Influential Visits Pave the Way for Behavioral Health Initiatives in Rural Iowa

Director Garcia visit

In a significant development for Iowa, influential lawmakers are turning their attention to the critical needs of behavioral health across Iowa, particularly in rural areas where access to comprehensive services and reimbursements remain a challenge. Recent visits from prominent figures underscore a renewed commitment to addressing the root causes of substance abuse and promoting mental health support in communities throughout the state.

Director Garcia visitOn National Rural Health Day (November 16th), Iowa Health and Human Services Director, Kelly Garcia, and State Epidemiologist, Dr. Robert Kruse, visited MRHC and the Recovery Center. Their presence underscored the critical need for integrated behavioral health services, with a focus on mental health and substance abuse. Engaging with healthcare professionals, community leaders, and the hospital’s board and senior leadership team, Director Garcia and Dr. Kruse discussed collaborative solutions to improve statewide healthcare and to also address the unique needs of rural communities.

During her visit to Manning on September 12th, Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird highlighted the importance of tailoring initiatives to the unique challenges faced by these areas stating, “Rural communities often encounter barriers in accessing quality healthcare and addiction treatment services. The opioid settlement funds are one-time funds that could provide an opportunity to bridge those gaps and make a lasting impact on the lives of those affected by opioid addiction in our rural communities.” Brenna Bird

Earlier this year, agreements were reached with manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies to provide nearly $50 billion in payments for state and local governments across the nation. Funding was distributed to each state, and in Iowa a portion of those funds were distributed to each county for the county supervisors to disperse locally. The rest of the funds are currently held at the state level with the anticipation that lawmakers will determine appropriations in the next legislative session.

Charles GrassleySenator Charles Grassley as well as Republican presidential candidate and North Dakota Governor, Doug Burgum, accompanied by his wife, Kathryn, also visited MRHC earlier this fall to gain a better understanding of the healthcare needs affecting rural areas and the unique position of MRHC and the Recovery Center.

These visits provided lawmakers with a firsthand look at the Recovery Center’s efforts to support residential and outpatient recovering addicts. MRHC, serving as a model for rural healthcare services, became a platform for discussions on comprehensive strategies to address behavioral health challenges, reimbursements, and access to care in rural Iowa.Doug Bergum

Director Garcia emphasized the importance of addressing behavioral health needs, stating, “By understanding the challenges faced by the communities across our state, utilizing research-based methodologies, and taking a comprehensive approach to address the most critical health needs, we can develop targeted and effective strategies to improve our overall health outcomes.”

These visits reflect a broader, bipartisan commitment to address rural healthcare challenges in a unified and strategic way. This holistic approach starts with a grassroots understanding of the challeng es affecting rural hospitals accompanied by discussions to adjust policies at the state and federal levels. These collaborations reflect an aligned dedication to build healthier and more resilient commun ities across the state.

As Iowa takes a significant stride forward in the battle against opioid addiction, the opioid settlements stand as a beacon of hope for rural communities. MRHC Administration and the leadership of the Recovery Center are taking this opportunity to educate local county supervisors as well as statewide leaders to better understand the services that already exist, their vision for addressing this epidemic, and the potential for MRHC and the Recovery Center to serve even more clients and their families.

Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird Advocates for Rural Healthcare and Substance Abuse Treatment During Visit to MRHC

Brenna Bird visit

Iowa Attorney General, Brenna Bird, underscored her commitment to enhancing rural healthcare and tackling the challenges of substance abuse during her visit to Manning Regional Healthcare Center (MRHC) and the Recovery Center on September 12th. Brenna Bird visit

Attorney General Bird, known for her dedication to addressing critical issues affecting communities, spent the day engaging with healthcare professionals, touring the facility, and discussing key priorities related to rural healthcare access and substance abuse treatment. During a meeting with key hospital leaders, Attorney General Bird emphasized the vital role of rural healthcare in ensuring all Iowans have access to quality medical services.

“Rural communities are the backbone of our state, and it is crucial that we invest in and support healthcare facilities such as Manning Regional Healthcare Center,” Attorney General Bird stated.

The Attorney General toured the various departments meeting doctors, nurses, and other front-line staff to gain a firsthand understanding of the challenges they face in delivering healthcare services to rural populations.

Brenna BirdOne of the key highlights of Attorney General Bird’s visit was her exploration of the Recovery Center at Manning Regional Healthcare Center, where she engaged in discussions with addiction treatment specialists, counselors, and individuals in recovery. She expressed her deep concern about the rising prevalence of substance abuse issues in rural areas and emphasized the importance of comprehensive treatment options.

“The opioid epidemic has touched every corner of our state, and rural communities are particularly vulnerable. We must ensure that individuals battling substance abuse have access to effective and compassionate treatment close to home,” Attorney General Bird remarked.

In outlining her priorities related to rural healthcare, Attorney General Bird committed to working closely with healthcare providers and community leaders to address issues such as healthcare workforce shortages, infrastructure improvements, and access to mental health services. She also pledged to advocate for policies that support the expansion of substance abuse treatment programs and improve access to mental health resources in rural areas.

MRHC CEO, Linn Block, expressed gratitude for the Attorney General’s visit, stating, “We appreciate Attorney General Bird’s attention to the unique healthcare needs of rural communities. Her commitment to supporting initiatives that address substance abuse is particularly significant in our ongoing efforts to provide comprehensive care to our residents.”

As Attorney General Bird concluded her visit, she reiterated her dedication to collaborative efforts that bridge the gaps in rural healthcare and substance abuse treatment. “By working together, we can build stronger, healthier communities across Iowa,” she affirmed.

Attorney General Bird’s visit to Manning Regional Healthcare Center serves as a testament to her hands-on approach in addressing critical issues impacting the well-being of Iowans.

“We are thankful for the Attorney General’s visit to MRHC and appreciate her taking time to learn about the unique services we offer here as well as the challenges we face with regard to rural healthcare funding and staffing,” shared MRHC CEO, Linn Block.

Manning Regional Healthcare Center has recently become a popular site for politicians as the organization has been able to successfully manage rural healthcare challenges and continues to work hard every day to provide exceptional patient care. Read about other recent politicians visiting MRHC: U.S. Senator Grassley visited the hospital and Recovery Center. Presidential Candidate & North Dakota Governor Burgum

Dalton Lytle Finds Hope In Recovery and Joy in Helping Others

Recovery Counselor, Dalton Lytle, CADC

“We save lives here and I’m grateful to be part of that,” shared Dalton Lytle, Recovery Counselor who works at Manning Regional Healthcare Center (MRHC). “Manning Recovery Center has changed my life for the better. I am proud to be an employee here and represent what recovery can do for someone.”

Lytle attended college for a short time before beginning his career in bridge construction for eight years. He never intended to return to college, let alone work in an office as an addiction counselor, but after personally receiving treatment at the Recovery Center, he moved to Manning and took a job opportunity as a part-time tech at MRHC. Lytle shares how his personal experience with addiction and recovery helps him relate to his clients on a personal level.

Recovery Counselor, Dalton Lytle, CADC“After working at the Recovery Center for a while it was clear to me that this is what I want to do for a living – help suffering addicts find hope in recovery,” explained Lytle. “Going through treatment here myself, I know the pain and struggles that our clients are going through. Being able to relate and help them through it is very rewarding and I want to continue doing that.”

Lytle is very passionate about his career at MRHC because he has personally reaped the benefits from the Recovery Center’s treatment and urges other addicts to seek help. “The reason I love my job is because I get to help people save their lives,” stated Lytle. “I went through treatment here in 2019. My life was a complete disaster and I had very little hope that things could get better. The Recovery Center showed me that there is hope and gave me the tools to save my life. I could not have done it without the Recovery Center. Treatment was such an eye-opening experience for me. I want to continue helping those who suffer addictions find the same hope that I was given. It’s pretty amazing to see someone come into treatment feeling hopeless and broken, and then watch them transform into a new person full of joy and hope,” Lytle explained.

The saying ‘Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life,’ rings true for Lytle. “I like working at the Recovery Center because when I get up in the morning, I am excited to go to work. I had never had that feeling before, so it is special,” exclaimed Lytle. He boasts that the best thing about working at MRHC is the easy-going and supportive environment. “It makes work enjoyable and that’s a pretty cool thing.”

“My role at the Recovery Center continues to expand the longer I work here,” explained Lytle. When Lytle was a counselor tech, he was responsible for taking clients to outside meetings and facilitating group sessions, along with various other client needs. “I have recently been promoted to counselor and my role here has expanded. I now get to help our clients more than before by having my own clients that I work with on an individual basis. When it comes down to it, I am here to provide guidance and support for our clients so that they can start a new life in recovery,” stated Lytle.

The biggest issue Lytle wants to bring to light is that addiction happens everywhere, including rural areas. “The Manning Recovery Center is unique. There is something special about this place. Many have said that this is the best treatment center in the state and other surrounding states,” explained Lytle. Although the Recovery Center at MRHC may be rural, Lytle believes that to be an advantage. “I think we stand out because we care about our clients. The groups are smaller here compared to other treatment centers and that makes for a more personal experience. I think we all do a great job making them feel at home and that provides the best environment for healthy growth.”

To join the MRHC team, visit or call (712) 655-2072 for more information on current job openings.

Presidential Candidate & N.D. Governor Burgum Visits Manning Regional Healthcare Center

Republican presidential candidate and North Dakota Governor, Doug Burgum, along with his wife, Kathryn, visited Manning Regional Healthcare Center on Wednesday, September 6th to learn about the challenges and opportunities within rural healthcare.

Burgum, a former technology entrepreneur, is hitting the campaign trail in rural western Iowa to connect with rural residents, business owners, and community leaders. Among his visits in the area were stops in Harlan, Denison, Audubon, and Atlantic.

Burgum’s interest in Manning and MRHC centered around the Recovery Center’s influential impact on substance abuse addiction treatment. The couple toured the Recovery Center, learned about the five levels of treatment services offered, discussed the challenges of funding reimbursements, and praised local leaders for the work they are doing and investing in such a beautiful facility for treatment.

“[Addiction] a national issue that touches every family, every community, and every organization,” shared Burgum. “Over 40 million people in our country are touched by the disease of addiction. We are faced now with a crisis related to overdose deaths. We have lost the equivalent of four Vietnams in the last two and a half years in terms of deaths related to overdose, 70% of those coming from fentanyl poisoning. This is an issue for our whole country.”

He continued, “These are sons and daughters [or] nieces and nephews of people who have been trapped in the disease of addiction and this is something we have to take on as a nation. There is a role for communities to play, but it starts right here like what is happening in Manning where great people [are] caring for each other and approaching this as the disease it is to fight against the disease of addiction.”

Kathryn Burgum has been sober for 21 years and champions the Recovery Reinvented program on addiction and recovery. While September is National Recovery Month and many efforts are happening across the country to raise awareness for substance use disorder and treatment services, the couple shared their journey to help addicts return to work and how they strive to eliminate the stigma of the disease of addiction. The couple intends to carry that message as they continue on the campaign trail.

Additionally during the hospital tour, the Governor and first lady stopped in the emergency department and experienced a live-look at the Avel e-Care emergency response system. They were impressed with the quality of care that can be achieved in rural areas despite having limited staffing. They also acknowledged that additional technological advances are necessary in order for rural healthcare to succeed long-term.

In a conversation with hospital leaders, Burgum shared his experience with electronic health records systems and sympathized with the MRHC senior leadership and board members for the challenges they face to implement such a costly system that does not necessarily contribute to improving the quality of care at the end of the day, but a requirement to remain competitive in the healthcare environment.

Burgum is from the small town of Arthur, North Dakota, and uses that platform to relate to rural Iowa voters. In the mid-1980’s, Burgum bought Great Plains Software which became a major supplier of accounting and record-keeping software for small and mid-size businesses. He grew the business to employ more than 2,000 people, took the company public in 1997, and in 2001 sold to Microsoft for $1.1 billion. Since selling Great Plains Software, Burgum founded two more businesses: a real estate development firm and a venture capital firm that invests in software companies. Burgum was elected as North Dakota’s governor in November 2016 despite few people even knowing who he was and having zero prior political experience. Burgum entered the presidential race in June and is seeking the Republican Party nomination in the 2024 presidential primaries.

“We are thankful for the Governor and Kathryn’s visit to MRHC and appreciate them taking time to learn about the unique services we offer here, as well as the challenges we face with regard to rural healthcare funding and staffing,” shared MRHC CEO, Linn Block.

Manning Regional Healthcare Center has recently become a popular site for politicians as the organization has been able to successfully manage rural healthcare challenges and continues to work hard every day to provide exceptional patient care. Last week U.S. Senator Grassley visited the hospital and Recovery Center.

Grassley Visits MRHC on #99 County Tour

Jackie Blackwell, Chief Quality Officer; Michelle Andersen, Chief Nursing Officer, Shelli Lorenzen, Chief HR Officer, and Linn Block, CEO, pose with Senator Grassley outside of MRHC.

Senator Grassley reiterated his pride for Iowa’s long-standing reputation of providing high-quality, cost-effective health care.U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) toured Manning Regional Healthcare Center and met with hospital administration and board leadership on Monday, August 28, as part of his annual 99 county tour. Also present on behalf of MercyOne were Bob Ritz, CEO; Mary Cownie, Chief of Staff; and Mike Trachta, Vice President of Network Affiliates.

As the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Grassley has worked closely with critical Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and retirement policies and has potential to influence significant funding reimbursements for rural hospitals and was very familiar with the challenges faced by rural hospitals.

“Representative government is a two-way street, and it requires continued dialogue between elected officials and the people we represent,” Grassley said. “I appreciate the opportunity to hold town meetings, answer questions and take comments from Iowans. My annual 99 county meetings help me regularly keep in touch with Iowans to better represent them in Washington.”

MRHC CEO, Linn Block, MHA, BSN, RN, expressed that, “Funding continues to be a challenge for rural hospitals every year, especially as we see costs skyrocket and reimbursement rates remain the same. However, MRHC did end up breaking even this year, which is great, but it leaves us little room to invest in future priorities that will take our facility to the next level.”

Additional questions to the Senator addressed the workforce shortage and challenges with filling critical patient-care roles.  Shelli Lorenzen, Chief Human Resources Officer, shared, “MRHC has had a few positions open since before the pandemic that we are still struggling to get filled.”Manning Regional Healthcare Center senior leadership team and board leadership, along with members of MercyOne’s administration team sat down for conversations on Monday, August 28, as part of the Senator’s annual 99 county tour.

She shared that MRHC is being innovative to fill some nursing positions and is working with four Indonesian students to secure nursing degrees through the hospital’s reimbursement program. She requested to the Senator that more be done to improve immigration processes and workforce preparedness to help address the workforce shortage.

Due to rural residents’ high dependency on Medicare, rural hospitals are typically more financially vulnerable since Medicare only pays a fraction of hospital’s actual costs. “MRHC receives a much lower reimbursement than the national average making the financial viability of our small, rural hospital difficult to ensure that we can continue providing quality patient access to care,” shared Block.Recovery Center Director, Taya Vonnahme, MSN, RN, ARNP, CADC, shares how MRHC is uniquely positioned to provide support for patients facing substance abuse and addiction as well as other ailments thanks to the variety of services being provided under one roof.

Participants encouraged the Senator to look at additional ways to improve Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to rural hospitals. Recovery Center Director, Taya Vonnahme, MSN, RN, ARNP, CADC, was on hand to share how MRHC is uniquely positioned to provide support for patients facing substance abuse and addiction as well as other ailments thanks to the relationship with MRHC and a variety of services being provided under one roof.  However, Medicare and Medicaid funding continues to be a challenge to compensate at a rate that covers the cost of services.

All were grateful to the Senator for visiting and board member Larry Hagedorn expressed his appreciation for the USDA loans that were pivotal in building the new hospital ten years ago.Linn Block, CEO, shakes hands with Senator Grassley outside of MRHC.

“We are grateful for Senator Grassley’s visit and his ongoing support of rural healthcare. We also appreciate the support and relationship with the MercyOne administration, as it takes the whole system working together effectively to address the current and long-term challenges in healthcare,” shared Block.

This is Grassley’s 43rd straight year holding meetings in every one of Iowa’s 99 counties. Grassley has held at least one meeting in every county, every year since he was first elected to serve in the U.S. Senate. He answers questions on any subject. Iowans set the agenda.

The Oppermans’ Legacy Continues

Bill and Phyllis Opperman

Bill and Phyllis OppermanIn today’s day and age, people often want to ‘experience the most’ and ‘live their best life.’ One part of living a great life is to be grateful for the opportunities and places that you value and to consider the impact you want to make and the legacy you wish to leave for the next generation.

For longtime Manning residents and family farmers, Bill and Phyllis Opperman, they had great examples throughout their lifetime of the generosity of family and friends who contributed their time, talent, and treasures for the betterment of the community.

Bill’s grandfather, George Dietz, a prominent farmer and visionary businessman, had the foresight to recognize that when the Manning General Hospital was built, it would need an elevator to be effective. He contributed financially so Manning would be one of the first rural hospitals in the state to have an elevator. This feature assisted patients for many years until the current hospital was built in 2014.

In an interview in early 2021, Bill reflected on the numerous other amenities Manning cherished thanks to generous donors and funds raised from various community events, such as the fire department, parks, trails, the Hausbarn Heritage Park, and so much more.

Bill and Phyllis lived a full life, felt blessed to live in Manning, and were very proud of everything the small community offered. They were active in community events throughout their life. As they began estate planning, they looked to identify ways they could give back to the community and make a difference for generations to come. They also wanted to make an impact while they were alive so they could see the fruits of their labor.

The Opperman family at the Manning Public LibraryMost notably was their foundational gift to kickstart the Manning Public Library relocation and expansion in 2022. Although Phyllis unfortunately did not get to experience the finished space after passing just two months prior to the library opening, Bill visited nearly every day. Not only did he read the daily papers, but he also volunteered to take care of the new community gem. Nothing made him prouder than seeing people of all ages enjoying the space.

Personalized Care Makes an Impact

Bill was intentional about considering other impacts he wanted to make before his passing. He reflected on the parts of the community that had the biggest influence on them throughout their lives. One memory that kept coming to mind was that, as they faced health challenges, they were able to continue receiving care in Manning and were “overwhelmed by how much people truly cared,” shared their daughter, Janis Opperman.

Janis, who has worked as a nurse in Omaha for many years, reflected that “the care they received at MRHC was exceptional. What mattered most to them was that all the medical staff worked together and were willing to talk to them, making sure they understood everything that was going on. When they needed anything, the staff made sure they got it. Staff always went above and beyond their expectations, and how much they cared always showed. Having caregivers that are neighbors and family of friends always meant a lot to them. They could not have gotten better care anywhere else,” Janis shared.

The Oppermans were grateful to have various healthcare services in Manning, so they didn’t have to travel far as they aged. Phyllis went through physical therapy and was thankful for MRHC’s skilled team of therapists. She appreciated that, although she had to receive treatment three times a week, in a matter of five minutes or less she could get there, and Bill could go back home instead of waiting for her in the lobby. Likewise, it wasn’t a long drive home to get back and rest.

Another example of the exceptional care the Oppermans received at MRHC was when Phyllis suffered a stroke. “Dad called 911 and they responded right away. In less than five hours from the initial phone call, surgery was completed in Omaha. Had she not been seen right away and stabilized in Manning it would have been too late to take her elsewhere,” Janis said.the Opperman family

A Legacy in the Making

“Dad was always a practical man, and he knew that life had its cycle,” said Janis. “As he reflected on the legacy he wanted to leave, he shared that he wanted to contribute financially so that community leaders could do what they needed to get done. He also wanted to do something important, something from the heart.”

Bill and his family met with Linn Block, MRHC CEO, who shared some of the opportunities that were on the horizon for the hospital. “While we didn’t determine an exact project at the time, we shared the vision for the future of the hospital and our commitment to keeping necessary services local,” said Block.” Bill was happy to hear of the progress and commitment to ensuring that hospital services would be available for generations to come.

Although the board of directors have not determined the exact project their donation will fund, Block assures, “it will contribute to something big. The Oppermans’ donation will provide support for necessary upgrades to further provide high-quality, yet local care, that patients deserve and have come to expect from MRHC.”

“We are grateful for their legacy contribution to MRHC as well as their children’s willingness to support us even though they no longer live here,” added Block. “It is generosity like theirs that keeps our rural hospital thriving despite a tough economic and political environment.”

Bill passed away on January 15, 2023, and he and his family were grateful that he could spend his final days at MRHC. He was comfortable, it was convenient for the family, and the ability to see his friends meant the world to him.

“As we all consider the legacy we want to leave in this world, we are thankful for visionaries such as Bill, Phyllis, and even Grandpa Dietz who were intentional about making a difference long into the future for the entire community,” shared Block.

MRHC will forever remember the Oppermans and are grateful for their support of MRHC and the Manning community.

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.”

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.

Carroll Co. Growth Partnership Attends Annual Access Washington Trip

Linn and Dawn in DC
Block and Meyer Voice Area Concerns

By: Pam Kusel

It has been two years since Carroll County Growth Partnership has traveled on their annual Access Washington trip to visit with the Congressional delegation, federal agencies, and others to discuss important issues in Carroll County. COVID-19 and government shut downs kept the group from traveling to Washington DC the past two years. This year, the group brought a full slate of issues to discuss and new faces to experience our nation’s capital.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to go to Washington DC to advocate for rural healthcare,” said Manning Regional Healthcare Center CEO, Linn Block. “As Iowa saw its first hospital closure this year, the impact of many years of reimbursement pressures will continue to put the future of rural healthcare in jeopardy. MRHC has consistently been a leader in working alongside state and federal policy makers to ensure they understand our challenges as we continue to meet the needs of our community.” Linn and Dawn in DC

Dawn Meyer, Manning City Administrator, said, “We met with all four of the House representatives from Iowa and their staff. We also met with a representative of the Biden administration. We talked about a number of issues specific to Manning. We brought a proposed change for David-Bacon, which is a federal regulation relating to contracts that involve federal money. This is a long-term issue. In the past we have received quick turnarounds, such as the gas line. We also brought up several healthcare concerns; things that are important to MRHC. We felt it was important to support those issues, and Linn (Block) presented very well on that, and we got some good feedback from elected officials.”

Healthcare dominated the trip, being the leading issue brought by private industry. Linn Block, MRHC CEO, asked for continued support and funding of the 340B program, which has a large impact to their bottom line and helping provide healthcare in the Manning area. Both requests were given support from the entire Iowa delegation (four Congressional offices and two Senate offices). Allen Anderson, CEO of St. Anthony Regional Hospital, discussed the importance of the rural demonstration program and the funding support it gives to the Carroll hospital.

Kimberly Tiefenthaler, Executive Director of Carroll County Growth Partnership led the group to DC on her first Access Washington trip. “Access Washington is a phenomenal opportunity for our organization, area businesses, and constituency to bring issues to our nation’s leaders,” stated Tiefenthaler.

The City of Carroll discussed issues regarding the wastewater treatment plant and effluent limitations. This was discussed at all congressional meetings and of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking for guidance to solve the problem and help the taxpayers of the city of Carroll. Other issues consisted of volunteer EMS support, transportation infrastructure (four-lane Highway 30), Davis-Bacon, Economic Development Administration reauthorization, and housing rehab. All issues gained the support of the Iowa delegation who were willing to help find solutions.

A highlight of the trip was meeting with Will McIntee, Associate Director of Public Engagement with the Biden Administration. The group met with Will at the Eisenhower Executive Office on the White House Campus, just down the hall from the Vice President’s office.

“We attend this trip looking for help and guidance to solve problems that people and businesses are facing here in Carroll County. Some years, CCGP has accomplished those tasks and some years, we continue to build relationships with the leaders in Washington DC. Either way, this trip is a benefit for the people of Carroll County,” stated Tiefenthaler.

Carroll County Growth Partnership invests in this trip every year and is to be used as a resource and benefit to Carroll County. Any leader or business can bring their issue and attend the trip in the future.

Attendees of the trip were: Kimberly Tiefenthaler, Carroll County Growth Partnership; Rick Hunsaker, Region XII Council of Governments; Dawn Meyer, City of Manning; Gene Meiners, Carroll County Supervisor; LaVern Dirkx, Carroll City Councilman; Mike Pogge-Weaver, City of Carroll; Allen Anderson, St. Anthony Regional Hospital; Linn Block, Manning Regional Healthcare Center; and Matt Meiners, Carroll Co. Growth Partnership.

Lymphedema Services Now Available at MRHC

lymphedema treatment

“For those experiencing swelling due to lymph node removal or cancer treatments, lymphedema services can be very beneficial,” explained Manning Regional Healthcare Center Occupational Therapist.

Lymphedema is a pooling of lymph fluid that results in swelling in a portion of the body. If left untreated, the collection of protein-rich fluid provides a culture rich for infection and inflammatory processes. Reduced oxygen transport then decreases healing to compromised tissues and wounds.

Lymphedema is a progressive condition characterized by:

  • Excessive protein in the tissues
  • Excessive fluid in the tissues
  • Chronic inflammatory reactions
  • Excessive deposition of fibrous tissues

“We began seeing more and more patients experiencing the effects of lymphedema, so we knew it was essential to provide treatment for our patients,” said Director of the therapy department, Taylor Nelson, PT, DPT.

Patients will now be available to receive the following treatments at MRHC:

  • Manual lymph drainage
  • Compression bandaging
  • Compression garments
  • Exercise and elevation
  • Education in self-management

To schedule a lymphedema consultation at MRHC, call (712) 655-8100.