Tips to Beat the Holiday Blues

The winter season is upon us, which for many means holiday celebrations filled with family, friends.  This builds anticipation for those good times; however, for others this time of year can be a reminder of lost loved ones, lack of access to family traditions, or other changes that may bring about stress and anxiety.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, many people can experience feelings of anxiety or depression during the holiday season, and people who already live with a mental health condition should take extra care to tend to their overall health and wellness. A recent survey showed that 64% of people with a diagnosed mental illness report that the holidays make their symptoms worse.

Davis County Hospital Senior Life Solutions program is an intensive outpatient group therapy program designed to meet the unique needs of older adults over the age of 65 struggling with depression and anxiety often related to aging.  They focus on helping seniors in the community navigate difficult life transitions and regain their quality of life not just during the holiday season, but year-round.

Kayla Miller, Program Director said, “the seasonal blues can affect any of our loved ones and it is important to recognize those signs to be there to support those who need it.”

Below is a list of suggestions that may help counteract the holiday blues:

  • Get enough sleep or rest
  • Spend time with supportive people
  • Don’t drink alcohol if you are feeling down
  • Take walks
  • Don’t isolate yourself
  • Forget perfection
  • It’s okay to say no
  • Stay within budget
  • Set reasonable expectations
  • Do something you enjoy
  • Enjoy all the wonderful food, but don’t binge
  • Invite someone who lives alone to dinner
  • Volunteer
  • Celebrate a loved one’s life by sharing positive memories
  • Forgive yourself, we all make mistakes

For some, the holidays can bring on temporary depression, and for others it may be chronic. If you, or someone you know is struggling with depression or a difficult life transition, contact the Davis County Hospital Senior Life Solutions program at 641-664-3851.


Founded in 2003, Psychiatric Medical Care (PMC) operates inpatient and outpatient programs located in rural communities across the country.  Founder and Chief Medical Officer, James A. Greene, M.D., a geriatric psychiatrist, was born and raised in a rural community, which today hosts a rural hospital.  He developed PMC with the sole mission to improve the quality of life of older adults living in rural communities.  PMC, which operates the Senior Life Solutions outpatient program and Green Oak Behavioral Health inpatient facilities, is one of the largest geriatric mental health management companies within rural hospitals across the United States.

About Davis County Hospital
Davis County Hospital is a 25-bed, critical access hospital located in Bloomfield, Iowa, committed to working together to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care with integrity and trust in Davis county. The knowledgeable DCH providers and team members, work alongside patients to help build better, healthier lives in the areas of primary and emergency care, ancillary services, acute care, as well as specialty services. DCH strives every day to be recognized for exceptional customer service, commitment to safety, and the incomparable care they give to each of their patients. For more information about Davis County Hospital, please visit

Veronica Fuhs

Davis County Hospital & Monroe County Hospital and Clinics Announce Shared Executive Leadership

Davis County Hospital and Monroe County Hospital and Clinics announce shared executive leadership
Veteran health care administrator, Veronica Fuhs, named chief executive officer to lead both organizations through a shared CEO service agreement

The Board of Trustees of the Davis County Hospital (DCH), along with the Monroe County Hospital and Clinics (MCHC) Board of Trustees today announced the signing of a shared service agreement naming Veronica Fuhs as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to oversee both of their respective facilities. Each organization’s governance remains independent, and the appointment is effective immediately.

“This agreement provides a creative, regional approach to advancing both hospitals in a sustainable and collaborative way to best serve our communities,” said Davis County Hospital Board Chair Tom Prosapio. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are excited to welcome Veronica, as she has a proven track record of successfully leading hospitals and teams.”

Fuhs has served as CEO of MCHC in Albia, Iowa, since February 2015. During this time, she successfully recruited two, new family practice physicians, achieved growth in multiple service lines, secured a $589,000 Rural Health Care Services Outreach Program grant, added the Avera eEmergency service, and is currently leading a $19 million construction project for the hospital. In addition, MCHC was named one of Iowa’s “Top Workplaces” for the third consecutive year by the Des Moines Register.

“Veronica provides strong leadership to our hospital and demonstrates exceptional abilities while leading strategy and developing relationships with physicians, staff and the community,” said MCHC Board of Trustees Chair Marilee Scieszinski. “We feel this shared CEO model will be an effective way to leverage our collective expertise and resources and create long-term success for both hospitals.”

Fuhs is a resident of Moravia, Iowa. She has a master’s degree in health care administration from Des Moines University, and earned a bachelor’s degree in health information administration from Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota. Fuhs also serves on the Iowa Hospital Association’s ServiShare Board of Directors.

“I am honored to be asked to lead these two community hospitals, and I thank the Boards of Directors for their endorsements and confidence in me,” said Fuhs. “I am committed to exploring new ways the hospitals can collaborate and continue to share expertise for the benefit of the patients and families we serve in Davis and Monroe counties, as well as surrounding areas.”

Both DCH and MCHC are affiliated with the Mercy Health Network (MHN), an integrated system of hospitals, clinics and other health care services and facilities providing Iowans with statewide access to personalized, quality and high-value care.

“This shared leadership strategy is emerging in health care, particularly with critical access hospitals,” said MHN Senior Vice President of Network Affiliates Mike Trachta. “It’s a model proving to be successful in positioning hospitals within a region for long-term success, by maximizing resources and sharing specialists and expertise.”

With this shared service agreement, each hospital’s Board of Trustees maintains complete control of hospital operations. They also realize the economic and strategic benefits of sharing a CEO, in addition to the cost savings, management support and statewide initiatives offered through MHN.

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About Davis County Hospital

Davis County Hospital is a 25-bed, critical access hospital located in Bloomfield, Iowa, committed to providing dedicated, compassionate, health care to the community. In addition, the Davis County Hospital Medical Associates Clinic provides care for the entire family and is located at Davis County Hospital. For more information about Davis County Hospital, please visit

About Monroe County Hospital & Clinics

Established in 1951, Monroe County Hospital & Clinics is a trusted provider of high-quality, local health care to the residents of Monroe County, Iowa, and surrounding counties. The full-service, 25-bed, critical access hospital offers an array of inpatient and outpatient health services including surgical, clinical, specialty, physical therapy, cardiac rehabilitation, occupational therapy, emergency, sleep studies, pain management services and more. Visit for more information.

DCH Welcomes New Ear, Nose & Throat Doctor

Davis County Hospital (DCH) is pleased to welcome Joseph Whitman, DO to Davis County Hospital’s Specialty Clinic provider group. Dr. Whitman is an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) provider with Surgical Associates, LLP of Grinnell, who will see patients at Davis County Hospital in Bloomfield the first and third Monday of each month, while also performing surgery at DCH on those days. Dr. Whitman specializes in Otolaryngology (ENT) services, comprised of surgical and medical care of the ears, nose and throat of all ages.

Dr. Whitman received his Bachelor of Science degree from Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, followed by his Masters of Science and Biomedical Sciences degree from A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri. Dr. Whitman remained at A.T. Still University where he received his medical degree in Osteopathic Medicine. He then completed his general surgery internship & Otolaryngology residency at Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville.

“The addition of Dr. Whitman to the Specialty Clinic provider team at Davis County Hospital helps strengthen our mission to deliver high quality, patient centered care,” stated Catherine Hillestad, Interim CEO of Davis County Hospital. “His skills are a strong addition to our talented team of providers, allowing us to provide more ENT services and surgeries close to home.”

Dr. Whitman is highly skilled in the surgical and medical treatment of head and neck diseases. He will provide comprehensive head and neck care, including pediatric and adult allergy diagnosis and treatment, facial plastics, skin lesion excision and repair, surgery for chronic sinus disease and nasal obstruction, surgery of the head and neck for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, and the surgical management of the ears, tonsils, throat, voice, thyroid, parathyroid, salivary glands and neck masses.

“Local care and local relationships are the cornerstone of community hospitals,” said Dr. Whitman. “My childhood roots arise from rural Iowa and my passion is to care and support patients in these communities. My goal at Davis County Hospital will be to provide the safest and most comprehensive head and neck clinical and surgical care that can be supported locally. Service is an act of love, and I love serving our local Iowa communities. Always happy to help.”

Dr. Joseph Whitman, ENT will begin to see patients at Davis County Hospital on Monday, October 15th. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Whitman, please call 641-664-7091.

DCH Provides $2,197,224 in Community Benefits

Davis County Hospital provided $2,197,224 in community benefits to Davis County, according to a recently completed assessment of those programs and services. That amount, based on 2017 figures, includes $706,818 in uncompensated care and $1,490,406 in free or discounted community benefits that Davis County Hospital specifically implemented to help Davis County residents.

Community benefits are activities designed to improve health status and increase access to health care. Along with uncompensated care (which includes both charity care and bad debt), community benefits include such services and programs as health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services and transportation programs.

The results for Davis County Hospital are included in a statewide report by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) that shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2017 valued at more than $880 million, including more than $224 million in charity care.

“This data demonstrates Davis County Hospital’s commitment to making our community healthier,” stated Sue Pankey, Chief Nursing Officer. “We will continue to provide healthcare services to our community to help those who need it and to ensure that we are working towards improved health and access to care in Davis County.”

The programs and services accounted for in the survey were implemented in direct response to the needs of individual communities as well as entire counties and regions.  Many of these programs and services simply would not exist without hospital support and leadership, said IHA President and CEO Kirk Norris.

Uncompensated care (which is made up of both charity care and bad debt) also plays a role in overall community benefit for services provided by hospitals. Total uncompensated care in 2017 was valued at $502 million. The survey also showed total Medicare and Medicaid losses (at cost) of $226 million.

More patients have been able to obtain services due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but many of the plans have high deductibles and as patients have services, we see an increase in Charity Care and Bad Debt expense. The ACA changes has provided insurance to thousands of individuals who are now able to seek health care.

Davis County Hospital has experienced an increase in Charity Care and Bad Debt expense largely due to changes in healthcare insurance plans,” commented Kendra Warning, Chief Financial Officer.  “As insurance premiums increase, patients are electing plans with higher deductibles to lower premiums but increases the patient’s out-of-pocket expense for services.  We had a 15% increase in gross patient revenue between fiscal year 2016 and fiscal year 2017, which also contributed to the increase in Charity Care and Bad Debt expense.”

Iowa hospitals, which employ more than 74,000 people, continue implement strategies that increase value to their patients and communities by offering high-quality care to individuals, addressing the health needs of communities and implementing process improvements that bend the cost curve. By seeking out ways to raise quality, reduce waste and increase safety, Iowa hospitals have become value leaders, as shown in multiple studies by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, the Commonwealth Fund and others.

These efforts, along with IHA’s ongoing advocacy to create fairer payment methodologies from Medicare and Medicaid, help ensure the financial stability of hospitals, making it possible for them to provide the services and programs most needed by their communities.

DCH Named Top Workplace for the Second Year

Davis County Hospital was awarded an Iowa Top Workplace honor for the second consecutive year by the Des Moines Register during a ceremony held in Des Moines on Thursday, September 13th.

The Des Moines Register’s Top Workplaces recognizes the most progressive companies based on employee opinions about company leadership, career opportunities, workplace flexibility, compensation and benefits. The selection process was based on employees’ responses to an anonymous survey administered by Energage, LLC; a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools.

“We are lucky to have such a dedicated, compassionate group of team members working at Davis County Hospital,” said Catherine Hillestad, Interim CEO. “In our facility, we put 100% of our focus on patient care, but that doesn’t mean our employees are forgotten. We have found that when our team enjoys coming to work every day, our patients, in turn receive better care. I feel grateful to work for an organization that has been given this award not one, but two years in a row. That is something very special.”

Community Health Needs Assessment – Davis County

Davis County Hospital & Davis County Public Health Conducting Community Health Needs Assessment

 Davis County Hospital and Davis County Public Health are working together to complete the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) for Davis County.

Completing a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is a federal requirement for non-profit hospitals, and must be completed at least every three years with input from the broader community, including public health. Data from this CHNA survey will help health care providers and community organizations improve the overall health and wellness of our community, and identify community needs, establish priorities for programs and services, and inform strategies to address gaps between critical needs and services.

All Davis County, Iowa residents and business leaders are encouraged to participate. Included in the 2018 CHNA surveys are questions dealing with community health regarding service delivery, fitness, nutrition, and access to care. All survey responses are anonymous and completing the survey takes less than 10 minutes.

If you would like to participate in the survey, please go to You may also fill out the survey in paper form by contacting Davis County Hospital at 641-664-7093. All surveys must be received by October 15, 2018.

Thank you in advance for your help in completing this confidential, important survey.

If you have any questions about the survey or survey process, please call Devyn Pitlick at Davis County Hospital, 641-664-2145.


Survey Link –>



Lung Cancer Screening Now Available at DCH

Bloomfield, IA – Davis County Hospital (DCH) is pleased to announce they’ve expanded their Medical Imaging service line to include a Lung Cancer Screening Program.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has found that having a low-dose CT of the chest in patients at high risk for developing lung cancer, reduces their mortality by 20 percent. As a result of NCI findings, Davis County Hospital has created a Lung Cancer Screening Program for individuals at high risk for developing lung cancer.

“Lung Cancer is the most common type of cancer in American men and women,” said Susan Haskell, Medical Imaging Manager at DCH. “It is also the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and the world. More people in American die from lung cancer alone than prostrate, breast, and colon cancers combined. Most lung cancer cases are linked to tobacco smoking.”

Davis County Hospital’s lung cancer screening program works to detect lung cancer at its earliest stages and help patients get access to life-saving care as quickly as possible. Davis County Hospital’s dedicated Lung Coordinator works in collaboration with patient’s providers to evaluate participants for lung cancer risk, schedule those at high risk for screening tests (CT scans), and assure referrals for necessary follow-up care are made with minimal delays.

Screening Eligibility

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has developed Guidelines to screen for individuals who may be at high risk. Risk factors include:

  • Age 55-77
  • A current smoker or have quit within the last 15 years
  • Have a smoking history of at least 30 pack-years (for example, 1 pack a day for 30 years, 2 packs a day for 15 years etc.)
  • No current symptoms

Ask your provider today about starting your lung cancer screening program at Davis County Hospital.

DAISY Award 2018

Hannah Eastlick, LPN at Davis County Hospital Recognized for DAISY Award

Bloomfield, IA – Hannah Eastlick, Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in the Medical Associates primary care clinic at Davis County Hospital (DCH), was one of the Mercy Health Network Hospital recipients of this year’s DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. Hannah was presented the award at the annual DAISY Award Celebration held on June 15th at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.

The DAISY Award is in recognition of a young man, Patrick Barnes, who died at the age of 33 related to an auto-immune disorder that took his life in just eight weeks. His family was so impressed with the level of knowledge, expertise and compassion they experienced with the nursing staff that they wanted to establish a forum to provide ongoing recognition of the extraordinary work nurses do every day. DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.

Davis County Hospital participates in the DAISY Award program each year, which gives patients, community members, and coworkers the opportunity to nominate a nurse who has gone above and beyond by showing compassion and skill. Six Davis County Hospital nurses were nominated this year, and through a voting process, DCH team members selected Hannah Eastlick, LPN as the recipient of this year’s DAISY Award.

Pictured: Hannah Eastlick, LPN and Beverly Oliver, ARNP

CNO Receives 100 Great Iowa Nurses Award

Bloomfield, IA – A nurse at Davis County Hospital has been selected as part of the 100 Great Iowa Nurses for 2018! Sue Pankey, Chief Nursing Officer, was named as one of the 100 Great Iowa Nurses of 2018.

In all, over 500 Iowa nurses were nominated for this honor. Those nominations came in from patients, colleagues and friends. Reviewers looked for those nominees who made meaningful, lasting contributions to their patients, colleagues and the nursing profession, and are viewed as mentors to other nursing professionals. Those selected are known for their courage, competence and commitment to the field of nursing.

The nurses will be honored at the 14th annual celebration of Iowa’s Great Nurses on May 6 at the Iowa Events Center’s Community Choice Credit Union, Des Moines, Iowa. The event is a prelude to National Nurses Week, May 6-12.

Thank you for all you do for Davis County Hospital and our patients, Sue.

All nurse honorees can be found at: .


Specialty Clinic Welcomes Women’s Health Provider

Davis County Hospital is pleased to announce Melissa Gingrich, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, is joining Davis County Hospital’s Specialty Clinic provider group. Melissa is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) with Ottumwa Women’s Health Clinic, who will see patients at Davis County Hospital in Bloomfield every Friday. Melissa specializes in Women’s Health including gynecology, prenatal/postnatal care, contraception, and well woman care.

Melissa received her Associates Degree from Indian Hills Community College, and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Iowa. She received her Master’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.

“We are extremely pleased to add Melissa to the Specialty Clinic provider team at Davis County Hospital,” stated Kirby Johnson, CEO of Davis County Hospital. “Her experience and skills are a strong addition to our talented team of providers.”

“Providing women’s health, contraception and prenatal care in Ottumwa has been my passion for the last seven years,” said Mellissa Gingrich, ARNP. “I am excited for the opportunity to expand our services and build relationships with the women in the Davis County community.”

For expecting mothers utilizing prenatal services at Davis County Hospital, they will have the convenience of receiving all services required during their prenatal appointments including pregnancy confirmation, lab draws, and ultrasounds up through 36 weeks of pregnancy, all in one location.

“We are excited to start a partnership with Ottumwa Women’s Health Clinic to provide prenatal/postnatal care, and women’s health care services to the Davis County community,” said Kirby Johnson, CEO at Davis County Hospital. “With most of our expecting moms delivering in Ottumwa, the partnership allows us to maximize local prenatal and postnatal care options right here in Bloomfield. To be able to provide this service locally for women that are planning a family, is a critical part of us keeping quality care close to home in Davis County.”

Melissa will begin to see patients at Davis County Hospital on Friday, March 2nd. To schedule an appointment with Melissa, please call 641-682-8761.