Northern Wisconsin

Ministry Sacred Heart Hospital measures bone health

Osteoporosis is often called a “silent disease” because it doesn’t produce symptoms until a fracture occurs, usually in a hip, the spine or forearm. In fact, one in two women and one in eight men are at risk for fracture or have at least one spinal fracture and don’t know it. A woman’s risk of hip fracture alone equals her combined risks of developing breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.

The diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis begins with an objective measurement of your current bone density. Today, when doctors detect bone loss in the earliest stage, treatment is more successful. There are several drug therapies now on the market that have been shown to be effective in slowing down or reversing bone loss.

Ministry Sacred Heart Hospital radiology department in Tomahawk installed a Hologic DXA bone densitometry unit that safely, accurately and painlessly measures bone density and can detect early bone loss.

According to Ministry Sacred Heart Hospital’s Chief Radiology Technologist, Sue Loka, RTM, “The new bone densitometry unit brings Ministry the latest technology to detect osteoporosis in both men and women.”

Density images are immediately available for a radiologist’s review and interpretation. In this way, your doctor can provide a more thorough assessment of your bone health – quickly and conveniently.

What to expect during a bone density exam

During a comprehensive examination with DXA, you will lay comfortably on a padded table while the DXA unit scans two or more areas, usually the fracture-prone hip and spine. Unlike typical X-ray machines, radiation exposure during bone densitometry is extremely low. The entire process takes only minutes to complete. It does not involve injections or invasive procedures.

For more information or a referral, please contact your primary care clinician. To schedule an appointment with a Ministry Medical Group clinician in Tomahawk, call 715.453.7200.

Unlike typical X-ray machines, radiation exposure during bone densitometry is extremely low.

Family nurse practitioner joins Ministry Medical Group in Eagle River

Ministry Medical Group is pleased to announce that Mary Kahl, RN, FNP, has joined the Eagle River clinic. Kahl specializes in providing medical care for all ages, including an emphasis on women’s health and nutritional health.

Prior to joining Ministry Medical Group, Kahl worked at Ripon Medical Center, Fountain View Care Center in Ripon and Agnesian HealthCare in Fond du Lac.

Kahl believes that having a relationship with her patients contributes to their overall care. “I believe in partnering with patients to improve or maintain their health,” Kahl stated. “I want to help lead patients on a path to optimal health.”

When she is not caring for patients she enjoys traveling, working on crafts, being involved in church and visiting family.

There’s a new type of doctor in town

In recent years, you may have noticed a change when you stay in the hospital. You may not see your office doctor as much, but there is another one who checks on you.

This physician is a hospitalist

Before you are admitted to the hospital, the hospitalist, an internal medicine physician who will oversee your care while you are hospitalized, has learned about you and your condition. This information, combined with your health records, gives the hospitalist the foundation for your care.

Why do I need a hospitalist?

Your primary care provider has a full schedule and isn’t always immediately available to answer your questions or discuss your treatment when you are in the hospital.

Since a hospitalist does not see patients outside the hospital, he or she is available to see you as often as needed.

A hospitalist is there to answer your questions in person whenever possible, which is especially important during critical and stressful times.

Since hospitalists are based at the hospital, they can make quicker decisions as situations arise. They can consult with specialists in the hospital, modify treatment or follow up on test results promptly. This availability speeds your care and recovery, resulting in reduced hospital stays and lower costs.

During your stay in the hospital, your hospitalist will be in close communication with your primary care physician.

Under the care of a hospitalist, you can be discharged as soon as you are ready, even if it is in the late afternoon or evening. There’s no more waiting for your doctor.

When you are discharged, your hospitalist will discuss your follow-up treatment plan, help schedule follow-up appointments and prescribe any medication that you may need. Your hospitalist will also send information to your doctor’s office.

Hospitalists help improve your care when you are out of the hospital. When providers know that their hospitalized patients are cared for by other physicians, providers are able to dedicate their full attention without interruption to the patients in their offices.

Your hospitalist is an important part of your health care team.

A new hospitalist pilot program is coming to Eagle River

Hospitalist programs, popular in larger medical centers, may be a challenge for rural locations. Many times, smaller hospitals do not have the funds necessary to create and run a full-time hospitalist program.

To meet this need, Ministry Health Care is launching a pilot program at Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital that allows patients access to the benefits of a hospitalist.

According to John Almquist, MD, FHM, director of hospitalist services at Ministry Medical Group, hospitalists from Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander will interact remotely with patients at Ministry Eagle River Memorial with the assistance of hospitalist-trained staff using telemedicine devices. This technology includes high-resolution, zoom cameras that allow the physician to assess the patient’s condition and permits two-way communication between the patient and the doctor.

After consulting with the physician, the nurse practitioner will take the telemedicine cart to the patient’s room. The hospitalist at Ministry Saint Mary’s will speak to the patient through the virtual connection and the patient will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

“With the success of this pilot program, we plan to put it into service in other critical access hospitals,” said Dr. Almquist.

Currently, Family Nurse Practitioners Cortney Cleerman, FNP, and Daniel Skeen, FNP, are in specialized training at Ministry Saint Mary’s to gain the knowledge and experience to become the on-site hospitalist staff at Ministry Eagle River Memorial.

Cleerman received her Master of Science degree in nursing, FNP, from Concordia University of Wisconsin in Mequon.

Skeen, a native of Park Falls, obtained his Master of Science degree in nursing with an emphasis on family nurse practitioner from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

After completing their training, Cleerman and Skeen will become an integral part of the hospitalist program in Eagle River.

“Hospitalists become specialized in hospital medicine,” said Dr. Almquist. “With immediate access to other health care experts, hospitalists become very practiced at handling the unique health care issues that arise in the hospital.”

Patients who require frequent hospitalization also appreciate the consistency of having both a “hospital doctor” and an “office doctor.”


Saturday, April 21, 2012
8 a.m. – Noon
Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital
Ministry Medical Group Clinic
2251 North Shore Drive, Rhinelander

Cholesterol screen*, diabetes screen*, PSA prostate screen*, blood pressure check , breast health exam, memory screen, balance screen, hearing screen, throat screen, body mass index (BMI) screen, oxygen saturation screen and pulse oximetry screen, health information and more!


Medications need to be brought in their original containers (please do not mix medications together). For prescription medications, the patient’s name should be crossed out to comply with HIPPA requirements. NO CHEMOTHERAPY DRUGS or SHARPS please!

Donations for the Rhinelander Food Pantry and Community Blood Center will be collected. Please give!

Appointments are not necessary. For more information, call 715.361.2874.

*There is no need to fast for the cholesterol or diabetes screen. Cholesterol patients must be 18 years and older. PSA Prostate screens are for men 50+ or 40+ years with a family history of prostate cancer. Results from cholesterol and PSA screens will be mailed to participants.

Funding for FREE screenings and medication disposal provided by Saint Mary’s Hospital Foundation.

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