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The Mahaska County Outreach Thrift Store, located at 114 N First St. in Oskaloosa, recently presented a $1,014.45 check to the Mahaska Health Partnership Hospice Serenity House. According to Mahaska County Outreach Store Manager Alice Moore, the donation was proceeds from the Thrift Store’s September Bag Sale. Shown at the check presentation are, from left: MHP Hospice Volunteer Coordinator Lisa McNulty, MHP Chief Operating Officer Erin Baldwin, Mahaska County Outreach Thrift Store Manager Alice Moore and Volunteer Keith Moore and MHP Hospice Coordinator Kim Stek. The Mahaska County Outreach Thrift Shop is a non-profit organization. All proceeds raised after normal store expenses are distributed to other non-profit organizations in the county. 


In honor of National 4-H Week, Mahaska County members wanted to give back to the community by presenting a gift to the first baby born at the MHP Birthing Center during National 4-H week. Mom, Courtney Garber of Deep River, holds Hunter while big brother, Tiegan, shares in the excitement. 4-H club members are, from left; Leah Van Mannen, 4-H leader Karen Adams, Lily Stream, Rachel Adams, Veronica Bolibaugh and Sienna DeJong. 

DigitalMammoMahaska Health Partnership continues to bring innovative technology to our community. The latest addition is a replacement of their digital mammography system that can image patients with a third lower radiation dose than standard digital mammograms.

“Radiation exposure is a concern for many patients,” MHP Director of Radiology Julie Hartke said. “Everyone is exposed to different sources of natural radiation in daily life, including being in the sun and flying in an airplane.

“Patients need to weigh the benefits versus the risks,” Hartke stressed. “Having an annual mammogram can save your life, so it’s worth it. Our patients can take comfort in knowing they can get this potentially life-saving exam, which provides detailed images for diagnosis, at a fraction of the radiation exposure as standard digital mammograms.”

MHP’s new Siemens Mammomat Inspiration Digital Mammography System provides enhanced image quality, increased comfort for patients and computer assisted diagnosis (CAD). Hartke explained that the new system features automated compression that adjusts for each patient and can capture images faster so compression time is reduced.

“We are very excited about the CAD software because it will call out abnormalities in the images for our Radiologist to pay close attention to. With the ability to digitally layer mammography images from previous years in comparison with today’s images; it will aid our radiologist in noticing those subtle changes that can lead to early diagnosis when a cancer is still small and contained in one area,” Hartke emphasized.

“That is why it is a good idea to obtain tests such as mammograms at the same place year after year,” Hartke said. “All images captured at MHP are digital and stored within each patients chart for our medical staff to access at a moment’s notice. If we didn’t image you; they don’t have that valuable diagnostic tool.”

According to the American Cancer Society, the rate of breast cancer deaths is going down. They strongly attribute that to regular mammography screening and still recommend it as the best tool for diagnosis. “We suggest patients receive a screening mammogram annually, beginning at age 40, unless risk factors exist that warrant an exam sooner,” Hartke said. 

“We strongly believe in the recommendations of the American Cancer Society because they have thoroughly researched all options for diagnostic testing. If there comes a time they recommend additional imaging capabilities in addition to mammography, our new system can be upgraded to addition capabilities.”

With such high-tech equipment close to home, area residents have no need to travel for efficient, detailed imaging exams. Ask your physician about imaging with MHP’s new digital mammography system.

Mahaska Health Partnership will host its 7th Annual Free Women’s Breast Health Night on Tuesday, Oct. 28 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Gateway Church of the Nazarene in Oskaloosa.

The Women’s Breast Health Night is a fun, educational evening, where women can gather to learn more about protecting themselves from a disease that will effect one in eight women this year. “We have seen great strides in breast cancer detection and treatment over the years,” MHP Director of Radiology Julie Hartke said.

“I believe this is due to better screening techniques but also a result of a more educated population. Events such as Women’s Breast Health Night are a wonderful opportunity for women of all ages to be informed so they can ask the right questions of their doctor to effectively monitor their ongoing health.”

According to Hartke, attendees will enjoy wonderful food, informative booths staffed by healthcare professionals and community resource advocates as well as fabulous door prizes. “The fun stuff gets people in the door but once they arrive; they will benefit from very valuable education.”

The program for this year’s event will feature a panel of four speakers including General Surgeon Dr. Paul Riggs, who surgically treats breast cancer through port placement and management, biopsies and lump or mastectomies. Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician Dr. Lisa Ruckman provides primary care for women, in addition to entire families, and will speak to regular health screenings and diagnosis techniques. Cancer Care and Infusion Center Nurse Sally Blake has been providing cancer treatment at MHP for 11 years. She has traveled the recovery journey with countless patients and can speak to the effects of treatment as well as various options offered at MHP. Finally, breast cancer survivor Martha Landers of What Cheer will participate in order to address questions about her treatment and breast cancer diagnosis as well as her remission and moving forward.

“We try to change our format each year to keep the program fresh. This year, a panel will field submitted questions that will be collected ahead of the event via facebook, our website and other sources,” Hartke explained.

“We always offer a question and answer opportunity at Women’s Breast Health Night but we understand that not everyone is comfortable asking in front of a crowd. Unanswered questions can lead to lack of treatment so we hope to address people’s curiosities through this format to contribute to overall health and well-being,” Hartke stressed.

All women are encouraged to attend this event. Women’s Breast Health Night is free, but you must pre-register in order to attend. To register for this free event, visit or call 641.672.3369.
Mahaska Health Partnership Laboratory Services has been recognized by the College of American Pathologists for commitment to safeguarding patient care and achievement of the highest standards in laboratory medicine.

After an inspection by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), MHP’s Laboratory has again been certified as a CAP accredited laboratory. This means that MHP’s Laboratory consistently offers a high level of service, uses extensive checkpoints as a guide to assess overall laboratory operations and aims to improve patient safety by advancing the quality of pathology and laboratory services through education and practice.

“Our lab works continuously to adhere to CAP Laboratory Accreditation standards,” MHP Laboratory Director Tim Schroeder shared. “The goal is always to provide the best patient care and services possible to our community. This accreditation exemplifies our dedication to high standards in MHP Laboratory Services.”

According to the College of American Pathologists, when a lab becomes CAP accredited, there are many benefits for patients because it means they are achieving the highest standards in the industry.

“A ‘CAP Accredited’ certification is used to indicate to the public that a lab is accredited by the College of American Pathologists and we display ours proudly,” Schroeder explained.

Seeing the CAP checkmark in a lab ensures they can be trusted to be detailed and reliable with your testing, which ensures accurate diagnoses. Accredited labs distinguish themselves as leaders in the community committed to quality patient care.

“CAP accreditation benefits both the patient and their provider,” Schroeder said. “Each year the requirements for accreditation change to enhance laboratory quality and meet the growing needs of the people we serve. By becoming accredited, we can show that we take patient care very seriously, reassuring both providers and patients in accurate lab testing.”
To assist Mahaska County and surrounding area residents with Medicare Open Enrollment for Part D drug coverage and Medicare Advantage plans, Mahaska Health Partnership will host a free, two-day Open Enrollment Event on Monday, Oct. 27 and Tuesday, Oct. 28 in the Level 2 Visitors’ Lounge, entrance #2.

According to MHP Volunteer Coordinator Kim Langfitt, MHP will have two Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) Counselors ready to assist Medicare recipients with open enrollment. “Every year, participants of Medicare Part D drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans can change their coverage, “ Langfitt explained. “The comparison is designed to see what the most cost effective plan would be for each individual.

“That is why it is so important for everyone on Medicare to take advantage of the open enrollment period, Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Doing a plan review could save you money in 2015.”

Langfitt said SHIIP Counselors will be available by appointment Oct. 27 and 28 from 9 am to 3 pm. Each appointment will take approximately one hour, and couples should plan a little longer.

Local SHIIP Volunteer Shirley Vore said that everyone on Medicare should compare plans each year. “Both Part D and Medicare Advantage plans can change premiums, deductibles, co-payments and drugs covered annually,” Vore explained. “You could be surprised on Jan. 1 if you stay with your current plan and find it doesn’t provide the coverage you want or need.”

According to Vore, if you are on Medicare, October is the month to start your Part D check-up. “You should be watching your mailbox for important information about Medicare prescription drug coverage. You’ll receive the 2015 Medicare and You Handbook with Medicare drug plan information for next year.”

Vore said that if you have a Medicare drug plan now, you will receive information about changes for 2015. People will need to review this information carefully to determine if they want to keep their current plan or change.

“That is why we volunteer as SHIIP Counselors, to help people better understand their Medicare drug plan options,” Vore explained. “Our goal is to help people interpret the options available and help them save money while getting an individualized plan that works with their drug prescription needs.”

SHIIP counselors do not recommend insurance companies. Instead, they answer questions and provide unbiased information to help Iowans on Medicare make well-informed decisions regarding their healthcare needs.

To make an appointment with a SHIIP counselor on Oct. 27 or 28, call Langfitt at 641.672.3342.
If you’re interested in learning how to improve your heart health, this free workshop is for you. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF), struggled with heart disease or other cardiac events, register today.

This free workshop will benefit anyone interested in improving their heart health, including those affected by CHF and their friends or family. It will be held from 1:00 - 3:30 pm on Thursday, Oct. 30. Area medical professionals including MHP Pharmacist Amy Reich, Registered Dietitian Lea Rice and Cardiac Rehab Nurse Renee Edgar will discuss current treatments for CHF, tips for living a full life with heart disease and how to embrace a low sodium diet.

“A diagnosis of CHF means the heart is not able to pump sufficient blood to other organs,” Edgar said. “This can result from many conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack or high blood pressure, among others.”

Heart failure does not mean the heart has stopped beating, it simply means the heart is not able to pump as forcefully to supply ample amounts of blood and oxygen to the rest of the body.

According to the American Heart Association, about five million Americans are living with CHF today and it is the most common reason people age 65 and older go to the hospital. Symptoms of CHF can include shortness of breath, feeling tired, swelling in the feet, ankles and legs, weight gain due to fluid build-up and confusion or an inability to think clearly.

“Since many heart-related diseases can lead to CHF, this workshop is a great tool for people who have already been diagnosed with related conditions. A healthier heart can help delay the onset of CHF,” explained Edgar.

The free Heart Health Workshop will be held in the Cedar Bluff Learning Center (entrance #3), on the MHP Campus. Please bring a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medication you are currently taking. Pre-registration is required. For more information about this Heart Health Workshop or to register, call 641.672.3100.
2014 Chair Affair committee members are finalizing plans for the Oct. 25 auction, a fundraiser for the MHP Hospice Serenity House. The event, sponsored by the Mahaska Hospice Auxiliary, will feature more than 90 decorated chairs for auction. Shown are, from left: Chair Affair Chairperson Debbie Farrow, Ruthi Rogers, Ann Brouwer, Ann Fender, Debra Johnson and Janet Farner.

Tickets are now on sale for the Chair Affair, set for Saturday, Oct. 25 at the William Penn Musco Technology Center in Oskaloosa. The silent auction will begin at 6 pm and a live auction will start at 8 pm.

The Chair Affair is a fundraiser sponsored by the Mahaska Hospice Auxiliary to benefit the MHP Hospice Serenity House. Debbie Farrow, chairperson of the event, said Mahaska County is extremely blessed to have such a beautiful option for Hospice patients.

“Hospice care will touch all of our lives at some point, and this is our opportunity to give back for a wonderful cause,” Farrow said. 

According to Farrow, the Chair Affair has close to 90 creatively decorated and donated chairs to be auctioned. “The outpouring of support from local businesses and community members for this benefit auction has been tremendous,” Farrow stressed. “We have some very creative people in our community who donated wonderful works of art. There is truly something that will appeal to everyone.”

Farrow said the committee is very excited by the response received from local artists and businesses that donated items for auction. “We have planned a nice evening with drinks and hors d'oeuvres. We encourage people to come and show their support for the Hospice Serenity House while bidding on truly wonderful pieces of art.”

Tickets for the 2014 Chair Affair are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. There are a limited number of tickets available at the following locations: 804 Décor, Book Vault, Crow Row in New Sharon, Hair Designers, Hunter’s Gift and Coffee Shop and Signatures Salon.

Decorated chairs are now on display at Penn Central Mall, in a store front next to Gardner Collier Jewelry. Farrow encourages people to stop by and view all the chairs that have been submitted.

For more information on the Chair Affair, call Farrow at 641.676.4452 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.