State will carefully monitor recent travelers from Ebola-affected regions

State will carefully monitor recent travelers from Ebola-affected regions

Minnesota Department of Health will monitor, for 21 days, individuals traveling from West Africa to Minnesota

After consulting with a team of experts in public health, medicine, ethics and law, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger today announced the framework for Minnesota’s plans to monitor the health of any individual returning to Minnesota after traveling from one of the countries in West Africa affected by the Ebola outbreak.

“My number one priority is to do whatever will best protect all Minnesotans from exposure to this disease. We believe the framework we are announcing today provides the most effective, science-based approach we can take to carefully monitor individuals and protect the public while ensuring the rights of citizens are not abused,” Gov. Dayton said.

Over the weekend, Governor Dayton, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the team of experts developed the basic framework for Minnesota’s monitoring program, which has begun. Based on guidance from CDC, Minnesota’s plan covers four types of returning travelers:

  • Those who were not providing health care in an affected country.
  • Those who were providing health care to an Ebola patient in an affected country but have no known exposure.
  • Those who are contacts of a known Ebola patient (but not a health care worker) and have a known exposure.
  • Those who provided health care to an Ebola patient and have a known exposure.

According to the framework:

  • All identified travelers will receive active case management that will include twice daily monitoring by MDH staff.
  • None of the individuals being monitored will be allowed to use public transportation for trips lasting longer than three hours, regardless of exposure history.
  • Only those with a known exposure will be restricted from using local public transit or attending mass gatherings.
  • All travelers will be allowed to have family members in their home.
  • Only those travelers who treated an Ebola patient and have been exposed will be required to be restricted in their home (have no physical contact with others).
  • All travelers will be required to keep a log of all activities and a log of close contacts during the 21 days.
  • Any situation involving children or adults who work with children will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

“This is a framework for monitoring, but we recognize and anticipate that every situation is going to be somewhat different. We will rely on the expertise of our team of epidemiologists, infection control specialists and medical experts to determine the course of action in each case that will be most effective in limiting the possibilities that the individual could spread disease to others,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ehlinger said.

“These new protective measures will best protect the safety of all Minnesotans,” Gov. Dayton said. “State officials, airport officials, medical professionals, first responders, and our federal partners will remain constantly vigilant to protect Minnesotans from exposure to Ebola.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week announced a new nationwide effort to enhance public health protections against Ebola. Beginning today in six states and expanding quickly to all 50 states, the CDC will work with state health agencies to monitor the health of any individual who has recently traveled to Ebola-affected regions of West Africa. The basic plan calls for daily monitoring of individuals’ temperatures and checking for any other Ebola-like symptoms for the 21 days after that person enters the United States.

“While there may still be certain details that need to be amended as we move forward, we believe the basic elements of the plan will add another layer of protection for families, communities and health care workers,” Ehlinger said.

Those individuals who attended meetings on Sunday with Gov. Dayton and provided their input on the plan were:

  • Dr. Ed Ehlinger Minnesota’s Commissioner of Health
  • Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota
  • Dr. Brooks Jackson, Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School
  • Dr. Steven Miles, Professor of Bioethics and Medicine, Center for Bioethics; University of Minnesota Medical School
  • Dr. John Finnegan, Dean of the School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
  • Jeff Hamiel, Executive Director and CEO, Metropolitan Airports Commission
  • Kristi Rollwagen, Manager of Emergency Programs, Metropolitan Airports Commission
  • Kris Ehresmann, Director, Infectious Disease, Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division, Minnesota Dept. of Health
  • Arden Fritz, Minnesota Dept. of Health legal counsel
  • Dr. Ruth Lynfield, Minnesota Dept. of Health State Epidemiologist and Medical Director
  • Dr. Aaron DeVries, Minnesota Dept. of Health Medical Director of Infectious Disease Program
  • Aggie Leitheiser, Minnesota Dept. of Health Assistant Commissioner Health Protection Bureau

Carter Brothers Go Above and Beyond

Local Family Physicians, Ken and Darrell Carter M.D., received the Minnesota Medical Association’s Community Service Award for 2014 at the group’s Annual Conference held Sept. 19 and 20 at Madden’s on Gull Lake near Brainerd. Together, the Carters have more than 80 years of medical experience.

“The Carters are excellent examples of members who go above and beyond the call of duty,” said MMA President Donald Jacobs, M.D. “They’ve done so much for the patients of Granite Falls as well as the citizens of Minnesota.”

Darrell played a crucial part in the development of CALS training for the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians back in 1996. CALS (comprehensive advanced life support) is an educational program designed for the emergency medical training needs of rural health care teams. Darrell was named Minnesota Rural Health Hero in 2001, Physician of the Year in 2001 by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians, and Physician of the Year in 2003 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Ken played a key role in initiating Home Health Care through Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor. He has also served as a lab director, hospice director and the Yellow Medicine County coroner. He developed a telestroke protocol, in which physicians at a rural hospital can connect in real time with a tertiary care center in the Twin Cities when dealing with a stroke patient. The protocol has improved the care of stroke patients in rural areas. He has also taken on the role of physician champion for Stratis Health’s Rural Palliative Care Community Develop-ment Project.

Nearly 150 physicians from around the state gathered at the conference to select leaders, recognize their peers and honor one lawmaker.


Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor Booth At County Fair a Success!

The hospital sponsored a booth at the Chippewa County Fair in Montevideo, MN July 30th-August 2nd, 2014. We were able to distribute water bottles with the hospital logo. The water bottles were well received and gave us a great opportunity to advertise our very special hospital and new nursing home!

We were fortunate to have some important visitors to the booth including Dr. Eakes and his family, Chippewa County and Yellow Medicine County Commissioners and the WCCO news anchor team.


Frank Vascellaro and Mike Max visit the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor booth at the Chippewa County Fair

Frank Vascellaro and Mike Max from the WCCO news team visit the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor booth at the Chippewa County Fair

The water bottles were also distributed at the Hanley Falls Threshing Show.We will be looking for other opportunities to advertise our hospital in the future. Thank you to everyone who stopped to visit us!


Granite Falls Healthcare Community Welcomes New Doctor

By Scott Tedrick

The Affiliated Community Medical Center of Granite Falls welcomed a new Family Medicine Physician in Dr. Mark Eakes this month. And if there was one message that he said he wanted to convey to the community, it is that there is no where else he’d like to be.

“We’re here to stay,” said Eakes of his family. “We plan on making this community our home and getting to know people and be a part of it.”

A native of San Antonio, Texas, the 50-year-old Eakes said that he has long held a passion for rural areas that stems back to his experiences visiting his grandparents on their Oklahoma farm.

Eakes and his wife Debbie, have purchased a 10-acre hobby farm south of Sacred Heart where he said they spent the last month getting their property ready for chickens and goats. The two have seven children, four of whom are adopted, ranging in ages from nine to 33.

The family is finding itself acclimating to the area quickly, already involving itself in the Chippewa County 4-H Club and Rock Haven Church, while also attending local annual events such as this past weekend’s Upper Sioux Community Wacipi.

“We really enjoying doing outdoor stuff like camping and hiking,” he said. “The kids are really excited about jumping into some of the other opportunities like hunting and fishing and other things they haven’t really done before.”

A second vocation

By all accounts, Eakes time as a physician will serve as a second vocation. Ever since high school he said that he has wanted to be a doctor as well as attend the Naval Academy. The latter came first, and after 12 years on ships and then eight doing air-craft nuclear refueling overhaul work––including the coordination of a $2.5 billion aircraft carrier project–– he retired from his career as a naval officer and immediately began prepping for his long dormant passion of medicine.

“After graduating [with a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland] I earned a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering [from the United States Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California] and have had three ship deployments that brought me around the world twice,” he said. “I’ve been allover the far east, the middle east and Europe. I’ve seen a lot. Did a lot.  Been across the equator and gone through both canals––so I have had quite a breadth of experience within the military and the Navy, but it was time to transition into medicine.”

The vocational switch has been an eight year commitment. First Eakes earned his MPH and Medical Degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia, and recently wrapped up his residency with Portsmouth Family Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School in Portsmouth.

It may seem that going from overseeing a multi-billion dollar aircraft project to managing patient care and a medical team may not have lot of parallels, but Eakes says that he’s learned a number of lessons he expects to carryover.

“I was coordinating multiple contractors, civil servants and navy folk and all that––and I learned that you need to approach a problem not as who is responsible, but as why it happened as more of a system problem,” he said.

“A lot of errors that happen in cockpits, and that happen in operating rooms and emergency departments, are a lot of times because we didn’t build the process properly. It’s not that the person made a mistake because they weren’t trying hard, it’s because we didn’t set them up for success.”

A perfect match

Since 2006 Eakes said began exploring possible locations to practice medicine and has been in touch with recruiters across the country as far away as Alaska.

“I came across this particular job a few years ago when I was starting my residency. And I started to talking to the different folks within ACMC and Granite Falls, Dr. [Art] Rillo specifically, and it absolutely met what I wanted as a physician.”

Eakes said that ACMC flew his whole family out in 2012 and that after spending a week in the area he made a commitment to fill the post.

“The family just fell in love with the area so we knew this was the place for us,” he said.

In addition to his family’s inclination toward the idyllic rural setting for, Eakes said that ACMC provided the diversity of opportunities he was seeking as a physician, including Family Medicine and obstetrics as well as a hospital and nursing home.

Beyond that, the Yellow Medicine East School District and its ability to cater to special needs was also a major motivator in the move.

“Some of our kids have some learning issues so we needed to make sure that the facilities, infrastructure and individuals were available to meet those needs,” he said. “We actually met with some of the leadership at YME and found out that not only do they have those kind of resources but that they were better than the resources available to us coming from the large city of Chesapeake, Virginia. So we were really impressed with what they had to offer.

An excited move

Eakes said he actually purchased his rural Sacred Heart home back in early 2013, but had to finish up residency program before relocating to Minnesota. He said his family has made a game out of “counting down the days” and the transition has been made excitedly and expeditiously.

“The kids wrapped up school, our son was married May 30 and we did our own moving to get out here in the beginning of July,” he said. “We spent a month getting ready and now its time work.”

According to ACMC, Eakes will provide comprehensive medical care for families and individuals, caring for patients from birth to advanced age. He will also provides obstetrics care for expectant mothers and c-section delivery.

Outside of work, Eakes said he’s big into fitness, loves the outdoors and enjoys working with his hands. He’s restored an automobile and found a 25-year old snowmobile that he plans to get running during the fall. Beyond that, he says their many projects at home that expects to keep him busy over the next several years.

“There’s a common three adjectives I’ve heard people use to describe Minnesota. They say people are extremely friendly, its beautiful and its cold. I haven’t experienced the cold part, but definitely experienced the warm and friendliness––and also just the beauty of the area,”



Dr. Darrell Carter Announced as Recipient of 2014 Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians’ President’s award

Affiliated Community Medical Center of Granite Falls family physician Dr. Darrell Carter, M.D., was recently announced as the recipient of the 2014 Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians’ (MAFP) President’s Award.

The President’s Award is given by the MAFP president to a person who has made an outstanding contribuation to the specialty of family medicine and the Academy.

Dr. Carter is deserving because he helped lead a grassroots effort to improve rural ER care, which in 1996, became the Comprehensive Advanced Life Support Program (CALS).

CALS was under the MAFP umbrella until 2004 when it seperated to form its own non-profit organization. Since then, close to 7,000 medical professionals have taken the course.

To date, CALS has been taught in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Texas, Iowa, California, Florida, Oklahoma, Canada, Kenya, and Haiti. It has also been taught to staff in multiple U.S Embassies around the world.

“Dr. Carter has worked tirelessly to improve the skills of rural ER providers and the people they serve,” said Daron Gersch, M.D., MAFP Immediate Past President.

The award was presented to Dr. Carter during the MAFP All-Member Celebration on Thursday, April 10th, 2014.

The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians is a professional association of approximately 3,000 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students established to assist family physicians in providing quality medical care in Minnesota. It is the largest medical specialty organization in Minnesota and is a state chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians, one of the largest national medical organizations in the United States, with more than 103,000 members.


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