News & Events
Keep up with what's happening at Appleton Area Health!
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:
January 18, 2021
Appleton Area Health distributes 418 COVID-19 vaccinations in 72-hours
Appleton Area Health (AAH) successfully distributed 418 COVID-19 vaccinations to area residents ages 65 and older last week.
Governor Tim Walz rolled out a plan on Monday, February 1, intended to “jumpstart” the state’s COVID-19 vaccination program with an emphasis on getting people over the age of 65 inoculated. “We were notified Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. that we would be getting 400 vaccines,” said AAH Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lori Andreas. “Once you receive the vaccines, the requirement was that we get 90% of the vaccines in the arms of patients in 72 hours and 100% in 7 days.”
After talking with Countryside Public Health (CPH), AAH was encouraged to focus primarily on 65 and older and CPH would be vaccinating educators. To give area patients an opportunity to receive COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible, AAH has been advertising in The Appleton Press asking the community to call to be on a waiting list. Advertising was also done on the local radio station KLQP.
AAH began contacting patients including those patients that receive care at AAH, those on our waiting list, as well as those that receive care in other communities. When possible, voice messages were left with patients who did not answer. “The state did not give us 400 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine with the intention to only vaccinate those in our community. They select healthcare facilities with the resources to quickly administer the vaccine and expect us to schedule people from our community as well as outside our community if needed in order to administer all doses for 65 and older. We did however, attempt to prioritize AAH patients first” explained Andreas.
During this round of vaccine distribution, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) publicized which health care facilities would be receiving the vaccines. “Around noon on Monday, shortly after we found out we were receiving 400 vaccines, we were inundated with phone calls from people calling from Milan, Correll, Holloway, Dawson, Monte, and other local towns, as well as calls from individuals that live several hours away and estimate that we managed more than 1000 phone calls going in and out of AAH. Despite this, the COVID-19 Vaccination clinic was hugely successful with full distribution of the 418 vaccines to ages 65 and over by 12:00 noon Friday."
The COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic was held in the Education Room. The entire process was very organized, controlled, and went very smoothly. Numerous patients receiving the vaccine complimented staff on how positive their experience was. “Patients were incredibly happy to be getting the vaccine,” added Andreas. “Staff helping say it was so rewarding to be part of this history and also to see the joy and relief on people’s faces to be getting the vaccine.”
Andreas commended the AAH staff for their work in meeting the goal of 418 vaccines in the arms within 72 hours. “Staff have been unbelievably dedicated during this process, working from 7:00 a.m. to after 8:00 p.m. to make sure we get patients scheduled and get the vaccines administered in this very tight timeline. Other staff have, in addition to their normal workload, assisted with calling patients, screening and registering patients, administering vaccines, organizing signage and traffic control, and made sure our strict cleaning and sanitizing procedures were followed. “As you can imagine, getting 72 hours to call and schedule hundreds of people, and get shots in the arm is no small feat. Fortunately, we had a team of dedicated staff that undertook the planning and organization needed to accomplish this task and comply with the short timeline.”
The COVID-19 vaccine requires two does administered 28 days apart. AAH will be contacting patients who received the first vaccination to schedule them for their second dose when we are notified of it's availability.
In addition, AAH will continue to administer COVID-19 vaccinations as they become available following the guidelines provided by the MDH. If you would like to be placed on our waiting list, please contact AAH at320.289.1580.
Happy patients after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine!
January 18, 2021
Appleton Area Health Care Center and Apple Ridge Estates Starting Indoor Visits
Appleton Area Health is delighted to announce that we are now able to have indoor visits! Visits must be scheduled 24 hours in advance. To schedule a visit, go to
We will continue to maintain social distancing, but are fortunate to be able to use a clear divider which allows for easier communication.
December 23, 2020
Appleton Area Health Receives CARES Grant
Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, Inc. (MNRAAA) has awarded Appleton Area Health a $25,000 CARES grant. The CARES grant is made possible through the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES Act funding through the Administration for Community Living and the Minnesota Board on Aging). The CARES grant is designed to address the needs of older adults facing social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic and allow organizations to provide support services, such as visiting, telephone reassurance, and caregiver support services.
The grant awarded to Appleton Area Health will provide funding for iN2l (It's Never 2 Late) person centered technology that will provide enjoyable entertainment to the residents and tenants of the Care Center and Apple Ridge Estates. This program provides activities that connect residents/tenants to their families and staff through interactive programs that enhance their quality of life.
Mitch Ejnik, Director of Older Adult Services at Appleton Area Health affirms, “The iN2L technology offers a variety of games and activities that promote connection and provide a great source entertainment for our residents and tenants. More importantly, iN2L is designed to trigger conversations that allow our younger generation to connect with the older generation by asking questions and working through the activities provides. There are 4,000 applications in all that can be used to customize the resident/tenant experience. Some examples include popping floating bubbles on the screen to promote range of motion as well as historical trivia used to connect staff and residents and promote cognition by identifying the price of a brand-new Corvette from 1950 was a mere $3,600. In a socially distant world, it has become increasingly important for us to become innovative in ways to prevent isolation and iN2L is an excellent tool to build a deeper connection between our residents/tenants and caregivers.”
Kim Jibben RN/Clinical Coordinator and Betty Christenson from the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, discuss the iN2l technology and the positive impact it has had on our residents and tenants.
October 29, 2020
Appleton Area Health receives Comprehensive Advance Life Support (CALS) designation
Appleton Area Health has joined an elite group of hospitals receiving designation as a Comprehensive Advance Life Support (CALS) facility.
CALS is a program designed to provide training in lifesaving emergency medical care. it originated in Minnesota in 1996 because of a collaboration among emergency medicine and family physicians, rural practitioners and academic specialists, and nurses, nurse practitioners, PA's, and paramedics. Since its inception, CALS has trained nearly 14,000 healthcare professionals and has worked with a division of the United Nations, to provide emergency medicine education to medical professionals throughout the world.
The CALS education program includes extensive print and electronic material, interactive education, and hands-on skills training. CALS is a comprehensive course and prepares the participant to deal with trauma, cardiac, general medical, obstetric, pediatric, and neonatal emergencies in a rural setting. CALS advocates a systems based approach that links healthcare institutions and providers at all levels of emergency care.
Members of the emergency management team were presented with their certification. Pictured left to right: Trisha Olson RN, April Borstad LPN, Elizabeth Charles FNP, Crystal Turner RN, Marcia Kells FNP, Ranita Schmitt DON, Dr. Bajwa, Josie Hauck RN, CALS Executive Director Ann Gihl, Kris Payne RN, Penny Hormann FNP, Dawn Sulflow RN, and Lori Andreas CEO.
October 23, 2020
Appleton Area Health and Lac qui Parle Valley School District Partner to Provide Access to Mental Health Services in School
Appleton Area Health and Lac qui Parle Valley School District are excited to announce a newly formed partnership to increase mental health services for students.
The purpose of this unique partnership is to increase access to mental health services in the school setting and provide mental health services to students that may benefit either on-site or via telehealth. We understand that mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress, and sensory processing disorders can adversely affect a child’s ability to learn.
In June 2020, Appleton Area Health added Lisa deCathelineau, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist to provide therapy services as well as develop a program between Appleton Area Health and Lac qui Parle Valley school district with a goal to screen children, identify those that are having difficulties, and offer services to assist parents and children. “Mental health screening is just as important as visual and hearing screening. Providing screening and early intervention can help implement services that will promote positive peer relationships, academic success, and well-being.” - Lisa deCathelineau
Lisa has extensive experience in providing therapy to children experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma, and loss. She will be at the school one day per week, working closely with school social workers, teachers, and paraprofessionals. In addition to providing mental health intervention, Lisa will coordinate with the school to schedule therapy sessions at the least disruptive time for students, provide recommendations regarding treatment and accommodations, and provide status updates to school personnel as authorized by the child’s parent and/or guardian. Lisa will also provide education regarding mental health and its effects to school personnel, parents, and guardians. Participation in this program is completely voluntary. Results of your child’s screening are confidential and will be provided to you with options or recommendations for follow-up care.
Lori Andreas, CEO of Appleton Area Health affirms, “We received a grant from the MN Department of Health and are excited to partner with the Lac qui Parle Valley school district to provide mental health services. Appleton Area Health’s philosophy is that mental health is equally as important as physical health, and we are committed to doing our part to provide support for anyone who seeks help.”
Pictured are L-R: Maureen Heinecke Appleton-Milan Elementary Principal, Scott Sawatzky LqPV Middle & High School Principal, Lisa deCathelineau Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist at AAH, Greg Schmidt LqPV Superintendent, Lori Andreas CEO Appleton Area Health, and Andrea Block Director of Clinical Services Appleton Area Health
September 10, 2020
50 Raspberry & Honeyberry bushes added to Appleton Community Orchard!
On Wednesday, September 9th, an additional 50 raspberry and honeyberry bushes were added to the already thriving Appleton Community Orchard 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.
The Appleton Community Orchard was made possible through a SHIP grant from Countryside Public Health and is located just north of Zion Lutheran Church.
September 3, 2020
Appleton Area Health Care Center COVID-19 Testing Negative!
The guidelines to allow visitors at AAH Care Center call for robust testing of residents and staff to establish a baseline so that a potential outbreak of the coronavirus among our most vulnerable population can be monitored.
Appleton Area Health recently completed COVID-19 testing on staff and residents in accordance with guidelines provided by The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). There were no positive cases identified at Appleton Area Health. We will continue periodic testing per the recommended guidelines and prevalence of COVID-19 in Swift county.
The vulnerable nature of the nursing home population combined with the inherent risks of close quarter living in a healthcare setting, requires aggressive efforts to limit COVID-19 exposure and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within nursing homes. AAH is committed to continued adherence of these criteria to help ensure our residents and staff remain safe.
September 3, 2020
Appleton Area Health selected by CORH!
The Texas A&M University Center for Optimizing Rural Health (CORH) was created as a technical advisory center for rural hospitals and is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Through an annual selection process, the CORH assists small, rural hospitals to identify and mitigate risk to their future viability.
Changes in how healthcare is delivered and increased dependence on technology have left smaller, more isolated hospitals in potentially precarious situations. Quality care is highly dependent upon local access to excellent primary care, specialized care, and timely transfer when a higher level of care is needed, as well as reliable communication across all levels of care.
We are delighted to announce that Appleton Area Health was selected as one of five hospitals to receive intensive technical assistance from CORH. AAH was specifically selected because of the rapid financial recovery under new administration, growth of services, increase in patient population, strong and innovative leadership team, and positive and progressive culture.
The team at Appleton Area Health, as well as members of the communities served by the hospital, will work with the Center’s team to identify areas for improvement, strategize potential solutions, and develop a future plan to continue providing high quality, local care as well as access to high-tech care of the 21st century. The Center will provide guidance and assistance in reaching the hospital’s goals for a 12-month period and will provide continued assistance on an as-needed basis going forward.
August 20, 2020
Suicide Prevention Awareness Virtual 5K
We're going virtual for Suicide Prevention Awareness!
Show your support and help raise awareness by participating in a Virtual 5K Walk/Run during the month of September...it’s easy, free, and fun!
Simply get out and enjoy a 5K Walk or Run on your favorite route between September 1-30th. Take a photo and share it on our Facebook page with the following:
#aah #suicideprevention #mentalhealthmatters
August 3, 2020
2020 Annual Golf Fundraiser Event
Appleton Area Health Foundation is tee-ing up for its annual Golf Fundraising Event - with some very important changes this year. We’ve extended our one-day event into a month-long tournament...you’ll have the entire month of September to hit the course and show your support!
We invite you to participate in this exciting event. Your AAH Foundation Golf Tournament Voucher entitles you to:
9 or 18 holes of golf that can be used anytime between September 1-30
A meal voucher at Appleton VFW Post 4955
2 beverages at Appleton Golf Club
A gift from AAH Foundation (it’s really neat too!)
Here’s how the tournament will work…
Pick a day for you or your team to hit the course...remember that social distancing rules apply!
Call Appleton Golf Club at 320.289.2511 to reserve your tee time and don’t forget to mention that you’re happily supporting the Appleton Area Health Foundation. Golf cart rental is also available.
Arrive at the course ready to have a great time, check in and collect your scorecards, meal voucher, drink tickets, and gift!
Golf a round of “Best Ball” and enjoy the beautiful course...you’re going to love it!
When you’re done, drop your scorecard off at the clubhouse and head to the VFW for a delicious meal!
Once the scores are in, all participants will be entered into a drawing to win three $100.00 cash prizes! We’ll announce the winners in early October on our website, Facebook page, and in the Appleton Press.
Because of your support, Appleton Area Health Foundation has been able to purchase Laparoscopic surgical equipment, install a handicap accessible door, purchase pedal bikes, bariatric beds, X-Ray equipment and more! This year we’re raising funds for a new tub unit for our hospital inpatients, further enhancing the care we provide to our patients.
Funding for this event comes from sponsorships from you, our business partners and community members. If you are interested in participating or sponsoring this event, please download the form below or contact Angel Molden, Marketing Director by calling 320.289.8504 or email at
We'll see you on the green!
August 3, 2020
2020 Gala Raffle Winners Announced
Congratulations to the 2020 AAH Foundation Gala Raffle Winners! Shout out to our generous sponsors...we cannot thank you enough for your continued support!
June 15, 2020
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.
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 late August or early September.