Avera Health

Jackie Hendry

On Sunday, the new Avera Addiction Care Center in Sioux Falls is hosting a community open house. The voluntary 28-day treatment center offers a variety of treatments for alcohol and drug addiction.

But the new center also highlights the importance of community in the healing process.

Avera used to refer up to 25 patients a month to residential addiction recovery facilities—some of them hundreds of miles away. Assistant Vice President for Avera Behavioral Health Services Thomas Otten says that’s one of the reasons this new addiction care center is here now.

SDPB

Avera Health has received a $4.5 million grant to expand sexual assault exam services through eCare. The money will fund and support sexual assault forensic exams in rural communities. Jennifer Canton is a registered emergency room nurse. She discusses the need for this type of care.

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Avera Health

The new Avera on Louise Health Campus in Sioux Falls is hosting an open house this weekend to celebrate its completion. The 260,000 square-foot building houses a specialty hospital and medical clinics.

The building was designed to maximize natural light to improve both patient and staff experiences. Sarah Kappel is a registered nurse and Director of Patient Care Services at Avera Specialty Hospital. She hopes visitors experience a clean, bright and healing environment.

Office of Governor Kristi Noem

Sanford Health and Avera Health will now offer health insurance coverage options for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy for 2020.

ABA therapy is considered one of the most effective therapies for children with autism. Without coverage, one year of ABA therapy can cost families up to $100,000.

Deb Muller is the CEO of Avera Health Plan. She explains earlier this year, South Dakota added ABA therapy to its Essential Health Benefits benchmark plan under the Affordable Care Act.

South Dakota Community Foundation

The Farm and Rural Stress Hotline through Avera Health launched in January and is now averaging up to three calls a day. The South Dakota Community Foundation awarded a $10,000 grant to support the on Wednesday.

Ginger Niemann is the senior program officer with the South Dakota Community Foundation. She says the foundation was eager to support the hotline because it serves farmers and ranchers across the state who are facing a long period of difficulties that can impact mental health.

Jackie Hendry

Lack of housing is one of the biggest challenges in workforce development of rural areas. On Tuesday, Avera Health and the Rural Electric Economic Development Fund announced a housing development partnership. The $10 million fund will give developers incentive to build homes in rural areas with Avera facilities.

The Rural Electric Economic Development (REED) Fund is operated by electric coops that provide financing throughout South Dakota. REED is committing $4 million along with Avera’s $2 million, with plans to grow the housing fund to $10 million.

Chris Laughery

In The Moment ... January 30, 2019 Show 505 Hour 1

A new collaboration between Avera Health and Children's Home Society of South Dakota aims to promote mental health, especially among kids.

Author Tom Roberts has written the book A New Norm. It's the story of a boy with overwhelming feelings and the spark that helps him see through the gloom to finding help.

Roberts is joined by Avera Behavioral Health Clinical Program Manager Amber Reints.

As Farmers Face Stress, New Hotline Offers Help

Jan 9, 2019
Credit Kealey Bultena file photo

Farmers and ranchers deal with high levels of stress, which often leads to anxiety and depression. That’s why Avera Behavioral Health is offering a new 24-hour Farmers’ Stress Hotline dedicated to serving the state’s farmers and ranchers who want help. 

For more than 40 years, Jim Woster visited farms and appraised livestock for the Sioux Falls Stockyards. In that time he got to know plenty of farmers and ranchers, and he understands the way the business can wear on someone’s mental health.

Jackie Hendry

The emotional and physical benefits of music have gained legitimacy in the medical field over the past twenty years. Music therapy now helps patients facing a wide variety of conditions. At Avera Health’s Prairie Center in Sioux Falls, an ongoing concert series is  an extension of a growing  music therapy program.  

Avera

In The Moment ... October 10. 2018 Show 439 Hour 1

Big news come from Avera Health this morning as they have received a 7.8 million dollar grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to build a 24 hour telemedicine behavioral health team as part of Avera eCare.

The team will provide care out of Avera eCare's virtual hub, both in and out of the hospital.

Jackie Hendry

A recent study shows 65% of the country’s non-metropolitan counties do not have a psychiatrist, and nearly half don’t have a psychologist. As mental health needs continue to rise, telemedicine may offer a solution for rural areas lacking access to those services. On Wednesday, the Helmsley Charitable Trust announced a grant to establish a first-of-its-kind behavioral health service through Avera’s eCARE center in Sioux Falls. 

Jackie Hendry

Avera Health is hosting an art exhibit that highlights Lakota perspectives of the Wounded Knee Massacre. The display is in partnership with the Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies.  

The exhibit is called “Takuwe,” which is the Lakota word for “Why.” It’s the third exhibit Avera’s Prairie Center has hosted in partnership with CAIRNS, but the first to focus on such a historic moment in both state and tribal history.

Jackie Hendry

The rates for both suicide deaths and drug overdoses are highest in rural America, and those statistics continue to rise in South Dakota. On Thursday in Sioux Falls, Avera Health and the Department of Justice held a conference to help community members respond to the ongoing crisis. 

This is the fifth year that Avera and the DOJ have partnered for a conference on a particular topic. U.S. Attorney Ron Parsons says this year’s theme suggested itself.

Jackie Hendry

The University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine is partnering with Avera Health to help Native American students pursue a medical degree. The first recipient of the Avera Health American Indian Scholarship Program Fund was announced Wednesday in Sioux Falls. 

Jackie Hendry

Avera Health is awarding a more-than $126,000 grant to Feeding South Dakota. The money will help the organization provide food to rural communities through its Mobile Food Pantry Program. 

Matt Gassen is the CEO of Feeding South Dakota. During the announcement in the organization’s food warehouse in Sioux Falls, he says more than 100 thousand South Dakotans are considered “food insecure.” Many are in the state’s most rural areas.

South Dakota’s rural communities often lack resources to combat drug and alcohol addiction. Thanks to a new grant, Avera Health is looking to expand its telehealth services in some under-served areas. 

The Health Resources and Services Administration is awarding Avera a $750,000  grant to expand its addiction recovery services. The project starts with the Avera clinics in Flandreau and Aberdeen.

Malia Holbeck is the outpatient manager for Avera’s addiction recovery program. She says telemedicine can help bridge the gap for areas that lack certain services.

A New Leader At Avera

Jun 7, 2018
Avera Health

In The Moment ... June 7, 2018 Show 353 Hour 2

Avera Health has only had one CEO since its inception, though it's worth noting the organizations that preceeded it go back more than a century. John Porter had the helm for 44 years.

Now, a new leader steps into the role as Porter retires. Bob Sutton has been named Avera's new President and CEO.

He most recently served as Avera Executive Vice President of Human Recources, but his leadership experience spans decades and includes work as President of the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Bob Sutton Named New CEO of Avera Health

Jun 1, 2018
Avera Health

Avera Health is welcoming its first new CEO is more than 40 years. The organization announces Bob Sutton as the successor to retiring CEO John Porter.  

Bob Sutton is a South Dakota native, current president of the Board of Regents, and has held a variety of positions within the Avera system since he was first hired in 20-13. His most recent position was Executive Vice President of Human Resources.

Avera Health

Avera Health plans to build an Addiction Care Center on its new campus at 69th and Louise in Sioux Falls. Avera psychiatrist Dr. Matthew Stanley says an estimated 10%-15% of the general population struggles with some kind of chemical dependency. 

Longtime Avera CEO Announces Retirement

Dec 15, 2017
Avera Health

After 44 years with the Avera Health system, President and CEO John Porter is retiring. His tenure spanned decades of growth, including the joining of the Benedictine and Presentation health systems into Avera Health in 2000.

John Porter has a few major milestones to celebrate. After a more than four-decade career with Avera, this next year sees his 70th birthday and his 50th wedding anniversary. After reflecting with his wife, Porter says that's why now seems like the perfect time to move on.

In The Moment ... December 12, 2017 Show 238 Hour 2 

Jennifer Kirby was recently recognized as "Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser" at the 2017 Governor's Awards for Philanthropy.

Avera Health was named "Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation."

Lindsey Meyers, with Avera Health, and Jennifer Kirby joins us for a conversation about philanthropy in South Dakota and how personal connections drive the way we help one another.

Andrew Bork / SDPB

First responders and medical professionals are assessing their performance during a mock helicopter crash. They held the drill Tuesday morning. Crews began by pretending they had Avera helicopter on the Sanford landing pad and people were hurt. 

Kealey Bultena

Avera leaders say a new campus in Sioux Falls can better serve people with specialty health needs and promote economic growth. Wednesday Avera Health announced plans for building projects including new buildings and a surgical hospital.

Avera on Louise is the name of an additional campus planned for 82 acres at 69th Street and Louise Avenue in Sioux Falls.

Dr. Dave Kapaska is Avera McKennan Hospital’s President and CEO.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A drug that reverses opioid overdose is available in South Dakota without a prescription. The option is a response to national trends in painkiller abuse. Pharmacists at Walgreens can dispense the drug. Starting February 1st, Avera and Hy-Vee pharmacies also offer the medication to keep in case of emergency.

A medicine called naloxone reverses the toxic effects of taking too many painkillers. It’s the generic drug for the brand-name Narcan.

Dr. Matthew Stanley with Avera Health says using the nasal spray is the first step in saving someone who overdoses on opioids.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The first holiday season after someone dies is often difficult for people who loved him or her. It’s full of traditions and gatherings that used to include an important person now gone. One woman says she’s channeling her grief into improving the lives of others because that’s what her son did. 

Melody Hilbert raised three children. Jonah was the second born, sandwiched between two other boys with "J" names.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some patients with medical needs who don’t require the rigorous attention of hospitals have another option for discharge. Avera in Sioux Falls is now operating a transitional unit to serve people who can leave the hospital but can’t go straight to a nursing home, rehab, or back home.

The State of South Dakota doesn’t allow health providers to add beds for more people in nursing homes, but leaders are making an exception for transitional care.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

National health experts are looking to South Dakota strategies as they discuss rural health care. The US Department of Health and Human Services showcased Avera’s telemedicine efforts with viewers around the country. It was part of an effort about National Rural Health Day.

Avera’s eCare services use high-quality video and audio to connect Sioux Falls physicians with small town hospital staff. This allows doctors and nurses to collaborate on treating rural patients in real time.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new form of radiation therapy allows breast cancer patients to avoid weeks of trips back-and-forth to the hospital. That means some women who live far away from treatment centers don’t have to jeopardize their health if they can’t make it to radiation. A Sioux Falls hospital is one of eight in the country using what's called IORT. 

Eighteen months ago, Lu Rice was diagnosed with breast cancer. The Madison woman knew she needed surgery and radiation. She’s seen people go through treatment for five days a week.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A new agreement preserves health insurance options for 26,000 State of South Dakota employees. State leaders and Sanford Health negotiated to cover state employees at an in-network cost. That allows some DakotaCare patients to see Sanford doctors without huge price increases.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Thousands of South Dakotans must change doctors and clinics if they want their health insurance to cover the care. Starting January 1, 2017, Sanford Health no longer accepts Avera insurance including DakotaCare, and Avera Health in South Dakota isn't taking Sanford Health Plan insurance. That leaves some people who can't afford to pay out of pocket with little choice, and it requires others to leave trusted medical providers to find new services that work with their insurance.

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