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March 16, 2021

Appleton Area Health Recognized as 2021 Top 100 Critical Access Hospital

Appleton Area Health has been recognized as a 2021 Top 100 Critical Access Hospital. Compiled by The Chartis Center for Rural Health, this program has honored outstanding performance among the nation’s rural hospitals based on the results of the Hospital Strength INDEX® for the past 11 years.
Chartis Center used the Hospital Strength INDEX , which assesses rural hospitals across eight pillars of performance, including market share, quality, outcomes, patient perspective, cost, charge, and financial efficiency. The INDEX has become the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance and is widely used by hospitals, health systems, and state offices of rural health "Despite the challenges and instability we see each day, the Top 100 program
continues to illuminate strategies and innovation for delivering higher quality care and better outcomes within rural communities," said Michael Topchik, National Leader, The Chartis Center for Rural Health.

Appleton Area Health is 1 out of 100 to receive highest overall scores among all Critical Access Hospitals across the nation. Lori Andreas, Chief Executive Officer at Appleton Area Health noted, "We are honored to receive recognition as one of the top Critical Access Hospitals in the country. We have an outstanding team who have dedicated themselves to providing the best possible care to our patients and our community each and every day. This achievement is indicative of the hard work that has taken place and the commitment of this team to accept nothing but the best.

The list of this year’s Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals can be found at:

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Appleton Area Health 1 of 8 Minnesota Hospitals CALS Certified

Appleton Area Health has joined an elite group of hospitals and is 1 of 8 to receive the designation as a Comprehensive Advance Life Support (CALS) facility. CALS is a program designed to provide training in lifesaving emergency medical care and includes extensive print and electronic training material, interactive education, and hands-on skills training. CALS prepares participants to deal with trauma and cardiac events as well as medical, obstetrical, pediatric, and neonatal emergencies. The program is designed for healthcare teams working in rural areas or settings where resources such as specialists and specialized equipment may not be available. CALS uses a team approach, providing uniform training to all participants regardless of their scope of practice and advocates a systems-based approach that links healthcare institutions and providers at all levels and stages of emergency care in a continuous network of support for patients.

Appleton Area Health has been recognized as a leading CALS hospital having met the stringent criteria for staff training, up-to-date technology and commitment to the CALS principals.

Pictured L-R: Trisha Olson RN, April Borstad LPN, Elizabeth Charles FNP, Crystal Turner RN, Marcia Kells FNP, Ranita Schmitt DON, Dr. Bajwa, Josie Hauck RN, Ann Gihls CALS Program Executive Director, Kris Payn RN, Penny Hormann FNP, Dawn Sulflow RN, Lori Andreas CEO

AAH Recognized for Exemplary Performance in Health Care Transformation


The National Rural Accountable Care Consortium (NRACC) has recognized Appleton Area Health - Clinic for exemplary performance in health care transformation.


This award is given to facilities that have focused on wellness activities and quality of care to improve the health and wellness of their patient population. AAH was recognized for their exceptional performance in preventative care, mental health care, follow-up care post-hospitalization, and patient satisfaction survey results.

Preventative care activities include; increasing Annual Wellness Visits, vaccinations, and preventative screenings, as well as follow-up care for patients with chronic conditions and post-hospitalization care.

AAH integrated primary care and behavioral health services in 2019, resulting in increased access to mental health care, and increased screening to identify mental health needs.


Lastly, AAH patient satisfaction scores showed that 97% of patients would recommend the AAH Clinic to family and friends.


“AAH is committed to providing the best possible care to our patients and we are proud to have received this award. This is a testament of the exceptional care that our providers and our nursing staff provide. We will continue to strive to be a leader in quality healthcare,” stated Lori Andreas, CEO.

Appleton Area Health Makes Commitment Toward Quality Improvement for Care Center Residents

Appleton Area Health has enrolled with Superior Health Quality Alliance (Superior Health) to participate in the Nursing Home Quality Improvement Collaborative. Together, and along with other nursing home facilities, they will work to improve health outcomes for their residents by working to meet goals established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Over the next five years, Superior Health, Appleton Area Health and nearly 900 other nursing homes will work together to improve nursing home quality, decrease opioid misuse and improve behavioral health, increase patient safety and improve care transition quality.

By joining this initiative, Appleton Area Health demonstrates a commitment to continued improvement in the quality of health and health care for the residents they serve. To learn more about Superior Health’s Nursing Home Quality Improvement Collaborative visit

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