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Mahaska Health Partnership invites the public to share in the celebration of National Doctors’ Day on Monday, Mar. 30.

The first Doctors’ Day was celebrated on March 30, 1933, the same day in 1842 that anesthetic was first used in surgery. The day was officially designated as National Doctors’ Day in 1991 by then President George H. W. Bush. The purpose of the special day is to thank medical providers for the countless hours they dedicate to their patients.

“At MHP, we are fortunate to have a diverse medical staff, which affords us the opportunity to offer a wide variety of services to our community,” MHP CEO Jay Christensen said. “Everything we do at MHP directly relates to the needs of our community and none of it would be possible without the dedication of the medical professionals serving on our campus.”

Christensen said MHP benefits from having an outstanding medical staff. “We are truly blessed to work with such a dedicated group of medical professionals who strive to give outstanding medical services. The compassion our staff gives is only found when neighbors care for each other.”

Over the last year, some significant changes and additions to MHP’s medical staff have occurred. “We saw the retirement of Dr. Nick Messamer at the start of this year after 23 years of patient care in Oskaloosa,” Christensen explained. “We also welcomed the return of Psychiatrist Dr. Ron Berges, who has filled the role of Psychiatric Director for Inpatient Geriatric Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Services.

“Our latest addition to the MHP team is Family Nurse Practitioner Jen Scott. She has extensive knowledge about cardiovascular health and treats patients of all ages. Family Nurse Practitioner Lisa Smith recently relocated from our campus in Oskaloosa to New Sharon Medical Center, where she can provide primary care to her neighbors. We are also looking forward to the addition of two new providers this July.”

Christensen stressed the importance of great providers in rural healthcare settings. “Without a great medical staff, we wouldn’t be able to provide the wide array of services we have at MHP. I am thankful to work with such a wonderful healthcare team in Oskaloosa.”

Whether giving their time in surgery, providing primary care, obstetrical services or volunteering at the Oskaloosa Free Clinic; MHP medical providers have one goal: the health and well-being of you and your family. On National Doctors’ Day and every day, join MHP in extending a heartfelt thank you to this talented and dedicated group of professionals.
Struggling with smoking and ready to kick the habit? Mahaska Health Partnership Cardiopulmonary Services will be offering a weekly Freedom from Smoking Class beginning Tuesday, April 7 and concluding on Tuesday, May 19.

Freedom from Smoking is an educational series developed by the American Lung Association that emphasizes long-term freedom from smoking. According to Certified Facilitator Kai Schwab, BA, RPSGT, RST, each smoker who joins will develop an individual plan for quitting and learn the latest updates on stress management and pharmaceutical interventions.

“I strongly encourage anyone considering quitting to attend this class,” Schwab said. “This program is focused on providing the tools necessary for not only breaking the smoking habit, but finding alternative ways to cope with stress.”

Schwab said that even if people have been unsuccessful in the past with quitting smoking, they should try this program. “Nicotine is a very addictive substance and it’s readily available in many retail stores,” Schwab explained. “The Freedom from Smoking Class can help smokers with proven steps to make quitting more successful.”

The Freedom from Smoking Class will be offered for seven weeks with class meeting every Tuesday, beginning April 7 through May 19, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm in the Board Room on Level 2 of the MHP campus in Oskaloosa, best accessed through entrance #2.

For more information and to register, contact Schwab at 641.672.3163. Pre-registration is requested but can be completed at the first class.

March is recognized as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and Mahaska Health Partnership is offering free colorectal cancer screening kits for the rest of the month.

“Starting at age 50, a colorectal cancer screening should be done annually,” MHP General Surgeon Tim Breon, MD, FACS said. “These kits are a great preventive measure and can be done conveniently in your own home.”

The free fecal occult screening kits being offered by MHP can be requested online at mahaskahealth.org, over the phone by calling 641.672.3116 or picked up at one of the following locations: Entrances #1 or #4 on the Oskaloosa campus; New Sharon Medical Center or MHP Hospice Services-Sigourney location. Completed kits must be mailed back to the MHP Laboratory no later than April 15.

“Requesting a free colorectal cancer screening kit is a first step for prevention or detection of cancer,” Dr. Breon said. “If a test is positive, a colonoscopy can be performed to look for polyps and remove them before cancer starts.”

Dr. Breon also recommends a complete colonoscopy starting at age 50, and every ten years thereafter if negative. Colonoscopies may be performed more frequently if there are known risk factors for colorectal cancer, such as polyps, bleeding or a family history of colon cancer. For more information about colonoscopies, contact your primary care provider or call MHP General Surgery at 641.672.2455.

To request your free kit, click here

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The Girl Scouts Troop 746, consisting of 5th graders from Oskaloosa Elementary School, recently received their First-Aid badges. They were assisted in their quest by Mahaska Health Partnership and MHP Paramedic Jamey Robinson, who also serves as Director of Mahaska County Emergency Management Agency. The girls had to build a first-aid kit, tour an emergency department and ambulance, and talk to a responder. Shown making their kits are, from left: Rachel Frost, Allyson Maxwell, Ashlyn McDougall, Nadia Hudson and Ireland Otto, along with Robinson. 

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Members of Tri-County’s Ricochet Leadership Program raised $75.87 through a bake sale to benefit children who visit Mahaska Health Partnership’s Emergency Department in Oskaloosa. Shown at the check presentation are, front row, from left: Jason Daughenbaugh, Lucas Haberling, Brayden Monroe, Mikayla Hoover and Avery Roorda. Back row, from left: Angelina McCullough, Emma Miover, MHP Director of Emergency Services Andrea Hagist, Miranda Little, Mariah Seaton and Annabelle Jennings.

Students from Tri-County Community School took on a leadership project and raised funds to benefit children utilizing the visitor’s lounge at Mahaska Health Partnership’s Emergency Services in Oskaloosa.

The students were members of Ricochet, a middle school leadership initiative created and sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Iowa 4-H. According Michele Sieren, who served as co-lead with Jorie Altenhoften from the Keokuk County Extension and Outreach, the group of 10 students met for nine weeks to learn team building and leadership skills.

“Ricochet uses adventure and experience to help build leadership skills as they get involved in a real project that benefits the community,” Sieren said. “The students wanted to help a local hospital that they could potentially have friends or family taken to in an emergency situation. Mariah Seaton, one of the Richochet members, has a grandmother who works at Mahaska Health Partnership, so it was an easy choice for the students as they worked to raise money.

“They wanted to have a positive impact on children and agreed that sometimes during an emergency, there can be a lot of waiting around, and children don’t always have time to bring things to stay occupied while waiting on news about their loved ones. That is why they wanted to raise funds toward purchasing books and toys for the visitor’s lounge at Mahaska Health Partnership.”

A total of $75.87 was raised through a bake sale the students sponsored. Sieren said both leaders were very impressed with the effort put forth by all the students. “Everyone brought something for the bake sale,” she said. “We had to find additional tables to fit it all.”

MHP Director of Emergency Services Andrea Hagist, said she has already ordered children’s books with the funds donated by the Ricochet students. “We are grateful for the donation, but also very impressed by the students who showed real leadership with this project,” Hagist said. 

Applications for college scholarships from Mahaska Health Partnership are available to high school seniors pursuing a career in a health-related field. The deadline for submitting applications is April 17.

Three students chosen by the MHP Board of Trustees will be awarded $500 scholarships. Applicants must be graduating seniors from North Mahaska, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont or Oskaloosa schools. Individuals must be accepted to an accredited college and be pursuing a career in a health-related field.

While the final decision of scholarship winners is not based solely on financial need, it may be a determining factor if candidates are equal in other qualifications. Letters of recommendation must accompany the application and personal interviews may be requested for further clarification.

Applications are available through local schools or can be picked up on the MHP campus at entrance #1. Applicants may also email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for an application. For more information on the MHP Scholarship program, please contact your high school guidance counselor.

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Even when you feel fine, it’s important to schedule regular visits with your primary care provider. Check-ups and screenings throughout life can catch medical issues early or prevent chronic illnesses. Mahaska Health Partnership suggests screening guidelines for men to stay on top of their health. 

“Many people only go to the doctor when they are sick, especially men,” Family Practice Physician Stephen Mineart, MD, said. “However, it is just as important for men to make their regular check-up appointment as it is for women.”

One of the most important factors in managing your health is choosing a primary care provider. “It’s important to establish care with a provider that you are comfortable sharing your personal information with,” Dr. Mineart explained. “You are more likely to open up and voice concerns with a person you have a relationship with, and having a regular provider helps ensure that all of your health information is consistent and closely monitored.”

Once care is established with a trusted provider, an annual physical exam is encouraged. “I like to see my patients at least once a year, just to make sure that nothing unexpected has developed. There are many health issues that can develop and produce unnoticed or even no symptoms. By getting a routine exam, your provider can help detect health issues earlier.”

During an annual physical exam, vital signs, including blood pressure, heart rate and temperature will be checked to look for any underlying issues. An exam of your heart and lungs using a stethoscope to listen for irregularities is also performed.  

“Depending on your health status, medical history and family history, your provider will decide what to examine, as well as what tests to order during your physical,” Dr. Mineart shared. “Usually, a check for testicular cancer and hernias is performed for men, but other exams may be necessary depending on your age and medical history.

“Through a regular routine with a medical provider familiar with your health for check-ups, you are more likely to catch ailments before they progress,” Dr. Mineart continued. “Your health affects every facet of your life, so make sure to keep it a priority.”

To establish care with a primary care provider at MHP, call 641.672.3360.

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Family Nurse Practitioner Jen Scott, ARNP, has joined the Mahaska Health Partnership Medical Group in Oskaloosa.

Scott most recently practiced in Eddyville. She originally moved to Oskaloosa in 2012 with her husband, Tim Scott, Associate Principal at Oskaloosa High School. “We love it here, everyone is so friendly.”

Scott’s nursing career has taken her from the ICU at a metropolitan hospital, to organ donor coordination to vascular surgery and finally, Nurse Practitioner in Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Iowa Heart Center before entering Family Practice. “I loved my work at the Iowa Heart Center but it’s nice to apply what I learned on the emergency side to the day-to-day care of my patients in a family practice setting,” Scott said.

“I really enjoy the personal relationships I develop with my patients. My goal is to always meet them where they are, to be a really strong advocate for their wishes. There are times when a patient’s choice and their family’s desires don’t quite match up. Helping my patient navigate those choices and have that conversation with their family fulfills me because I hope I’ve helped them find peace of mind,” she shared.

Scott’s dream of helping people began with a drawing in kindergarten. “My mom still has it framed, Jenny was going to be a doctor,” she said.

Scott’s education began at the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s in Science, pre-med track. “Then my twin boys, Ben and Zach, and their brother, Jordan, came along, ”Scott laughed. “I took a break for a while but I always planned to go back.”

Go back she did, working through her RN all the way through to a Master’s of Science in Nursing from Graceland University in 2011; in addition to continuing her work at the Iowa Heart Center. “As an RN at Iowa Heart, I worked in vascular surgery but when I graduated, they only had a nurse practitioner opening in cardiothoracic surgery; so I’m well versed in the ‘plumbing and the engine’ of the heart,” Scott quipped.

Her vast experience with cardiology has served her well in family practice. “Family Practice has been so much fun,” Scott explained. “Emergency medicine is my background so it’s been nice to shift gears. However, my experience with injuries and diseases of the heart has enhanced the care I provide.

“I have a ‘less is more’ philosophy and try to meet my patients where they are. If we can work together to determine a treatment plan that fits their goals and lifestyle, we’re a lot more successful.”

Scott is now accepting new patients on the MHP campus in Oskaloosa. She treats patients of all ages from birth to end-of-life and has a special interest in children and people dealing with cardiac issues. For an appointment, call 641.672.3360.