Influenza Rates Mandate Caution, Masking

Because of increased influenza activity in our area, Jefferson Community Health & Life and Cedarwood are requiring visitors, volunteers and staff who have not been immunized to wear masks when in the facilities. In addition, JCH&L reminds the public that anyone who has been exposed to influenza or has symptoms should not visit. This includes the hospital, Gardenside and Cedarwood assisted living, and includes all events, including holiday parties.

“We are taking this step in order to protect our patients and residents,” said Amber Brunow, infection preventionist.

Gardenside and Cedarwood do not have any active cases of influenza at this time. These precautions are being taken to keep residents and tenants healthy and prevent an outbreak.

Public health influenza surveillance systems are showing a marked increase in influenza activity throughout the state in the past week, including in and around Jefferson County.

Influenza symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that anyone with influenza symptoms stay home and avoid contact with others except to receive medical care. Check with your doctor promptly if you are at high risk of serious flu complications and you get flu symptoms.  People at high risk of flu complications include young children, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

The CDC lists these steps to prevent influenza:
*Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
*While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

*Stay home at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without medication).

*Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.

*Wash your hands often with soap and water.

*Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

*Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

Another Session of Kids Cooking Set at JHC&L

Children will have an opportunity to learn about healthy eating and the importance of working together to plan and prepare health meals during a Cooking Class for Kids to be offered Monday, Dec. 30, and Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, at Jefferson Community Health & Life. The program is open to kids in grades 3-6 and their adult partners. During each class, participants will prepare a simple healthy meal together and then enjoy the meal as a group. The class is sponsored by Jefferson Community Health & Life and Nebraska Extension – Jefferson County. This is the same class being offered on two dates.

The Monday, Dec. 30, class will be offered from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Friday, Jan. 3, class will be offered from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The registration fee is $15 per team. Pre-registration with payment is required by Monday, Dec. 23.

Aprons will be available for the children to wear during the class, and available for them to purchase after the class if they choose for an additional $5.

For more information or a registration form, call Lisa Edeal, RDN, LMNT, at 402-729-6846.

Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group Will Not Meet in December

The Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group will not meet in December because of holiday schedules. Watch for details in early January about the January meeting!

The Alzheimer’s Caregiver’s Support Group typically meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Jefferson Community Health & Life.  It is designed for those who are caregivers and family members of those who have Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias.

The group is designed to provide an opportunity anyone interested to share their experiences with Alzheimer’s Disease. There is no cost, and no pre-registration.

For more information, contact Lana Likens at Jefferson Community Health & Life at 402-729-6855.

Parkinson’s Support Group will not meet in December

The Parkinson’s Support Group will not meet in December.

The group will meet again in January 2020.

The Parkinson’s Support Group generally meets on the second Monday of each month.

The group is designed to provide an opportunity for area residents to share their experiences with Parkinson’s disease. There is no cost. For more information, contact Lana Likens at Jefferson Community Health & Life at (402)-729-6855.

Fall Prevention Camp Planned at JCH&L Burkley Fitness Center

More than one in three people age 65 years or older falls each year—and those falls can bring serious injury. There are many ways you can learn to help reduce your risk of falling—and JCH&L Burkley Fitness Center’s Fall Prevention Camp is ready to teach you!

Fall Prevention Camp will be a 2-session class which will be held on Saturdays, Dec. 21 and Jan. 11 at JCH&L Burkley Fitness Center. Each class will meet from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The course will include exercises; information on exercise, balance and mobility; medications; posture; footwear; vision; sleep; and using walking sticks, canes and walkers; home hazards; and bone health. The course will be instructed by Charlie Partin, an experienced yoga and tai chi instructor.

The course is free to members of the Burkley Fitness Center. Non-members may participate by purchasing a guest pass (available at the fitness center main desk for $7 per visit) for each class.

Registration is needed by noon on Friday, Dec. 20.

For more information, contact the Burkley Fitness Center at 402-729-6139, or stop by at 2200 H St., Fairbury.

Jefferson Community Health & Life Receives National Recognition for Performance Leadership

Honored for overall excellence in quality, outcomes and patient perspective

Jefferson Community Health & Life has been recognized by The Chartis Center for Rural Health/iVantage Health Analytics and the National Organization of State Office of Rural Health (NOSORH) for overall excellence in quality, outcomes and patient perspective, reflecting top quartile performance among all rural hospitals in the nation. This is the third consecutive year for JCH&L to receive the Performance Leadership award in all three categories which are currently recognized.

“This recognition affirms the work and care of JCH&L’s staff, physicians and board, and the support of the community,” said Victor Lee, MHA, LFACHE, interim CEO. “JCH&L’s mission is to inspire healthy living by providing exceptional health and life services for every person, every time. This recognition shows it.”

JCH&L was among 51 Nebraska hospitals recognized for quality; 25 Nebraska hospitals recognized for patient perspective; and 13 Nebraska hospitals recognized for outcomes.

The rankings are determined each year using iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®, the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance. In partnership with NOSORH, iVantage Health Analytics has developed a data-driven program designed to identify excellence across a broad spectrum of indicators relevant to hospital performance and patient care. The Hospital Strength INDEX captures performance metrics for all rural and Critical Access Hospitals. Leveraging data from public data sources, INDEX aggregates data from more than 50 individual metrics into three major categories and eight pillars to derive a single strength overall rating for each facility.

“We are delighted to be recognizing these top quartile performers in partnership with NOSORH,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader of the Chartis Center for Rural Health.

Jefferson Community Health & Life has previously been recognized with the NOSORH/iVantage Performance Leadership award for financial strength and patient satisfaction in 2016; named as a Top 100 critical access hospital for 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019; named as a Top 20 critical access hospital in 2018; and named a HEALTHSTRONG hospital in 2015.

JCH&L Among Top 10 Nebraska Hospitals For Rural Provider Excellence in Quality

Jefferson Community Health & Life was named among the Top 10 Nebraska Hospitals for Rural Provider Excellence in Quality during the Nebraska Critical Access Hospitals Conference on Quality held Nov. 14-15 in Kearney.

The award uses the iVantage measures as well as scores in the Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project. This is the second year for the Top 10 hospitals in Nebraska to be recognized by the Rural Health Association at the CAH Quality Conference. JCH&L was among the Top 10 recognized last year, as well.

A subsidiary of The Chartis Group, iVantage Health Analytics (iVantage) is a leading provider of healthcare analytic and performance management analytic tools. Health system and hospital leadership teams across the country rely on the company’s software and services to deliver customized insights on clinical and financial performance, strategic planning, market assessment and payment optimization. iVantage’s analytics are the basis of continuing thought leadership and insight in the areas of healthcare policy and research.

The Medicare Beneficiary Quality Improvement Project is a quality improvement activity under the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) grant program of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Federal Office of Rural Health policy. The goal is to improve the quality of care in Critical Access Hospitals by increasing quality data reporting and driving quality improvement activities based on the data.

The MBQIP measures include ER transfer communication, CMS core measures in ER and immunization rates for patients.

Interim CEO Named at Jefferson Community Health & Life

FAIRBURY – Victor Lee, MHA, LFACHE, will be the interim CEO at Jefferson Community Health & Life as the board of directors searches for the health care organization’s next CEO.

Lee has been in client relations with Pathway Design Group of Kearney since 2018. He previously was an interim CEO at Clarinda, Iowa. Lee provided leadership as CEO at Boone County Health Center in Albion and Community Medical Center in Falls City. He also served as a regional services consultant for BryanLGH Health System.

“I look forward to being interim CEO and assisting Jefferson Community Health & Life through this transition,” Lee said.

The board approved the interim relationship at a special meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 13. Lee officially began his duties on Monday, Nov. 18.

The next step for the board will be to select a search firm for the recruitment process for the CEO position.

“Our board is committed to find a leader for JCH&L who will help us continue to inspire our area residents to a lifetime of health, and be a vital and trusted health care partner in Jefferson County and beyond,” said Brian Scheele, JCH&L board president.

JCH&L is a 17-bed Critical Access Hospital which offers inpatient and outpatient services, 2 family medicine clinics, Burkley Fitness Center, Gardenside long-term care, and Home Health Services. It is governed by an 8-member board. JCH&L has served Jefferson County and the surrounding area since 1963.

Celebration of Rural Health Nov. 21 at JCH&L Plymouth Clinic

FAIRBURY – In honor of National Rural Health Day and Diabetes Month, on Thursday, Nov. 21, JCH&L Plymouth Clinic will offer free blood sugar screenings, free blood pressure screenings, healthy snacks and an opportunity for all who stop in to sign up to win a frozen turkey.

The special screenings, snacks and drawing will be available from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21, at JCH&L Plymouth Clinic.

National Rural Health Day is designated by the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health to celebrate the power of rural by honoring the selfless, community-minded, can-do spirit that prevails in rural America and showcase the efforts of rural healthcare providers. It also gives an opportunity to bring to light the unique healthcare challenges that rural citizens face.

November is also National Diabetes Month – and diabetes is a major health concern in both rural and urban areas of the United States. This year’s focus of National Diabetes Month in on links between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The American Diabetes Association says that 84 million American adults have prediabetes, and are therefore at risk of developing diabetes. Unfortunately, nearly 90 percent of them don’t even know it. A simple blood sugar screening, along with a diabetes risk questionnaire will be available to help you determine if you are at risk.

Blood pressure screening will also be offered. High blood pressure is a “silent killer.” Typically, a person with high blood pressure has no symptoms, and if left untreated high blood pressure can contribute to stroke, heart attack and other health issues. High blood pressure can be prevented and can be managed. Having a blood pressure screening and if necessary making some lifestyle changes can help you live a healthier life.

Everyone who comes in can sample some healthy treats, and sign up for a drawing for a free Thanksgiving turkey.

“On Rural Health Day, we are thankful for our health, and for our community,” said Lana Likens, director of public relations for Jefferson Community Health & Life. “We want to share the Power of Rural with those in Plymouth and the surrounding area and provide some valuable health information which could help people live healthier lives.”

The Plymouth Clinic offers a wide range of family medicine services, including: physical exams and preventative care, treatment of acute and chronic illness, minor surgeries and procedures, laboratory services and radiology services. Winter hours are now in effect: Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Appointments at JCH&L Plymouth Clinic can be made Monday through Friday by calling 402-729-6888. Providers are certified physician assistants Kelsey Cherry, PA-C and Tyler Maguire, PA-C. Appointments can be made Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by calling 402-729-6888. When the Plymouth Clinic is not open, calls are answered by JCH&L Fairbury Clinic.

Additional Influenza Immunization Clinics Scheduled

The high-dose influenza vaccine is now available, and additional Influenza vaccination clinics for all ages have been scheduled at JCH&L Fairbury Clinic. Fairbury Clinic will have front lobby flu shot clinic days on Tuesday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Thursday, Nov. 7, from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Influenza vaccinations will also be available any day the clinics are open or during regular office visits. At Fairbury Clinic, influenza vaccines will be available from 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. At JCH&L Plymouth Clinic, shots will be available during the new clinic hours of Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Bring your insurance card if you want the influenza vaccine to be billed to insurance. Most major insurances and Medicare cover the influenza vaccine. There will be a fee that day if the influenza vaccine is given on a private pay basis.

Children 18 and under who are covered by Medicaid can’t get their flu vaccines at these clinics. They must use a clinic which participates in the Vaccines for Children program. The Blue Valley Community Action Immunization Clinic which holds clinics twice a month at JCH&L offers Vaccines for Children immunizations.

Influenza vaccines are available any day the clinics are open, or during office visits. Flu shots on days other than the scheduled front lobby days may require a few minutes wait time.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend annual influenza vaccinations for everyone 6 months and older. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent influenza is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

If you have questions about influenza vaccinations, contact JCH&L Fairbury Clinic at 402-729-3361.