Third Dose of Vaccine Available for Immunocompromised

JCH&L Fairbury Clinic continues to offer the COVID vaccine for anyone 18 years and older.  This now includes a third dose of the vaccine for those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

CDC currently recommends that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive a third dose. This includes those who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

The CDC does not currently recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population at this time. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will continue to meet and discuss data on the evolution of the pandemic and the use of COVID-19 vaccines. ACIP will make further recommendations on the use of boosters for the public after a thorough review of the evidence.

People should talk to their healthcare provider if they have questions about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them. If you have questions for your doctor, please call patient services at (402) 587-5181.

To make an appointment for a vaccine (first, second or third dose), please call 402-729-3361.

Back to School COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Available

JCH&L will be offering a COVID vaccine clinic for anyone 12 years old or older on Friday, Aug. 27, and Friday, Sept. 24. This is a two-dose Pfizer vaccine.

A parent signature is required for anyone ages 18 and under.

Appointments must be made by 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20.

To make an appointment or for more information, call 402-729-3351.

New CT Scanner Improves Close-to-Home Care Options for Families in Rural Nebraska

Jefferson Community Health & Life introduces a new CT scanner at its facility, offering patients the ability to receive standard CT procedures as well as cardiac imaging and other advanced examinations in Fairbury.

Jefferson Community Health & Life (JCH&L) is dedicated to providing local residents with unmatched quality and service. Recent evidence of this commitment comes from the new computed tomography (CT) system in the radiology department, replacing a previous system that was nearly 15 years old.

The radiology team is installing the SOMATOM go.Up CT system from Siemens Healthineers, bringing a new level of diagnostic confidence to CT exams. The CT scanner has a number of benefits that made it the ideal choice for JCH&L staff, who were looking to improve the quality of care and provide a comfortable, comprehensive radiology experience.

“The main thing we look at when evaluating our diagnostic tools is trust,” said Nikole Marschman, radiology director at JCH&L. “Our patients trust us with their health, and that means we have to be able to trust our imaging systems to provide not just an accurate image, but a great patient experience. The SOMATOM go.Up CT scanner from Siemens Healthineers checks off all the boxes, and we believe it’s the right choice for the overall wellbeing of families in our community.”

The CT system provides a number of benefits for physicians and patients.

  • Low-dose – Patients can count on a low radiation dose that emphasizes safety.
  • Clinical capabilities – In addition to standard CT procedures, the SOMATOM go.Up CT enables fast and efficient angiographic, abdominal and neurological imaging examinations in a relaxed environment comfortable for patients of multiple body types.
  • Image quality – The new system delivers up to 64 reconstructed slices allowing for fast scanning, short breath holds and few motion artifacts—which help to improve image quality, so doctors can make a more confident diagnosis.
  • Mobility – The new technology uses tablet & remote-based operation that can keep JCH&L team members at patients’ sides for longer periods of time than older-model CTs.

“This is a game-changer for Jefferson Community Health & Life,” said Nikole. “I can’t wait to start showing patients and our local physicians what we’re able to achieve right here in Fairbury with this new scanner. In so many ways, we’re providing those we serve with peace of mind when it comes to their health.”

In addition to CT services, JCH&L remains committed to providing an exceptional level of care for all other diagnostic exams, including:

  • Digital Mammography
  • Echocardiography
  • Fluoroscopy
  • MRI
  • Nuclear Medicine
  • PET-CT
  • Portable Electrocardiography
  • Routine X-ray
  • Ultrasound
  • Vascular Ultrasound

Residents interested in scheduling their next CT or other radiologic test at Jefferson Community Health & Life can contact their physician for a referral. Physicians can call 402-729-6841 to set up referrals for their patients, and patients can call to learn more about the JCH&L team, new diagnostic offerings and anything else they have questions about.

The statements by Siemens Healthineers’ customers described herein are based on results that were achieved in the customer’s unique setting.  Since there is no “typical” hospital and many variables exist (e.g. hospital size, case mix, level of IT adoption) there can be no guarantee that other customers will achieve the same results.

Golf Tournament to Benefit Jefferson Community Health & Life

A charity golf tournament to benefit Jefferson Community Health & Life has been set for Friday, Aug. 13, at the Fairbury Country Club.

The three-person scramble will begin with a shotgun start at 8:45 a.m. The 18-hole tournament will feature cash prizes along with pin prizes.

The entry fee is $210 per team. The field is limited to a maximum of 32 teams. The entry fee includes rolls and coffee beginning at 7:30 a.m., lunch, gifts for all golfers, mulligans and chances at pin prizes.

Hole sponsorships are also available. Sponsorship is $475 and entitles the sponsor to recognition at the hole sponsored and on the tournament program, and one team entry.

A raffle will also be available for those who choose to donate.

Tournament proceeds are not designated to specific projects, and have been used for a variety of projects at Jefferson Community Health & Life over the years. One large project made possible by unrestricted funds was funding $200,000 (about half the cost) of a new X-ray machine which is safer, faster, more efficient and more comfortable for patients.

Jefferson Community Health & Life, name a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in 2021 and a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital for quality in 2020, operates a 17-bed, acute-care Critical Access Hospital in Fairbury, Neb., offering inpatient and outpatient services, including surgery, therapy, screenings, and emergency services. Jefferson Community Health & Life offers additional health and life services, including Fairbury and Plymouth clinics (primary and family care), Burkley Fitness Center, Gardenside (long-term care), and Home Health services. In addition, Jefferson Community Health & Life supports numerous education programs and support groups.

Entry forms are available by contacting Lana Likens, director of public relations, at 402-729-6855, or email

Norden Honored for 40 Under 40 Nurse Leader Award

JCH&L Fairbury Clinic Administrator Ashley Norden, LPN, has been selected for the Nebraska Action Coalition’s 40 under 40 emerging nurse leader award.

Last year, Norden became a Certified Rural Health Clinic Professional.

Norden, who has been clinic administrator since 2020, has been with JCH&L since 2009. She is committed to helping our rural family medicine clinic continue to grow and improve and provide excellent customer service.

Nebraska Community Bloodbank Visits Aug. 9

The next Nebraska Community Bloodbank blood drive will be held on Monday, Aug. 9, from 9 a.m. to 2  p.m. in the mobile unit in the parking lot of JCH&L Fairbury Clinic, 825 22nd St.

Everyone who gives blood has a chance to a $25 gas card from Casey’s.

All types are needed. Giving blood is giving a gift of life. Nebraska Community Bloodbank is Jefferson Community Health & Life’s blood supplier, and the two organizations partner for blood drives in Fairbury to save lives.

To make an appointment, call JCH&L Outpatient Services at 402-729-6851, or visit and use sponsor code JCHC.

With iDonate you can save time by completing your health history on line ahead of your bloodmobile visit. To get started, visit

Therapist Engler Earns Manual Therapy Credentials

JCH&L Sports Medicine and Rehab Services therapist Callie Engler, PT, DPT, CMPT, has been certified in manual physical therapy. She received her certification through the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy. A NAIOMT trained CMPT excels at obtaining an accurate functional diagnosis while employing an eclectic approach to management, through all types of manual therapy and exercise.

A Certified Manual Physical Therapist focuses on hands-on techniques used to mobilize muscles, joints, connective tissue and nerves to facilitate healing and restore function. Certification in manual therapy is a distinction for physical therapists who complete post-graduate education and specializing in a safe, effective, quadrant-integrated, hands-on treatment approach. It allows Engler to treat more complex patients with an integrative approach.

“It’s another tool allowing me to provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based and patient-centered care,” Engler said.

Free Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing to be Offered Monday

In response to a recent uptick in cases in Jefferson County, JCH&L will be offering free rapid testing for Jefferson County residents at the Fairbury Presbyterian Church on Monday, July 26, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This will be a drive-through service, on a first-come, first-served basis (no appointment times.)

Anyone who has any symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to be tested, regardless of their vaccination status.

Those who are tested will receive their results later Monday afternoon via phone call or text message.

Individuals under 19 years of age will need a parent or guardian to sign a consent form in order to be tested.

The test offered will use a nasal swab sample. To collect the sample, trained staff will carefully insert the entire absorbent tip of the swab (usually ½ to ¾ of an inch) into each nostril. Staff will firmly sample the nasal wall by rotating the swab in a circular path against the nasal wall 5 times. This procedure takes approximately 15 seconds and is not painful, however it may be uncomfortable for some.

Results from this free testing will be counted as a part of Jefferson County’s positivity rate.

Megan Knutson APRN Joins JCH&L Staff

Megan Knutson, DPN, APRN, FNP-BC, joined the Jefferson Community Health & Life team on June 7.

Knutson is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical Center with a Doctorate in Nursing Practice, and passed her boards in May. Knutson is board certified in family practice through the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

“My medical care will focus on prevention, getting to know people, and treating patients and families as a whole,” Knutson said.

Knutson graduated from Kearney Catholic High School, and received her bachelor of science in nursing from Nebraska Methodist College. She said she had started toward a degree in physical therapy, but decided nursing was where she was meant to be. After working as a nurse, she was ready for growth and additional challenges in her field, and chose to pursue the nurse practitioner degree.

JCH&L’s CEO Burke Kline, DHA, CHFP, FACHE, said JCH&L is excited to add a new mid-level practitioner, and is also pleased to be adding its first Nurse Practitioner.

“Our current goal to best serve our community is to have 4 physicians and 6 mid-level practitioners, which may be certified physician assistants or board certified nurse practitioners. We are pleased to add Megan to our excellent team of providers,” Kline said.

Once she completes her orientation to JCH&L, Knutson will offer both clinic appointments and ER coverage.

JCH&L recently lost Tyler and Kelsey Maguire, both certified physician assistants, who took positions in their hometown area of Columbus, Ne. Doug Ruzicka, PA-C, retired early in 2021 after 35 years of service to JCH&L, and 40 years of service in Fairbury.

“We were sorry to lose Tyler and Kelsey, but understand their desire to be closer to family. We were also sorry to lose Doug, but know how much he deserves his retirement,” Kline said. “We are currently working to bring our mid-level staffing up to our goal.”

Knutson and her husband, Travis, have two daughters: Emerson, 4, and Quinn, 2. Travis works for FivServe as an implementations analyst, and works from home.

Outside of work, Knutson said the family enjoys parks and swimming.

“I look forward to getting to know people and getting to know the community,” Knutson said.

With the addition of Knutson, JCH&L’s medical providers will include three board-certified family medicine physicians and three certified mid-level practitioners (PAs and Nurse Practitioner) with one shared goal: supporting you and your family’s health for life. Our team includes: Dr. Craig Shumard, Dr. Rebecca Stroklund, Dr. Brett Wergin (all board-certified family medicine providers); certified physician assistants Jessica Borrenpohl PA-C, and Kensly Williams PA-C; and Nurse Practitioner Megan Knutson APRN.

JCH&L Fairbury Clinic is accepting new patients.

For appointments with Knutson or the other JCH&L Fairbury Clinical family medicine providers, call 402-729-3361, option 1.

Change in JCH&L Medical Staff

Dr. Rick Blatny Jr. is no longer employed at Jefferson Community Health & Life.

Burke Kline, DHA, CHFP, FACHE, said that because this is a personnel issue, no details will be released.

The Fairbury Clinic will be contacting patients about previously scheduled appointments and giving patients the opportunity to re-schedule. Appointments will be available with Craig Shumard, MD; Rebecca Stroklund, DO; Brett Wergin MD; Jessica Borrenpohl, PA-C; Megan Knutson, APRN; or Kensly Williams, PA-C.

Anyone with questions about scheduling should contact the Fairbury Clinic at 402-729-3361 (option 1.) For special medical needs contact Fairbury Clinic patient services at 402-587-5182.

JCH&L continues its ongoing physician recruitment efforts.