Avera Health

The state’s three major health systems and more than two dozen other organizations are partnering to promote masks as a prevention measure against COVID-19.

The phrase "Mask Up SoDak" is unveiled as South Dakota sets a record for COVID hospitalizations.

Avera VP of Clinical Quality on COVID-19 Response

Oct 1, 2020
NPR

Dr. David Basel is Vice President of Clinical Quality with Avera Medical Group. He talked with SDPB's Jackie Hendry about the system's COVID-19 response and addressed concerns about hospital capacity. 

This interview was recorded on Monday 9/28/20.

  Jackie Hendry:

Avera and Sanford Respond to Capacity Concerns

Sep 28, 2020

Local health providers say individual hospital capacity is not the best metric for gauging responses to COVID-19. After reports of deferred patients spread on social media, leaders from both Avera and Sanford say their surge plans are adequate and they have enough staff. But there are ways the public can help. 

There’s a simple reason Sanford and Avera are not publicly releasing their daily hospital capacity: to reduce confusion.

Dr. David Basel is the Vice President of Clinical Quality for Avera Medical Group.

NPR

The three major healthcare systems in South Dakota all agree—masks help slow the spread of COVID 19.

Each system requires a mask to enter its hospitals and clinics. They all recommend that people wear a mask in public, especially when social distancing is not possible.

However, there are some political leaders who still aren’t sure.

President Donald Trump has questioned masks. He’s refused to wear them in public, until recently. In fact, now, he occasionally mentions them.

fda.gov

South Dakota is launching the first statewide trial of a possible treatment for COVID-19 in the nation. The trial drug typically treats malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.   

President Donald Trump has pointed to hydroxychloroquine as a potential therapeutic for COVID-19, though its effectiveness has not yet been confirmed.

Governor Noem says she’s been asking the president and other members of his administration to allow South Dakota to launch a statewide trial. This weekend, the state received a shipment of the drug.

SDPB

In The Moment ... January 2, 2020 Show 725 Hour 2

Palliative care helps relieve symptoms of serious illnesses, but it's not a one-size-fits-all method of specialized care. It's also not always accessible in areas where it's needed most. 

Hospice volunteers offer companionship and comfort to people in their final days. Avera St. Mary’s in Pierre is partnering with the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs to provide a volunteer base that can relate best to hospice patients who’ve served in the military.

Avera St. Mary’s is hosting meetings to encourage veterans and their families to become hospice volunteers for other veterans.

Karen Gallagher is the VP of Mission at Avera St. Mary’s. She says volunteers with military experience offer something others can’t.

Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board, Jackie Hendry, SDSU

Palliative care can relieve symptoms of serious illnesses like cancer. But despite high cancer rates on reservations, this specialized care is difficult to access.

A research partnership among South Dakota State University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Avera Health and others is working to develop palliative care options on three of South Dakota’s reservations. The research includes work with community members to ensure culturally-appropriate care.

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.

Support for technology and innovation reporting comes from SDN Communications, your business broadband provider. Learn more at sdncommunications.com

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.

State of South Dakota

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. 

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