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TRMC is building for the future

January 27, 2013
By TERRENCE DWYER, , Messenger News

As 2013 begins, Trinity Regional Medical Center, long a highly regarded regional referral center, is an even stronger hospital than it was a year ago.

Troy Martens, Trinity's chief operating officer, said two developments are especially important in that regard.

First, a long-sought enhancement of Trinity's ability to provide comprehensive treatment options for cancer patients has now been accomplished.

Article Photos

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Radiation therapists Christen Schipull, left, and Alyssa Young get the TRMC Cancer Center linear accelerator ready for the next patient.

Second, the local medical center has broadened its orthopedic capabilities and is offering a fully state-of-the-art array of services in that important specialty.

Cancer Center

Trinity has long had cancer prevention and treatment programs. What was missing, however, was the technology necessary to provide radiation therapy. In 2010, however, the local medical center received the necessary government approval to purchase a linear accelerator.

Fact Box

TRMC Year in Review


  • Trinity Regional Medical Center, Trimark Physicians Group, Berryhill Center for Mental Health and Iowa Health Home Care began participating in the Medicare Pioneer Accountable Care Organizationprogram. There were only 32 such organizations selected nationwide and only one in the state of Iowa.

Dr. Tim Ihrig, palliative care, joined Trinity Palliative Care. With the addition of Ihrig, Trinity's Palliative Care program expanded from an inpatient program to seeing patients in the outpatient setting. This expansion has allowed the Palliative Care Team to monitor more closely the health of chronically ill patients.

Trinity Sleep Disorders Center received accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.


Trinity Regional Medical Center was named one of the nation's Best Regional Hospitals 2011-2012, according to U.S. News & World Report. Trinity was specifically recognized as a high performer in the ear, nose and throat specialty.


Two Trinity Health Systems nurses were selected for the 2012 100 Great Iowa Nurses. Patricia Durand, Trinity Home Care and Hospice, and Carole Stitt, Trimark Family Practice Associates were recognized for their compassionate patient care.

Alicia Keeler, ARNP, joined Trimark Family Practice Associates.

Trinity Wound Healing Center received National Healing Corporation's Front Runner Award. The center was recognized for maximizing its resources to meet the growing needs of its community.


Iowa Health System formed a groundbreaking collaboration with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa to create Iowa's first commercial health plan Accountable Care Organization. Trinity Regional Medical Center was one of the Iowa Health System affiliates selected to participate in the Wellmark ACO.

Trinity Home Medical Equipment store opened on Trinity Regional Medical Center's campus.

Dr. Mark Collins began providing tele-health services for the Berryhill Center for Mental Health. Rockwell City native, Collins telecasts from Las Vegas, Nev.


Trinity Health Foundation announced the Every Option, Every Hope capital campaign goal of $5 million was met. The campaign co-chairs, Dr. Ken and Adrienne Adams and Phil and Keely Gunderson, shared at the Foundation's Annual Donor Appreciation event that the campaign had exceed its goal by more than$200,000.

Dr. Daniel Cole, medical director of Trinity Regional Medical Center's Emergency Department, celebrated 40 years of service as a member of Trinity's medical staff.


Dianna Langner, ARNP, joined Trimark Pediatrics; Sara Moeller, PA-C, and Diana Smith, FNP-C, joined Trimark Dermatology; and Debra Adams, ARNP, joined Trimark Nephrology.

Dr. Kiran Narreddy and Dr. Haldane Porteous joined Trinity Regional Medical Center's Hospital Medicine Program.

Dr. Keith Lacey, with KFL Radiology PLC celebrated 40 years of providing patient care to Trinity Regional Medical Center.

As a part of the new Affordable Care Act, Trinity Regional Medical Center completed its first-ever Community Health Needs Assessment to determine how best to align the hospital's resources to address the health needs of the community.


HealthInsight ranks Trinity Home Care among the top performing home care agencies nationwide for demonstrating excellence in performance on publicly reported quality of care measures. Only five of Iowa's 181 Medicare-certified agencies ranked in the top 10 percent nationwide and Trinity Home Care was one of them.

Dr. Sophia Hom, a cardiothoracic surgeon, joined Iowa Heart Center.

Dr. Larry J. Heller with Iowa Pathology Associates was named medical director of the Trinity Regional Medical Center Laboratory and Trimark Physicians Group Laboratory. Iowa Pathology Associates is the leader in anatomic pathology services in central Iowa and surrounding communities and has 14 pathologists on staff.


Dr. Prasad Purudappa, an orthopedic surgeon, joined Trinity Orthopedics.

Dr. Benjamin Tuy, a orthopedic surgeon, joined Trinity Orthopedics.

Trimark Urgent Care opened. The urgent care clinic provides care for non-emergent health problems or injuries that require immediate attention. The Urgent Care clinic is available during evenings, weekends and holidays.

Trinity Regional Medical Center was honored at the Organ Donor Conference in Des Moines. Trinity received an award for being 100 percent on organ conversion rate. Trinity was also 100 percent for its referral rate, timely referral and consent rate.


After waiting more than two decades, Trinity Regional Medical Center opened its new Cancer Center, offering comprehensive care to cancer patients, included radiation therapy.

Dr. Sarah Tofilon, a medical oncologist, began seeing patients at Trinity Cancer Center.

Drs. Shane Hopkins, Joseph Rhoades and Gregory Yee, radiation oncologist, began providing care to cancer patients at Trinity Cancer Center.

Dr. Ramadevi Sankaran returned to Trimark Pediatrics.

Nearly 125 people attended a community wellness event hosted by Trinity Healthy Living, where Danny Cahill, winner of the hit TV show the "Biggest Loser," shared his motivational secrets for living a healthy lifestyle.

The Iowa Hospital Association honored Harvey Schoon on Oct.11 as a 2012 IHA Shining Star. This award recognizes and publicly acknowledges the invaluable work done by outstanding Iowa hospital volunteers and auxilians.


The Leapfrog Group Recognizes Trinity for Patient Safety: The Leapfrog Group awarded letter grades for patient safety to 2,618 U.S. hospitals, giving nearly 150 facilities "D" and "F" grades for the first time. The not-for-profit quality organization graded hospitals on an "A, B, C, D, or F" scale using Hospital Safety Scores determined by hospitals' performance on 26 measures of hospital safety data from the Leapfrog Hospital Survey, CDC, CMS, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the American Hospital Association's Annual Survey. Trinity Regional Medical Center received an "A" grade.

Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City entered into a Management Agreement with Trinity Regional Medical Center. Trinity also has Management Agreements with four other Critical Access Hospitals - Buena Vista Regional Medical Center, Humboldt Memorial Hospital, Pocahontas Community Hospital and Loring Hospital, Sac City.

Trinity Healthy Living hosted Jared Fogel, also known as "Subway Jared," at a free community event. Nearly 100 people attended the presentation, where Jared shared with the audience how he remains motivated to live a healthy lifestyle.

Trinity Public Relations and Marketing engaged Facebook and Twitter followers to help it make a difference in the community with a campaign called Diaper-A-Day. For every follower who answered a weekly question, liked, shared or commented on the campaign, a diaper was added to the count. At the end of the Diaper a Day promotion, there were nearly 900 diapers to be donated. The donated diapers were divided and given to the YWCA and D/SAOC shelters.

Trinity Home Medical Equipment opened a new Woman's Health Boutique. The Boutique includes post-mastectomy apparel including bras, camisoles, prosthetic breast forms and a certified fitter to help select the right products.


Dr. and Mrs. Ed Touney partnered with GiGi's Playhouse Des Moines and Trinity Regional Medical Center to bring the "i have a voice" galleries to Trinity Regional Medical Center. The galleries featured photos and stories of 42 local children and adults with Down syndrome in an effort to provide awareness in the general community, and empower over one million new advocates.

Source: Trinity Health Systems

During 2012, an expansion of the hospital's physical plant was completed so that the new radiation oncology capabilities and Trinity's already well-established cancer programs could be housed together in a new $8.5 million Trinity Cancer Center. Martens said the new Cancer Center became fully operational on Oct. 8, 2012.

"It is offering radiation, chemo, surgical services and other supporting services," he said, noting also that the Cancer Center has as part of its team the full-spectrum of physician specialists needed to provide state-of-the-art cancer care.

Martens said the patient response to the Cancer Center illustrated how much-needed this enhancement to the care options available at TRMC truly was.

"We launched and we expected this to ramp up slowly," he said. "Literally within two months we were nearing a full day's capacity in radiation treatments. ... It is a testament to what we felt was a need in this region. The need was there, definitely."


For several years, persistent shortage of orthopedic physicians has limited TRMC's ability to offer comprehensive care for the full range of patients needing that type of specialized treatment.

As 2012 began, Sue Thompson, president and chief executive officer of Trinity Health Systems, said the hospital was making an aggressive push to add additional orthopedic surgeons to its staff. Martens said the hard work of recruiting the needed specialists in a highly competitive marketplace has produced positive results. Trinity Regional Medical Center now has four orthopedic surgeons on staff. Consequently, the hospital is moving ahead fast with plans to become a regional "center of excellence" for patients in need of orthopedic care.

In September 2011, the physician manpower in this specialty doubled at Trinity. Dr. Jeffrey Luna, an orthopedic surgeon who in addition to general orthopedics specializes in tumor surgery, spine surgery and joint reconstruction, joined Dr. Richard Bergstrom at Trinity Orthopedics.

In September 2012, the physician complement in this key specialty doubled once again. Dr. Prasad Purudappa and Dr. Benjamin Tuy joined Trinity's orthopedic team.

Luna told The Messenger in 2011 that a major reason he was attracted to Trinity was the hospital's determination to become a significant center for orthopedic care. Martens said the expansion of the orthopedic complement at TRMC to four surgeons puts the medical center well on the road to achieving that goal.

He stressed that Trinity now offers topnotch orthopedic care in all the major subspecialties within that discipline.

"That covers pediatric, oncology, hand, spine, sports medicine and then, of course, your general joint (care)," Martens said. "It is the full range of orthopedic services."


The health care world is changing rapidly. Trinity Regional Medical Center is a pilot site for a major innovation designed to make the health care system better serve patient needs.

Just a bit more than a year ago, TRMC and Trimark Physicians Group were selected to participate in the federal government's Pioneer Accountable Organization Model. The local project is one of only 32 such pilots nationally.

Improving patient care and improving the efficiency of its delivery are at the heart of the Pioneer Accountable Care Organization Model that began to be implemented in at Trinity in 2012. According to a statement issued by Iowa Health System in December, through the Pioneer ACO Model, Trimark and Trinity will work with the federal government's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center "to provide Medicare beneficiaries with higher quality care, while reducing growth in Medicare expenditures through enhanced care coordination."

Thompson told The Messenger early in 2012 that Trinity Health Systems was well-positioned to undertake this innovative, potentially five-year project.

"Forming an Accountable Care Organization is a logical step for both Trimark and Trinity," she said. "Both the doctors and the hospital have long been integrated into a cohesive health care team. The ACO will expand upon that integration, maximizing patient health information to focus on better short-term and long-term outcomes for Medicare members."

At year's end, Thompson provided a detailed report on the ACO project in a guest column published in The Messenger on Dec. 30, 2012. She reported that the undertaking was going well and exceeding expectations.

"What surprised us was how quickly the ACO has succeeded," she wrote. "In just 11 months, overall inpatient utilization has declined 25 percent, 30-day readmissions have declined 43 percent, frequent emergency department patients are now receiving more consistent care and patient satisfaction scores have improved."

Thompson stressed in her essay the importance of role Trinity has undertaken with the ACO project.

"This work has put Fort Dodge at the epicenter of health care transformation in the United States. It also establishes Trinity-Trimark as a laboratory for the rest of Iowa Health System to develop innovative program to deliver the best outcome for every patient every time."



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