John Hansen Making a Difference Behind the Scenes at MRHC

John Hansen

John HansenJohn Hansen’s career path is one rooted in family influence and a willingness to embrace a challenge. Despite a background in factory work, John decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and give the maintenance field a try. His decision turned out to be a rewarding one, and he found a true passion for the work at MRHC.

“I never saw myself working in a hospital, but I figured I would give it a try and am really glad I did,” John shared.

Starting as a maintenance tech in February of 2020, John would quickly grow into a leadership role just a year later, becoming the department supervisor in April of 2021. With the work he does and the impact he makes at MRHC, it is no question that non-clinical roles play a vital role in ensuring smooth functioning of healthcare facilities. While a job in maintenance might not be at the forefront of patient care, John emphasizes the importance of his role in keeping everyone comfortable during their stay at MRHC. From ensuring the functionality of facilities to addressing maintenance issues promptly, John’s work contributes significantly to the overall patient experience.

“MRHC is so fortunate to have John. He is knowledgeable in so many different areas, digs into whatever needs fixing, and tries to figure things out on his own,” said Chief Human Resources Officer, Shelli Lorenzen. “John quickly fell into a management role and absolutely owned it. We couldn’t ask for a more dedicated employee. He knows what needs to be done and he does it, even if that means spending the entire weekend at MRHC to move snow so the ambulances can always get to the ER.”

In addition to making a positive impact on patients and helping his coworkers whenever possible, John appreciates the flexibility and support that he has at the hospital. Trust also plays a crucial role in fostering a positive work experience, and John attests that the administrative staff at MRHC trusts him implicitly. Something that is key to a productive and positive workplace.

“MRHC is very family oriented, and I know that when a family issue arises, I can go without question,” he shared. “Dan’s food is just an added bonus to working here.”

John’s journey at MRHC exemplifies the potential for growth and fulfillment in non-clinical roles within the healthcare industry. From his family-inspired career choice to the impact he makes on patient well-being, John’s story is a testament to the diverse and essential roles that contribute to the success of a healthcare institution like MRHC.

To join the MRHC team, click here or call (712) 655-2072 for more information.

CEO Linn Block Attributes Staff & Community for MRHC’s Success

Linn block

Linn blockOver the past few years, our collective journey at MRHC has been nothing short of transformative. United by a shared commitment to patient safety, quality care, and team engagement, we have implemented a strategic plan that not only elevated healthcare standards but also garnered attention and respect from the broader healthcare community.

At the heart of MRHC lies its people – our exceptional staff, providers, and the communities we serve. Your unwavering dedication to our shared mission has resulted in numerous notable accomplishments in patient care, expanded service offerings, and financial resilience. This is a collective achievement, and I take immense pride in being a part of this remarkable team.

I want to express heartfelt acknowledgment for the extraordinary resilience and strength demonstrated by our community in the face of the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. These past couple of years have tested us in unexpected ways, and yet, together, we navigated uncertainties and overcame obstacles. Your commitment to safety protocols, mutual support, and unwavering trust in our healthcare team has been truly inspiring.

The way our community rallied during these trying times exemplifies the true spirit of unity and reinforces the vital role that rural healthcare plays in times of crisis. Your collective efforts not only safeguarded the health and well-being of our community members but also showcased the resilience that defines the heart of Manning Regional Healthcare Center.

Our ongoing community engagement initiatives, from local partnerships to the implementation of a new electronic health record system in collaboration with St. Anthony Regional Hospital, have further strengthened the bonds between MRHC and the communities we are privileged to serve.

The success of our capital campaign, raising nearly $1 million for the obstetrics wing’s renovation, and the recognition with the Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award for Employee Engagement underscore the incredible teamwork and passion that define MRHC. Your dedication has made our hospital a beacon of excellence in the face of financial challenges and changing landscapes in rural healthcare.

As I transition to the next chapter in my career, I carry with me the valuable lessons and memories from MRHC. The growth of our specialty clinics, the addition of same-day appointments, and the success of the substance abuse recovery center are all reflections of your hard work and dedication.

To our exceptional team, thank you for making MRHC not just a hospital but a family that cares for one another and for our community. To our patients, thank you for entrusting us with your healthcare needs. Your trust is our greatest honor, and we remain committed to providing you with the highest quality of care. The journey ahead for MRHC is exciting, and I am confident that, with your continued dedication, MRHC will continue to thrive and be a beacon of healthcare excellence in rural Iowa.

-Linn Block

MRHC Joins Educational Alliance with Purdue Global

MRHC exterior

Purdue Global has signed an educational alliance agreement with Manning Regional Healthcare Center, bringing broad-based educational opportunities with tuition reduction to staff and their family members.

“The Purdue Global School of Nursing is excited to begin our partnership with Manning Regional Healthcare Center and eager to support its mission around continuing education and the pursuit of academic achievement,” said Melissa Burdi, Purdue Global dean and vice president of the School of Nursing.

The Purdue Global School of Nursing offers an associate degree program, an RN-BSN program, eight master’s programs in nursing specialties, and a doctorate program for nursing. Additional Purdue Global offerings include programs for business, criminal justice, human services and psychology, among others. The Purdue Global Law School and aviation programs are not included in this partnership.

Manning Regional staff and immediate family members (spouse, domestic partner, children, siblings and parents) will have access to a 20% tuition reduction for undergraduate programs, 14% reduction for graduate programs, and 10% reduction for doctoral programs.

“We look forward to partnering with Purdue Global to provide online educational opportunities for our staff,” said Michelle Andersen, chief nursing officer at the center. “We appreciate the convenience and flexibility this platform offers for our full-time working staff to be able to advance their careers.”

Click here to read the full article.

MRHC Creates Important Economic and Community Impact

MRHC exterior
In all, Iowa’s hospitals provided 145,252 jobs statewide

Last year, MRHC generated just over 250 jobs that added $290,577 to Carroll County’s economy, according to the latest study by the Iowa Hospital Association. Economic impact of an organization is often measured in terms of employment, income (payroll and benefits), taxable retail sales, and sales tax collections.

“We are grateful to be able to make such an impact on our local communities,” said MRHC Chief Executive Officer, Linn Block, RN, BSN, MHA. “It takes all aspects of a community working together to be vibrant and strong.”

The study was compiled from hospital-submitted data to the American Hospital Association’s annual survey of hospitals. The study found that Iowa hospitals employed 145,252 people in 2022. As an income source, Iowa hospitals provided over $9.3 billion in wages and expenses accounted for over $21.5 billion of the state’s gross domestic product.

“Iowa’s hospitals and health systems implemented the programs and services accounted for in this study in response to their communities’ needs,” IHA President and CEO Chris Mitchell said. “Many of these programs and services wouldn’t exist without hospital support and leadership. These efforts, with IHA’s advocacy, help ensure the financial stability of hospitals, making it possible for them to provide the services and programs most-needed by the people they serve.”

Community Impact

As a non-profit, critical access hospital, the mission and purpose of MRHC is to serve those in the local community and provide a public benefit. Quality healthcare has a large community and economic impact, and it is essential for attracting other industries.

MRHC continually works to provide quality healthcare services for the community. Expanding mental health services has been a recent top priority as it consistently rates high on community health needs assessments. To meet this need, MRHC now has a counselor providing therapy services as well as telehealth mental health care for patients 12+.

To provide additional convenient healthcare options, Manning Regional now has a dedicated provider offering more same-day appointments, a new patient portal was launched to improve patient experience, and orthopedic services have been expanded to include total hip replacements. These initiatives to expand and improve healthcare services have made an important community impact, adapting to the current needs of the community.

“In addition to providing healthcare through the services we offer, we also provide widespread benefits to support our community,” Block said. “We are proud to have served at least 473 people through various community service programs in the past year.”

MRHC offers a variety of community education events, trainings, and clinics such as CPR, AED, & First Aid training classes, blood drives, monthly wellness clinics, blood pressure clinics, concussion testing at the high school, walk-in flu shot clinics, and fall prevention screenings.

They also hold and participate in educational events, such as the Bike Rodeo, babysitting courses, Suicide Prevention Walk, Live Healthy Iowa Healthiest State Walk, Senior Fun Day, Medicare seminars, giving away bike helmets, and other health-related activities at Kinderfest. Many of these efforts have a direct impact on the local economy and overall community health.

Most notably, MRHC has held several Healthcare Career Camps for local middle and high school students to have an immersive experience learning about a variety of careers in the healthcare field. This effort was recently funded by a University of Iowa grant to continue the program for more students and expand the offering to additional school districts.

MRHC has also supported foundations such as the IKM-Manning Education Foundation, West Central Iowa Healthcare Foundation, American Cancer Society, as well as community organizations such as Little Hawks Childcare Center, Manning Child Care Center, IKM-Manning Color Run, Kinderfest, Trail to Nowhere Bike Ride, Pack the Pantry, Fireman’s Golf Tourney, Main Street Manning, Manning Chamber, Manning Hausbarn Heritage Park, Manning Rotary, and Boy Scouts of America.

“We are proud to share that in the past three years, we have provided over $100,000 in community health improvement services to benefit our local communities,” shared Block.

In 2022, Manning Regional provided $92,572.41 in charity care and served more than 54 people through those efforts. Charity care is also known as uncompensated health care, which is provided for free, or at a reduced cost, to people with limited income who would otherwise be unable to pay for their treatment. Various types of financial assistance are provided to patients, and community education events and important information about health and well-being are shared through radio and print advertising, news articles, social media, and the MRHC website.

“MRHC will continue to adapt and evolve our services to meet the needs of our patients,” shared Block. “We value being a trusted community partner to improve the health and well-being of residents in west-central Iowa.”

Hands-On Experiences Spark Hartwigsen’s Passion for Emergency Medicine

Lisa Hartwigsen

Lisa Hartwigsen“Two unique opportunities early in my career made it clear to me that I wanted to be an emergency room nurse,” shared Lisa Hartwigsen, RN, and current Emergency/Med Surg Director at MRHC. “I have always been interested in healthcare but I wasn’t sure on what specific career to pursue. My junior year of high school I joined the Army National Guard as a combat medic. Then, the next year as a senior, I interned with Carroll County EMS.” These were two immersive career experiences Hartwigsen was grateful to have before attending nursing school.

Hartwigsen attended nursing school at DMACC in Carroll, initially became a nurse on the Med-Surg floor and then a charge nurse. “After that, I accepted a position in the emergency department and found my passion for emergency medicine,” said Hartwigsen.

Soon after, the opportunity arose for Hartwigsen to further her career as the Emergency Dept/Med Surg Director at MRHC. “I value the senior management’s mentorship in my new role, and I really appreciate how MRHC has encouraged me to seek out leadership classes,” shared Hartwigsen.

Hartwigsen also likes that MRHC prides itself on contributing to a positive work culture. As she grows as a director, her goal is to continue that within her department with a focus on personal development.

“I want to provide an encouraging work environment for my team,” Hartwigsen said. “The work environment at MRHC already encourages teamwork and growth within the facility. The staff works together to provide the best possible care to the community no matter what their role is.”

Focusing on the people is something that has already made Hartwigsen a great leader, according to Chief Nursing Officer, Michelle Andersen, RN, BSN. “Lisa has embraced the Med/surg/emergency department director role and always keeps patients and staff at the center of what she does,” Andersen said. Michelle Andersen

Hartwigsen attributes her ability to grow in her career to administration and appreciates how they have built a positive work culture and model constructive leadership. “MRHC’s administrative team is very transparent and keeps staff updated on the facility’s financial performance and plans for growth,” she shared.

In addition to the positive work environment and support from administration, Hartwigsen also enjoys the work-life balance that MRHC provides its employees. “The harmony between my career and my home-life benefits my family and I greatly,” said Hartwigsen.

For any student who may be considering a career in healthcare, specifically in nursing, Hartwigsen recommends that students, “job shadow different healthcare careers. You never know what might interest you.”

MRHC has hosted Healthcare Career Camps for local schools, providing immersive, hands-on experiences for students interested in learning more about various roles in healthcare. To learn more about taking part in a Healthcare Career Camp, contact Julie at or call (712) 655-8179.To join the MRHC team, visit or call (712) 655-2072 for more information.

MRHC’s Amy McLaughlin Earns HFMA Certification

Amy McLaughlin

Amy McLaughlinAmy McLaughlin, Manning Regional Healthcare Center’s (MRHC) Chief Financial Officer, recently earned her designation as a Fellow of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (FHFMA). Following the completion of the Certified Healthcare Financial Professional exam, McLaughlin’s continued volunteerism, years of service with the lowa Chapter, and letter of recommendation allowed McLaughlin to be recognized as a Fellow of HFMA.

“MRHC is so fortunate to have Amy leading our organization through the financial challenges of rural healthcare,” said MRHC CEO Linn Block, RN, BSN, MHA. “This recognition further demonstrates Amy’s financial expertise and leadership in healthcare finances.”

Fellowship is awarded to HFMA members who have demonstrated financial expertise and leadership by using personal financial knowledge and skills in voluntary community service. HFMA Fellows recognize and accept the responsibility of utilizing healthcare finance professional skills for community benefit.

McLaughlin has been an HFMA member with the Iowa Chapter for seven years. She has served the lowa Chapter as a member of the Board of Directors, the Programming Committee, and the Women’s Conference Committee.

“All of the roles I have had the opportunity to serve in for HFMA have been rewarding, but it was a very fulfilling experience serving on the Board of Directors,” shared McLaughlin, CPA. “I got an inside look at all the hard work that takes place behind the scenes to make our chapter as successful as it is. I also got to know some of the officers and other volunteers a little better which I’m very appreciative of.”

MRHC Healthcare Career Camp to Expand

healthcare career camp

Like many rural areas, Manning Regional Healthcare Center (MRHC) and local ambulance crews continue to see a shortage in medical staff and EMT volunteers. Both ambulance staffing and provider shortages were listed as top five unmet needs in the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment. At the same time, community leaders recognize that it is much easier to attract people to work here who are from the area rather than trying to draw people completely unfamiliar with the area.

With that in mind, MRHC piloted a Healthcare Career Camp in partnership with IKM-Manning Community Schools to provide a hands-on, immersive experience to showcase careers in a hospital setting. This full day began with an ambulance station and students rotated through the emergency room, laboratory, surgery, therapy, clinic, recovery center, and other departments.

“We wanted to spark an interest among middle and high school-age students,” shared MRHC Chief Nursing Officer, Michelle Andersen, RN, BSN. “We collaborated with the IKM-Manning guidance counselors to form a mutually beneficial partnership. MRHC purchased mannequins and supplies to make it as hands-on and immersive as possible.”

The feedback from the 24 participants was positive, and other local schools started reaching out to participate. MRHC explored financial partnerships to expand the program and were recently awarded a Community Grant from the University of Iowa College of Public Health and its Business Leadership Network (BLN) in the amount of $3,000.

This grant is meant “to foster collaboration in Iowa’s smaller communities by addressing areas of identified community health or public health need. The intent is also to begin or strengthen partnerships with business and industry and to link with University of Iowa College of Public Health

experts and resources in community and public health issues,” as stated in the program’s Request for Proposals.

MRHC and IKM-Manning plan to offer an additional camp yet this school year and three other camps to school districts within a 30-mile radius within the next 12 months. The financial assistance of the BLN Grant will help cover the cost of supplies, additional training mannequins, and trainers.

Those interested in learning more about participating in a Healthcare Career Camp can contact their school guidance counselors and schools interested in partnering to offer this experience should contact Michelle Andersen at (712) 655-8220.

Vitito Thrives as Nurse Practitioner at MRHC

Sara Vitito

Sara VititoManning Regional Healthcare Center’s Family Practice Clinic provider, Sara Vitito, ARNP, knew she wanted to work in healthcare for as long as she can remember. When a position became available at MRHC, Vitito jumped at the opportunity to practice in the community she lives in.

“My mom is a nurse practitioner and inspired me to be the provider I am today,” Vitito shared. “Practicing close to home gives me the ability to care for those in the community and establish relationships. And MRHC provides a sense of community. Patients are not just a number here; they are our friends, family, and neighbors.”

After receiving her BSN from the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in 2017, Vitito worked as a nurse with CHI-Lakeside, caring for patients in an inpatient setting and ER. She went back to school for her DNP in 2018 at UNMC. During graduate school, Vitito worked at Methodist Health Systems as an ER nurse. When she finished her Doctorate in Family Practice in May 2021, she then took a position at CHI- Bergan as an ER provider. Vitito joined the MRHC team in March of 2022, providing coverage in the ER and offering same-day appointments in the Family Practice Clinic.

“I love seeing different patients every day with a variety of conditions,” said Vitito. “The ER coverage fulfills my love for the ER and the same-day appointments help improve access to care for patients in the community.”

This new clinic appointment structure (launched in early 2022) provides same-day appointments for both established and new patients who need to be seen for a minor injury or illness.

“This model allows patients to be seen in a clinic instead of being hit with an ER or urgent care cost,” Vitito explained. “I have heard from patients, ‘Wow, I was so happy I could be seen so quickly here in Manning’ and ‘I really appreciate the flexibility in availability to have my children be seen before and after the workday.’ And it has been extremely useful, especially during the cold/flu season.”

Vitito is one of four providers in the Family Practice Clinic who sees patients on a regular basis. The clinic also includes Dr. McLaws, DO, Dr. Luong M.D., and Courtney Rupiper, PA-C.

“Sara has been such a great addition to our clinic team,” said MRHC Clinic Director, Shelby Dickson, RN. “She is always positive and upbeat, and she delivers great care. Plus, her ability to provide same-day access for our patients has really helped improve the care we provide to the community.”

Not only does Vitito enjoy the variety of work she does on a daily basis, but she is also grateful for a supportive team and positive work environment at MRHC.

“We have a fantastic facility to practice in, and I love my coworkers and the team we have here! The providers I work with are all willing to help whenever needed, and the work environment is positive and friendly,” said Vitito. “MRHC has anniversary lunches to celebrate milestones, gifts for nurse practitioner week, provider meals at Christmas, and gifts hospital-wide during the holidays. MRHC also has a Christmas party for all staff to build relationships outside of work. And I have a great work life balance with a flexible schedule.”

For anyone interested in pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner or something similar, Vitito shared this encouraging advice.

“Being a nurse practitioner has endless opportunities. You can work in a big city, rural community, or even teach,” said Vitito. “Take as many clinic or shadowing opportunities as possible to learn what you enjoy, and never be afraid to ask questions because it allows for growth in knowledge. And do not let the amount of schooling deter you! It goes faster than you think.”

If you are in need of a same-day appointment due to a minor injury or illness, call (712) 655-8100. To join the MRHC team, visit or call (712) 655-2072 for more information on current job openings.

Rupiper Finds Calling as PA at MRHC’s Family Practice Clinic

Courtney Rupiper

Courtney RupiperAfter debating a career in business or physical therapy, Courtney Rupiper found her calling as a physician assistant and now works in the Family Practice Clinic at Manning Regional Healthcare Center.

“I started working at a local nursing home when I was younger and fell into healthcare,” said Courtney Rupiper, PA-C. “I felt comfortable with healthcare and helping people. When I went to college, I thought I was going to be a physical therapist, but I quickly learned that wasn’t for me. After doing some job shadowing of PAs, I felt like it was something I could do, and here I am.”

Rupiper joined the MRHC Family Practice Clinic as a Certified Physician Assistant in November of 2017. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Northern Iowa and received her PA degree from St. Ambrose University.

“I really enjoy getting to know all the families here at MRHC. And as I grow in my career as a PA, I hope to complete more continuing education so I can be even more help for my patients,” Rupiper said.

In addition to the meaningful work Rupiper does daily, she also values the laid-back feel of working in the clinic, the convenience of working close to home, and the work-life balance MRHC offers.

“MRHC provides a great atmosphere to work in, and I like that you know everyone,” said Rupiper. “It feels like home even when I’m at work.”

Rupiper is one of four providers in the Family Practice Clinic who sees patients on a regular basis. The clinic also includes Dr. McLaws, Dr. Luong, and Sara Vitito who accepts same-day appointments.

“Courtney is a great asset to the MRHC provider team,” said MRHC Clinic Director, Shelby Dickson. “She works hard and always puts a patient’s best interest at the forefront of the care she gives.”

To schedule an appointment with Rupiper, call (712) 655-8100. To join the MRHC team, visit or call (712) 655-2072 for more information on current job openings.


Plan Ahead for End-of-Life Medical Care

comforting an elderly lady

Do your loved ones and medical providers know what type of medical treatment you prefer? By planning ahead, you can get the medical care you want, avoid unnecessary suffering, and relieve caregivers of decision-making burdens during moments of crisis or grief. You can also help reduce confusion or disagreement about the choices you would want people to make on your behalf.

An advanced directive is a legal document that explains how you want medical decisions to be made if you cannot make the decisions yourself. This directive lets your healthcare team and loved ones know what kind of health care you want or who you want to make decisions for you when you can’t. An advance directive can help you think ahead about what kind of care you want to receive as well as help guide your loved ones and healthcare team in making clear decisions about your health care when you can’t do it yourself.

“Advance directives help you protect your right to make medical choices that can affect your life,” said Julie Hodne, R.N., Education Coordinator at Manning Regional Healthcare Center. “They help your family avoid the responsibility and stress of making difficult decisions on your behalf. Advance directives also help your physician by providing guidelines for your care.”

All patients have rights that include privacy, informed consent, information about your condition, and information about advance directives. Advance directives can protect these rights if you ever become mentally or physically unable to choose or communicate your wishes due to an injury or illness. Advance directives can also limit life-prolonging measures when there is little or no chance of recovery. For example, advance directives may help patients decide if they want cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), artificial nutrition or hydration, intubation, ventilators, or dialysis. They can also address your feelings about pain control and comfort care.

Let your values be your guide when creating your advance directives. Consider what is important to you. That may include passing on without pain and suffering, being able to make your own decisions, leaving your family with good memories and not burdening them with difficult decisions, acting according to your religious beliefs, or to be with your loved ones at your time of passing. Discuss your feelings with your family, friends, physician, religious leader, or your lawyer to consider what is best for you.

Advance medical directives are most commonly in the form of a living will or a durable power of attorney for healthcare. Both documents allow you to give directions about your future medical care. To get a durable power of attorney for health care or a living will, you will need to complete a form available from the Iowa State Bar Association.

To receive the form in the mail, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:  Iowa State Bar Association, 625 E. Court Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50306, with the following information in the envelope: your full name, address, and date of birth. You can also print and download the selected form here.

Once you have the forms, put your wishes in writing and be as specific as possible. Review your advance directives with your family, friends, physician, and power of attorney (POA). You will need to sign and date your advance directives and have them witnessed and notarized.

Keep a copy in a safe and secure place and provide a copy to your physician to be kept as part of your medical records. Your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare will also need a copy. Give copies to a relative or friend who is likely to be notified in an emergency. Review your advance directives regularly and make changes when necessary. Inform you physician, family, and POA of any changes.

Another document to be considered for any individual who is frail and elderly or who has a chronic critical medical condition, or a terminal illness is the IPOST form. IPOST stands for the IOWA PHYSICIAN ORDERS for SCOPE OF TREATMENT. The original form is strongly encouraged to be accompanied by the person it is written for. You can discuss this with your medical provider and find more information about IPOST from the Iowa Department of Public Health here.

Hodne suggests that “if you need help preparing your advance directives or if you would like more information, contact your legal counsel, healthcare provider, or any hospital, hospice, home health agency, or long-term care facility.” Hodne reminds everyone that “planning is the key to protecting your rights!”