Friday, December 14, 2012

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012


            Instead of being confused to get life insurance quotes by yourself, you can try to get group life insurance immediately. You can prefer to get group life insurance because it is much cheaper than individual life insurance. Therefore, you can get more benefits by getting group life insurance.
            If you are working as an employee, your chance to get group life insurance is bigger. In group life insurance, you will get bulk rates which require less paper work. If you are an employer, you can motivate your employees to always work hard and stay in the position since they are covered by group life insurance for their fullest life. Either way, it is tax deductible. It is somewhat improving the work productivity.
            Sometimes, dealing with insurance policies is very tiring. Otherwise, customizing the insurance policies of group life insurance is allowed. We can fit the policies with the company needs. More so, it can be fit to particular employees related to the salary and the working years. If you are an employer or the company owner, you can make all of your employees feel comfortable and the result will be in high work productivity. Shortly, getting group life insurance can help you reach or achieve all the company goals as well.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Payday Loan Online Requirements

Need money so bad? I think, it will be quite better if you apply for payday loan online. That is quite true, for the loan will really be transferred at the time you want it to be, and the applying process is somehow pretty easy. Along with the development of the technology, most payday loan services do not require you to come visiting the company office, instead, visiting their website. We just simply need to mention how much money we need, and whether it is checking or saving the money will be deposited. Then, you will also be required to fill out two or three more forms for personal identity or basic info, contact info, employment info, and so on. If you cannot answer the whole requested information, that is possibility that you cannot get the loan. Therefore, thoroughly answer all.
Besides, to legally be able to apply for the loan, you should be the citizen of USA. That is pretty important. Secondly, you should also have job, and you earn constant money per month. That means, if you are under 18 years old, no loans will be transferred to you, because you cannot guarantee yourself to pay back the loan. Lastly, you have to own a bank account. That is pretty useful to transfer your money, as well as to check your financial history. 

Comparing the Auto Insurance Quotes through Car Insurance rates

            Auto insurance is an essential insurance which is able to be bought by the auto owners. There are a lot of auto owners think that they should buy the auto insurance because of its importance. Auto insurance is very important since it can cover some unexpected payments that are caused by the unexpected auto accidents. However, there are some auto owners that do not want to buy the auto insurance since they think that it can waste their money to pay the monthly payments. In fact, people will not waste their money on the car insurance if they do not choose the wrong auto insurance policy.
            Choosing the wrong auto insurance which is not match to your need will waste your money. That is why you need to be careful in choosing the right auto insurance policy. In choosing the right auto insurance policy which is suitable for your need, you need to compare the auto insurance quotes from some auto insurance providers. Comparing the car auto insurance quotes will need much time.  However, you do not need to be worried since you are able to compare the car auto insurance quotes online. You only need to go to Car Insurance Rates, if you want to compare the auto insurance quotes online. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Physician Assistant joins Osborne County Memorial Hospital in Osborne

Kansas Recruitment and Retention Center assisted 
in matching Donnie Bryant to Osborne, Kan.

OSBORNE, Kan.—Donnie Bryant, physician assistant, joined Osborne County Memorial Hospital in February.

Bryant received a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology in 2010 and a Master of Physician Assistant Education in 2011 from Kettering College of Medical Arts in Kettering, Ohio

Kiley Floyd, Administrator, Osborne County Memorial Hospital states, “Bryant’s love of rural life and medical experience made him a good match for Osborne County Memorial Hospital.” Floyd adds that Bryant has a strong background in trauma and has a great personality.

Bryant and Osborne County Memorial Hospital were matched through the Kansas Recruitment and Retention Center (KRRC). The KRRC, which provides placement and retention assistance to rural health organizations, seeks to enhance the quality and quantity of health care professionals in rural Kansas by helping providers like Bryant find a practice in Kansas. The KRRC is a not-for-profit program of Rural Health Education and Services at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Further information is available at ruralhealth.kumc.eduor by phone at 888-503-4221.

Physician Assistant joins Morton County Health System in Elkhart

Physician Assistant joins Morton County Health System
Kansas Recruitment and Retention Center assisted
in matching Elizabeth Reusser to Elkhart, Kan

ELKHART, Kan.—Elizabeth Reusser, physician assistant, joined Morton County Health System.

Reusser grew up in Wellington, Kan. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Psychology in 2006 from Drury University in Springfield, Mo. In 2010 she completed a Master’s of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Mercy College in Bronx, N.Y.

“I am excited to work at Morton County Health System because it is located in a small community which allows me to become more familiar with my patients,” said Reusser. “I enjoy getting to know each patient and look forward to growing with them.”

Reusser indicated that she always wanted to practice in a rural community. “One of the best features of working in a small community is that people truly appreciate all the work and effort we provide for them. There are a lot of helping hands and people take care of each other,” she stated.

Reusser and Morton County Health System were matched through the Kansas Recruitment and Retention Center (KRRC). The KRRC, which provides placement and retention assistance to rural health organizations, seeks to enhance the quality and quantity of health care professionals in rural Kansas by helping providers like Reusser find a practice in Kansas. The KRRC is a not-for-profit program of Rural Health Education and Services at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Further information is available at ruralhealth.kumc.eduor by phone at 888-503-4221.

Monday, May 14, 2012

New issue of Kansas Connections now available.

View the latest issue of Kansas Connections online.

Articles include:

  • Project aids children with vision and hearing loss
  • Getting to know Kansas: 8 Architectural Wonders
  • Answers to long-term care in Kansas
  • Dental health promoted at Finney County Library
  • Rural Health Care Provider Spotlight: Aron Fast, M.D. and Annie Fast, M.D.
  • Medical student's MPH research leads to provider retention strategies

Spring 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A new model for rural medicine

 — Jerry Baker was getting ready for bed April 18 when the pain struck.
“My chest really ripped me,” he said.
Baker, 69, drove himself the few blocks to Ashland Health Center’s hospital. Later, he was taken 50 miles to the Dodge City hospital for surgery to correct complete blockage in an artery.
But he figures the emergency treatment he received from doctor Daniel Shuman and the nurses that night at his local hospital saved his life.
What if the hospital had been closed? Or if there hadn’t been enough staffing to have an emergency room? Or if no doctor had been available?
All are problems for rural hospitals in Kansas and across America. Openings for primary care doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners have almost tripled in Kansas since 2005.
It wasn’t too long ago that Ashland’s hospital went 18 months without a doctor.
But the hospital was running smoothly the night Baker arrived. In part, it was because Benjamin Anderson, the hospital’s young, innovative administrator, created a recruiting model based not on financial reward but on paid time off for volunteer and mission work.
“We don’t have the exorbitant salaries to get people out here,” Anderson said. “What we can give them is time off. We can give them quality of life.”
The bottom line: Those who have a heart for service in the mission field are drawn to filling the needs in small towns and are likely to stick around.
Shuman, 43, took Anderson up on that offer last July. He left a thriving practice just north of Austin to come to the southwestern Kansas town of 855 people, 2½ hours from Wichita.
“I’m doing better now because Dr. Shuman saved my life,” Baker said.
He shudders to think what would happen if the doors of the hospital ever closed. The hospital and Ashland’s schools go back and forth as the town’s largest employer.
“A hospital to a town like this is life or death almost,” Baker said. “If we lost the hospital, we will lose the school. If that happens, we’ll look like a ghost town.”
Rural hospitals everywhere have staffing concerns.
“Workforce shortage is acute at hospitals in rural America,” said Brock Slabach, regional vice president for the National Rural Health Association.
That includes Kansas.
As of last week, there was a shortage of 73 primary care physicians in the state’s rural areas, said Joyce Grayson, director of the University of Kansas Medical Center’s rural health, education and services office in Wichita. She oversees recruiting of doctors to rural Kansas.
“We fill a position and two more open up,” Grayson said.
In 2005, there were 81 openings for primary care doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Now there are 220.
There are plenty of reasons for the doctor shortage in rural areas, including less money and a lack of amenities in small communities.
Young doctors can come out of medical school with a six-figure debt. Rather than opt for primary care pay, they move into a specialty field. A cardiologist can command an annual salary of $1 million or more, Slabach said.
A brand-new orthopedic surgeon can make up to $450,000.
Family physicians average $175,000, Slabach said.

‘What do I do?’

Anderson, 32, was well aware of those issues long before he left his job recruiting doctors for a private firm in Dallas. Most of his clients were hospitals in rural areas of the country.
After visiting with CEOs of rural hospitals in Oregon in 2008, he began to question the purpose of his work.
“What I am doing is taking a doctor from one hospital and putting him in another one and charging 30,000 bucks,” he said. “That in itself is not gratifying.”
Anderson and his wife, Kaila, a teacher who will receive a master’s degree in social work from KU next month, knew they wanted more. He knew Kaila, who is from Sabetha, wanted to live in rural Kansas.
So he started making early-morning cold calls to small Kansas hospital CEOs with the following pitch: “I’m a 29-year-old MBA from Dallas. I want to be like you when I grow up. What do I do?”
Eventually, he was directed to what was described to him as the “challenged” hospital in Ashland.
When he took the job in January 2009, the 24-bed hospital built in the 1950s had been without a doctor for eight months and had had seven administrators and 11 doctors and physician assistants over the previous 18 years.
What’s worse, he knew the situation wasn’t atypical. Administrator turnover in rural Kansas hospitals averages every two years, Anderson said.
He had to find a way to do things differently.
For one, Anderson began collaborating with other hospitals in the area to share services and personnel to make the load easier for everyone.
But getting a doctor was a prime target. Physician assistant Jon Bigler had been handling all the duties, but he needed a break.
Anderson wanted a missionary-minded doctor because he knew that would be the best fit for a rural hospital.
“I’m not saying Ashland is Third World,” he said, “but we share some of the same challenges — access to health care. And the same solutions apply.
“The same people who are willing to live in the most remote parts of the world, they don’t need a Starbucks or Nordstrom, an airport down the street, country clubs or gated communities. These people are here to serve.”

Depending on skills

That would be Dan Shuman.
A former Army doctor who served a tour in Iraq, he has also been on missions in Haiti, Mexico and South America.
“One of the biggest questions people will ask is, ‘Why do you need to travel halfway across the world to serve when there are people right there in your community?’ ” he said. “Well, we drive right past those people every day. What am I doing to help those people?
“You go and serve and come back and you realize, ‘Oh, and some of those people are in my backyard, they’re my neighbors.’ There’s an awareness.
“Poverty in the Third World is at a different level. But need is need. Ultimately, money is not everyone’s need. There’s a spiritual need, an emotional need or just a need to know that someone cares about you. It doesn’t matter if you are in Mexico or in Wichita. Basic human needs are human needs.”
And so he and his wife, Meredith, and five children — including three girls adopted from Colombia — left suburbia to serve in rural Kansas.
“Yeah, there are challenges,” he said. “But you realize you don’t need things — like Target at 10 p.m.”
Having worked in Third-World settings also makes him a better doctor, he said.
“You are forced to be innovative in a Third-World country,” Shuman said. “You have to be creative. Often times here in the U.S., we say, ‘I don’t have this machine or what I need.’ You get over there and depend on your basic physical exam skills and listen to the patients.
“You don’t have fancy equipment to figure it out. It really helps my skills here. It’s easy to get in the trap of, ‘I don’t know what it is, so I’ll order a bunch of stuff or send them to a specialist.’ That’s not always the best thing for a patient.
“If I can figure it out, I can save people time, trouble, money and anxiety. It can make a difference in Ashland or Wichita.”

8 weeks paid leave

Before Anderson could think of recruiting someone like Shuman, he had a long talk in the fall of 2009 with physician Todd Stephens, who used to work in his hometown of nearby Minneola and had provided part-time primary care coverage at Ashland Hospital in the early 2000s. Anderson wanted to find out how to recruit a mission-minded doctor.
In 2008, Stephens helped start Via Christi Health’s International Family Medicine Fellowship, a yearlong program that trains young family physicians to deal with rare illnesses and primitive clinical conditions they’re likely to face as medical missionaries. He is the program’s medical director, based in Wichita.
From all that experience, Stephens gave clear guidelines that would encourage a doctor and keep the work load reasonable. Out of those discussions came the plan to offer a doctor eight weeks of paid time off to use however the doc wanted to use it.
“These small communities can’t dangle enormous salaries in front of doctors,” Stephens said, “but they can pay them with time off. Time is a valued commodity.”
The eight weeks comes from combining vacation, allotted sick days and time off for continuing medical studies.
“It’s not that much different from other places,” Anderson said. “We’re just wrapping it all into one big thing. If you’re not sick, ‘Merry Christmas, go use it.’ ”
It also keeps mission-minded doctors working in rural America at least 10 months of the year instead of overseas for 12 months.
“It’s better to have them for 10 months than not at all,” Anderson said.
While other rural hospitals, including those in Lakin and Minneola, use some variation of the model, Anderson also offers extra paid time off to all of his hospital staff. While a doctor starts with eight weeks, others start at four weeks and build up to eight.
“Ben has taken it to the next level,” Stephens said. “Offering it to all hospital staff is huge.”
But it’s even more unusual because Anderson took Stephens’ challenge to serve on the mission field himself.
“I’d never been outside of the country,” said Anderson, who grew up in the urban setting of Oakland, Calif.
In the fall of 2010, he and Kaila made the first of two trips to Zimbabwe. He helped put screens on missionary housing so cobras and malaria-infected mosquitoes would not get inside.
“I put my money where my mouth was,” Anderson said.
The boss wasn’t just talking about others serving; he was participating.
“It creates a bond and trust,” Anderson said.
And in the process, it creates a service-minded hospital setting that stabilizes health care in Ashland. The best retention plan is creating an atmosphere where people will want to stay because it fits who they are.
“That’s what really makes this model unique,” said Slabach, of the rural health foundation. “It focuses on overlapping of folks who have heart for missions and the needs.”

Raising questions

Not that the hospital’s board and community didn’t push back some when Anderson first presented the model.
“There were legitimate questions the board was asking,” he said. “Where is the boundary between faith and publicly funded health care? That’s the elephant in the room.”
The hospital is supported by city tax dollars.
“The board was wondering, ‘Are we bringing someone in who is stapling gospel tracts to prescriptions? Are we hiring a preacher MD? What are we signing up for?’ ” Anderson said. “There is a legitimate boundary.
“My faith motivates everything I do. But I’m not here to violate the trust I have with the people in the community by forcing my views on them.”
Kendal Kay, Ashland’s mayor and president of one of the town’s two banks, had his doubts, too.
“I’m a banker,” he said. “I’m always going to say, ‘How can we afford all this?’
“But then we got to the next level, and they collaborate with other hospitals. That’s where the financing and how they can afford it starts to make sense.”
Anderson said he doesn’t pressure hospital employees to use their paid time off to do faith-based mission work.
“If they want to use all that time for vacation, use it,” he said. “If they want to do volunteer work at the Denver rescue mission, go do it. We’re just giving them the mechanism to do what they want.”
Hospital employees must raise their own funds for mission trips, but some of the town’s seven churches have been quick to help with the finances. A community garage sale is being held next month to help pay for a trip by Anderson, a nurse’s aide and a hospital maintenance employee to Zimbabwe this summer.
A walk through the Ashland’s medical center gives a glimpse of a broad cultural setting. The staff includes a Hispanic office manager, a medical tech from the Philippines and director of the long-term care facility from Sierra Leone.

A Maasai warrior in Kansas

No one gets the culture of missions better than Lacey and Enkaiye Mollel.
Lacey and Enkaiye, both 26, were childhood playmates in Tanzania, where her parents were missionaries. She moved back home to Indiana to go to college, but stayed in contact with Enkaiye, who is a Maasai warrior.
They married in December 2009 and came to Ashland in November to work at the hospital. Lacey’s a nurse’s aide; Enkaiye is in maintenance and working hard to learn English.
“We want to serve the underserved,” Lacey said. “Small towns in this country function very similar in some ways to those in Tanzania. Very warm and welcoming.
“Sometimes we’ll go out to eat and find out someone has paid for our meal.”
Lacey admits that as a mixed-race couple she and Enkaiye get some double looks when they’re out and about. It’s not often that you see a Maasai warrior in western Kansas.
“We’ve had some challenges,” Lacey said. “But being in a community that is like-minded with a mission mindset makes your ability to handle the ups and downs easier because people will walk through the process with you.”
The hospital hopes to add more. Physician Brianne Clark, who is from Dodge City and has been on numerous on mission trips in the Amazon, is finishing her training in Oklahoma City.
The board is considering hiring Clark so she can start working in Ashland in August. She would work three days in Ashland and two days in nearby Laverne, Okla.
That would fulfill one of the other directions that Stephens gave Anderson: Don’t make a doctor work alone; hire a second doctor to avoid burning out one.
“Good doctors don’t practice alone,” he told Anderson. “The days of solo country doctors are over.”
So Anderson made sure Shuman has that help.
“Young doctors are trained to work among colleagues,” Anderson said. “They need to be able to bounce a complicated case off someone. And there’s a fear of isolation. It’s scary to be out here with all the liability associated now with health care.”

Rural living

Kay, the mayor, said he understands it’s difficult to recruit doctors or other medical staff to rural towns. But he figures once Ashland or other small towns can get them away from the bright lights, they’ll stay.
“I like to go to the city,” he said, “but I like to come home better. I like knowing where the kids are going to school, who there friends are. Nine times out of 10, our driveway is covered with kids. It’s great.”
While the rural shortages are real, Grayson, the rural health director, said, “Kansas is also doing a lot of things right.”
To increase the number of medical school graduates, KU last year expanded its medical school in Wichita to four years and established a small, four-year campus in Salina. It also opened a pharmacy school in Wichita last year.
There are also several programs that allow doctors to have their student loans repaid by the state if they locate to a rural site that needs their services.
Seven or eight of Ashland’s medical staff have taken advantage of a new state program — rural opportunity zones — that waives state income taxes from 2012-16 for those who move from out of state into a county that has had dwindling population over the last decade. Clark County, where Ashland is located, qualifies.
“There is proactive working being done,” Grayson said. “But we need fresh ideas to change with the environment. An innovative model like what Benjamin created is the cherry on top.”

Caring with love

Apparently something is working right. In March, the Ashland hospital had 50 percent more patients than it did for the same month in 2011, Anderson said.
Certainly he’s made a believer out of Jan Shaw, a former hospital board member who was leery about Anderson’s plan.
And then for six months she sat in the Ashland hospital with her 100-year-old father before he died in February. She saw the loving care given to her father.
“The night my father passed away, a number of people who weren’t on duty or even on call — Dr. Shuman, nurses, Jon Bigler — came back in to just to be there,” Shaw said. “They were there because they really cared.”
Anderson is looking to add another nurse and more nurse’s aides for the center’s long-term care facility. But he wants the plan to grow beyond Ashland.
“I’m hoping to hand this blueprint off to seven or eight other towns in western Kansas,” he said, “so we can have medical hubs. We can stabilize care and will be able to recruit instead of having one-doc shops.
“The more medical missionaries we have in the western part of the state, the better off we’ll all be.”

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

KU Med Center leader to retire in June

KANSAS CITY, Kansas (AP) -- A prominent leader of the University of Kansas Medical Center and the School of Medicine will retire in June, more than a year earlier expected.

Barbara Atkinson will step down as executive vice chancellor of the medical center and as executive dean of the School of Medicine on June 30.
In November, Atkinson said she planned to stay on as dean of the medical school until a new dean was chosen, and as executive vice chancellor until December 2013.
Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said Monday that she has named Steven Stites, chairman of internal medicine, acting executive vice chancellor and executive dean, effective immediately.
She had said earlier that she wants to separate the two jobs Atkinson held. A search for a new medical school dean has already begun. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Incentives are luring college graduates to rural Kansas

Note: Dr. Aaron Zook is a 2008 graduate of KU School of Medicine-Kansas City.

PRATT, Kansas -- When college graduates go job hunting, many assume the best opportunities are in the big cities, but a state campaign is urging them to take another look at rural Kansas. 

Financial incentives are convincing more young professionals, like Dr. Aaron Zook, to head for the country.
Dr. Zook moved to Pratt seven months ago after his medical school residency in Denver.
"There's everything you need there, and Colorado, great weather, and the mountains are right there," Zook said.
But he was lured to the small town of Pratt by the promise of financial assistance, repaying some of his student loans totalling about $200,000.
"Any help I can get is going to be real nice," said the doctor with a smile.
"It's $3,000. A maximum of $3,000 per year for five years," said Jan Scarbrough, Director of  Pratt County Economic Development.
It's an investment in Rural Opportunity Zones, a program in 50 counties that also offers Kansas income tax credits to out-of-state college graduates who move here. 
So far, 101 people have done just that, since the campaign started last summer.
Pratt County alone has attracted about a dozen people in fields like social work, finance, construction and healthcare, needs that are often hard for small towns to fill.
"It's harder than the metropolitan area.  But it's a good place to be," said Paul Conner, Dr. Zook's patient.  "I'm just glad he wanted to come back to this area."
Bringing in young professionals like Dr. Zook also helps reverse the population decline that Pratt and many rural counties face.  And in five years, when the financial incentives expire, county officials hope their new residents are hooked on country living.
"A lot of it has to do with a sense of community, sense of family, safety for raising a family, the good school system," said Scarbrough.
Just what the doctor ordered, hopefully convincing Zook and others to put down roots in rural Kansas.
To find out if you're eligible for the ROZ program, check out the Department of Commerce here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Kansas Recruitment and Retention Center Announces New Services and Name Change

The Kansas Recruitment Center has officially changed its name to reflect enhanced services on retention. The Kansas Recruitment and Retention Center (KRRC) will continue to provide high-quality, cost-effective recruitment services in addition to offering a wide variety of services, coaching and resources to support the health care employers’ retention efforts.

The KRRC recognizes that focused retention efforts are essential to building and maintaining a strong workforce. From developing a detailed retention plan to conducting an employee satisfaction survey, KRRC has a wide-range of services to fit the needs of health care employers for retention support.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Physician Assistant joins Hamilton County Hospital

Physician Assistant joins Hamilton County Hospital
Kansas Recruitment and Retention Center assisted in matching
Syracuse, Utah native Wade Buckley to Syracuse, Kan.

SYRACUSE, Kan.—Wade Buckley, physician assistant, joined Hamilton County Hospital in Syracuse.

In his home state of Utah, Buckley received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2003 from Weber State University in Ogden. In 2010 he completed a Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree from Touro University in Henderson, Nev.

Buckley believes that rural medicine is the reason he became a physician assistant. “Hamilton County Hospital is a great fit for me,” he said. “The people are friendly, compassionate, and caring. I get to work alongside great people and you couldn’t ask for a better patient population.”

“We are thrilled to have Wade join our team,” said Jeremy Clingenpeel, CEO/Administrator of Hamilton County Hospital. “He will have many opportunities to work in different settings including family practice, ER, hospital and Long-Term Care, so he’ll enjoy a different experience each day.”

Buckley indicated that one of the best features of working and living in rural Kansas is number one — the people, then the open air, outdoor activities, and the peace and quiet.

Buckley and Hamilton County Hospital were matched through the Kansas Recruitment and Retention Center (KRRC). The KRRC, which provides placement and retention assistance to rural health organizations, seeks to enhance the quality and quantity of health care professionals in rural Kansas by helping providers like Buckley find a practice in Kansas. The KRRC is a not-for-profit program of Rural Health Education and Services at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Further information is available at ruralhealth.kumc.eduor by phone at 888-503-4221.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Physician Assistant, Jon Bigler Shines in Ashland

Jon Bigler is a physician assistant but residents of Ashland love him like an old fashioned doctor.

He is quick to point out that he is not a doctor and he corrects patients if they call him Dr. Jon. However, Bigler likes nothing better than treating people with the care and concern of a doctor. He makes house calls and doesn’t think twice about giving the elderly, or anyone, a ride to the clinic if they need it.

Jon Bigler with Lori, his wife of nearly 25 years.
“I care a lot about these people. They are great to work with and work for,” he said.

Ashland, nestled in the Red Hills of southwest Kansas, has a growing health care system thanks to Bigler. Ashland Health Center CEO and Administrator Benjamin Anderson said he has never seen a community build its health care around a PA, but that is exactly what Ashland has successfully done.

“He is a gifted communicator. Patients love him.  He manages their care and takes ownership of his patients’ care,” said Anderson.

He recalled a time when Bigler was driving down the street and noticed a patient’s car was idling in the garage with the driver’s door ajar and an open trunk was loaded with groceries. Bigler stopped, entered the home and found the elderly man fast asleep in a chair. “Jon shut the car off, unloaded the groceries and put the man to bed. That’s the kind of guy he is,” Anderson said, noting that he has never had a complaint about Bigler’s bedside manner.

Today, the Ashland Health Center (AHC) has a thriving rural health clinic, a 24-bed critical access hospital, a 21-bed Long Term Care Unit, a six-bed independent living apartment complex and a home health service. In addition to Bigler, AHC has one doctor and two nurse practitioners. Administrators are in the process of recruiting a second doctor.

This is a far different situation than the one Bigler stepped into six years ago. After 11 providers in 20 years passed through Ashland, Anderson says citizens began to lose confidence in their health care system and the hospital was on the verge of closing.

It was Bigler’s commitment that helped turn the tide. People in the community and throughout Clark County learned they could count on him. Anderson sums it up with one word—trust. “He has earned their trust. And the trust we had in him let us build an entire medical staff around him. I have never seen a PA have this kind of impact,” said Anderson, who has been at AHC for three years.

In 2006, Bigler joined Ashland Health Center immediately following graduation from physician assistant training at Wichita State University (WSU). For several years, Bigler was the sole medical provider in Ashland. He has had no less than nine supervising physicians, and until recently, most were at least 30 miles away.

“Jon has hung in there with us and held down the fort. He has literally kept us going,” said Renita Ediger, receptionist, Ashland Health Care Clinic. “For a long time, he did it all—hospital, clinic, ER, nursing home, on-call.”

It was typical for Bigler to be on call from 5 p.m. Sunday all the way through 6 p.m. Friday. People of all ages from across Clark County, population 2,081, learned Bigler was a keeper. He was always there to fix them up after car wrecks and other injuries. He takes care of their lacerations, fever and dehydration. He helps parents address ADHD in their children, a diagnosis he’s familiar with since he has dealt with it his entire life.

Just in the last six months administrators hired Daniel Shuman, DO, a physician Bigler helped select. Shuman has a level of compassion and service AHC has been looking for.

“Jon has the trust of the hospital board, administration and medical staff. He earned that. We wanted him to be part of the search for a physician because if Jon was not comfortable with the person we wanted to hire, we would not hire them,” said Anderson.

Bigler said he has found success in remote Ashland partly because he knows his boundaries. It doesn’t hurt that he likes to be busy—probably an understatement—and he has a sense of humor.

“I know what I can handle and I know what I should package and ship,” he said. “Being out in western Kansas, I have to know my limitations.”

He created a good network of health care advisors and he has the equipment he needs, such as a CT scanner.

One thing Bigler brought to his post, and perhaps a good explanation of his staying power, is maturity. Even though he arrived in Ashland straight-out-of-school, this is his second career. He entered the PA program at the age of 42. Prior, he taught biology and English at Labette County High School for 15 years. He was also the school’s head football and wrestling coach.

“I still miss coaching, but now I help kids in different ways. I can influence students and parents doing this job,” he said, noting that sometimes he still gives young patients advice before a big game.

Though making a livelihood as a PA is his second career, medicine wasn’t too foreign a choice. His late father was a well-known surgeon in Garden City; and two of his brothers are doctors of dermatology and urology.

“If I wanted to get into the conversation around the family dinner table, I had to get into the field of medicine,” jokes Bigler.

He has no regrets about coming to Ashland, but it has not been without sacrifice. His wife of nearly 25 years, Lori, supported his career decision while continuing to teach high school in Wichita until the last of their three daughters graduated high school. She joined him in Ashland just a year-and-a-half ago.

“There has to be a lot of adaptability in a marriage,” Bigler says, “Sometimes patients come before family,” Lori adds.

Now that they are both in Ashland, she teaches at Ashland High School and they are happy to be free of the days when his on-call schedule barely gave him 36 hours to be with the family on weekends.

Bigler is just what the doctor ordered in Ashland. “His job and his family are his life,” said Ediger. “Both he and Lori have been a blessing for our community.”

Now that he’s only on-call four days a week, and he’s not traveling to Wichita on weekends, Bigler likes devoting more time to hobbies. Of course, he likes sports. He was once a wrestler and a gymnast, and he was a yell leader at the University of Kansas. He also enjoys watching and playing tennis.

He’s a handyman and he likes being outdoors whether it’s in the garden or taking in the scenic views of the hills that surround Ashland. He especially likes to hike and hunt for fossils and artifacts, like arrowheads.

Once when he was hunting with his daughter, he stumbled upon a large fossil with large teeth. It was a baby mastodon, an animal that would have resembled a mammoth. People kept asking him, ‘Are you sure it’s not a buffalo head?’ He assured them it was not and now it is on display in the WSU Archaeology Department.

“My medical training came in handy there too,” he said. “Those teeth were just massive.”

Article featured in Kansas Connections
Written by: Jackie Cleary

Friday, February 10, 2012

Former Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at KU School of Medicine opens solo practice in Wichita

Article courtesy of The Wichita Eagle
Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012
By Joe Stumpe

Rebecca Reddy bucked a trend by starting a solo pediatrics practice this month.
But even as more doctors become employees of hospitals and large medical groups, Reddy likes her approach best.
"I went out on my own so I could see my own patients, have a relationship with my own patients," said Reddy, a former assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Kansas Medical School-Wichita.
That includes helping families improve a child’s health and behavior in ways that will last into adulthood. A good pediatrician, she believes, allows parents to "enjoy their children more and worry about them less."
In the most recent blog on her website, for instance, Reddy gave detailed instructions for curing the "busy little girls syndrome" afflicting many young girls at potty time.
Reddy, 40, grew up in northeastern Kansas, earned her medical degree from the University of Kansas and completed her residency at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. She returned to Kansas to teach at KU medical school’s Wichita campus for most of the past decade, interrupted by a part-time stint with a pediatric clinic in Salina. She’s also been medical director of KU’s pediatric hemoglobinopathy and sickle cell clinic.
Reddy said she always knew she wanted to work with children.
“They’re very challenging," said Reddy, who has three children of her own, ages 5 through 10. "You have to be very observant. A lot of times they might not be able to tell you what’s wrong.
"But kids are so rewarding to take care of," she added. "Kids are good. Disease is bad. And kids do bounce back remarkably well."
Reddy still sees patients at Wesley and Via Christi on Harry hospitals, but having her own office where children and parents would feel comfortable was important to her. She said she settled on a location on Rock Road because it’s accessible to patients from the center of the city, whom she had served at the KU clinic, and to a potential new base of patients from the east side. She offers free visits for parents looking for a doctor for their newborns.
Reddy personalized her office with help from friends, starting with a cheery interior design by Sandra Denneler and children’s furniture made by Denneler’s husband, Eric. Stenciled sayings such as "You’ll feel better after a nap" and "Laughter is the best medicine" frame the entrance.
For help with the business aspects of starting a practice, she turned to two friends: Tally Bell, who works for the Neurological Consultants of Kansas Group, along with Reddy’s physician husband, Gautham Reddy; and Nancy Keimer, who had worked as a clinic office manager in Salina.
On her full-time staff are office manager Vicki Gromala and registered nurse Amy Young.
One of the first business decisions she faced was whether to go with a paperless medical records system.
"We did," Reddy said. "It’s a big investment in time."
But she said the system is also more convenient for patients, who can access many of their records with passwords.
Reddy calls her solo practice "a bit of a throwback" but says the long-term relationships she hopes to forge with families "can provide better care. It can keep costs down. It’s better for everybody."
Although Reddy treats patients from birth up to 18 years old, she admits to a bit of age-group favoritism.
"I do love newborns," she said. "I’m accepting newborns tomorrow. Those are the fun ones to have."

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Check out the new edition of Kansas Connections

The Winter 2012 edition of Kansas Connections is now available online. 

Kansas Connections online

Next Issue in Progress
We are collecting story ideas for the 2012 Spring edition of Kansas Connections. If you have any rural health care story ideas, please email them to Jenifer Yuza, marketing and communications coordinator.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

KUMC Assistant Professor heads startup company to help cancer centers meet new guidelines

Article courtesy of
By Tim Linn
GateHouse News Service
Posted Jan 28, 2012 @ 08:39 AM

In September, President Barack Obama spoke to a desire to promote the commercialization of university research efforts, later signing an executive order to shorten the length of time to turn federally funded research into commercial product.

A Leavenworth native is now helping in that task, launching a startup company in May based on research she conducted in collaboration with the National Oncology Nursing Society.

Jennifer Klemp is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She is also the director of cancer survivorship for the center. It was that later specialty that spurred the new venture, called Cancer Survivorship Training Inc.
Hospitals have constantly shifting guidelines for care, Klemp said, one of the newest ones being that accredited cancer centers have cancer survivorship programs in place by 2015.
With that in mind, she said Thursday that she began researching how cancer survivorship programs were being delivered currently at hospitals nationwide. Klemp said the results, coming directly from hospitals nationwide, seemed to indicate there was a lot of work to do in the lead up to 2015.
“Only 13 percent of respondents had any sort of formal programs,” she said.
Another 60 percent of respondents, Klemp said, had not begun to start setting up a survivorship care program or were in the thinking phase. The survey also sought to gauge how those respondents would like to train to set up a survivors care program.
Klemp said survivorship programs have an important place in the “continuum of care.” Though most patients have primary care physicians and oncologists, there has long been a gulf in the middle. Klemp said patients often receive a host of information at the time of diagnosis from their primary care professionals — information that they might not need until years later. And oncologists’ primary concern is looking for the return of cancer. Survivor care, Klemp said, bridges the gap between the two.
“It’s coming in and making sure you don’t have any major side effects from the treatments, your heart’s doing fine, your bones are fine,” she said. “It’s a true multi-disciplinary approach.”
Using the results of the survey plus the fact that her office has had requests for guidance setting up survivor care programs, Klemp said she started putting together some tools for a “systemwide” disbursement of training. Although a grant that would have funded that effort did not pan out, Klemp said another opportunity — one to license the research from KU and set up a business — did emerge. Because of the unpredictability of grant funding from one year to the next, Klemp said that route might have been a better option for the long term anyway.
“This is allowing for built-in sustainability,” she said.

In May, Klemp said Cancer Survivorship Training Inc., the startup company for which she will have oversight, will officially launch its services, offering a number of online and mobile applications to help train and educate healthcare providers on cancer survivorship programs.
Julie Gooneardene, KU’s associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship, applauded the effort.
“We’re excited and proud to work with Dr. Klemp and facilitate the creation of this new startup company — the 23rd startup company to come out of KU,” she said. “At KU, we’re working to encourage an entrepreneurial mindset among our researchers so we can continue to transfer university research into new products and new cures. This is exactly the type of technology transfer that we want to facilitate.”
For Klemp, the new effort is a way to improve more than just healthcare professionals’ credentials.\
“The ultimate goal is obviously we want to improve patient care,” she said.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Pharmacy in Greensburg to open Feb. 1 - Innovative machine is key to new dispensary

Article courtesy of the Kiowa County Signal
By Patrick Clement - Signal Editor

Greensburg, KS - Starting on the first day of February, area residents will be able to fill their prescriptions locally thanks to a 40-year pharmacy veteran and an innovative new machine that might be the pharmacist of the future.
“This has been a long time coming, “ said Kiowa County Memorial Hospital Administrator Mary Sweet. “It’s just another sign of progress and rebuilding. For people in the community it will be more convenient and for our patients it means not having to drive half an hour to pick up their medications.”
In anticipation of the opening of the pharmacy, the hospital is circulating flyers and forms for area residents to fill out. “The forms are so people can get into the system ahead of time,” said Sweet.
The pharmacy is one of a number of pharmacies owned by Merlin McFarlane, a south-central Kansas based pharmacy veteran. McFarlane owns locations in Kingman, Cheyenne Okla., Harper and Wichita.
“I’ve been talking about this for a long time with Mary [Sweet] and Dennis McKinney,” McFarlane said. “I knew Dennis for a long time, since he was our state legislator. I was on the Board of Pharmacy and got to know him. Since the tornado both of them were coming by trying to get me to put a pharmacy out here. Until now there had not been an option to do that.”
McFarlane cites the large prescription-dispensing machine as the primary reason he will be able to provide services in Kiowa County. The computer-integrated system can accept and fill prescriptions automatically, keeping costs down while still fulfilling patients’ needs.
“My store in Kingman has some automation, but nothing like this,” continued McFarlane.
“We’ll have a staff member in the hospital that will be able to access our system and enter people’s information. The computer will take the information, put it into our work queue in the pharmacy. We will be able to access it and if the certain medication is in the robot, it will dispense the medication properly into the bottle, put a lid on it, print and stick the label and bag it for the customer.”
The machine does not and cannot complete every task. But it can reduce overall man-hours and reduce labor costs without interrupting services.
“It holds about 180 of the most popular medications in it,” McFarlane noted. “It can’t have everything, but we hope it will do 60 to 70 percent of the orders. Then the pharmacist will be able to provide those to the customers during the open hours.”

McFarlane has hired Julie Keeton and her husband, Bucklin native, Wayne Keeton to run the facility beginning in June and will have pharmacists from Pratt oversee operations starting in February.
“After she takes her board exam [in May] they plan on moving out to the area. Hopefully into Greensburg, if they can find a place to live. In May or June they will be out here. He’s got a business degree and she’ll have a pharmacy degree. He’ll probably do something else, but he’ll help with the accounting [at the pharmacy],” continued McFarlane.
Labor costs are the biggest concern says McFarlane; especially considering the small number of customers a rural pharmacy serves. He says that the machine allows flexibility for the future in regards to expenses and the pharmacy’s ability to withstand economic ups and downs.
“There really is almost no downside to having equipment like this. They are working on regulations right now that would allow communities where there is no pharmacy the ability to do telepharmacy or remote dispensing. Those regulations are probably a couple of years away. This machine could become a satellite pharmacy, worse case scenario.”
McFarlane says he’s seen a lot of changes in his 40 years in the business. So what does he think of a more computerized and automated system?
“It has gotten and will get more and more automated,” he acknowledged. “Now, we can’t bill an insurance company without a computer. You can’t send a paper claim to an insurance company anymore. I think the way we are doing this is pretty cool. I think it’s pretty neat the way this all works.”
The new pharmacy inside of the Kiowa County Memorial Hospital will open at 1 p.m. on Feb. 1. Find more information at