AgWest Donates to HCHS Foundation Clinic Project

Steve Knuth of AgWest Commodities recently donated $25,000 to the Harlan County Health System’s capital campaign for a new clinic. He has designated this donation to the memory of Susan Platt. Susan was co-founder of AgWest, office manager of the Alma Office, and operations manager for the entire system. Susan passed away in October of 2003, and her presence was greatly missed. Steve felt this donation was a way of keeping her memory alive in the community, as well as thanking AgWest’s many Harlan County clients. They, like Susan, were part of the ground floor of the business, helping make it what it is today. Mr. Knuth’s clinic donation will honor Susan through a naming designation. The new clinic’s artwork, as well as the healing garden will carry Susan’s name. Daughter Julie Nelsen said she liked the healing garden designation as gardening was one of her mother’s favorite hobbies. The best words to explain this generous donation can be found in the AgWest tribute to Susan. “ We can remember her and only that she’s gone, OR, we can cherish that memory and let it live on.”
Pictured: Steven Platt, Steve Knuth, Manuela Wolf and Julie Nelson.
(Picture by Harlan County Journal)

Harlan County Health System Foundation receives $ 75,000 pledge

A local resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, has chosen to donate $75,000 to the Capital Campaign for the proposed new medical clinic. Asked what prompted this generous gift, the donor responded with a two-part answer. One factor was the individual's desire to see Alma grow in the future; not just maintain, but grow! They feel that a modern medical facility is an important part of a thriving community. Related to that was the feeling that this entire community had been good to the donor, and it was an appropriate way to give something back. Noting that it can be difficult to write one large check, the donor found a unique method to be both generous and practical. Purchasing a pre-paid life insurance policy and designating the Capital Campaign as beneficiary fit this giver's personal circumstances.

In addition to the large donations that I have been writing about, I want to let everyone know how much I appreciate the individual contributions that we are receiving from our employees and community members. We have also been receiving individual donations and pledges from many community members and I am very thankful for all the work that is being done both by the Foundation Board, by Kendra, by our employees and volunteers to convince community members that a new clinic for Alma is a worthwhile cause. Currently the total of pledges and donations is $ 527,124.


Left to right: Foundation Board Members Shannon Lynch, Pastor Paul Ferrarone, Jon Davis, Becky McKenzie, Bob Taylor and Foundation Director Kendra Graf. Not pictured are Board members Patrick Calkins, Jennifer Luther, Mildred Calkins and  Jaclyn Daake.

2016 Nebraska Hospital Association Caring Kind Award


Jane Robison, CNA and Ward Clerk at Harlan County Health System has been chosen by her co-workers to receive the 2016 Nebraska Hospital Association Caring Kind Award. Katie Fleischmann, Director of Nursing at Harlan County Health System stated: “Jane is well deserving of this award. She exemplifies the meaning of caring and kindness. We are so fortunate to have her as a member of our team.” Jane has been a member of the HCHS family since November of 2008.

Here is an example of what her co-workers had to say about Jane:

Jane goes above the call of duty without being asked.  She takes time out of her day to bring flowers to patients or gifts to patients on Christmas and tells them it’s from all of the HCHS Staff.  Jane is the type of person who lights the room up with her smile.  She comes to work with a smile on her face and she is always willing to help others, Rather that person is a co-worker or a patient. Jane goes out of her way to purchase personal supplies for patients who may not have such items at their own home.  To nominate Jane is an easy decision as she is one of the most kindhearted, selfless, and giving.  It’s a joy working with her as she makes every day that much better.  She has helped multiple areas of our facility, including nursing staff, office staff, outpatient, and in the kitchen.  She is vital employee and truly one of the most compassionate employees at HCHS.

For more than 30 years, the Nebraska Hospital Association has been honored to bestow awards to Nebraska health care employees that have risen to the top by providing service excellence and dedication to their profession with the caring kind award. These award recipients commit themselves to the betterment of their hospitals and health systems, their customers, their coworkers and their communities. The Caring Kind Awards Luncheon was held on Friday, October 23, at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in La Vista during the NHA Conference

Congratulations to Jane on this very prestigious award.

Past Recipients of the Caring Kind Award

2015 – Candy Bell, 2014 – Karen Wright, RN, 2013 – Judy Mintzmyer, 2012 – Natalie Dietz, 2011 - Theresa Metzger, 2010 - Craig Farlee, 2009 – Sam Dietz, 2008 – Michelle Cole, 2007 – Tonda Ross, 2006 – Rita Stapel, RN, 2005 – Gwen Westerbeck, 2004 – Tereasa Lennemann, RN, 2003 - Janeice Imm, LPN, 2002 - Jana Cochran, CNA, 2001 - Sharee Ring, RN, 2000 - JoAnn Goings, LPN, 1998 - Julie Kresser, 1997 - Ronda Noren, 1996 - Pat Hanson, 1995 - Lynda Lubeck, RN, 1994 - Nursing Assistants and LPNs


Harlan County Health System Foundation Receives Large Gift

An anonymous local donor has pledged $100,000 to the Harlan County Health System Foundation’s campaign, Quality Care… Building on Excellence. So far this is the largest gift that has been made to this campaign. Individuals that contribute to the campaign are making an investment that will allow the health system to bring enhanced quality treatment and efficiency to the patients and to entice new providers to join the practice and the community.

HCHS CEO Manuela Wolf commented: “This is great news for Harlan County Health System. I would like to thank this incredibly generous donor and would ask our community members to follow the example of this very committed supporter of health care in our community and contribute to this great cause. This will allow us to continue to deliver high quality healthcare close to home for many more years to come.” Foundation Board Chair Becky McKenzie stated: ”We are lucky to have community members that are willing to donate in order to help provide better access to healthcare right here in our own community”.

This capital fundraising campaign is designed to generate charitable support to offset the costs of replacing the current Alma clinic, which has served Alma and the surrounding communities for the last 45 years. So far the campaign has raised $406,441 in donations and commitments by community members, employees, area businesses and organizations. Thank you to the many people who have already donated during this first-ever fundraising effort. To make a donation, please call the foundation at (308) 928-2151 or contact them online at

Alma Clinic Addition Poster

Senator Dan Hughes visits Harlan County Health System

Sen. Hughes

During his visit to Alma on June 20th, Senator Dan Hughes took the opportunity to visit with Harlan County Health System leadership to learn about the current state of healthcare in Harlan County and to discuss barriers in the provision of healthcare in rural Nebraska, specifically here in Harlan County and the surrounding areas. Topics discussed included  how the health system ensures that high quality and efficient care is provided to our patients, challenges in behavioral health that are a concern not only in this county, but throughout the State of Nebraska and the provision of care to residents that are not currently eligible for public assistance programs. HCHS and many other healthcare providers are facing difficulty in the current practices of the Medicaid and Medicaid Managed programs and we are looking toward our legislators to assist with this process.

The expected workforce shortages in nursing and other allied health professions, as well as in non-clinical area are a concern that HCHS, along with many other employers is facing. Manuela Wolf, HCHS CEO stated:” In the coming years it will be increasingly important to have strategies to address these shortages, both on a local level and also in the legislature by offering incentives and education assistance for workers to choose employment in rural settings.” Recruitment and retention in health care, especially in rural Nebraska were important topics during the conversation with Senator Hughes.

During the visit we also had opportunity to discuss the Health System’s  Capital Campaign to replace the current medical clinic and received input from Senator Hughes regarding available funds through USDA programs.

It is important to the future of healthcare, especially rural healthcare to be in close contact with legislators and their staff to make them aware of the difficulties that we face. One of the most powerful tools available to constituents is a personal call, visit or letter to their elected officials. Elected officials want to be responsive to their constituents, so as concerned citizen it is important to know who your representatives are, let them know who you are and be a resource for them by sharing information in addition to sharing concerns and requests. HCHS leadership is grateful for the opportunity to visit with and inform Senator Hughes of our ongoing concerns.


Harlan County Health System recognized in Top 20 US Critical Access Hospitals, naming them a “Best Practice” Hospital in the category of Patient Satisfaction.

The 20 highest ranked critical access hospitals (CAHs) in the country, as determined by iVantage Health Analytics, were recently announced by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA). Harlan County Health System merited a Top 20 Best Pr...actices in Patient Satisfaction designation from the National Rural Health Association; this means that the hospital was ranked in the Top 20 for Patient Satisfaction among all Critical Access Hospitals in the U.S. Only four other hospitals in Nebraska were designated in the Top 20. Other designees were from the States of MN, OH, TN, MN, N.Y., TX, MA, UT, OK, CA and WA. Manuela Wolf, CEO of Harlan County Health System stated: “The mission of Harlan County Health System is to be dedicated to providing the highest quality patient care experience with focused attention to patient safety, value and an uncompromised commitment to clinical excellence for those we serve. The receipt of this award shows that our staff is committed to fulfilling this mission every day.” The survey that is used to determine the winners of this designation utilizes patient satisfaction surveys sent to the patients of the health system. Questions asked in the survey touch upon every aspect of the patient stay. Not only the care given by physicians and nurses is rated, but also quality of the food, the cleanliness and quietness of the facility, pain control, patient involvement and many other parts of the patient stay. This means that receipt of this designation does not only show that the clinical staff at Harlan County Health System does excellent in caring for the patients, but that every single staff member is a part of this great group of employees and is responsible for the excellent care that is given.

Twelve Health and Safety Tips for the Holidays

Give the gift of health and safety to yourself and others by following these holiday tips. You can sing along in The 12 Ways to Health Holiday Song, listen in a holiday health podcast, and send the song to your friends and family in a holiday health-e-card!

1.Wash hands often to keep yourself from spreading germs and getting sick.
2.Bundle up to stay dry and warm.
3.Manage stress. Don't over-commit yourself and prevent holiday anxiety and pressure.
4.Don't drink and drive or let others drink and drive.
5.Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke.
6.Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to his/her height, weight, and age.
7.Get exams and screenings. Ask what exams you need and when to get them.
8.Get your vaccinations, which help prevent diseases and save lives.
9.Monitor the children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other objects out of kids' reach. Make sure toys are used properly.
10.Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so be careful to never leave fireplaces, space heaters, stoves, or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.
11.Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures, and refrigerate promptly.
12.Eat healthy, and get moving. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat and sugar. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348, 24 Hours/Every Day -

Stay Safe this Holiday Season

Celebrate Safely
During the holiday season, and year-round, take steps to make sure that you and everyone you celebrate with avoids driving under the influence of alcohol. Following these tips can help you staSpread the word among your friends and family about tips to keep kids safe on the road. Send a health e-card to help them protect the ones they love.

•Plan ahead.
Always designate a non-drinking driver before any holiday party or celebration begins.
•Take the keys.
Don't let friends drive if they are impaired.
•Be a helpful host.

If you're hosting a party this holiday season, remind your guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver; offer alcohol-free beverages; and make sure all of your guests leave with a sober driver.

Learn more about alcohol-impaired driving and CDC's research and activities in this area.

Know That Parents Are the Key
This holiday season, and throughout the year, talk with your teen about the dangers of driving—and keep the conversation going. CDC also encourages you to take these step to help keep your teen driver safe:

•Extend your teen's supervised driving period. Help your teen develop the skills he or she needs by providing as many supervised practice driving hours as possible. Include at least 30 to 50 hours of practice over at least six months. Make sure to practice on a variety of road conditions and at different times of day.
•Set the rules of the road. Practice driving will empower your teen. But your rules will provide much needed limits to keep him or her safe.

Support the rules that most states have for new teen drivers by including the following:
◦Make sure your teen always wears a seat belt.
◦Limit your teen's nighttime driving.
◦Restrict the number of teen passengers allowed in the car.
Join the conversation about safe teen driving on Facebook
•Enforce the rules with a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement [PDF - 1.55 MB]. Discuss your rules of the road with your teen. Talk about why they are important to follow, as well as consequences for breaking the rules. Work with your teen to draft and sign a parent-teen driving agreement. You may choose to hang yours on the refrigerator door to highlight the importance of safe driving. Let your teen know that following the rules and driving safely will result in greater driving privileges.

Learn more about CDC's Parents Are the Key campaign and research and activities in this area.

More Information
•CDC: Information on Motor Vehicle Safety
•CDC: Information on Child Passenger Safety
•CDC: Information on Impaired Driving
•CDC: Information on Teen Drivers
•Protect the Ones You Love: Road Traffic Injuries
•Task Force on Community Preventive Services and the Community Guide: Motor Vehicle Occupant Safety
•CDC Podcasts on Motor Vehicle Safety

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348, 24 Hours/Every Day -