-1000.

Note: This was originally posted on: 09/22/2010 

Portage Health to host Save a Life Day on October 7

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Note: This was originally posted on: 09/22/2010 

HANCOCK — Portage Health asks the public to give of themselves in various ways at "Save a Life" Day from 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 7 at its main campus in Hancock.

Representatives from Michigan Blood - National Bone Marrow Registry will be present to take cheek swabs for those wishing to add their names to the bone marrow registry. The swab process is painless and takes no more than a few minutes. You could be the match for one of thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases waiting for a match to save their life.

Also during the October 7 event, the public can also help Portage Health in its efforts to add 400 new names to the Organ Donor registry by the end of 2010; our current standings are at 275 new registrations. A donor registration station will be on-site for those who wish to register on the spot. Bring your valid Michigan's driver's license to add your name to the list. At end-of-life, your organs could save the life of up to eight people, and enrich the lives of many more.

Finally, representatives from Marquette General Health System's U.P. Regional Blood Center will be taking appointments for those who wish to give blood. A volunteer donation of a pint of whole blood directly benefits as many as four patients living in the Upper Peninsula.

No appointment is necessary. For more information, call 483-1561.

Note: This was originally posted on: 09/22/2010 

Portage Health welcomes pediatrician Dr. Anas Jaber

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     Jaber, Anas Image 
 

Anas Jaber, MD

 Note: This was originally posted on: 09/20/2010 

HANCOCK — Pediatrician Anas Jaber, MD has joined Portage Health's healthcare team in Hancock.

Dr. Jaber received his medical degree from Damascus University School of Medicine in Damascus, Syria. He completed his pediatric residency at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

His interests and experience include pediatric asthma, obesity, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and gastrointestinal problems in adolescents.

To make an appointment with Dr. Jaber, call 483-1700.

Note: This was originally posted on: 09/20/2010 

Portage Health welcomes orthopaedic surgeon Dr. John Bowman

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     Bowman, John Image 
  John Bowman, MD 
   
 Note: This was originally posted on: 09/17/2010 

HANCOCK — Portage Health welcomes orthopaedic surgeon John Bowman, MD to our healthcare team in Hancock.

A native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Dr. Bowman holds an undergraduate degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. His medical degree, with honors, is also from Creighton University.

He completed his residency in radiology at the University of Michigan and in orthopedic surgery from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His experience also includes a position as Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at the United States Air Force Hospital at Nellis AFB, Nevada.

Dr. Bowman is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

To make an appointment with Dr. Bowman, please call 483-1040.

Note: This was originally posted on: 09/17/2010 

Portage Health University Center offers Monday night sports clinic

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Monday Night Sports Clinic Note: This was originally posted on: 09/15/2010 

HANCOCK — Portage Health offers a sports injury clinic every Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. at its University Center location in the Student Development Complex at Michigan Technological University.

This clinic offers expert care for all sports-related injuries, treating everyone from the experienced athlete to the weekend warrior. The clinic ofers treatment for: sprains, strains, cuts, abrasions and musculoskeletal injuries of the hand, elbow, ankle, knee and shoulder. Concussion evaluation and on-site x-rays are also available.

No appointment is necessary. To learn more, call 483-1860 or visit the sports injury clinic page.

Note: This was originally posted on: 09/15/2010 

Portage Health to host Men's Health Tune-Up on September 25

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     Men's Health 2009 
  Portage Health family medicine physician Dr. David Kass presents on men's health issues during 2009's Men's Health Tune-Up. This year's event is set for Saturday, September 25. 
   
 Note: This was originally posted on: 09/14/2010 

HANCOCK — Portage Health presents its Second Annual “Men's Health Tune-Up” from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 25 at the main Portage Health campus in Hancock.

Board-certified urologist Andrew Jahoda, MD is the event's keynote speaker, who will present on prostate and related issues for men.

The $20 fee also includes the following screenings: hearing, cholesterol panel, blood sugar, blood pressure, PSA (prostate cancer) and bone density. Results of these screenings will be distributed during the afternoon.

The event also includes a variety of demonstrations and a wild game lunch. Participants who intend to take advantage of the screenings should fast for 12 hours prior to blood draw at 9 a.m.

Last year's event drew the maximum number of 75 participants, so those interested are asked to register as soon as possible. "It's a great value when you consider all of the screenings, the information, the on-the-spot results and the lunch," said Portage Health Community Outreach Coordinator Arnie Kinnunen. "It's information men want and need in a concise and welcoming format."

Pre-registration is required. For more information, call 483-1149 or download a registration form at portagehealth.org/menshealthtuneup.

Note: This was originally posted on: 09/14/2010 

Labor Day Bridge Walk set for September 6

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     Labor Day Bridge Walk 2009 
  Participants enjoy the sunshine during the 2009 Portage Health Labor Day Bridge Walk.
   
 Note: This was originally posted on: 08/31/2010 

 

HANCOCK — Everyone is invited to participate in the annual Portage Health Labor Day Bridge Walk on Monday, September 6.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. at Kestner Waterfront Park in Houghton. At 8:30 a.m., walkers will proceed from Kestner Waterfront Park, over the bridge to Hancock, come back across the bridge to Houghton, proceed east to the Michigan Tech campus, then west along the same route back to Kestner Waterfront Park. Course distance is about five miles.

This is a non-competitive, family-friendly event open to everyone.

The Labor Day Bridge Walk is sponsored by Portage Health, Farm Bureau Insurance, the cities of Houghton and Hancock and the Michigan Governor's Council on Physical Fitness.

For more information, call the Community Health Department at Portage Health at 483-1149.

Note: This was originally posted on: 08/31/2010 

Portage Health welcomes Dr. Mohannad Rajjoub and physician assistant Mercedes Maki

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     Maki, Mercedes Image 
 

Mercedes Maki, PA 

  Rajjoub, Mohannad Image 
 

Mohannad Rajjoub, MD 

   
 Note: This was originally posted on: 08/04/2010 

HANCOCK — Portage Health welcomes two new members to our growing healthcare team.

Certified physician assistant Mercedes Maki provides family medicine services at our main campus in Hancock and at our Express Care facility on Sharon Avenue in Houghton. Mercedes holds a master's degree in physician assistant studies from Grand Valley State University and is a Hancock native.

Mohannad Rajjoub, MD has joined Portage Health's Obstetrics and Gynecology team at our main campus in Hancock. Dr. Rajjoub completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, and at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit.

To make an appointment with Dr. Rajjoub, please call 483-1050.

Note: This was originally posted on: 08/04/2010 

Portage Health halfway to organ registry goal; gets visit from Gift of Life

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     Tim Makinen 2010 
  Tim Makinen, Corporate Communications Director with Gift of Life Michigan in Ann Arbor 
   
 Note: This was originally posted on: 08/02/2010 

 

HANCOCK — A public event welcoming Tim Makinen will be held in the Portage Health lobby in Hancock at 11 a.m. on Thursday, August 5.

Makinen, Corporate Communications Director with Gift of Life Michigan in Ann Arbor, will give an update on the statewide Organ Donor Drive currently underway through the end of 2010.

Portage Health Dialysis Director Karen Kelley, spokesperson for Portage Health's donor drive, also plans to give an update on the hospital system's progress. Recent organ recipients will also be in attendance at the event.

In conjunction with the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, Portage Health has pledged to add 400 new names to Michigan's organ donor registry by the end of the year. Since its Organ Donor Drive Kick-Off event on April 14, Portage Health has added 225 names to the registry.

Makinen said one of the reasons for his visit is to congratulate Portage Health on its success.

"Portage Health has demonstrated its incredible commitment and dedication to organ and tissue donation and is an example for other organizations in the state to follow," Makinen said. "Gift of Life Michigan is very grateful for the work Portage Health is doing, but not nearly as grateful as the 3,000 people who are on the waiting list for transplant. They are the ones who really benefit from all of Portage Health's hard work."

To learn more about Portage Health's ongoing Organ Donor Drive, click here.

Note: This was originally posted on: 08/02/2010 

Portage Health to host A Quilt with Heart July 8

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Note: This was originally posted on: 07/07/2010 

HANCOCK — In conjunction with Portage Health's ongoing Organ Donor Drive, "A Quilt with Heart" presentation will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 8 in the lobby of the main campus in Hancock.

The quilt is on short-term loan to Portage Health from Gift of Life Michigan in Ann Arbor. Each of the 25 squares on the quilt honors a Michigan individual who either chose organ donation at their end of life or whose families made the decision to donate their organs. In some cases, the families have provided information about their loved ones, and those stories also accompany the quilt.

"The quilt is a visual reminder of how anyone can have an impact on another's quality of life, even after their death," said Portage Health Organ Donor Drive Coordinator Karen Kelley. "Regardless of age, race, gender, nationality, occupation, achievements, how they lived or how they died, every one of these people were loved by someone they left behind, who honored their wishes to help someone else live a better life."

Portage Health President and CEO Jim Bogan will also provide an update on Portage Health's Organ Donor Drive, which began April 14 and will continue through the end of 2010.

Note: This was originally posted on: 07/07/2010 

Health and Safety Fair fun for all ages

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Note: This was originally posted on: 06/07/2010  

HANCOCK — More than 500 people attended Portage Health's annual Health and Safety Fair Saturday at the main campus in Hancock.

"We had even more people this year than last year, and many were returning visitors," said organizer Angela Lucas, Director of Community Health at Portage Health. "I think word is getting out that the free screenings are a good way to be proactive about preventive health in an affordable way."

Many attendees took part in a car seat clinic, where experts reviewed car seats for child safety and suggested changes or replacements. Hospital tours also offered a chance for the general public to learn more about the latest technology at Portage Health and chat with healthcare professionals one-on-one.

Raffles, giveaways, Click-it the Cricket and a crash test dummy also added to the family-friendly event. "It's always our intent to offer activities of interest to community members of all ages," Lucas said. "By seeing the smiles and the positive feedback from the community, I think we succeeded."

Note: This was originally posted on: 06/07/2010  

Portage Health Express Care announces expanded hours

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Note: This was originally posted on: 05/24/2010 

HANCOCK — Portage Health announced today it has expanded hours for Express Care, located at 921 W. Sharon Avenue in Houghton.

The new hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Holiday hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"The overwhelming support from the community has proven the need for the types of affordable, accessible services provided by Express Care," said Emergency Department Director Timothy Vayder, MD, who said additional staff had been hired to meet the demand.

Express Care opened in February to accommodate those patients with illnesses or injuries that require medical treatment but that are not serious enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room. Most services are covered by a $45 fee.

For more information on Express Care, visit our Express Care page or call 483-1777.

Note: This was originally posted on: 05/24/2010 

Portage Health welcomes Ophthalmologist Dr. Mark Ulrickson

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     Ulrickson, Mark Image 
 

Mark Ulrickson, DO

   
 Note: This was originally posted on: 03/25/2010 

HANCOCK — Ophthalmologist Mark W. Ulrickson, DO is now seeing patients at Portage Health in Hancock.

A physician with U.P. Eye Specialists since 2003, Dr. Ulrickson provides a full range of medical and surgical services for the treatment of various eye diseases and conditions. These include: cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, macular degeneration, dry eye and LASEK eye surgery.

Dr. Ulrickson is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He received his medical degree from Michigan State University and completed his residency at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.

To make an appointment with Dr. Ulrickson, call U.P. Eye Spcialists at 906-225-4512 or 1-800-628-3333 ext. 4512.

Note: This was originally posted on: 03/25/2010 

Portage Health only western U.P. hospital with molecular diagnostics

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     Molecular Lab 2010 
  Portage Health Medical Technologist April Koskiniemi runs a sample through the GeneXpert to test for H1N1 bacteria. 
   
 Note: This was originally posted on: 03/03/2010 

HANCOCK — Portage Health's new GeneXpert machine is up and running, making Portage Health the only hospital in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan to offer molecular diagnostics.

The GeneXpert tests for the presence of bacteria, including that of infectious life-threatening diseases such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ("MRSA"), and H1N1, enabling doctors to make quicker and more informed treatment decisions.

Before molecular testing, samples were used to grow lab cultures, which could take several days to produce results. In the case where a patient's infection must be treated immediately to reduce risk to himself and other patients, timing is critical, said Portage Health lab director Richard Kangas.

"We'd have to wait 24 hours for a sample to grow and it would probably be another 24 hours to identify the bacteria, and that's if it's in the right conditions and environment," Kangas said. "Molecular testing is a completely different way to identify bacteria."

The GeneXpert takes a DNA sample and sets off a chain reaction to quickly produce millions of copies of it. As the quantity increases, color indicators identify the bacteria present in the sample. Within an hour, lab results can be provided to the physician so an accurate diagnosis and course of treatment can be immediately implemented.

"This machine eliminates the step of prescribing antibiotics that might not work, or quarantining a patient when it isn't necessary, which is costly in terms of health and finances," said Portage Health Pathologist Dr. Petio Kotov. "Any way you look at it, it's more beneficial to the patient."

Funded through a $58,650 grant by the Portage Health Foundation, the GeneXpert was installed in January. About 15 percent of hospitals nationwide use the GeneXpert.

For more information on Portage Health laboratory services, click here.

Note: This was originally posted on: 03/03/2010 

Portage Health radiology receives CT accreditation

(Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 02/25/2010 

HANCOCK — Portage Health announces its radiology department's recent accreditation by the American College of Radiology. This three-year accreditation in computed tomography (CT) services for adult and pediatric patients is the result of a recent ACR survey. Portage Health is already accredited in mammography services.

Headquartered in Reston, Va., the ACR awards accreditation to facilities of high practice standards after a peer-review evaluation of the practice. Evaluations are conducted by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field. These experts assessed the qualifications of Portage Health's personnel and the adequacy of the hospital's equipment. Findings from this survey are provided to ACR's Committee on Accreditation.

"We are proud to receive this recognition for our CT services," said Portage Health Radiology Director John Jokela. "Our team is dedicated to providing the best imaging services possible to the citizens of the western Upper Peninsula."

The ACR is a national organization serving more than 32,000 diagnostic and interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists and nuclear medicine and medical physicists.

For more information on Portage Health's medical imaging and radiology services, click here.

Note: This was originally posted on: 02/25/2010 

Portage Health Foundation announces $81,000 in grant funding

(Foundation) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 02/18/2010

HANCOCK — The Portage Health Foundation recently awarded $81,039 in grant monies to programs and projects within Portage Health. The recipients include:

Area Geriatric Education Scholars (AGES) Internship Program for U.P. Youth; PortagePointe Senior Living Community.

The AGES program supports a paid 7-week summer internship placement at PortagePointe for three local high school students, who assist with activities, interact one-on-one with residents and job shadow healthcare professionals.

BabySense Feature; Family Birthing Unit.

This comprehensive security system with door protection, tamper protection and continual supervision of tags on infants offers reminders to check the infant's tag and ensure it is securely attached.

GeneXpert IV; Laboratory.

This machine introduces Portage Health to the world of molecular diagnostics and the testing of specific bacteria. Result times decrease from 48 hours to 1 hour. It also reduces the risk of contamination and enables physicians to make quicker, better-informed treatment decisions.

Spinning Equipment; Fitness Center.

Consumer-demanded equipment providing a safe, fun, energetic way to keep fit.

Public Computer Equipment; Human Resources, Information Technology.

Three stationery computers and four portable notebooks with wireless Internet accessible to patients and families while waiting for services.

Portage Health Foundation, a charitable, non-profit organization, was established in 1990 to improve the health of the community. For more information about Portage Health Foundation, visit portagehealth.org.

Note: This was originally posted on: 02/18/2010 

Portage Health reverified as state's only Level III Trauma program

(Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 01/14/2010 

HANCOCK — Portage Health's Level III Trauma Center has been reverified by the American College of Surgeons' Committee on Trauma, making it the only Level III Trauma Center in Michigan.

Trauma facilities are ranked from Level I, the highest level of trauma care available (for example, the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center) to Level IV. Marquette General Health System is verified as Level II. Portage Health is one of 39 verified Level III Trauma Centers nationwide.

Verification is voluntary and done at the request of the hospital. An on-site review of the hospital is conducted by a team of reviewers experienced in the field of trauma. Portage Health was initially verified as a Level III Trauma Center in September, 2007.

Trauma verification means that a Level III trauma facility must provide prompt assessment, resuscitation, emergency operations and stabilization of patients; offer continuous, on-site coverage by emergency department physicians and prompt availability of general surgeons, anesthesiologists and orthopaedic specialists; have established transfer protocols for patients who require more comprehensive trauma care; demonstrate a commitment to trauma prevention and the continuing education of its trauma team members; and improves its trauma care through active review of trauma cases by a multi-disciplinary committee.

"Portage Health establishing itself as a Level III Trauma Center defies the myth that trauma victims in less populated areas are less likely to receive comprehensive care," said Dr. Wade Liston, Portage Health general surgeon and trauma program director. "This reverification validates the dedication of our trauma team in strengthening this program and our ongoing commitment to the citizens of the western Upper Peninsula."

Trauma is the number one cause of death among children and adults younger than 45 years of age, and the number four cause of death among all age groups. During 2009, Portage Health cared for 112 trauma patients. The most common cases involve motor vehicle crashes. Other trauma situations involve ATV and snowmobile crashes, and hunting accidents.

Established by the American College of Surgeons in 1987, the Committee on Trauma's consultation and verification program for hospitals promotes the development of trauma centers in which participants provide not only the hospital resources necessary for trauma care, but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all injured patients. This spectrum encompasses the prehospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

For more information on the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma criteria or for a full list of trauma centers nationwide, go to facs.org/trauma/

Note: This was originally posted on: 01/14/2010 

Portage Health presents annual community update

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Community Update 2010 Note: This was originally posted on: 01/05/2010 

HANCOCK — Portage Health President and CEO Jim Bogan presented the healthcare organization's annual update to the community January 5 at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. Members of Portage Health's executive team reported to the crowd of 75 community leaders that Portage Health is performing better in a variety of ways than many of its benchmark organizations.

Chief Financial Officer Brian Donahue reported fiscal year operating revenue of $80,447,721 and operating expenses of $78,388,298 during fiscal year 2009. Patient bills are collected on average within 44 days, Donahue said, which is a much faster turnaround than many hospitals in Michigan and nationwide experience. "We are doing very well collecting our bills," he said.

Key initiatives were also undertaken in 2009 designed to improve patient satisfaction scores in six areas, said Betty MacInnes, Vice President for Quality Management. Those have resulted in higher scores in several units but particularly in the emergency department, which scored in the 98th percentile among its peer groups nationwide. "Only two percent of emergency departments nationwide with similar characteristics are doing better than us," she said. "That is phenomenal, especially when excellent scores in the emergency department are some of the most difficult to attain."

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kirk Lufkin stressed Portage Health's commitment to safety and quality initiatives by working together, both internally and with external organizations. "Providing quality healthcare that is timely, effective, equitable and patient-centered requires collaboration," he said.

Vice President for Communications and Human Resources Karin Van Dyke reported Portage Health provided $8.8 million in community benefit programming during fiscal year 2009, and Bogan reported that despite a nationwide physician shortage, six new physicians were hired during 2009 in a variety of areas. Hiring new clinical staff will continue to remain one of Portage Health's primary goals for the immediate future, Bogan said. "If we need staff, we will hire staff to support the programs we currently offer and services we want to expand into," he said.

Portage Health's annual update presentation may be downloaded and viewed here.

Note: This was originally posted on: 01/05/2010 

New Year's Eve Fun Run starts year off right

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Note: This was originally posted on: 01/05/2010 

HANCOCK — More than 100 people started 2010 in a healthy way by participating in Portage Health's Second Annual New Year's Eve Fun Run and Walk on December 31.

Despite snow and cold, everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves, said Portage Health Community Outreach Coordinator Arnie Kinnunen.

"It was nice to see such a wide age span," he said. "Participants included families pushing strollers, parents pulling their children in sleds, and kids of all ages. Many people brought their pets along."

Organizers said although some participants took in some good-natured competition by seeing who could complete the most 2-mile laps in the allotted time, for the most part the event was just a breath of fresh air during a busy holiday season.

Megan Killian, President of the Copper Country Running Club who co-sponsored the event, said the variety of raffle prizes donated by local businesses was a big draw for participants.

"These included gift certificates, fitness apparel, magazine subscriptions, you name it," she said. "Without our generous sponsors, this event would not have been a success."

Healthy snacks and refreshments were provided by Portage Health Nutrition Services following the event.

Note: This was originally posted on: 01/05/2010 

Portage Health honored with flag, recognizes servicemen staff

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     Flag Ceremony 2009 
  Members of the 1431st Engineer Company Sgt. Joseph Battisfore, Sgt. Adam Kerry, Cpl. Stephen LaCourt and Sgt. Robert Jeannotte raise a flag in front of Portage Health in Hancock December 10. The flag was previously flown in honor of Portage Health at FOB Salerno, Afghanistan in appreciation of the hospital's support of the U.S. Armed Forces. 
   
 Note: This was originally posted on: 12/14/2009 

HANCOCK — Portage Health held a flag-raising ceremony at its main campus in Hancock December 10 to honor staff members who have shown support for the U.S. Armed Forces.

The flag raised was given to Portage Health recently to honor its Family Birthing Center nurses. Their flexibility in arranging schedules helped nurse Joye Battisfore spend time with her husband, Sgt. Joe Battisfore, when he was recently on leave. Sgt. Battisfore, of the 1431st Engineer Company, arranged for a flag to be flown at Forward Operating Base in Salerno, Afghanistan last October in appreciation of the nurses' dedication.

"I wanted to show my gratitude and that of my fellow servicemen for those at Portage Health who help support our families while we are away," Sgt. Battisfore said. "The job we are doing is very stressful and very dangerous. To not have to worry about our families and jobs while we are gone is a great comfort."

Sgt. Battisfore presented plaques to Family Birthing Center Manager Cheryl Frankovich and Portage Health President and CEO Jim Bogan.

Also during the ceremony, Bogan recognized returning servicemen Sgt. Adam Kerry and Cpl. Stephen LaCourt, staff members who serve in the 1431st Engineer Company. Sgt. Kerry is an athletic trainer; Cpl. LaCourt is a phlebotomist.

"Our staff members are the core of our commitment to service to our community," Bogan said. "There can be no greater service to the community than that of military service to our country, and we are honored to recognize our staff members who have made that commitment."

Representatives from the offices of Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Congressman Bart Stupak were in attendance, as were many community leaders from education, law enforcement and government; family and friends of the returning servicemen, and Portage Health staff members and members of its Board of Directors.

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/14/2009 

Portage Health donates $25,000 for Tree House indoor playground

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     Treehouse 2009 
  Portage Health president and CEO Jim Bogan, third from left, donates $25,000 to Keweenaw Family Resource Center design committee chair Monica Aho during a ceremony held December 7 at the Tree House indoor playground in Houghton. Also present are from left, industrial engineer Renata Sommerville, Portage Health pediatric occupational therapist Jonathan Packham, KFRC executive director Cathy Benda and sitting with children, Tree House project chair Jessica DellaValla.
   
 Note: This was originally posted on: 12/08/2009 

 

HANCOCK — Portage Health has donated $25,000 to the Keweenaw Family Resource Center for an indoor playground project.

The "Tree House" will be an indoor playground and exploration space for children age newborn to 5 years and their parents or caregivers to enjoy open play and parent/child activities. Featuring a large indoor tree house climbing structure, a lily pond for toddlers, quiet areas and other activity areas, the playground is located in the Red Ridge Plaza on Sharon Avenue in Houghton. Construction is expected to be completed in January 2010.

"Portage Health is proud to partner with the Keweenaw Family Resource Center on the Tree House project," said Portage Health president and CEO Jim Bogan. "The long winters here inhibit opportunities for children to play and develop their motor skills. We are pleased to support this initiative which is in direct keeping with our mission of improving the quality of life for community members of all ages."

Keweenaw Family Resource Center executive director Cathy Benda said the Tree House differs from preschool and daycare facilities in that parents and caregivers stay and play with their children in a warm, clean, stimulating environment where other families and children are present.

"We are grateful to have the support of Portage Health for this project," Benda said. "We are thrilled by this donation to help us maintain and improve the health and wellbeing for children and families in our community."

For more information on the Keweenaw Family Resource Center and the Tree House indoor playground, visit kfrckids.org

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/08/2009 

Portage Health's Lights of Love honors loved ones, raises funds

(Events) Permanent link

Lights of Love 2009Note: This was originally posted on: 12/03/2009 

HANCOCK — Portage Health held its annual Lights of Love tree-lighting ceremony December 3, hosted by the Portage Hospital Auxiliary.

Each year, community members are invited to honor relatives and friends by reserving a light in a loved one’s name. Each name is displayed in the main lobby during the holiday season and read during the annual Lights of Love tree-lighting ceremony.

Auxiliary president Fayth Wolfe welcomed the crowd of community members, staff members and PortagePointe elders and reminded them that the event honors their loved ones while also raising money for a good cause. Proceeds from the donations are used to support scholarships for students in Baraga, Ontonagon, Keweenaw and Houghton counties who are pursuing careers in the healthcare field. About $2,000 is raised each year through the donations, which is matched by Portage Health, resulting in a total of four scholarships awarded.

Pharmacy director Jason Evans was the recipient of one such Auxiliary scholarship, and was given the honor of lighting this year's tree.

Auxiliary members and volunteers were also recognized during the ceremony. Portage Health chaplain Sister Ellen Enright provided a benediction, and seasonal songs were performed by a student ensemble from Hancock High School.

"This is an annual event that is an important part of the holiday season for many of those in the community, and we as staff members also look forward to this each year," said vice president for communications and human resources Karin Van Dyke.

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/03/2009 

Portage Health to participate in two statewide patient safety initiatives

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Note: This was originally posted on: 12/02/2009

HANCOCK — Portage Health will be participating in two statewide patient safety collaboratives focusing on protecting mothers, newborns and emergency patients. The collaboratives, coordinated by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center for Patient Safety and Quality, are MHA Keystone: Emergency Room (ER) and MHA Keystone: Obstetrics (OB).

MHA Keystone: ER seeks to prevent patient harm in emergency departments by improving safety, reducing overcrowding and treating blood poisoning in the early stages.

MHA Keystone: OB seeks to prevent harm to mothers giving birth and their newborns by focusing on timely interventions for elective induction of labor, coordinating a safe progression of labor, and appropriate responses to fetal distress.

Portage Health is the only hospital in Houghton, Keweenaw, Ontonagon and Baraga counties participating in both initiatives.

The new initiatives build on previous projects, said vice president for patient services Deb Young. Portage Health has been participating in the MHA Keystone Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) project and the MHA Keystone Surgery project since 2007. Both of those initiatives have provided tools to evaluate patient care processes and respond to safety concerns, she said.

"We look forward to working with MHA Keystone on the Obstetrics and Emergency Department initiatives," Young said. "We are proud to participate in a project to proactively implement evidence-based best practices to improve communication and care that is delivered at the bedside."

For a complete list of hospitals participating in the MHA Keystone: ER and MHA Keystone: OB safety initiatives, please visit MHAKeystoneCenter.org

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/02/2009

Portage Health receives medication safety award

(Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link

 

 
     Medication Safety Award 2009 
  Members of Portage Health's Medication Administration Process (MAP) Team have received an award by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. From left to right, front row are: Emergency Department nurse Lisa Pietila, vice president for patient services Deb Young, OB inpatient unit manager Cheryl Frankovich, inpatient pharmacy supervisor Tracey Bershing, medical-surgery inpatient unit manager Paula Polso and perioperative services nurse Patricia Corrigan. Back row: inpatient unit nursing supervisor Vicki Peterson, inpatient unit nurse Judith Luukkonen, perioperative services nurse Joann LaCourt, Portage Health Medical Group unit manager Linda Quarless and pharmacy director Jason Evans. Also pictured is executive secretary for patient services Joyce Cornilsen. 
       

Note: This was originally posted on: 11/16/2009 

HANCOCK — Portage Health has been awarded the Medication Safety Alert Subscriber Award from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.

The ISMP Subscriber Award is presented annually to an organization that has shown an ongoing commitment to safe medication practices based on recommendations and strategies presented in the ISMP Medication Safety Alert newsletter.

The Philadelphia-based ISMP is an independent nonprofit healthcare organization that works with healthcare practitioners and institutions and regulatory agencies to improve medication use practices.

The Institute recognized the efforts of Portage Health's medication administration process (MAP) team in identifying potential risks and implementing medication safety practices.

"We are honored to receive this award and are grateful to the hard work, extensive time commitment and dedication shown by those on our MAP team," said Deb Young, Portage Health vice president for patient services. "We will continue to seek ways to improve patient safety by supporting a culture that promotes safe patient care."

Young and Portage Health Medical-Surgery Inpatient Unit Manager and MAP team chair Paula Polso will accept the award on behalf of Portage Health at the ISMP awards ceremony in Nevada on Dec. 8.

Note: This was originally posted on: 11/16/2009 

Portage Health donates 1,626 pounds of food to local charities

(Events) Permanent link

 
Harvest Gathering 2009      
Portage Health director of volunteer services Luci Sintkowski weighs bags of food brought in by staff and visitors to Portage Health as Communications Department executive secretary Connie Greenleaf records the weight and volunteer Tom Shilling helps lift the bags. More than 1,600 pounds of food were collected over the month of October as Portage Health sponsored a food drive as part of the Michigan Harvest Gathering.  
   
Note: This was originally posted on: 11/06/2009 

HANCOCK — A food drive held during the month of October at Portage Health gleaned more than 1,600 pounds of food for the Salvation Army and St. Vincent De Paul Society.

Portage Health was a host food drive site for the Michigan Harvest Gathering, a food and fundraising effort for the Food Bank Council of Michigan.

"We know that this year is especially important as the economy has affected almost everyone," said MHG local project director Luci Sintkowski, Portage Health's director of volunteer services. "Resources at state food banks are stretched to the limit while the demand for emergency food assistance is up an average of 30 percent over last year."

The drive ran from October 1 to 31 at five Portage Health locations: the main lobby in Hancock, PortagePointe, Lake Linden, Home Care and Hospice and the Houghton Rehab center.

Food was weighed and distributed to the two charities on November 3. All donations will stay in the local area.

"They were very appreciative of our donations and know that all of that food will be put to good use," Sintkowski said. "A big thank you to everyone who helped a local family in need."

Note: This was originally posted on: 11/06/2009 

Portage Health welcomes Dr. Rifat Elkhatib and Dr. Terri Stuenkel

(Staff) Permanent link

 

Eklhatib, Rifat Image 

Rifat Elkhatib, MD

Stuenkel, Terri Image 

Terri Stuenkel, DO

Note: This was originally posted on: 11/05/2009

HANCOCK — Portage Health welcomes board-certified oncologist Rifat Elkhatib, MD and family practice physician Terri Stuenkel, DO.

A physician with Marquette General Cancer Care, Dr. Elkhatib is available to see patients on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays at Portage Health in Hancock to provide cancer care and hematology services. No physician's referral is needed. To make an appointment, please call (906) 483-1730.

Dr. Terri Stuenkel has joined the Ontonagon Community Health Center as a board-certified family practice physician. Dr. Stuenkel provides comprehensive care to all patients from infant to adult. Call (906) 884-4120 to make an appointment.

Note: This was originally posted on: 11/05/2009

Portage Health welcomes Mark Mohler and Kevin Store

(Staff) Permanent link

 

Mohler, Mark Image 

Mark Mohler

   

Store, Kevin Image 

Kevin Store

 
Note: This was originally posted on: 11/02/2009

HANCOCK — Portage Health welcomes physical therapist Mark Mohler and medical staff recruiter Kevin Store.

Mohler holds a B.S. in health science and an M.S. in physical therapy from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. For the last 12 years, Mohler has held the position of Director of Rehab Services at Baraga County Memorial Hospital.

He serves on the Houghton-Portage Township Schools Board of Education and is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Medical staff recruiter Kevin Store comes to Portage Health from Vocational Strategies, Inc., where he had served as executive director since 2003. He has also worked as deputy facility administrator for the Keweenaw Academy in Mohawk.

Store holds a B.S. in business administration and is currently pursing graduate work at Northern Michigan University.

He is president of the Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and is recent past-president of the Calumet Laurium Rotary Club.

Note: This was originally posted on: 11/02/2009

Portage Health updates public on H1N1 status and treatment

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Note: This was originally posted on: 10/26/2009

HANCOCK — Portage Health confirms 25 H1N1 flu cases during the month of October. All but three of these cases were diagnosed on October 19 or after. The vast majority have been in children under the age of 10; none have been more than 22 years of age. Only one case was hospitalized, an infant, and all have recovered or are recovering. The cases are widely geographically distributed. The typical duration of illness is three to seven days.

Healthy patients are expected to tolerate this disease well and do not generally need testing or specific treatment. Good fluid intake, lots of rest, using over-the-counter medications and avoiding spreading the illness to others is advised.

The very young and the elderly are at greater risk to become seriously ill, as well as people with underlying chronic diseases, particularly those that might suppress the immune system. These patients should also seek medical attention if ill and are in the group that would be considered to most benefit from treatment with anti-viral drugs.

"It is wise to seek medical attention for breathing difficulty or inability to maintain adequate fluid intake," said Portage Health chief medical officer Dr. Kirk Lufkin. "Additionally, some patients will begin to feel better and then worsen again. This is suggestive of a secondary bacterial infection and is also a reason to seek medical attention."

The H1N1 vaccine continues to be limited. Portage Health will provide vaccinations as directed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Note: This was originally posted on: 10/26/2009

First Men's Health Tune-Up Draws a Crowd

(Events) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 10/07/2009

HANCOCK — The first Men's Health Tune-Up held at Portage Health on Saturday drew the maximum number of 75.

"Unfortunately, we had to turn a few people away, we were overwhelmed by the turnout from walk-in traffic as well as people who had registered in advance," said Portage Health Community Outreach Coordinator Arnie Kinnunen.

For $20, attendees received cholesterol, glucose and lipids results, a flu shot, a hearing test, presentations on topics of men's health and a wild game lunch including alligator, shark and venison. Vendors provided free massage and a chance at various raffle prizes. Kinnunen said it was the variety of offerings that drew people in.

"With the economy the way it is, I think people are watching their wallets more than ever, and we offered a big bang for the buck," Kinnunen said. "With food, a flu shot and all those lipids it was really too good to pass up."

Kinnunen said organizers wanted to keep the event to a half-day to encourage attendance. With a turnout greater than expected, Portage Health will definitely be sponsoring the event again next year, Kinnunen said.

"It was gratifying to see all the men here, who asked questions about their results and some of the topics covered in the presentations," he said. "This type of event underscores that men really want to know about their health and where they stand."

For more information on the Men's Health Tune-Up, contact Arnie Kinnunen at 483-1558.

Note: This was originally posted on: 10/07/2009

Portage Health to open express care center in Houghton

(Services) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 07/31/2009

HANCOCK — Portage Health announced today it will open an Express Care center in Houghton. Portage Health Express Care will be located at 921 W. Sharon Avenue in the former Blockbuster Video space. Opening is scheduled for this fall.

Portage Health Express Care will accommodate those patients with illnesses or injuries that require medical treatment but that are not serious enough to warrant a visit to the emergency department.

"The healthcare industry at large needs to address two of the main issues facing most communities – access and affordability," said Portage Health President and CEO Jim Bogan. "Providing quality healthcare to fit our patients' busy lifestyles is in keeping with Portage Health's mission to improve the health of our community by providing the highest quality healthcare services."

The 6,000-square-foot building was purchased July 24 by Portage Health from a commercial developer.

Note: This was originally posted on: 07/31/2009

Portage Health only U.P. hospital chosen for rehospitalization project

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Note: This was originally posted on: 07/24/2009

HANCOCK — Portage Health is the only Upper Peninsula hospital that has been selected to participate in a three-state project that will seek to reduce the number of people who must be readmitted to the hospital for clinical reasons related to the initial hospitalization.

The project targets unplanned, related “rehospitalizations,” which are readmissions that are not expected/scheduled, but whose reason is clinically related to the initial admission. The pilot project, named STate Action on Avoidable Rehospitalizations (STAAR), seeks to reduce 30-day rehospitalization rates (patients being hospitalized again within 30 days of discharge) by 30 percent, while increasing patient and family satisfaction with transitions and coordination of care.

Hospitals in Michigan, Washington and Massachusetts are participating in the STAAR project and Michigan’s efforts are being coordinated by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality and MPRO (Michigan’s Quality Improvement Organization).

"Providing the highest quality of care is our top priority and we welcome opportunities such as this to identify where improvements can be made," said Betty MacInnes, Portage Health Vice President for Quality Management. "We're excited to be chosen to participate in this project and make a difference in the lives of our patients."

Ten independent Michigan hospitals and select hospitals within five Michigan hospital systems were chosen to participate in the project. Those selected include the Detroit Medical Center System, Spectrum Health System (Grand Rapids), St. John Health System (Detroit Metro area) and the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers in Ann Arbor.

The criteria used to select the participating hospitals was based on regional representation; representation by rural/urban, teaching/nonteaching; critical access hospitals; ethnic diversity in hospital service area; representation by independent and system hospitals; willingness to recruit post-acute care partners (long-term care, home health, etc.); and willingness and capacity to collect data.

Note: This was originally posted on: 07/24/2009

Portage Health patients benefit from AmeriCorps donation

(Services) Permanent link

Americorps 2009Note: This was originally posted on: 07/09/2009

HANCOCK — Children waiting or being treated in Portage Health's emergency room, waiting rooms or surgery will be a little less anxious thanks to a donation of activity bags from Superior AmeriCorps. The bags are age-specific and contain items like puzzle books and coloring books, crayons, stickers, a toothbrush, playing cards and bendable figures.

“We thought it was a great project,” said Superior AmeriCorps member Anna Walls. The project was typical of the type of community service the organization likes to pursue, which is child or school-oriented. “The kids can use them in the waiting room or if they have minor surgery it can help pass the time, then they can take them home with them. It’s just something for them to do,” she said.

The bags and their contents were made available through grant money donated by BHK Child Services and donations made by Shopko, WalMart, Econo Foods and Pat’s Foods.

Volunteer Services Director Luci Sintkowski said the donation will be appreciated by Portage Health's pediatric patients and their families. “AmeriCorps workers are very active in their service to our community, and we’re grateful they chose us as a recipient for their project,” she said.

Note: This was originally posted on: 07/09/2009

Portage Health's first Health and Safety Fair draws a crowd

(Events) Permanent link

Health Fair 2009Note: This was originally posted on: 06/08/2009

HANCOCK — More than 500 people attended Portage Health's first ever Health and Safety Fair Saturday at the main campus in Hancock.

"We were thrilled with the turnout from the community," said organizer Angela Lucas, Director of Community Health at Portage Health. "It showed people were really interested in what we do and how we can help them lead safer, healthier lives."

Many attendees took part in a car seat clinic, where experts reviewed car seats for child safety and suggested changes or replacements. Others took advantage of free cholesterol, bone density and blood pressure screenings. Healthy cooking demonstrations, helmet fittings and a bike and kayak safety expo were also popular.

Hospital tours also offered a chance for the general public to learn more about the latest technology at Portage Health, including a new chemistry lab analyzer, and upcoming initiatives such as a standardization of patient wristband colors and electronic medication distribution. A new room-service menu was also unveiled in advance of an Aug. 3 initiative by nutrition services.

Vice President for Patient Safety Deb Young said one of the most popular attractions was a hand-washing station where Portage Health staff members sprinkled fake germs on people's hands, had them wash them with antibacterial cleaner, then put them under ultraviolet light to reveal the germs that were still left after washing. The simple exercise underscored how little tasks can make a difference. "I think people were surprised and learned a lot," Young said. "It really made an impression on people."

Free food, Click-it the Cricket and a crash test dummy also added to the family-friendly event. "Our goal was to attract as many different people as we could to learn more about we do, from infants on up," Lucas said. “By seeing the smiles and the positive feedback from the community, I think we succeeded in showcasing the many services we have to offer. We're already looking forward to next year's Health and Safety Fair."

Note: This was originally posted on: 06/08/2009

Skin Screening provides needed service

(Services, Events) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 06/03/2009

HANCOCK — More than 150 people attended the free skin screening at Portage Health on May 30. The free event, co-sponsored by Marquette General Cancer Center, the American Academy of Dermatology and Portage Health, has been held for the last 25 years.

Dermatologists Dr. Milton Soderberg and Dr. Jennifer Baldwin examined attendees with unusual moles or lesions for signs of skin cancer. Of the 155 people examined, one person had a suspected melanoma, a serious skin cancer, and was provided information on treatment options. Several squamous cells, described as a sore that won't heal, were also detected. Numerous basal cells, a type of benign skin cancer that needs treatment, were also discovered.

While the screening provides a form of early detection for those with the above skin abnormalities, the majority of attendees went away relieved and grateful for the free examination and information on how to recognize and prevent cancers.

"The biggest benefit we provide at this screening is peace of mind," said Portage Health Community Health Nurse Geri Merkey. "Person after person told us how grateful they were that we do these preventive programs for the community. It's a vital service."

Note: This was originally posted on: 06/03/2009

Portage Health Auxiliary inducts new officers

(Staff) Permanent link

Auxiliary Officers 2009Note: This was originally posted on: 05/26/2009

HANCOCK — Six women were inducted as officers for the Portage Health Auxiliary at their meeting May 14.

Fayth Wolfe will remain as President while Jan Medlyn will remain as Vice President. Kathy Gaffney will serve again as Treasurer, while Betty Ruohonen will continue as Corresponding Secretary. Nancy Fenton is the new Parliamentarian. The Auxiliary currently has an opening for Recording Secretary.

Portage Health CEO Jim Bogan presented carnations to the Auxiliary officers tied with ribbons to indicate particular traits, such as leadership and alertness.

The Portage Health Auxiliary's tradition of service spans more than 50 years. This volunteer group raises funds through its annual Lights of Love project, proceeds from the Guilded Rose Gift Shop, quilt raffles, geranium and bake sales, and other activities.

The Auxiliary, which welcomes new members, meets the first Thursday of each month from September through May.

Note: This was originally posted on: 05/26/2009

Employees honored at Service Awards

(Staff) Permanent link

Service Awards 2009Note: This was originally posted on: 05/19/2009

HANCOCK — More than 40 employees were honored at a special celebration May 13 for their years of service to Portage Health.

Cake and punch was served in the cafeteria as members of the management team recognized those in their departments celebrating 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, 30 years, 35 years and 40 years of service to the healthcare organization.

"One of the ways we've been able to weather some of the storms in healthcare is our excellent team of employees, who excel and love what they do," said Portage Health CEO Jim Bogan.

The annual Gertrude Decker Hellman Excellence in Nursing Award was presented to Carol Vater, a registered nurse in perioperative services. Vater has been an employee of Portage Health since 1986.

Service awards are presented each year during National Hospital Week, which acknowledges the more than 14 million people who work in hospitals nationwide.

Note: This was originally posted on: 05/19/2009

Foundation Ball and Auction raises $20,000

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Foundation Ball 2009Note: This was originally posted on: 05/19/2009

HOUGHTON — More than $20,000 was raised at the 17th Annual Portage Health Foundation Spring Ball and Auction held May 9 at the North Shore Grill and Pub in Houghton.

The event attracted about 140 people who dined, danced and donated by bidding on one of the 65 items on offer. A live auction included items such as Walt Disney World passes and a catered dinner for eight guests. A silent auction also was held, featuring items from antiques to jewelry to computer training and spa packages.

Portage Health Chief Executive Officer Jim Bogan said the attendance and proceeds in this time of economic turmoil was indicative that the public supports Portage Health's mission of improving healthcare in the community.

"The success of this year's event reflects a community that is striving to maintain a quality of life and a better future for its residents," he said. "We are a vital part of that mission, and we are grateful for the community support we have received."

Proceeds from the Ball and Auction will be used to support physician recruitment, a challenge affecting healthcare organizations nationwide.

Note: This was originally posted on: 05/19/2009

Portage Health receives grant for school-based health center

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Note: This was originally posted on: 05/07/2009

HANCOCK — The Michigan Departments of Community Health and Education have awarded Portage Health a $50,000 planning grant to plan for a school-based and school-linked health center.

The grant, an expansion of the Child and Adolescent Health Center (CAHC) Program, includes nine newly-funded planning grants and nine newly-funded clinical centers designed to provide on-site primary health care, psycho-social services, health promotion/disease prevention, education and referral services for medically underserved children ages 5 to 21.

Nine communities in Michigan were awarded the grant. Portage Health and the Eastern U.P. Intermediate School District are the only two in the Upper Peninsula to receive the grant.

Angela Lucas, Director of Community Health at Portage Health, convened a meeting of stakeholders, known as the Community Advisory Council, upon receipt of the grant in April. About 20 people attended the meeting, including representatives from the Western Upper Peninsula District Health Department, Copper Country Intermediate School District, Copper Country Mental Health, students and parents.

"We have a strong start with great collaboration and support from the community," Lucas said. "This is a great opportunity for us to provide quality healthcare services for students and their families."

A survey of regional students, educators and community members is now under way to gather data for a required needs assessment. Data from that assessment will be used to determine priority services for the adolescent health center's primary users and the area it will serve.

For more information, contact Jane Nordberg at Portage Health Communications at 483-1561.

Note: This was originally posted on: 05/07/2009

New advances being made in breast cancer detection

(Services) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 04/30/2009

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second-leading cause of death in women in the United States. The chance of a woman being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer sometime during her life is about one in eight. About 40,000 women die from the disease each year.

There is some good news — breast cancer rates are going down. The most likely result of that is increased awareness, catching the cancer early and improved treatment. The best chance of beating breast cancer is if it is diagnosed early, before it has spread to other organs. And the best way to diagnose breast cancer early is with mammography.

It is a myth that women with no history of breast cancer do not need to get a mammogram. The American Cancer Society recommends that all women start having annual screening mammograms starting at age 40 and should continue to have them as long as they are in good health. Younger women should have mammograms if they have noticed a recent change in their breast and their physician feels a mammogram is recommended.

A mammogram is an X-ray examination of the breast using dedicated X-ray equipment. Dedicated mammography equipment became available in 1969 and has continued to evolve. Currently the most accurate form of mammography is digital mammography (also known as Full-Field Digital Mammography). Portage Health now offers digital mammography for all of its mammogram patients.

Digital mammography is the most accurate method of detection for early breast cancers and has the lowest radiation dose over other forms of mammography. Portage Health's digital mammography equipment is also faster than other forms of mammography. The decreased exam time means less discomfort for the patient. The new mammography machine at Portage also uses flexible paddles which are more comfortable than those used previously.

Digital mammography offers more flexibility for the radiologist. A radiologist is a physician specially trained in the interpretation of mammograms, X-rays, ultrasounds, Cat scans, MRI and nuclear medicine. With digital, we can manipulate the images similarly to the way pictures are manipulated on a digital camera. We use very high resolution monitors (about five times the resolution of an HDTV) and dedicated viewing software for interpreting mammograms. This ability to manipulate the images makes it easier for the radiologist to detect subtle changes in breast tissue that can indicate breast cancer. This manipulation also makes it easier for the radiologist to diagnose abnormalities in women with very dense breasts.

If you are a woman over 40, have a family history of breast cancer or have noticed a change in your breast, please talk to your family physician today about scheduling a mammogram, or visit portagehealth.org.  

Note: This was originally posted on: 04/30/2009

Portage Health hosts prescription drug abuse seminar

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Drug Abuse Seminar ImageNote: This was originally posted on: 04/22/2009

HANCOCK — Regional experts gathered Thursday at Portage Health in Hancock to discuss the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.

"Alleviating pain is one of the most rewarding things we do as healthcare professionals, but when the pain medications are abused, it's also one of the most frustrating," said Portage Health physician David Kass, who introduced the evening's speakers.

The event's 45 attendees included doctors, nurses, pharmacists, representatives of mental health organizations and substance abuse agencies, and local law enforcement.

Dr. James Miner, an emergency physician with the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minn. and expert in pain management, said the methods to assess pain in patients have not improved as quickly as in other medical specialties. Using only a numerical scale, it can be challenging to determine how much pain a patient is really in before determining treatment. Communication skills and cultural mores also play a part in the physician/patient relationship. "Social cues have everything to do with how a patient describes that pain to us," Dr. Miner said.

Det. Sgt. Adam Rajala of the Houghton County Sheriff's Department said prescription drug abuse is rampant in the western Upper Peninsula. The most common abuses he sees are "diversion," where a medication ends up being used by someone other than the patient, and "doctor shopping," where a patient visits one emergency room after another to acquire additional quantities. Methadone and ritalin are the most commonly abused prescription drugs, Det. Rajala said.

Dr. William Short, MGHS physician and a past director of its Addiction Rehab Center, recommended a systematic approach to treating chemically dependent patients or those at high risk for prescription drug abuse. Dr. Short also distributed a contract he and patient both agree to at the onset of treatment. Urine tests, pill counts and alternatives to narcotics, such as yoga and acupuncture, should also be considered, he said.

"Set rules, draw boundaries, and then follow them," Short said. "This all takes time, but it is time well spent."

Attendees also discussed case studies of patients who became chemically-dependent upon prescription medication and what could have been done to prevent or ease that dependency.

Portage Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kirk Lufkin said the evening's speakers had provided a lot of food for thought.

"We're here to alleviate suffering, and it's horrible to deny someone in pain any relief we can provide for that pain," he said. "But we have to be measured, and we have to do that very carefully."

Note: This was originally posted on: 04/22/2009

New chemistry analyzer installed at Portage Health

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New Analyzer Image

Chemistry Technologist Gary Jordon demonstrates the lab's new Vitros 5600 analyzer installed at Portage Health.

Note: This was originally posted on: 04/17/2009

A new diagnostic machine is up and running in the Portage Health laboratory, just in time for National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week April 19-25.

The Vitros 5600, manufactured by Ortho Clinical Diagnostics in Rochester, NY, is the first one installed in Michigan and one of 20 installed in the United States.

Lead Chemistry Technologist Gary Jordon explained the analyzer does double duty running regular chemistry tests (such as glucose and electrolyte levels) as well as immunochemistry tests (such as pregnancy tests and cancer markers).

What this means for the lab technicians is less chance for error in missing a test, as the Vitros 5600 does the work of two previous machines.

“It was possible under the old system to take the samples from one machine to the other, and have the sample be put away before that second test was run,” Jordon said. “Having it all done on one machine means less chance of skipping a step.”

The new machine is also faster, taking about six minutes to run bloodwork tests instead of 12 minutes. That’s due, in part, to the analyzer’s ability to house 80 specimens at once, plus an additional “stat” lane that can be used as an override. In 2008, the Portage Health lab performed 447,398 tests, so a reduction in result time can be significant.

Laboratory Director Richard Kangas said purchasing the $207,000 machine was about a year in the making. Installation occurred in February, with specialists from Ortho Clinical in Rochester performing extensive testing and calibrating, running data for a few weeks before the machine went live on March 9.

Kangas and Jordon also received a week’s on-site training in Rochester and have completed additional online instruction. Eleven of the lab’s 25 employees are qualified to use the new machine, with Jordon taking the lead. One of the advantages, he said, is the electronic connectivity with Ortho Clinical. Every night, the machine sends codes to the parent company, which their personnel analyze each morning.

“Those people are often the first to notice when something needs to be adjusted or isn’t quite right,” Jordon said. “They’re the first to know of problems so it saves us service calls down the road.”

Kangas said that while the new machine quietly does its work in the basement without great fanfare, it offers considerable advantages to patients and personnel.

“This new analyzer provides our technicians with a quicker turnaround for physicians and a system that helps reduce errors,” he said. “While these improvements may not be obvious to the patient, these types of equipment upgrades greatly enhance the quality of healthcare service provided to the community at large.”

Note: This was originally posted on: 04/17/2009

Patient safety expert presents to Portage Health administration

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Same WatsonNote: this was originally posted on: 03/13/2009

HANCOCK — One careless mistake can overshadow even the most brilliant feat of medicine, according to Sam Watson. Watson, a senior vice president for patient safety and quality with the Michigan Health and Hospital Association Keystone Center in Lansing, recently met with administration and board members of Portage Health in Hancock to present his findings on patient safety.

He began by illustrating his point with a set of images, one of a patient’s brain after a physician had successfully removed a tumor and restored brain function, and the other of a patient’s chest with the outline of a surgical sponge left behind after a procedure. “This dichotomy is one we face daily in healthcare, the smallest act can completely destroy a patient’s confidence,” Watson said.

Despite a “sea of measures” demanded of healthcare providers, Watson said, many of those mandates are neither rigorous nor meaningful. Often, they fail to consider local wisdom, are not feasible and are not fiscally sound, he said. Further, while plenty of analysis is done after a patient’s safety is compromised, he said, that’s too late. “We need to ask ourselves the simplest of questions: ‘How are we going to harm somebody?'"

Better communication and teamwork helps, Watson said. Physicians need to develop better communication skills both in and out of surgery, he said, as “teamwork disconnect” is a proven factor in blood stream infections in patients. Citing plane crash statistics regarding unfamiliarity of flight crews, Watson said knowing the habits of your workmates, even if you don’t like them, matters a great deal in patient safety. “Familiarity trumps jerkiness, and familiarity trumps fatigue,” he said.

Finally, Watson advised upper management to encourage staff to change by making them a part of the discussion. “Don’t tell people to do things, engage them to want to change,” he said. “If you have people’s hearts, you have their minds.”

Portage Health Chief Medical Officer and Vice President for Medical Affairs Kirk Lufkin said Watson’s visit and presentation reinforced Portage Health’s commitment to patient safety. “We face a never-ending challenge to be better and more safe into the future,” Lufkin said. “This simple focus will help Portage Health nurture and maintain the necessary patient-oriented culture at every level of our organization to serve our patients, not just well, but best.”

Founded by the MHA and Michigan hospitals in 2003, the MHA Keystone Center conducts numerous collaborative programs in hospitals to improve patient safety and the quality of healthcare.

For more information on the MHA Keystone Center, go to MHAKeystoneCenter.org

Note: this was originally posted on: 03/13/2009

Portage Health welcomes urologist Andrew Jahoda

(Staff, Services) Permanent link

Andrew Jahoda, MDNote: This was originally posted on: 02/26/2009

HANCOCK — Portage Health announces Andrew Jahoda, MD will be providing urological services in Hancock beginning March 4. Jahoda, a physician with Marquette General Health System, will provide services on Wednesdays and Thursdays at Portage Health in Hancock.

Dr. Jahoda specializes in:

  • general male and female adult urology;
  • pediatric urology;
  • incontinence treatment;
  • erectile dysfunction;
  • minimally-invasive kidney stone extraction;
  • laparoscopic surgery;
  • laser treatment for enlarged prostate; and
  • advanced prostate cancer treatments including cryotherapy.

A Chicago native, Dr. Jahoda joined the staff of Marquette General Health System in 2007. He received his medical degree from Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill, and holds degrees from the University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin.

Dr. Jahoda’s services to Portage Health are part of an established commitment among Portage Health, Marquette General Health System and Baraga County Memorial Hospital to pool healthcare knowledge and resources for the benefit of patients in the western and central Upper Peninsula.

To make an appointment with Dr. Jahoda, please call 483-1040.

Note: This was originally posted on: 02/26/2009

Baraga County Memorial Hospital, Portage Health announce affiliation agreement with Marquette General Health System

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PH-BCMH-MGH 2009Note: This was originally posted on: 02/17/2009

BARAGA/HOUGHTON/MARQUETTE--As part of a shared long-term commitment to provide healthcare excellence to residents of the western Upper Peninsula, Marquette General Health System has signed a three-year affiliation agreement with Baraga County Memorial Hospital and Portage Health. The Partners in Achievement agreement is designed to enable all three healthcare systems to work together and formally share their expertise in clinical and administrative areas of healthcare delivery, while maximizing opportunities for patients to choose care in the Upper Peninsula.

The Partners in Achievement agreement exemplifies the way hospitals across the country are pooling knowledge and resources to continue providing high quality services to their patients in a fiscally responsible, cost-effective manner. The new affiliation agreement will enhance the abilities of all three hospitals to meet objectives in the delivery of healthcare services to their respective communities. This affiliation agreement, while encouraging the sharing of resources, does not limit or restrict any of the hospitals from developing similar partnerships with other healthcare facilities, and allows them to maintain their own identities and operations.

“Baraga County Memorial Hospital has had long standing arrangements with both Portage Health and Marquette General Health System for a variety of services,” said John Tembreull, BCMH’s CEO. “We are especially proud to enter into this Partners In Achievement agreement, because we believe it represents a truly collaborative approach for the care of patients in our area. In particular, we see a coordinated approach to physician access and information exchange that will benefit our patients.”

As part of the agreement, all three hospitals established a list of shared healthcare goals for Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties. The goals will develop and execute the following:

  • A medical staff recruitment and retention plan
  • An improved patient referral and transfer system
  • A collaborative marketing plan
  • A plan to effectively enhance communication among regional providers
  • A coordinated information technology plan

“We are proud to strengthen our existing relationship with Baraga County Memorial Hospital and Marquette General Health System,” said Jim Bogan, FACHE, Portage Health CEO. “Together, as we develop the specifics of our relationship, we will continue to expand our shared expertise for healthcare delivery for the benefit of our patients in the western Upper Peninsula.”

All three hospitals remain committed to providing the best possible care to residents of the western Upper Peninsula. This mutually beneficial regional affiliation also supports the strategic plans of all three healthcare institutions. Similar affiliation agreements have been offered by MGHS to other hospitals throughout the UP. In December 2008, Dickinson County Memorial Health System also signed an affiliation agreement with MGHS.

“We’re pleased to have a tri-partnership with Baraga County Memorial Hospital and Portage Health as we move toward our common goal – supporting local healthcare delivery in market areas served by Baraga and Portage and strengthening the role of MGHS as the specialty referral center for the UP residents,” said A. Gary Muller, FACHE, MGHS president and CEO.

All three hospitals have worked collaboratively on services for many years, including hematology/oncology, telehealth, dialysis services, the U.P. Regional Blood Center and outreach clinics. Two Marquette specialists, Dr. Christian Dinsmore of Marquette General Neurology Associates and Dr. Irina Sachelarie of U.P. Hematology/Oncology Associates, are located full-time at Portage Health Internal Medicine, and provide outreach clinics at Baraga County Memorial Hospital. This most recent affiliation further strengthens the teams of all institutions by sharing knowledge and resources.

Note: This was originally posted on: 02/17/2009

Portage Health Foundation announces 2009 grant awards

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Note: This was originally posted on: 02/12/2009

HANCOCK — Portage Health Foundation announces that has awarded $40,000 in grant monies to programs and projects within Portage Health. The recipients include:

Area Geriatric Education Scholars (AGES) Internship Program for U.P. Youth; PortagePointe Senior Living Community.

The AGES program supports a paid 7-week summer internship placement at PortagePointe for three local high school students, who assist with activities, interact one-on-one with residents and job shadow healthcare professionals. Educational sessions and presentations are also provided throughout the academic year.

Personal Action Towards Health (PATH); Community Health.

This 6-session support and education program for adults with diabetes and other chronic diseases helps participants learn strategies to better manage their health.

Portage Health Anticoagulation Clinic; Inpatient Unit.

Development of an anticoagulation clinic will provide an immediate on-the-spot reading of the clotting ratio and educate patients on medication changes needed.

Portage Health Resources Equipment; Health Resources.

Upgrades in equipment and software to aid the Senior Meals program to continue to provide nutritious meals to area seniors in a healthful manner more efficiently.

Room Service Dining; Nutrition Services.

A program to provide more patient choice in what they eat and when to better serve patients better while decreasing food waste.

Portage Health Foundation, a charitable, non-profit organization, was established in 1990 to improve the health of the community. Its resources serve Portage Health in supporting innovative projects including education, program development and equipment upgrades. For more information about Portage Health Foundation, please call at (906) 483-1566.

Note: This was originally posted on: 02/12/2009

Bogan named Chamber of Commerce Honorary Life Member

(Staff, Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 01/23/2009

HANCOCK — Portage Health President and CEO Jim Bogan has been named the 2008 Honorary Life Member by the Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. Chamber Executive Director Dallas Bond announced the honor at the the chamber’s annual awards dinner Thursday, Jan. 22.

“His continued personal support as well as that of the hospital is proof positive that he is deserving of an award that recognizes a long-standing commitment to this area,” Bond said.

Bogan was cited for his enthusiasm of Chamber activities and his desire to improve the Chamber’s existing programs.

“He will look at what we’re doing and offer suggestions to help us do things better,” Bond said.“We almost always improve things based on his ideas.”

Bogan was also appreciated for his support of the Keweenaw Kash gift certificate program. More than $15,000 in certificates have been awarded to Portage Health employees in recognition of outstanding service. Those certificates are then redeemed at participating local businesses.

“That’s $15,000 that hasn’t gone outside of the area, that has stayed here in support of our local economy,” Bond said.

Bogan said he was deeply appreciative and honored by the award, not only at a personal level but also on behalf of Portage Health.

“Portage Health is strongly committed to the businesses and organizations of this area,” he said. “I’m very grateful to receive this award from the Chamber, whose mission of providing economic viability I support and endorse.”

Bogan has been a member of the Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce since 1989.

Note: This was originally posted on: 01/23/2009

Portage Health presents community with 2008 Annual Update

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Note: This was originally posted on: 01/08/2009

HANCOCK — Despite recent tough times for many hospitals and healthcare organizations, Portage Health is in better shape than many of its Michigan counterparts, reported President Jim Bogan. More than 60 community leaders attended the healthcare organization’s annual update address given Wednesday, Jan. 7, on the Michigan Technological University campus in Houghton. “We are not in the predicament some of our colleagues are,” Bogan said. “Some hospitals around the country are having major problems because of the credit crunch.” As one example, Bogan cited the economic downturn suffered by William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, which has laid off 500 people and ceased capital improvement projects because of an operating loss of $60 million in the last fiscal year.

Brian Donahue, Portage Health Vice President of Finance, said the organization’s $3.2 million bottom line due to its non-profit status means a significant amount of funding is returned back to the hospital in updated technologies and increased services. “Any excess goes right back into the hospital, which is important not only for the healthcare of the community but also the area’s economic well being,” he said. Employee growth is strong, he added. Nine years ago, the hospital had 470 employees. It currently has 770, a growth of 64 percent. “That’s $39 million in wages and benefits that stay in the local area,” Donahue said.

Bogan said Portage Health, like most rural healthcare centers, is affected by a nationwide shortage of physicians and allied healthcare professionals. Qualified candidates often are lured to hospitals in larger populated areas that can support a greater number of physicians, allowing for less call coverage responsibility.. “I know that in rural America, we need to support universities in opening up opportunities for people to pursue careers in medicine,” Bogan added.

Dr. Kirk Lufkin, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President for Medical Affairs, said a variety of initiatives undertaken in the last year were providing significant improvements to patients.

New clinical equipment such as ultrasound machines and a new bar coding system for medication dispensation are obvious to patients, he said, while other improvements are more intangible. Also, a new medical staff peer review process was instituted to provide for a centralized system to evaluate patient care at Portage, leading to improved clinical outcomes.

Portage has also worked towards improvement in transparency and accountability, from financial statements to the way the hospital handles complaints. One of the hospital’s most recent priorities was to initiate an outsourced patient survey process to assess patient satisfaction.

“These are human issues, such as how long a person had to wait, or whether the hospital has fixed a problem to their satisfaction,” Dr. Lufkin said. Healthcare is unique, he said, as the receipt of excellent service is not as apparent as in some other industries. “Very few people can say whether they received excellent healthcare service because of the technical aspects involved,” he said. Healthcare professionals therefore need to be willing to measure themselves against their peers to improve patient service. “We must to some degree police ourselves and pull that veil back,” said Dr. Lufkin.

A master plan of upcoming projects includes an expansion of the emergency department , medical group surgery suite and cardiopulmonary diagnostics. Bogan said the organization will continue its commitment to community health. “Our focus will be on wellness, health coverage for all, and providing the most efficient, affordable, highest quality care we can,” he said. “Portage Health will continue to play a critical part in healthcare for the betterment of the western Upper Peninsula.”

Note: This was originally posted on: 01/08/2009

PortagePointe senior living community receives top quality rating

(Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/19/2008

HANCOCK — Portage Health is proud to announce that the PortagePointe senior living community has received the top rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

On Dec. 18, CMS released its first quality ratings for each of the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes that participate in Medicare or Medicaid.

PortagePointe received five stars, the highest possible rating, which indicates that the facility is much above average. The senior living community in Hancock is the only nursing home in Houghton county to receive five stars, and one of just seven facilities in the Upper Peninsula to receive the top rating. About 12 percent of the nursing homes rated by CMS received five stars.

Facilities were assigned star ratings from a low of one star to a high of five stars by CMS based on health inspection surveys, staffing information and quality of care measures. The ratings are available to the public on the agency’s Nursing Home Compare Web at www.medicare.gov.

PortagePointe, a senior living community that includes five distinct homes for 60 individuals, embraces the Eden philosophy, an innovative approach to caring for elders that was formally adopted in 2002. The Eden philosophy seeks to provide human habitats where vibrant, vigorous living continues for individuals.

For more information about PortagePointe, please call (906) 483-1300 or visit the PortagePointe service Web page.

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/19/2008

Portage Health wins improvement award for surgical quality and safety

(Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/18/2008

HANCOCK — Portage Health is proud to announce that it has received the Michigan Peer Review Organization (MPRO) 2007 Governor’s Award for Improving Patient Safety and Quality of Care in the Hospital Setting.

Portage Health earned the honor for its successful efforts to improve surgical care and provide appropriate care measures, which are part of an ongoing, organization-wide initiative to provide excellent healthcare.

“Our surgeons and nurses worked together to plan and implement changes that have improved the quality of care for all of our surgery patients,” said Betty MacInnes, Vice President of Quality Management at Portage Health. “This award recognizes all the hard work our staff members are doing to make a difference.”

The Governor’s Award is presented each year to hospitals throughout the state of Michigan that actively promote quality improvement and safety enhancement initiatives. Since 2003, the Governor and MPRO have partnered to honor hospitals for their efforts to embrace best practices to improve systems and outcomes in healthcare.

“Award recipients are committed to providing Michigan citizens with high-quality healthcare,” said Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

The criteria for the Governor’s Award reflects the goal of improving care in a number of clinical areas, all of which are designated as national healthcare priorities by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

For more information about the surgical services offered by Portage Health, please call 483-1000.

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/18/2008

Portage Health Medical Group wins national healthcare award

(Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/01/2008

HANCOCK —Portage Health is proud to announce that Portage Health Medical Group has received the prestigious 2008 Press Ganey Compass Award. This accolade recognizes Portage Health’s efforts to improve the quality of care for all of our patients.

The Press Ganey Compass Award is given to facilities that show the most improvement over two years in overall patient satisfaction. Portage Health Medical Group was honored for implementing several programs that significantly enhanced the quality of service received by its patients.

The Press Ganey Compass Award, a coveted symbol of achievement in the healthcare satisfaction industry, is bestowed annually. Portage Health Medical Group is one of just three medical practices in the nation to receive this honor.

“We are proud partners of Portage Health,” said Dr. Melvin F. Hall, president and CEO of Press Ganey. “Their dedication to continuous improvement serves as a model for all.”

Press Ganey currently partners with more than 7,000 U.S. healthcare facilities, including Portage Health, to measure and improve the quality of their care. The company’s databases allow facilities nationwide to benchmark their results against peer organizations.

Using the information gathered by Press Ganey through patient satisfaction surveys, the Portage Health Medical Group staff worked together in teams to identify and implement programs and processes that allow them to be more responsive to patients’ needs.

“It’s often the little things — providing an update on wait time or tracking down the answer to a question — that make a huge impact on the way our patients feel about their visit,” said Diane Gadomski, Vice President-Portage Health Medical Group.

The Press Ganey Compass Award is a powerful acknowledgement of Portage Health’s top-notch staff members, who are committed to continually improving the care that we give each patient, said Dr. Kirk Lufkin, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President-Medical Affairs.

“From the very beginning, we all have focused our efforts on creating experiences for our patients that are not merely good or satisfactory, but that exceed their expectations every single time,” Dr. Lufkin said.

For more information about Portage Health Medical Group, please call (906) 483-1000. For more information about Press Ganey, visit the company’s Web site at www.pressganey.com.

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/01/2008

Portage Health gathers more than 2,000 lbs. for Harvest Gathering

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Note: This was originally posted on: 11/25/2008

HANCOCK — Portage Health would like to thank everyone who participated in the Michigan Harvest Gathering food drive. During the month of October, Portage Health’s donation sites garnered 2,156 pounds of food and personal care items for the needy in our community.

All of the donated items will be distributed to people in our local area by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army.

The Michigan Harvest Gathering is held each autumn to help Michigan families who need emergency food.

Note: This was originally posted on: 11/25/2008

Portage Health welcomes Melissa Becker, Physician Assistant

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Becker, Melissa ImageNote: This was originally posted on: 11/21/2008

HANCOCK — Portage Health is pleased to welcome Melissa Becker, Physician Assistant, to the Portage Health Medical Group team at the Houghton Community Health Center.

Becker, a board-certified physician assistant, is a native of Rhinelander, Wis. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a Master of Science in Medicine degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

Becker enjoys outdoor activities, including biking, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, and loves to watch, coach and play athletics, especially soccer and basketball.

The Houghton Community Health Center, which offers a full complement of healthcare services, is conveniently located on the campus of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, adjacent to the Student Development Complex. The Portage Health Medical Group office in Houghton features extended hours for appointments and walk-in care. Same-day appointments are available.

For more information about the services offered at the Houghton Community Health Center, please call (906) 483-1860 or click here.

Note: This was originally posted on: 11/21/2008

Portage Health becomes main sponsor of Great Bear Chase

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Note: This was originally posted on: 11/05/2008

HANCOCK — Portage Health is proud to announce that it will serve as the main sponsor of the 29th Annual Great Bear Chase on March 8, 2009. The event, which is held on the Swedetown Ski Trails in Calumet, is the premier ski competition in our community.

The Great Bear Chase offers three race options for cross-country skiers: a 26-kilometer classic race, a 26-kilometer freestyle race and a 51-kilometer freestyle race. Each year, hundreds of local skiers and people from outside the area compete in the event.

Two members of the Portage Health Community Health Department will serve as the new directors of the Great Bear Chase. Arnie Kinnunen, Community Outreach Coordinator, and Angela Lucas, Community Health Director, plan to work with the rest of the Great Bear Chase organizers to maintain the high quality of the event and find ways to further improve the experience for participants.

“Supporting the Great Bear Chase fits into Portage Health’s mission of improving the health of our community,” Kinnunen said. “Skiing is a great way to stay active, and we know that staying in shape lessens your chances of developing so many illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes and anxiety.”

In the coming months, Portage Health will introduce Great Bear Chase Training Programs to help people get ready for the race.

“We want to see more local people skiing in the Great Bear Chase,” Kinnunen said. “The 26-kilometer half marathon is doable for the average person.”

Registration for the Great Bear Chase is open now through March 7, 2009. Please check the event’s Web site, www.bearchase.org, to learn more about signing up.

For more information about the Great Bear Chase, please call Arnie Kinnunen at 483-1558 or visit the Portage Health Web site at portagehealth.org.

Note: This was originally posted on: 11/05/2008

Local children help give seniors a special Halloween treat

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George GillNote: This was originally posted on: 10/31/2008

HANCOCK — Each Halloween, local seniors dole out goodies to young trick-or-treaters. This year, children in a BHK Great Explorations after-school program decided to flip that script and help provide treats for the 200 homebound seniors who participate in the Portage Health Senior Meals program.

During the month of October, the students in the BHK Great Explorations program decorated Halloween lunch bags under the supervision of Michelle Provost, who also works for the Portage Health Senior Meals program. On Friday, Oct. 31, each person in the Senior Meals program received a pumpkin-shaped cookie inside a hand-decorated bag, along with the usual delivery of a nutritious lunch.

George Gill, a Hancock resident who participates in the Senior Meals program, said he enjoyed receiving a special treat on Halloween.

“I love sweets,” said Gill, 93, as he pulled his cookie out of a bag decorated with a grinning jack-o-lantern.

The Portage Health Senior Meals program delivers meals to hundreds of homebound seniors each day, and also provides daily social meals at a number of congregate sites in the area.

Seniors who are 60 years of age or older and who cannot prepare meals for themselves qualify for the Portage Health Senior Meals program. For more information, please call 483-1155 or visit the Portage Health Web site at portagehealth.org.

Note: This was originally posted on: 10/31/2008

Portage Health appoints first Chief Medical Officer

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Lufkin, Kirk ImageNote: This was originally posted on: 10/22/2008

HANCOCK — Portage Health is proud to announce that Kirk Lufkin, MD, has been appointed Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs.

Dr. Lufkin, a board-certified emergency medicine physician, has worked at Portage Health since 1995. He has held several roles during the past 13 years, including Emergency Department physician, Emergency Department Director and Medical Director. Dr. Lufkin stepped into his new position as Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Medical Affairs in September 2008.

Dr. Lufkin, who was appointed to his new role by the Portage Health Board of Directors, is the healthcare organization’s first Chief Medical Officer (CMO). The addition of a CMO exemplifies Portage Health’s commitment to physician leadership.

Across the country, many hospitals driving the charge to improve patient care are adopting a model of physician leadership, said Jim Bogan, President and CEO of Portage Health.

“In today’s consumer-driven healthcare market, the relationship between physician and patient is of vital importance,” Bogan said. “Physician leadership in healthcare organizations is an absolute must because it helps strengthen that key relationship.”

As CMO, Dr. Lufkin will work to ensure that all patients receive optimal care by collaborating with our staff to improve service and performance and recruiting talented physicians.

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to work so closely with our physicians to continue to provide quality care to our community,” Dr. Lufkin said. “I am delighted that the members of the Portage Health Board of Directors view physician leadership as a way to meet the challenges facing healthcare providers today, and I’d like to thank them for their vision.”

For more information about Portage Health, please call (906) 483-1000.

Note: This was originally posted on: 10/22/2008

Portage Health Rehab to open new Calumet location on Sept. 15

(Services) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 09/12/2008

HANCOCK — People who live and work in the Calumet area now have a great new choice for rehabilitation services. Portage Health Rehab will open a new office in Calumet in the Mine Street Station shopping center on Sept. 15, 2008.

Portage Health Rehab in Calumet will offer an array of services to relieve pain and improve mobility. The new location will be staffed by Brian Jarvis, a physical therapist with 18 years of experience. Jarvis holds certifications in physical therapy (PT), mechanical diagnosis and therapy (Cert. MDT) and orthopaedic physical therapy (OCS). For the past two years, he has worked closely with orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Darin Leetun at Portage Health, and can help Dr. Leetun’s patients recover from surgery.

To make an appointment at Portage Health Rehab in Calumet, please call (906) 337-4029. For more information about the services offered by Portage Health Rehab, please visit the Portage Health Web site at portagehealth.org.

Note: This was originally posted on: 09/12/2008

Portage Health Foundation welcomes two new Board members

(Foundation) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 07/14/2008

HANCOCK — The Portage Health Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of two new members, Roger Helman and Dana Johnson, to its Board of Directors.

Roger Helman of Houghton is an attorney and certified financial planner professional whose business, the Law Office of Roger S. Helman, Esq., is located in Hancock. He is a member of the Houghton Rotary and the Keweenaw Community Foundation Professional Advisory Committee.

Dana Johnson of Chassell is an associate professor of operations management at the School of Business and Economics at Michigan Technological University. She is a member of the Production and Operations Management Society, the Society of Automotive Engineers, the Decision Sciences Institute, the Institute of Industrial Engineers, the Institute of Management Accountants, the American Society for Quality Association of Production and Inventory Control, and the Michigan Technological University Presidential Council of Alumnae.

Helman and Johnson each began a three-year term as a Director on the Portage Health Foundation Board on July 1, 2008. Twelve Directors currently serve on the Board.

The Portage Health Foundation was established in 1990 as a charitable, nonprofit organization. Its mission is parallel to Portage Health’s mission: To improve the health of our community. As a resource for Portage Health, the Foundation funds innovative programs and projects that deliver a broad range of healthcare services, including education, program development and medical equipment.

For more information about the Portage Health Foundation, please call (906) 483-1566 or visit the Portage Health Web site at portagehealth.org/foundation.

Note: This was originally posted on: 07/14/2008

Retiring diabetes educator takes BAD Ride for a good cause

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BAD Ride 2008Note: This was originally posted on: 07/08/2008

HANCOCK — When some folks retire, they say goodbye with a bang. Portage Health’s diabetes coordinator, Carol Grafford, prefers to go out with BAD.

That’s the Bikers Against Diabetes (BAD) Ride, which will roar across the Upper Peninsula on Saturday, July 12 to raise money for the UP Diabetes Outreach Network (UPDON). Portage Health, one of UPDON’s community partners, is a proud sponsor of the BAD Ride.

Grafford, a Hancock resident who is retiring from her work as a diabetes educator after 13 years at Portage Health, is taking the BAD Ride to garner donations that will benefit UPDON’s projects and programs.

“UPDON is exceptionally good at providing referrals and services to help people with diabetes, especially those who struggle with all the self-care that this disease requires,” Grafford said. “I’ve never taken a ride on a Harley before, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to raise money for a group that assists so many people here in the U.P.”

For the length of the 318-mile ride from Ironwood to Sault Ste. Marie, Grafford will trade her role as a diabetes educator in slacks and a sweater for that of a motorcycle mama in leather riding gear.

Grafford will take her inaugural haul on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle as a passenger. Phil Bercot of Hancock, a student in the Finlandia University Nursing Program who shares Grafford’s passion for diabetes education, has volunteered his driving skills and his copper-and-black 105th anniversary edition Harley for the ride to Marquette. For the rest of the trip to Sault Ste. Marie, Grafford will hop on a bike with Sheriff Mike Lovelace of the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office.

As diabetes coordinator at Portage Health, Grafford has helped facilitate an array of services for people who are living with diabetes and who wish to prevent diabetes. The programs that Portage Health offers include: The Living Successfully with Diabetes class series; a support group for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes; Healthy for Life classes that provide information about diabetes prevention; and monthly diabetes clinics with members of our medical staff.

For more information about Portage Health’s diabetes services, please call our Community Health Department at 483-1149 or visit our Web site at portagehealth.org.

The mission of UPDON, which was formed in 1986, is to promote innovative partnerships to strengthen the prevention, detection and management of diabetes across the Upper Peninsula. For more information about the organization’s programs and the BAD Ride, visit the UPDON Web site. 

Note: This was originally posted on: 07/08/2008

Portage Health President achieves board certification in healthcare management

(Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 06/12/2008

HANCOCK — Portage Health is proud to announce that President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Bogan has earned board certification as a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

Bogan, who has led Portage Health for 19 years, joins an elite group of 7,500 healthcare executives across the country.

Fellow status represents continued achievement in meeting high standards of professional development, excellence and leadership as a healthcare executive. The requirements to obtain fellow status include passing a comprehensive exam, meeting academic and experiential criteria, earning continuing education credits and demonstrating professional and community involvement. ACHE fellows must apply for recertification every 3 years.

To learn more about Portage Health’s commitment to excellence in healthcare, please call (906) 483-1000 or visit the Portage Health Web site at portagehealth.org.

Note: This was originally posted on: 06/12/2008

Portage Health Communications wins 7 national advertising awards

(Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 05/29/2008

HANCOCK — Portage Health is proud to announce that the Portage Health Communications Department recently won seven advertising awards in two national healthcare advertising competitions.

The Communications Department won four Healthcare Advertising Awards and three Aster Awards. The winning projects include Portage Health’s recently redesigned Web site, promotional materials for the Lake Effect League and the new Mercy Emergency Medical Services logo rolled out this year.

The Communications Department includes Jessica Brassard, Webmaster; Victor Harrington, Graphic Designer; Uma Thangaraj and Cynthia E. Hanifin, Communications Specialists; Connie Massoglia, Secretary; and Karin Van Dyke, Vice President-Communications. The team holds high standards for its work, and the bar is continually being raised, Van Dyke said.

“We will never stop learning and improving our communication efforts,” Van Dyke said. “We are so proud to have earned these awards. It’s important for Portage Health’s marketing and communication efforts to be timely, honest, accurate and accountable to our organization, community, patients and care providers. And now, even better — to be recognized for excellence by our peers.”

The 25th Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards, sponsored by Healthcare Marketing Report, is the nation’s oldest and largest healthcare advertising awards competition. A national panel of judges reviewed more than 4,400 entries this year.

In the Under 200 Beds division, Portage Health earned the following awards:

  • Gold (Web site/Homepage category) — Portage Health Web site
  • Silver (Logo/Letterhead category) — Mercy EMS Logo
  • Bronze (Poster category) — Customer Satisfaction Poster
  • Bronze (Health Promotion Program category) — Lake Effect League

The Aster Awards Program recognizes the nation’s most talented healthcare marketing professionals for outstanding excellence in advertising. Winning entries, judged by a diverse panel of experts, are published in Marketing Healthcare Today magazine.

In the Hospital Under 75 Beds division, Portage Health earned the following awards:

  • Gold (Poster/Display-Single category) — Customer Satisfaction Poster
  • Gold (Service Line-Other/Misc. category) — Lake Effect League
  • Bronze (Web site category) — Portage Health Web site

Note: This was originally posted on: 05/29/2008

Portage Health Foundation 2008 Spring Ball and Auction raises funds to benefit cardiopulmonary programs for the community

(Foundation) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 05/23/2008

HANCOCK — Distinguished guests, a scrumptious dinner, a lively auction featuring unique items, a packed dance floor … there’s just one thing that could make such an enchanted evening even more wonderful. That’s doing it all for a great cause, which is the reason behind all the festivities of the Portage Health Foundation 2008 Spring Ball and Auction.

The 16th annual event, held on May 17 at the North Shore Grill in Houghton, raised more than $20,000 for the Portage Health Foundation.

This year’s proceeds are earmarked to benefit Portage Health’s cardiopulmonary programs. By providing educational and technical equipment that leads to better rehabilitation and prevention of cardiovascular and pulmonary conditions, we can improve care for the many people in our community who struggle each day with the devastating affects of these ailments.

Donations to the 2007 Spring Ball and Auction funded an expansion to the Portage Health Dialysis Center that allows us to provide high-quality care to more patients in our area who rely on dialysis for survival.

The 2008 Spring Ball and Auction, which drew 143 attendees, featured 20 live auction items and 36 silent auction items. The winner of the raffle for a handmade Cranberry Crunch quilt, for which more than 300 tickets were sold, is Gloria Melton.

Portage Health would like to thank everyone who made the 2008 Spring Ball and Auction a resounding success. Many people and businesses in our community donated time, auction items and funds. Your generous donations are helping to create a healthier tomorrow!

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to the following local individuals and businesses:

Stephan Olsson - Auctioneer

Jon and Kathy Chynoweth, Lady Bug Digital - Panoramic Photograph

Joe Lentowich - Glider Bench

U.P. Engineers & Architects - Champion Club Seat Tickets to Detroit Tigers Game

Capt. Don Kilpela and Isle Royale Resort - Isle Royale Package

Marvyl Wilson - Handcrafted Baskets

Quincy’s Restaurant - Ribs Dinner Package

Chef Ron Waara, Harbor Haus - Dinner for Eight or Cooking Class

Up and Running Technology Solutions - Information Technology Site Surveys

Peterlin Distributing - Detroit Pistons Mirror

Bernadette Yeoman-Ouellette - 18th Century Painting

Laiti Jewelers - Ladies Citizen Watch

Downwind Sports - Kayak

Kukkakauppa, The Flower Shop - Plants for a Year

Dick and Stasi Gray - Sailing Trip Aboard the Brewhaven

Rajanee Sripaipan, MD - Silk Printed Ties and Purse

Theresa Spence, Spirit Craft - Goddess Servingware and Necklace

J.M. Himes, MD - Handmade Wooden Bowls

Vollwerth & Company - King of Meats Certificate

Tony Bausano, Copper World - Local Jams and Jellies, Yooper Chocolate Bars

Paul J. Baroni’s Company - Baroni’s Products

Adam Johnson, Brockit Photography - 0136 on 121006 Photograph

Mark Korpela, World of Woods - Quilt Rack

Keweenaw Gem and Gift - Copper Book-Ends

Amy Negro, Wicker and Willow - A Day at the Beach Basket

Good Times Music - Bass Guitar Jumpstart Package

McGann Building Supply - Cordless Impact Driver-Drill

Dave Sladek, Universal Metal Works Co. - Fire Ring

Credit Services, Inc. - Maggie’s Massage Package

Richard Drenovsky - Custom-made Bird House

Karl Bohnak, Jerry Harju and Steve Lehto - Upper Peninsula Books from Local Authors

Portage Lake Golf Course - Golf Lessons

Barb Townsend & Susan Henderson, Unique by Design - Chain-Maille Watch

Marilyn Desotell - Handmade Ostrich Egg Jewel Box

Gail LaFond - Cranberry Crunch Quilt for Raffle, Knitted Blue Baby Hat and Blanket

Keweenaw Brewing Company - Six Growlers and a T-Shirt

Norma Nominelli - Antique China

Dress for Success, Michigan Tech - Choice of Suit and Custom Fitting 

Wildflowers - Floral Arrangement

Bethany Niemi - Massages

Illa Garver, Art Under the Deck - Summer Daze Reproduction Print

Blue Iris, Nissila’s, Sleeman’s, Econo Foods, and Kathy’s Country Flowers - Flowers for Every Occasion

Pete Olson - The Immigrant Hand-carved Finnish Man and Spoon

Guys and Dolls Salon - Fleece Jacket, Shampoo and Mousse

Vickie Leep, MV Jewelry Design - Necklace, Bracelet and Earrings Set

For more information about the Portage Health Foundation, please call (906) 483-1566 or visit the Portage Health Web site: portagehealth.org/foundation.

Note: This was originally posted on: 05/23/2008

Young STEPEN participants celebrate healthy success

(Services) Permanent link

Note: This was originally posted on: 05/15/2008

HANCOCK — Millions of minutes of physical activity. Thousands of servings of fruits and vegetables. That’s the impressive tally racked up by hundreds of local elementary students who stepped up to a healthier lifestyle with STEPEN (Student Total Exercise Program and Energy Nutrition).

The school-based nutrition and exercise program, sponsored by Portage Health, is designed to help 3rd, 4th and 5th-graders get on the road to lifelong good health. During 10 weeks of exciting activities that began in February, kids, teachers and parents explored ways to eat right and get physically fit.

STEPEN drew to a successful close on Saturday, April 26 at the SISU Shuffle held at the Houghton County Arena in Hancock. Students who participated in STEPEN were among the 270 community members who took part in the 5-kilometer run/walk. After the SISU Shuffle concluded, students celebrated their STEPEN successes at an awards ceremony.

A total of 610 students at six local elementary schools — Houghton, Hancock, E.B. Holman, Dollar Bay, South Range and Chassell — participated in the program. STEPEN enjoyed 84 percent participation among students at all the schools. Together, the students accumulated 2.5 million minutes of activity and ate 86,807 servings of fruits and vegetables during 10 weeks.

The classrooms with the most participation at each school received a fruit and vegetable party. The school with the overall best participation this year is Chassell.

STEPEN Results for Each School

Here are the STEPEN results for each school:

Houghton  

  • 544,980 minutes of activity
  • 8,174 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Top Classroom: 4D, taught by Mrs. Jacobson

South Range

  • 428,565 minutes of activity
  • 13,538 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Top Classroom: t grade, taught by Mr. Pangrazzi  

Chassell  

  • 331,074 minutes of activity
  • 10,191 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Top Classroom: 5th grade, taught by Mrs. Buda  

Dollar Bay

  • 179,433 minutes of activity
  • 6,957 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Top Classroom: 4th grade, taught by Miss Kangas  

Hancock

  • 755,040 minutes of activity
  • 32,643 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Top Classroom: 4A, taught by Mrs. Brookhouse  

E.B. Holman  

  • 168,717 minutes of activity
  • 5,304 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Top Classroom: 4th grade, taught by Mrs. Larson  

Bicycle Winners

One student from each STEPEN school, along with one child and one adult from the community, won bicycles at the SISU Shuffle. Here are the winners:

Houghton - Josie Ledgerwood  

South Range - Anthony Harris

E.B. Holman - Whitney Johnson

Chassell - Julia Pietila  

Dollar Bay - Victoria Cichosc  

Hancock - Abby Simonson  

Community winner - child: Brooke Nettell  

Community winner - adult: Trina Erickson  

Portage Health would like to thank everyone who helped to make STEPEN a huge success for the fourth year. Watch for information in your schools about the STEPEN program for the 2008-2009 school year. For more information about adopting a healthier lifestyle, visit the Portage Health Web site at portagehealth.org.

Note: This was originally posted on: 05/15/2008

Portage Hospital Auxiliary announces 2008 scholarship recipients

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Scholarship Winners 2008HANCOCK — Portage Health and the Portage Hospital Auxiliary are proud to announce the 2008 recipients of the Portage Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship Program. Each year, the Auxiliary awards scholarships to outstanding local college students from Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Ontonagon counties who are planning to enter the healthcare field and have reached the second year of college or beyond.

The 2008 scholarship recipients are:

Alexandra Tepkasetkul

Alexandra Tepkasetkul has completed all of the prerequisite courses for dental school and is a junior at MTU. Her long term goal is to become an orthodontist. Her list of volunteer work is too long but in addition to finding the time for maintaining a high GPA of 3.7, she “shadows” at a local dentist’s office.

Kara Destrampe

Kara Destrampe will complete her final year at Finlandia University to earn her Physical Therapist Assistant’s degree. She has maintained a high GPA of 3.789 in evening classes, working full-time and is a wife and mother of two children. She now will be able to attend classes full-time.

According to Luci Sintkowski, Director of Volunteer Services, “The Portage Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship Committee had an extremely difficult time in selecting this year’s winners. There were at least five of the applicants that were eligible in that they had high grade point averages and diplayed volunteerism as well. We all wished that we could have given more scholarships. However, all five of the committee selected our two finalists at the top of the list. Both of these young women deserve our praise in their endeavors and best wishes for continued success in their respective studies.”

For more information about the Portage Hospital Auxiliary Scholarship Program, please call Luci Sintkowski at (906) 483-1551 or visit the scholarship program info page.

Portage Health would like to thank each of its volunteers for their invaluable service and assistance to all of our patients and every department in our organization. For more information about Portage Health’s volunteer program, please call Luci Sintkowski at 483-1551 or visit the volunteer info page.

Note: This was originally posted on: 04/30/2008

Portage Health announces Outstanding Volunteers for 2007

(Staff, Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link

Volunteers 2007Portage Health is pleased to announce the recipients of the Outstanding Volunteer Achievement Awards for 2007.

Each year during National Volunteer Week, Portage Health honors all of its volunteers at a Volunteer Recognition Dinner and pays special tribute to several outstanding volunteers. The dinner celebrating the 125 volunteers who served 13, 371 hours in 2007 was held on Tuesday, April 29.

The recipients of the Outstanding Volunteer Achievement Awards are:

Don Waatti

Don is an outstanding volunteer because of the example he set for others that has inspired his children and now his grandchildren to volunteer at Portage.

Storm

Storm has been nominated as an outstanding volunteer because of the time she spent organizing paperwork following a car seat clinic. Her efforts saved the department a lot of time and it is much appreciated.

Mary Ellen Shane

Mary Ellen is an outstanding volunteer because she not only does a great job of picking up materials to be shredded each day, she also does it in an extremely upbeat way.

Marcus Carli

Marcus has been nominated as an outstanding volunteer because he identified a need at PortagePointe, gathered members from the Michigan Tech Pre Health Association and spent time shoveling out windows so that the elders at PortagePointe could see outside. That act of kindness was of benefit to the elders and also inspired other members of this group to continue to volunteer at PortagePointe.

Ben Umlauf

Ben is extremely polite, always courteous to the patients and employees and greets our patients ensuring that every patient has a great experience when they come to our facility. He is an outstanding volunteer.

Jim Junttonen

Jim stopped in for an appointment one day and saw that the Patient Access Center did not have a volunteer that day; he came back to help out. He is always reminding the department that if a volunteer does not show up, he is available to fill in. His willingness to help out when needed has earned him the outstanding volunteer award.

Margaret Mills

Margaret is an outstanding volunteer who has contributed immensely to the success of the Apothecary by keeping key files such as the daily logs up to date, as well as pharmacy prescription files. Without Margaret’s assistance, the department would not be as well organized.

Portage Health would like to thank each of its volunteers for their invaluable service and assistance to all of our patients and every department in our organization. For more information about Portage Health’s volunteer program, please call Luci Sintkowski at 483-1551 or visit the volunteer info page.

Note: This was originally posted on: 04/30/2008

Portage Health honors volunteers during National Volunteer Week

(Services) Permanent link

When you add up the hours that Portage Health’s 125 volunteers served during 2007, the number is impressive: 13,371. The impact each volunteer has made on our patients and our organization is immeasurable.

Portage Health will honor all of its volunteers during National Volunteer Week, which runs Sunday, April 27 through Saturday, May 3, 2008.

“Our volunteers put a hug around your heart,” said Luci Sintkowski, Director of Volunteer Services. “Their devotion to helping others touches every single patient and staff member in some way.”

Portage Health volunteers use their diverse skills to provide services throughout our healthcare facilities. They greet people at the Patient Access Centers. They ring up purchases at the Guilded Rose Gift Shop. One volunteer even shreds documents to keep patients’ medical records safe.

There are two groups that lend Portage Health a hand. Volunteers assist patients and aid our staff. Members of the Portage Health Auxiliary organize fundraising efforts that benefit our various programs.

Each year during National Volunteer Week, Portage Health holds a Volunteer Recognition Dinner to honor the contributions of our volunteers. This year’s dinner will be held on Tuesday, April 29 at the Memorial Union Building at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. During the event, the recipients of the 2007 Outstanding Volunteer Achievement Awards will be announced.

The recipients of the Portage Health Auxiliary Scholarship Program will be announced at the dinner, as well. Each year, the Auxiliary awards scholarships to outstanding local college students from Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Ontonagon counties who are planning to enter the healthcare field and have reached the second year of college or beyond.

The reasons why our volunteers donate their time and efforts are as varied as the ways in which they help others.

When visitors stop in at the Guilded Rose Gift Shop, they receive a friendly greeting from Gloria Mayra of Hancock. She has volunteered in the shop for eight years.

“Volunteering at Portage Health is very rewarding. I really enjoy being in contact with all the people here and feeling that I’m contributing something,” Mayra says.

Judy Holombo is a former Portage Health employee who began volunteering on the first day that the Hancock medical campus opened in 2000. The Houghton woman says that she enjoys helping her former co-workers and the people of her community.

“My volunteer shift is on Mondays. It’s a great way to start my week,” Holombo says.

Jim Junttonen, a retiree from Hancock who began volunteering a year ago, also knows the patients and staff of Portage Health well. When Junttonen works at the Patient Access Center, his warm smile welcomes everyone who enters the building.

“When my wife was ill, we came to Portage Health so many times for her care. Volunteering here is my way to give back and say thank you,” Junttonen says.

Portage Health always welcomes new volunteers, and National Volunteer Week is a great time for people to begin exploring the rewards of volunteering. Junttonen says: “I receive more than I give when I volunteer.”

Note: This was originally posted on: 04/24/2008

Portage Health Pulmonary Rehab introduces new program

(Services) Permanent link

Portage Health Pulmonary Rehab has added a new Phase III Maintenance Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program to its services. This outpatient program is designed for graduates of the Phase II Outpatient Pulmonary Rehab Program who wish to continue a monitored exercise routine, and for people who may not have insurance coverage for Phase II.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation consists of services designed for patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of pulmonary function. It can help people with obstructive, restrictive and other chronic pulmonary conditions to improve their breathing ability and have greater independence in their lifestyle.

The Phase III Outpatient Maintenance Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program includes:

  • Cardiovascular exercises
  • Muscle conditioning
  • Information on management of lung disease
  • Monitoring of response to exercise
  • Activities to increase exercise tolerance
  • Goals for participants of the Maintenance Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program include:
  • Control and/or alleviate shortness of breath and fatigue
  • Achieve and maintain greater independence and enhanced ability to perform daily activities (such as walking, bending, showering, cooking, stair climbing and cleaning)
  • Achieve and maintain improved quality of life
  • Establish and maintain a home exercise program
  • Establish and achieve individual health goals
  • Gain better understanding of lung disease

The cost for the program is $ 11 per session. This is a self-pay program for Phase II Pulmonary Rehab Program graduates and others who do not otherwise qualify for Pulmonary Rehab services through an insurance program.

For more information about Portage Health Pulmonary Rehab and the Phase III Outpatient Maintenance Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, please call (906) 483-1469.

Note: This was originally posted on: 03/12/2008

Portage Health physical therapists offer low-cost solution to treating back pain

(Services) Permanent link

Healthcare expenditures for patients with spine conditions rose a whopping 65 percent from 1997 to 2005, according to a research report published in Feb. 2008 by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). But the increased expenditures did not improve the health of many patients, as the overall proportion of people with impaired spinal function also increased during the same time period.

Physical therapists offering spinal manipulation, exercise, and advice can provide an effective alternative for patients with back and neck problems — often at a lower cost, said Mark Randell, a physical therapist at Portage Health Rehab.

Randell, who has earned the elite credential of Fellow from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists, specializes in working on the spine to relieve back and neck pain and headaches.

Science supports the effectiveness of physical therapy for improving the health of patients with spinal conditions.

“Research consistently has shown the value of particular physical therapy interventions for patients with back and neck problems,” Randell said. “Specifically, spinal manipulation and exercise have repeatedly been shown to be effective in managing patients’ current pain and preventing future episodes.”

The recent JAMA report also noted a huge 171-percent increase in pharmaceutical expenditures for spine conditions from 1997 to 2005.

“You have drugs, you have surgery, or you have physical therapy,” Randell said. “The reality is that very few treatments have shown the ability to truly affect patients with spine conditions. Physical therapists can do just that.”

The treatments offered by physical therapists include hands-on therapies to mobilize the spine and exercises designed to alleviate low back pain. Randell suggests that patients seek out physical therapists as a first-line treatment for spine conditions.

In Oct. 2007, the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society recommended that doctors prescribe physical therapy when managing patients with low back pain.

For more information about the benefits that Randell and the team of physical therapists at Portage Health can provide in the management of back and neck problems, please call Portage Health Rehab at (906) 483-1888.

Portage Health Rehab., a service of Portage Health, is located at the Houghton Community Health Center, which is adjacent to the Student Development Complex on the campus of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, and at Portage Health in Hancock. Portage Health Rehab provides sports medicine programs and physical, occupational and speech therapies.

Note: This was originally posted on: 03/04/2008

FitUP launches Phase 2 of program to promote wellness

(Services) Permanent link

HANCOCK – On March 3, 2008, the Wellness Council of the Upper Peninsula (WELCUP) will kick off Phase 2 of its seventh annual FitUP program. Phase 1 began on January 7, 2008.

During FitUP’s eight-month program, which includes four phases, participants will learn how to incorporate more physical activity and improved nutrition into their daily routine. Participants can began during any phase of the program, so folks who missed Phase 1 can jump right in on Phase 2.

As a member of WELCUP, Portage Health supports the FitUP program. Local worksites, organizations, churches and individuals are encouraged to use FitUP to improve the health of our community.

FitUP provides information, support and incentives to help people exercise and eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. The program offers participants numerous benefits:

Online Tracking

Participants may keep track of their daily minutes of physical activity and daily fruit and vegetable consumption at the FitUP Web site: www.fitUP.org.

Incentives

More than $4,500 in prizes will be awarded, including weekly prizes, stage prizes and one grand cash prize of $640. Participants who meet the minimum required minutes of activity will have the chance to win prizes.

Health Tips and Resources

The program aims to help people discover how fun and easy it is to increase their physical activity and improve their nutrition.

Flexibility

Whether you like to hike or dance, you can trek or two-step your way into better health. As long as the physical activity gets your heart pumping, any type of physical activity will do.

Support for Worksites  

A free kit for worksites, which is available at the FitUP Web site, includes free software that assists in developing employee wellness programs.

The FitUP program is simple, and following it will improve our community’s odds of reducing heart disease, cancer and diabetes rates. So let’s get fit together!

For more information about the FitUP program or to register online, visit the FitUP Web site, www.FitUP.org, or call Angela Lucas, Director of Community Health at Portage Health and a member of the WELCUP Executive Board, at (906) 483-1153.

Note: This was originally posted on: 02/25/2008

P.A.C.E. Yourself

(Services) Permanent link

One person’s initiative will mean big changes in lifestyle for those at risk of type 2 diabetes.

Charlie Luoma, clinical exercise physiologist in Portage Health’s Cardiopulmonary Department, is leading the charge in a new program that will help improve the health of those at risk of type 2 diabetes. P.A.C.E. (Physiological Alteration through Clinical Exercise) seeks to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in conjunction with Portage’s existing support groups and education.

According to a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, lifestyle intervention can reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious, costly disease affecting approximately 8 percent of adults in the United States. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if:

  • you are overweight
  • you are 45 years or older
  • you have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
  • your family background is African American, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic American/Latino or Pacific Islander
  • you have had gestational diabetes or gave birth to at least one baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher or you have been told that you have high blood pressure
  • your HDL cholesterol is 35 or lower, or your triglyceride level is 250 or higher
  • you are fairly inactive or you exercise fewer than three times a week

About 16 million people between the ages of 40 and 74 have pre-diabetes. Most of them are likely to develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years.

There is good news. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Based on this premise, Portage’s diabetes prevention program will be tailored to fit individual needs of the patient. Following an initial assessment that include lab work and metabolic stress tests, a plan of action will be prescribed. The plan includes nutritional guidance and an exercise program. Length of the program will depend on individual needs.

Funding for this program is made possible by a generous grant from the Portage Health Foundation. These funds will be used to purchase essential equipment such as treadmills, bikes, and polar (heart rate) monitors, as well as offset some costs to program participants.

Note: This was originally posted on: 02/22/2008

Portage Health Foundation Announces 2008 Grant Awards

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Baby Warmer ScaleThe Portage Health Foundation is pleased to announce that it has awarded $45,415 in grant monies to programs and projects within Portage Health, Inc., that further our mission to improve the health of our community. The recipients include:

  • Area Geriatric Education Scholars (AGES) Internship Program for UP Youth; PortagePointe. AGES provides an introduction to geriatric health careers for local high school juniors and seniors with a three-day orientation in Marquette, followed by a paid seven-week internship serving elders and interacting with professional staff at PortagePointe and 12 other long-term care sites throughout the Upper Peninsula.
  • Baby Scale for Warmer; Portage Health Family Birthing Center. This scale, to be added to the baby warmer in the Cesarean-section room, will give parents the opportunity to weigh their baby immediately after birth. Additionally, the scale will assist the nurses in admission of the newborn.
  • Chronic Disease Electronic Management System (CDEMS) 2008 – Diabetes Clinics/Diabetes Education; Portage Health Medical Group. The CDEMS allows our healthcare staff to make improvements in care to our patients via an effective, inexpensive tool based on medical standards of care. The CDEMS was successfully piloted at Portage Health in 2007; the 2008 grant will be used to expand the program.
  • Blood Volume Monitors (BVMs); Portage Health Dialysis Center. The monitors will be installed on the dialysis machines currently in use. This equipment will improve our patients’ safety, comfort and satisfaction during their dialysis treatments.
  • Physiological Alteration through Clinical Exercise (P.A.C.E.) Program; Portage Health Cardiopulmonary. The P.A.C.E. program seeks to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes mellitus in conjunction with
  • Portage Health’s existing support groups and education. P.A.C.E. aims to improve our patients’ metabolic control through structured clinical exercise and physical activity counseling.

The Portage Health Foundation was established in 1990 as a charitable, nonprofit organization. Its mission is parallel to Portage Health’s mission: To improve the health of our community. As a resource for Portage Health, the Foundation funds innovative programs and projects that deliver a broad range of healthcare services, including education, program development and medical equipment.

Donations to the Portage Health Foundation provide the community with a chance to help provide the care and compassion that is so important to all of us in the Upper Peninsula. For more information about the Portage Health Foundation, please call (906) 483-1566.

Note: This was originally posted on: 02/06/2008

Portage Health Athletic Trainer Travels the World

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Brewster Sledge HockeyFor his work with the football and men’s basketball teams at Michigan Technological University, Portage Health athletic trainer Brian Brewster jumps on the team bus. For his volunteer position as athletic trainer for the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team, Brewster hops a cross-country or international flight.

In mid-January, Brewster traveled with the team to Asahikawa, Japan, for an international tournament. Next up: A mid-February trip to Prince George, Canada, for a three-game exhibition series.

“When they play our national anthem in a different country, it really gives you goosebumps,” said Brewster, who serves as Coordinator of Sports Medicine at the Portage Health Sports Medicine Institute. He is a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Brewster began working with the National Sled Hockey Team this summer, when he volunteered his services at the United States Olympic Committee Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The 16-man National Sled Hockey Team, which is comprised of athletes who face such physical challenges as leg amputations and spinal cord injuries, is part of the USA Hockey organization. Sled hockey, also called sledge hockey, became an official event of the U.S. Paralympic Winter Games in 1994.

Brewster had no idea that his first experience working with disabled athletes would literally open up the world to him.

“I wanted to volunteer for the experience and learning opportunity, to see what it was like to work with Olympic athletes,” said Brewster, who lives in Houghton.

Following the Colorado trip and a November stint with the National Sled Hockey Team during a series in Park City, Utah, Brewster was offered the position as athletic trainer. He travels with the team regularly, and developed a strength and conditioning program for the players that he updates each week.

After the February trip to Canada, Brewster will go to Marlborough, Mass., in late March for the 2008 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge Hockey World Championship.

In the long term, Brewster’s eye is set on a trip to Vancouver, Canada. That’s where the 2010 Paralympics Winter Games will be held.

“My goal is to try to get to the 2010 Paralympics with the team,” he said.

While training with the National Sled Hockey Team, Brewster has learned new skills that he uses in his local practice. Since the supplies he can bring on trips with the team are limited, he’s learned to rely more on using his hands for massage and other healing techniques.

“I’ve brought a more hands-on approach into the training room here at home,” Brewster said.

Working and traveling with the National Sled Hockey Team is an ongoing learning experience, Brewster said, and he’s grateful for the opportunity.

“I’m enjoying every minute of it,” he said.

The Portage Health Sports Medicine Institute is a team of professionals that provides services tailored to all athletes, including athletic training, performance testing, sports nutrition and injury prevention and treatment. For more information, please call the Sports Medicine Institute at (906) 483-1825 or (800) 573-5001 (toll-free).

Note: This was originally posted on: 02/05/2008

Area Emergency Medical Service To Continue Operation

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Jerry Primeau speaks at the Mercy EMS press conference.HANCOCK — Portage Health and Keweenaw Memorial have assumed the ownership of Mercy EMS as of January 1, 2008. Mercy EMS, as it is now known, was operated by Rampant Inc., a business owned by Marquette General Health System.

“We are pleased that both hospitals can cooperate to provide a vitally needed service to the community,” said Jim Bogan, Portage Health CEO and Chuck Nelson, Keweenaw Memorial CEO.

“Over the years, Medicare has dropped their funding drastically while increasing their requirements. This really was the driving force that pushed Rampant towards selling Mercy Ambulance. With Mercy EMS being owned equally by both hospitals, they have shown their commitment to providing emergency medical services in our area,” said Gerry Primeau, CEO of Mercy EMS.

“Providing much needed EMS to our area is not without its challenges,” added Primeau. “Funding is still a big issue. Being a non-profit corporation owned by both hospitals will open some doors for us to find alternate funding that will enhance our financial stability.”

Mercy EMS is an independent non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors comprised of 4 members from each hospital. Mercy EMS currently has 23 employees with 14 of them being full-time employees. These include paramedics and medical technicians.

For more information about Mercy EMS, visit its info page or please contact Gerry Primeau at 482-1106.

Note: This was posted on: 01/09/2008

FitUP Program Kicks Off Seventh Year of Promoting Wellness

(Services) Permanent link

Ready, set, go! On Jan. 7, 2008, the Wellness Council of the Upper Peninsula (WELCUP) will kick off its seventh annual FitUP program. During an eight-month period, participants will learn how to incorporate more physical activity and improved nutrition into their daily routine.

As a member of WELCUP, Portage Health supports the FitUP program. Local worksites, organizations, churches and individuals are encouraged to use FitUP to improve the health of our community.

FitUP provides information, support and incentives to help people exercise and eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. The program offers participants numerous benefits:

Online tracking. Participants may keep track of their daily minutes of physical activity and daily fruit and vegetable consumption at the FitUP Web site.

Incentives. More than $4,500 in prizes will be awarded, including weekly prizes, stage prizes and one grand cash prize of $640. FitUP participants who meet the minimum required minutes of activity will have the chance to win prizes.

Health tips and resources. The FitUP program aims to help people discover how fun and easy it is to increase their physical activity and improve their nutrition.

Flexibility. Whether you like to hike or dance, you can trek or two-step your way into better health. As long as the physical activity gets your heart pumping, any type of physical activity will do.

Support for worksites. A free kit for worksites, which is available at the FitUP Web site, includes free software that assists in developing employee wellness programs.

The FitUP program is simple, and following it will improve our community’s odds of reducing heart disease, cancer and diabetes rates. So let’s get fit together!

For more information about the FitUP program or to register online, visit the FitUP Web site or call Angela Lucas, Director of Community Health at Portage Health and a member of the WELCUP Executive Board, at (906) 483-1153 or (800) 573-5001 (toll free).

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/19/2007

New Web Site Gives Consumers More Access to Michigan Hospital Data, Including Charges, Payments and Quality of Care

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MI Hospital InformHANCOCK – A new Web site to be launched Jan. 1, 2008, will empower Michigan patients, families, employers and other consumers with more information about the charges, payments and quality of care at Michigan hospitals, including Portage Health.

MI Hospital Inform is a voluntary service of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) and the state’s 146 nonprofit community hospitals. “The site presents Michigan hospital charges, payments and quality data in unprecedented detail and accessibility,” said MHA President Spencer Johnson.

“Until now, this level of detail about the pricing and quality of care at Michigan hospitals has not been readily available to the public,” Johnson said. “The business community, regulators, elected officials and consumer advocates regularly seek more transparency in healthcare data. Michigan hospitals are proud to voluntarily open this window on our charges, payments and quality information for all consumers to consider in their healthcare decisions.”

Consumers can access www.MIHospitalInform.org free of charge. Available on the Web site is charge and pricing information for the 50 most frequent inpatient and 50 most frequent outpatient medical procedures (clinical diagnoses and treatments) monitored and covered by Medicare. Specifically, consumers will find the average charge, average payment, average length of stay (inpatient only), and total number of patients who were treated for each of the medical procedures covered by Medicare at Michigan hospitals. The Medicare data compiled on the site came from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The MHA notes that, while Medicare data are good indicators of pricing and quality at Michigan hospitals, consumers should not base their healthcare treatment decisions exclusively on this information. Consumers are encouraged to contact their local hospitals, personal physicians and insurance companies for additional information.

“We started with Medicare data because Medicare represents a large segment of patients in Michigan and the data are available from a reliable and credible source,” Johnson said. “The MHA will build on that base to improve and expand the information available on the Web site in the future.”

MI Hospital Inform includes information about medical procedures performed at Portage Health that are covered by Medicare. Portage Health also is planning to release additional cost and quality transparency information during the second quarter of 2008.

“Portage Health is proud to join with all of Michigan’s nonprofit hospitals in offering a significant new service to healthcare consumers,” said Jim Bogan, Portage Health’s CEO. “Healthcare providers must lead efforts to help consumers better understand the healthcare services they receive, and increased transparency is part of the answer.”

MI Hospital Inform is another example of the leadership of Michigan’s nonprofit community hospitals, which continue to volunteer significant resources to improve healthcare pricing, quality and access:

  • Through the MHA Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality, Michigan hospitals have launched ground-breaking programs to reduce medical errors and improve the quality of patient care delivered at the bedside. This voluntary effort has been nationally acclaimed for saving thousands of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars in hospitals across Michigan.
  • Through the MHA, Michigan hospitals in the mid-1990s were among the first in the nation to voluntarily report hospital-specific quality measures and have since expanded their efforts to lead in the reporting of community benefits performed within their localities.
  • Through the MHA and under the guidelines of federal law, Michigan hospitals are developing the MHA Patient Safety Organization (PSO) to voluntarily identify adverse events and pursue corrective action. By analyzing patient safety data, the PSO will further encourage a culture of safety through the dissemination of information on how to effectively minimize patient risks in hospitals across the state.

For more information about the Portage Health data available at MI Hospital Inform, please call (906) 483-1525.

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/17/2007

PortagePointe Elder Community Earns A Grade at State Review

(Acheivements and Accolades, Services) Permanent link

HANCOCK – Portage Health is proud to announce that the PortagePointe senior living community has received high marks at its annual review by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH).

The MDCH’s Division of Nursing Home Monitoring performs inspections on an average of every 12 months to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations. The state survey team conducted an unannounced visit to PortagePointe during the week of December 3, 2007, and declared during the exit summary that the elder community passed inspection with an “A” grade.

As the state surveyors pointed out, the outstanding care provided at PortagePointe is particularly notable because the senior living community has doubled in size and transformed itself into a true home since the last inspection. The state review team praised PortagePointe for operating at the cutting edge of culture change and breaking the institutional mold utilized by other senior care facilities.

In 2006, Portage Health built an addition to PortagePointe, which resulted in five distinct homes for 60 individuals. During that time, the staff continued the implementation of the Eden philosophy, an innovative approach to caring for elders that was formally adopted in 2002. The Eden philosophy seeks to provide human habitats where vibrant, vigorous living continues for individuals.
PortagePointe staff member Sally Ann Smith, RN, spent two days with the inspectors. She said, “PortagePointe is a remarkable facility, one of the best in the nation according to the survey team, and I’m proud to be a part of this unit.”

The success of PortagePointe is built upon its staff’s progressive vision and commitment to providing first-rate care, said Jim Bogan, Portage Health’s CEO.

“We truly believe in creating a home where elders can live out the rest of their days with dignity, respect and a high quality of life,” Bogan said. “To all the staff of PortagePointe and all the staff who provide services to PortagePointe, I would like to express a great debt of gratitude for creating this environment for our elders.”

Elaine Archambeau, the Head Coach at PortagePointe, said that her team has devoted many hours to training and education.

“Over the last year-and-a-half, the staff at PortagePointe has grown together as a team dedicated to transforming elder care in this community. I am very grateful and honored to work with them, and I thank them for all their efforts,” Archambeau said.

For more information about PortagePointe, please call (906) 483-1190 or visit our PortagePointe page.

Note: This was originally posted on: 12/06/2007

Portage Health Earns Level III Trauma Verification

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Trauma VerificationHANCOCK – Portage Health is pleased to announce that its trauma program has earned verification as a Level III trauma facility by the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons. This achievement recognizes the trauma program’s dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients.

Verified trauma centers must meet the essential criteria that ensure capability and institutional performance, as outlined by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma. Portage Health, which began working toward verification in 2004, earned the designation in September 2007.

The trauma team at Portage Health has made an ongoing commitment to improving trauma care for injured patients.

“Verification represents an external acknowledgement of the strides we’ve made in strengthening our trauma program,” said Dr. Wade Liston, trauma program director.

Trauma is a severe injury caused by physical force, such as a motor vehicle crash, a fall or a fire. Trauma is the most leading cause of death for Americans age 44 and younger. More than 140,000 people die from trauma-related injuries each year in the United States.

Trauma facilities are ranked from Level I, the highest level of trauma care available (for example, the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center), to Level IV. Portage Health is the only Level III trauma facility in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and one of only two in the state. There are 31 Level III trauma centers in the United States.

To meet the standards for verification, a Level III trauma facility must:

  • Provide prompt assessment, resuscitation, emergency operations and stabilization of patients.
  • Offer continuous, on-site coverage by emergency medicine physicians and prompt availability of general surgeons, anesthesiologists and orthopaedic specialists.
  • Establish transfer protocols for patients who need to go a facility that provides more comprehensive trauma care.
  • Demonstrate commitment to trauma prevention and continuing education of trauma team members.
  • Improve trauma care through active review of trauma cases by a multi-disciplinary committee.

The members of the trauma team at Portage Health demonstrate their commitment to providing the highest quality care every time they care for an injured patient.

One local man’s story illustrates the trauma team’s expertise and efficiency. On June 26, Brad Barrette was brought to the Emergency Department at Portage Health. He had been severely burned when a boat he was working on in Hancock exploded into flames.

By the time Brad’s ambulance raced up to the Emergency Department doors, the trauma team had already leapt into action. They worked quickly to stabilize Brad so that he could be transferred by plane to the University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center in Ann Arbor.

Brad spent weeks in Ann Arbor receiving treatment for the burns covering 66 percent of his body. The medical staff at the University of Michigan praised the excellent work of Portage Health’s trauma team, said Brad’s father, Dennis Barrette.

“The doctors in Ann Arbor said that, many times, burn victims from less-populated areas are not very well taken care of, but they were very pleased with the care Brad received at Portage Health,” Dennis said. “I can’t say enough about what is available here in a small community.”

Dennis said that the trauma team’s swiftness and skill definitely made a difference for his son. Brad has returned home to his family in Dollar Bay, and visits Portage Health Rehab four days a week for physical therapy.

“Portage Health’s trauma verification is well-deserved, that’s for sure,” Dennis said. “Brad is a living example of that.”

For more information about our trauma team, please call (906) 483-1000.

Note: This was originally posted on: 11/15/2007

Physical Therapy Recommended to Manage Low Back Pain

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Low Back PainPortage Health is pleased to endorse the recent recommendation by the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society that doctors prescribe physical therapy when managing patients with low back pain.

“There are many options for evaluation and treatment of low back pain,” said Amir Qaseem, MD, a senior medical associate at the American College of Physicians Department of Clinical Programs and Quality of Care.

“We wanted to review all the evidence and develop guidance for clinicians and to give our patients a realistic sense of what they can expect when they visit a clinician for low back pain. In particular, clinicians should consider the addition of non-pharmacological therapies with proven benefits,” said Dr. Qaseem, an author of the guidelines.

“This recommendation comes as no surprise to physical therapists,” said Mark Randell, a physical therapist at Portage Health Rehab and a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT).

“Research has consistently shown the value of particular physical therapy interventions for patients with low back pain. Specifically, spinal manipulation and exercise have repeatedly been shown to be effective in managing patients’ current pain and preventing future episodes,” Randell said. “We are glad to see that the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society recommend physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative to drugs for patients with back pain.”

Physical therapists can help patients with low back pain by performing thorough examinations and designing an evidence-based treatment program to meet their particular needs. These treatments can include hands-on therapies to mobilize the spine and exercises designed to alleviate low back pain.

For more information about the benefits that physical therapists can provide in the management of low back pain, talk with your doctor or visit the American Academy of Manual Physical Therapists Web site at: www.aaompt.org.

Portage Health Rehab, a service of Portage Health, is located at the Houghton Community Health Center, which is adjacent to the Student Development Complex on the campus of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, and at Portage Health in Hancock. Portage Health Rehab provides sports medicine programs and physical, occupational and speech therapies.

For more information about the services offered by Portage Health Rehab, please call (906) 483-1888 or (800) 573-5001 (toll-free).

Note: This was originally posted on: 10/24/2007

Portage Health Rehab Program Helps Kids Improve Sensory Skills

(Services) Permanent link
Monica Aho

For a child living with sensory processing dysfunction, the world can be a confusing place. This complex brain disorder distorts sounds, sights, smells, movements and other sensations that most people take for granted.

Lori Wuori’s son, Peyton, experiences everyday sensations at an amplified level that often overwhelms him. It’s as though the 4-year-old lives inside a speaker going full blast at a rock concert, she said.

“The world is total chaos for him,” said Wuori, who lives in Hancock with her son and her husband, Fred. Peyton was diagnosed last year with a neurological disorder that causes him to misinterpret sensory information.

Finding programs in the area designed for children with sensory processing dysfunction hasn’t been easy, Wuori said. So she was excited when Monica Aho, a pediatric physical therapist who works with Peyton at Portage Health Rehab, told her about a new sensory program for pre-school kids called Summer Sensations.

The series of weekly sessions, held in July and August at Portage Health Rehab, helped Peyton learn how to manage a variety of sensations. The 4-year-old experimented with movement, explored new textures and tasted new foods. And he had a lot of fun along the way, Wuori said.

A kid-friendly theme shaped each one-hour session, which was led by physical therapist assistant Maria Sturos. During an hour of dinosaur-centric activities, Peyton and the other boy in the program worked on tactile skills by building dinosaur eggs out of goopy paper mache.

“Peyton hates to get his hands dirty,” said Wuori, who attended all the sessions with her son. “When he stuck his hands into that gooey stuff, he was so impressed with himself.”

In addition to learning new sensory skills during the Summer Sensations program, Peyton developed more confidence in his abilities, Wuori said. He also got the chance each week to socialize with another little boy who has a sensory processing disorder.

Wuori says she would like more local programs to be developed for kids with sensory processing disorders. She praised Sturos, Aho and the rest of the Portage Health Rehab staff for their dedication to Peyton and other kids with sensory challenges.

“Peyton relates to Monica so well,” Wuori said. “She treats all the kids as her own.”

Aho, who helped create the Summer Sensations program, said that Portage Health Rehab is planning to host more activities for kids who need help with sensory functioning.

First up is the return of the Summer Sensations program, which will be held this autumn with a new name: Sensational Tots. The six weekly sessions, designed for infants and toddlers, begins Oct. 19.

The Portage Health Rehab staff, which offers several types of therapies, takes a comprehensive team approach to helping children improve their skills, Aho said.

“It’s really exciting to see the pride that the kids have in themselves when they’re finally able to do something,” she said. “Seeing kids succeed is the most rewarding part of my job.”

Aho, who has worked at Portage Health for four years, strengthened her own skills in August 2007 by earning certification as a clinical specialist in pediatric physical therapy from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. She is one of only 14 physical therapists certified in pediatrics in Michigan.

Months of study went into achieving certification. Aho said she pursued the professional credential so that she would be better qualified to assist her young patients.

“My goal has always been to help children function better in their everyday lives,” she said.

Portage Health Rehab, a service of Portage Health, is located at the Houghton Community Center adjacent to the Michigan Tech Student Development Complex in Houghton and at Portage Health in Hancock.

Portage Health Rehab provides sports medicine programs and physical, occupational and speech therapies. For more information, please call (906) 483-1888.

Note: This was originally posted on: 10/16/2007 

Randell Named Fellow by Association of Manual Physical Therapists

(Staff, Acheivements and Accolades) Permanent link
Mark Randell

Portage Health is pleased to announce that Mark Randell, a physical therapist at the Portage Health Rehab facility located in Houghton, has been named a Fellow by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT).

Randell earned the professional credential after graduating in August 2007 from the Manual Physical Therapy Fellowship program at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. His year of work in the post-professional program included six courses, virtual rounds, four weekends of intensive hands-on study at the university and one-on-one mentoring at three clinics in Minnesota and New Jersey.

By earning the designation of Fellow, Randell joins an elite group of manual physical therapists. There are 31 Fellows in the state of Michigan and 572 in the United States.

“I decided to work toward becoming a Fellow to better serve my patients,” Randell says. “Now I’m applying the advanced skills I learned to my daily practice.”

The AAOMPT awards the credential of Fellow to physical therapists who demonstrate advanced clinical, analytical and hands-on skills in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders.

Randell joined Portage Health in 2005. His specialties include spine work to relieve back and neck pain and headaches. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Michigan Technological University, teaching exercise prescription to students in the Exercise Science program.

Randell received his doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine in St. Augustine, Florida, in 2005. He is a member of the AAOMPT and the American Physical Therapy Association.

Portage Health Rehab, a service of Portage Health, is located at the Houghton Community Health Center, which is adjacent to the Student Development Complex on the campus of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, and at Portage Health in Hancock. Portage Health Rehab provides sports medicine programs and physical, occupational and speech therapies. For more information, please call (906) 483-1888.

Note: This was originally posted on: 09/30/2007 

Collaer Joins Portage Health Rehab's Houghton Staff

(Staff) Permanent link

Portage Health is pleased to welcome Jeff Collaer, a physical therapist, to its Rehab facility in Houghton. Collaer’s specialties include treatment of the spine through joint and soft-tissue manipulation and exercise techniques.

Collaer received his master’s degree in health sciences at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in St. Augustine, Florida, and completed his residency in orthopaedic physical therapy at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin. For the past seven years, Collaer has worked at the University of Wisconsin Spine Physical Therapy Clinic in Madison.

Collaer is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and its Orthopaedic Section, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists.

Collaer enjoys hiking, camping, biking and hunting with his wife, Rebecca, and their four children, Jacob, Rachel, Ben and Sam.

Portage Health Rehab, a service of Portage Health, is located at the Houghton Community Health Center, adjacent to the Student Development Complex on the campus of Michigan Technological University in Houghton, and at Portage Health in Hancock. Portage Health Rehab provides sports medicine programs and physical, occupational and speech therapies. For more information, please call (906) 483-1888.

Note: This was originally posted on: 09/04/2007 

Ontonagon Community Health Center Formally Open September 4

(Services) Permanent link

by Mary Tippett, Marquette General Health System/Uma Thangaraj, Portage Health 

Portage Health and Marquette General are teaming together to establish a community health center in Ontonagon.

The Gervae Clinic in Ontonagon will be purchased by the two Upper Michigan hospitals and renamed Ontonagon Community Health Center.  Slated to open on September 4, the Ontonagon Community Health Center will provide primary medicine care services and visiting physician specialists to Ontonagon County.  Laboratory, x-ray and other clinical services will be offered at the Health Center as well as to patients utilizing other health services in the Western U.P. and Marquette.

The center will remain open during this transition and Dr. Steven Gervae and Dr. Gerald Takala will continue to serve their patients along with a mid-level practitioner.  It is anticipated that all current employees of the Gervae Clinic will be given the opportunity to work at the Health Center. Additional staff members will be announced in the coming months.
In making the announcement, the partners state, "We welcome the opportunity to better serve our patients in Ontonagon County.  To date, all three partners in this consortium have been able to deliver quality health care services to this area of the Upper Peninsula.  With the development of the Ontonagon Community Health Center, we are excited about this consortium going forward as a team to ensure the continuity of our local health care services to this special community."

Convenient clinic hours and same-day appointments will be offered.  Patients can continue to make appointments and receive care at the Gervae Clinic by calling 884-2861.

Note: This was originally posted on: 07/25/2007 

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HANCOCK 

500 Campus Drive
Hancock, MI 49930
(906) 483-1000

HOUGHTON 

921 W. Sharon Avenue
Houghton, MI 49931
(906) 483-1777

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LAKE LINDEN 

945 Ninth Street
Lake Linden, MI 49945
(906) 483-1030

ONTONAGON 

751 S. Seventh Street
Ontonagon, MI 49953
(906) 884-4120

UNIVERSITY CENTER 

600 MacInnes Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
(906) 483-1860

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