Eastern Wisconsin

Let’s Go Algoma! Impacts Wellness of Community
Helping Patients “Do Something” about Dementia
Ministry helps patients help themselves with the Affordable Care Act
Urgent Care Available in Sturgeon Bay 7 days a week


Let’s Go Algoma! Impacts Wellness of Community

Ministry Door County Medical Center’s new wellness initiative “Let’s Go Algoma!” is enjoying resounding success in the Kewaunee County community.

Ministry has partnered with several local organizations to offer free fitness classes for Algoma residents. More than 80 people, ranging in age from 16 to 81 years, participated in the program.

“It’s been a great program,” said Virginia Baum of Algoma who participated in a circuit training class. “I feel stronger, and I even bought a resistance band so I can do the exercises at home by myself.”

Another participant was so inspired by the program that she purchased a Wii Fit® and lost 22 pounds during the eight-week session. Mary Schoenberger enjoyed the camaraderie of Let’s Go Algoma. “It’s so much more fun and motivating to exercise with a group,” she said. “It was just wonderful for Ministry to create this program. Algoma needs this.”

Ministry Door County also participates in wellness programs directly with employers such as Algoma Schools. “We’re thrilled to have Ministry’s support to help our employees become healthier,” says Margaret Jensen, human resource manager at Algoma Hardwoods. “They’ve been a great partner in helping us with our company’s goal of increased wellness opportunities. When employees can exercise and receive health coaching at their workplace, it benefits everybody.”

Let’s Go Algoma also offered a free 12-week workshop at the Algoma Community Center with classes as varied as reflexology, mindful meditation and belly dancing.

Nate Hayes, MD, primary care practitioner at Ministry’s Algoma clinic, re-launched his popular “Walk With Dr. Nate” program. “After a long winter, people were ready to get outside and get moving,” said Dr. Hayes. “Anything I can do to encourage folks to stay active, I’ll do.”

Let’s Go Algoma was developed in response to a community need,” said Matt Luders, health and wellness executive at Ministry. “People in Algoma wanted more opportunities for fitness and wellness, and we’re happy to have been able to serve that need.”


Helping Patients “Do Something” about Dementia

With the third highest percentage of adults aged 55 and older in the state of Wisconsin, Door County has a need for quality dementia care.

Recognizing this reality, Ministry Door County Medical Center established the Ministry Memory Clinic, a comprehensive memory care department whose mission is to provide excellence in the early diagnosis and treatment of dementia. Door and Kewaunee county residents can receive a free screening evaluation, often provided in the home environment, more thorough diagnostics, therapeutic services, and connection to community resources.

Christy Wisniewski, outreach specialist at the Memory Clinic, has seen the clinic’s impact on people’s lives. “Many patients learn that their dementia is caused by a treatable condition,” Wisniewski said. “If their dementia is caused by Alzheimer’s disease, they become empowered with treatment and research options, wellness opportunities and future planning. We’re meeting the needs of active older people who want to stay in their homes.”

Wisniewski recently worked with a couple in which the husband, in his early 60s, had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s by his primary care provider. The couple was given very little information at diagnosis and felt overwhelmed. An online search led them to Ministry’s Memory Clinic. “Their first question was ‘What can we do?’” said Wisniewski.

Wisniewski connected the couple to resources in the community, gave the man exercises and opportunities to improve his brain health, and shared local resources with his wife to help her deal with the stresses of care giving. “It was very gratifying to see their gradual relief, as they learned that yes, there are many things to be done to improve the health of a patient with dementia” Wisniewski said.

Deb Whitelaw-Gorski, director of rehab services at Ministry, says the quality of the Memory Clinic team brings a high level of care to patients. “Our goal is to help patients leave the clinic with a greater understanding of their situation, and a plan and resources to help them move forward,” she adds.

In addition to the Memory Clinic that diagnoses and treats dementia, Ministry sponsors several new community programs that address the needs of patients with dementia and their families. Memory In Development (M.IN.D) is a brain enhancement program for people with early memory loss or early dementia diagnosis. The six-week workshop offers participants the opportunity “to do something about it” through cognitive and physical exercise; it also gives caregivers exposure to local support resources.

The Door County Memory Café held at the Senior Resource Center in Sturgeon Bay once a month provides a social opportunity for people with memory-related concerns or diagnosis. Along with their caregivers, friends or families, patients gather socially in an environment without feeling the stigma of their cognitive impairment.

Each café has a theme, and entertainment or a presentation is included. Additionally, a health professional is available to speak with participants who want more information or resources.

For more information about Ministry’s Memory Clinic or to schedule a free screening, call Christy Wisniewski at 920.746.3504.


Ministry helps patients help themselves with the Affordable Care Act

Miriam Dorn and Sandy Pierre are both lifetime patients at Ministry Door County Medical Center. “My children were all born here,” said Dorn. “The care I’ve received throughout the years has been amazing.”

Sandy Pierre
Sandy Pierre agrees. “I’ve had nothing but excellent care here, and so have my children and grandchildren,” she said.

When both women found themselves needing surgery last month, they were grateful that the Ministry Door County Medical Center staff helped them sign up for the healthcare exchange insurance that covered their care.

“Ministry really helped me,” said Sandy Pierre. “I worked for Emerson for years, but when they closed their doors 11 years ago, it became difficult for me to get insurance I could afford.”

Pierre received care at Ministry Door County through the Community Care program that last year provided four million dollars of donated care to individuals. But, when she found out that she could purchase affordable insurance through the new exchanges, or the Affordable Care Act, she did.

“This way, Ministry is being paid for the care they provide, and I’m contributing to my own healthcare,” said Pierre. “That’s the way it should be.”

In January, Pierre underwent a successful surgery with Charles Schutt, MD. Her deductible was still covered by Ministry’s Community Care program, but the rest of her care was paid for by insurance.

Dr. Schutt was so calming and comforting. I made a very quick recovery and I’m back doing what I want to do,” she said.

Miriam Dorn’s story

As a single mom working in Door County’s busy restaurant industry, Miriam Dorn has been able to make a living, but has never had health insurance provided by her employer.

Miriam Dorn
She has also put a lot of wear and tear on her knees. By last fall, she was in near-constant pain. “I take good care of myself,” she said. “I exercise at the YMCA, but it was getting bad.”

Her recent total knee replacement with Dan Tomaszewski, MD, gave her a new lease on life. “I have almost no pain, and it’s only a week after surgery,” she said. “I would encourage anyone who needs it to have this surgery at Ministry.”

Keith Volkmann, Ministry’s patient financial advisor, walked Dorn through the process of enrolling in the healthcare exchanges before her surgery. “It was so helpful,” she said. “If I hadn’t had his help, I think I would have gotten discouraged.” She is glad to be paying for her own insurance that covers her care. “It’s fair. Everyone should have to pay something.”

Matt Luders, health and wellness executive at Ministry, agrees that the healthcare exchanges are a win-win for patients and providers. “The Affordable Health Care Act allows Ministry to reinvest our dollars into patient care,” said Luders. “We’re still donating care to those who need it to cover deductibles, but patients can now contribute more fully to their own healthcare costs.”


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