Keep up with what's happening at Appleton Area Health!
Appleton Community Orchard
Appleton Area Health is excited to partner with Zion Lutheran Church to establish a community orchard. Two dozen volunteers gathered to plant pear, plum and apple trees along with raspberries on June 12, 2020. Honeyberry bushes as well as asparagus, rhubarb, and grapes will be planted at a later date yet this summer.
The purpose of this project is to improve access to fresh produce to anyone in the community as well as improve overall community health. Zion Lutheran Church also hosts the local food shelf and conveniently, the orchard can help supply fresh produce for those in need. Once the plants are fruit bearing, anyone in the community may use the produce.
Kelsey Tollefson, Mental Health Therapist at AAH, was inspired by a similar concept in a neighboring community, and stated, "what better way to make an investment and help people for years to come."
The Appleton Community Orchard was made possible through a SHIP grant from Countryside Public Health and is located just north of Zion Lutheran Church.
Annual Winter Gala Cancelled
After careful thought and deliberation, the Appleton Area Health Foundation Board of Directors has made a difficult decision and will not host the annual AAH Foundation Gala this year. "We are deeply appreciative of you, our sponsors, donors & friends who have made our fundraisers successful and memorable each year. The health and well-being of the community is our top priority and with the social distancing recommendations in place, we feel it necessary to forego hosting this event and do our part to help prevent the spread of serious illness."
They ask you to consider making your sponsorship and/or event ticket a gift to the Appleton Area Health Foundation. Now more than ever, quality healthcare in our communities is indispensable and the Gala is a major fundraiser. The AAH Foundation has helped to purchase tub units, air handling units, a handicap accessible door, X-Ray equipment and so much more, all of which benefit local healthcare needs.
They recognize that some sponsors and donors may be experiencing difficult financial times and that the above request may not be possible. If you would like a refund of your sponsorship or event ticket, or if you would like to exchange the cost of your event ticket for remaining Raffle tickets, please email your request to or call 320.289.8504 (direct line). Your refund will be issued within 30 days. Sponsorships and event tickets that are not refunded prior to July 20, 2020 will be considered a donation and will not carry forward to next year's event.
The raffle drawing will be held on July 31, 2020.
Thank you for supporting your local health care!
Chad Syltie – Chair
Kerry Bonk – Vice Chair
June 3, 2020
Community Orchard Coming to Appleton
Appleton Area Health is excited to announce a partnership with Zion Lutheran Church to establish a community orchard. The orchard will be planted within the next few weeks and will be located on the vacant lot north of Zion Lutheran Church. Raspberry and honeyberry bushes as well as pear, plum and apple trees will be planted. The purpose of this project is to improve access to fresh produce to anyone in the community as well as improve overall community health. Zion Lutheran Church also hosts the local food shelf and conveniently, the orchard can help supply fresh produce for those in need. Once the plants are fruit bearing, anyone in the community may use the produce.
This orchard is made possible through a grant from Countryside Public Health SHIP grant.
Planting of the Appleton Community Orchard will take place in June and again in August.
April 21, 2020
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 http://superiorhealthqa.org/nursinghome
March 12, 2020
Appleton Area Health Closed to Visitors
After careful consideration, Appleton Area Health - Hospital, Care Center and Apple Ridge Assisted Living is no longer allowing visitors. The Clinic will remain open. This policy is effective immediately. This difficult decision was made because the safety of our residents, patients, and community is our top priority. Those impacted by this policy include family, friends, volunteers, and vendors. Under special circumstances, exceptions will be made for family members on a case by case basis. To request consideration, please contact:
Mitch Ejnik, Director of Older Adult Services at 320.289.8518
Beth Taylor, Assistant DON at 320.289.8529
Lori Andreas, CEO at 320.289.8508
At present, there are NO ACTIVE CASES of COVID-19 at Appleton Area Health. However, the COVID-19 outbreak is a rapidly evolving situation. Appleton Area Health is taking steps to help control the spread of this virus while caring for those who may be affected due to the highly suspected cases of COVID-19 in our surrounding area.
The World Health Organization has now identified the spread of COVID-19 as a pandemic. We will continue to work closely with the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak.
December 2, 2019
Appleton Area Health Hosts Regional Mental Health Brainstorming Event
Appleton Area Health (AAH) and the Lac Qui Parle Health Network (LQPHN), which consists of Appleton Area Health, Johnson Memorial Health Services, and Madison Healthcare Services, sponsored a collaborative meeting at Appleton Area Health on Thursday, November 21st.
Eric Arzubi, MD, a Montana-based psychiatrist and founder of Frontier Psychiatry, PLLC, led the discussion to identify gaps in mental health care and to develop effective and practical solutions to prevent and address the mental health crisis in our region.
Key stakeholders from the region were invited to partake in the discussion about the mental health care crisis. Swift, Lac Qui Parle, Big Stone, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine, and Stevens County law enforcement and social services agencies, as well as CEO’s and nurse leaders from Appleton, Dawson, Madison, Montevideo, Ortonville, Granite Falls, Benson, and Morris participated in this event.
Also attending were behavioral health providers from Woodland Centers and Appleton Area Health, The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA), The Institute for Clinical Systems (ICSI), Avera E-care, and State Representative Tim Miller.
Dr. Arzubi started the discussion with an overview of several innovative mental health programs he helped launch in Billings, MT, including integrated behavioral health, regional tele-psychiatry services, and emergency psychiatric care.
Dr. Arzubi led the opening of an Emergency Psychiatric Assessment, Treatment, and Healing (EmPATH) unit at the Billings Clinic. The unit is designed to provide a calming, therapeutic environment and immediate access to psychiatric care. The EmPATH unit is a 24 hour observation unit that is an option for someone who may or may not need psychiatric hospitalization. It provides a bridge between the ED and inpatient psychiatric units.
Discussion was held regarding the current mental health system and the care provided. An overview of the services that are provided regionally included: in-patient psychiatric care, crisis stabilization, and mobile crisis. “I recognize that a number of mental health services are available, but, judging by the many people in attendance today, it appears that access to psychiatric care is still a problem in rural Minnesota.” stated Dr. Arzubi.
Several comments from participants included concerns that patients have nowhere to go. Although there are options for mental health care, such as inpatient units and crisis centers, there is certain criteria that patients have to meet that can prevent some patients from getting the care they need. Jennifer Erdmann, Director of Nursing at Johnson Memorial Health Services voiced concern that when patients come to the ED, they often have nowhere for the patient to go. Patients end up in emergency departments for hours while staff works to find placement. Sometimes they end up getting admitted to the hospital because no one will take them and most rural hospitals don’t have the resources to provide the psychiatric care that is needed.
State Representative Tim Miller addressed the group stating, “Wherever I go, I hear these same concerns, I applaud you for coming together to look for solutions. This is not a rural or urban problem, it is everywhere. People are not getting the care they need.”
John Holtz, Swift County Sheriff stated, “We sit with patients for ten hours or more at times in the Emergency Department (ED), once we finally get them out of the ED and on the way to getting some help, that brings a sense of relief for them knowing that finally someone is going to help them.”
Appleton Area Health’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lori Andreas added, “We have a responsibility to the patients we serve. There are gaps in psychiatric care and it is up to us as a region to find solutions so that patients are getting the care they need.”
Discussion continued regarding different models of care and what would need to occur to develop and open a regional EmPATH unit and the challenges and opportunities that would occur in the process.
Tani Hemmila, Team Director for The Institute for Clinical Systems (ICSI - a non-profit health care improvement organization that helps health care facilities find ways to redefine and redesign systems to improve care) added that ICSI would be willing to be a resource for the collaborative group as they move forward.
“The ultimate goal is to improve mental health care in this region. Our current system of care isn’t working, so we have to think outside the box. We have an opportunity to make a difference and, although there are always challenges, there are solutions as well. I look forward to see the positive changes to mental health care that this collaborative group develops and achieves,” stated Dr. Arzubi.
Appleton Area Health - Clinic Recognized for Exemplary Performance
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. Appleton Area Health 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.