News

Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor Introduces Dr. Thomas Chapa, M.D.

The Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor is excited to announce the signing of Dr. Thomas Chapa. Dr. Chapa will be employed in the Emergency Department of the hospital, joining Fred Altamirano, PA-C, Heather Reeve, PA-C, Melissa Magstadt, C.N.P., and Holly York, C.N.P as the other Emergency Department providers.

In an interview, Dr. Chapa stated, “I am excited to have signed with the hospital and I look forward to continuing my role as an emergency department provider in facilitating the bridge between the clinic providers and hospital staff while meeting people’s acute care needs in the emergency room.”

Dr. Chapa grew up in Maryland, and attended his undergraduate school at the University of Virginia. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree, he went to medical school at St. Andrews in Scotland as a fellowship and at the Medical College of Virginia.

Upon completion of medical school, Dr. Chapa finished his first residency in family practice at Mayo in Rochester, MN. Having an interest in international medicine, Dr. Chapa then moved to Saudi Arabia for three years in 1994 to practice family medicine at McDonnell Douglas and the U.S. Air Force base. He would ultimately move back to the United States for another residency in preventative medicine. This one would was completed John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD where he was at from 1997 – 1999.

After a stint consulting in the public health arena, Dr. Chapa started working at Mayo in Wabasha, MN in a family practice clinic. After three years in that setting, he transferred to Mayo in Rochester, MN where he would practice preventative medicine, emergency medicine, and family medicine.

Since 2007, Dr. Chapa has been an emergency room physician working for Acute Care, Inc., which would bring Dr. Chapa to Granite Falls, MN, as well as other locations. It was there that the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor would learn of Dr. Chapa’s skills, customer service, and focus on the quality of care with his patients.

Tom Kooiman, C.E.O., states, “We are excited that Dr. Chapa has decided to join our team. He has demonstrated a pattern of outstanding quality and customer service. Granite Falls Hospital and our community are very fortunate to have him as part of our team.”

Outside of working in the emergency room, Dr. Chapa enjoys running, most notably triathlons. Additionally, he has set a goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

As previously stated with the other new providers, Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor will host an open house to introduce Dr. Chapa to the public with details being announced soon. Dr. Chapa is already employed and currently working in the emergency room.

Dr. Thomas Chapa, M.D.

Dr. Thomas Chapa, M.D.

September Employee of the Month

Kimberley Volk has been chosen as the September Employee of the Month.  Kim has worked in Lab as a Medical Lab Technician since March 2014.  She has a 15 year old son, Ethan and a standard poodle named Daphne.

Kim’s hobbies include inline skating, biking, training for runs/mud runs, health/fitness, fishing, skiing, cooking/baking, wildlife watching, reading, gardening, football, volleyball and billiards.

When asked what she likes about her job working at the Granite Falls Hospital and Manor, Kim states “I like working with patients and staff in the rural community and look forward to being able to help provide them with more health care opportunities.”

Thank you Kim for all you do for us – you are appreciated!

kim-volk

Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor Introduces Tamala Schmitz, C.N.P.

The Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor is happy to announce the signing of Tamala Schmitz, Certified Nurse Practitioner (C.N.P). Tamala will join Dr. Vicky Moe, M.D. as a provider for the newly announced Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor clinic.

Tom Kooiman, C.E.O., states, “Knowing Tamala’s strong commitment to this community, organization, customer satisfaction, and quality, we are excited for her to bring that focus to our new clinic. She is a great fit and will be an essential piece to helping us serve our patients.”

After growing up in Boyd, MN, Tamala joined the U.S. Air Force, achieving the rank of Sergeant, and served from 1988 – 1992. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, she would receive her nursing degree and begin working as an LPN, and ultimately as an RN. In 2009, Tamala was commissioned by the U.S. Army as an Officer and is still serving in the role of officer in charge of the operating room for the 945th forward surgical team at Fort Snelling.

In 2013, Tamala began working at the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital as an RN and has remained employed through her continued studies. Tamala’s most recent studies were at South Dakota State University, receiving her Master’s degree as a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner.

In Granite Falls, Tamala will practice full spectrum Family Medicine, and has an interest in seeing women, children, and families. Tamala states, “I am excited to start my new role with the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor in the clinic and am eager to start seeing and building relationships with the families of the community. During my time at this facility, I was able to experience their superior quality of care and look forward to continue that excellence.”

Tamala has been married to her husband, Rick, for 27 years and they have three children, Ricky, 21, Alexis, 18, and Callim, 13. In her free time, Tamala enjoys exercising, riding motorcycles, camping, and spending time with her family.

Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor will host an open house to introduce Tamala Schmitz, C.N.P. to the public, along with the other newly introduced providers, with details to be announced at a later date. Tamala will begin accepting patients in the new clinic around the first of the year.

Tamala Schmitz, C.N.P.

Tamala Schmitz, C.N.P.

 

Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor Introduces Dr. Vicky Moe, M.D.

The Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor is pleased to announce the signing of Dr. Vicky Moe, M.D. Dr. Moe will join Granite Falls on December 4th, 2016, after practicing for six years at the Chippewa County – Montevideo Hospital in Montevideo, MN.

Tom Kooiman, C.E.O., states “Dr. Moe will be a great addition to the medical staff and will be an integral part of the organization as we start our own provider based clinic.”

After growing up in Washington State and completing her undergrad in California, Dr. Moe attended medical school at the American University of the Caribbean in St. Maarten. Upon completion of medical school, she lived in Buffalo, NY in 2007 – 2010, where she finished her residency at State University of New York, Buffalo. From 2007 – 2010 she was a Family Medicine Resident and from 2009 – 2010 she was a Chief Resident.

In Granite Falls, Dr. Moe will practice full spectrum Family Medicine with Obstetrics (OB), and has an interest in women’s health, pediatric, and adolescent medicine. Dr. Moe states, “I am excited to join Granite Falls and look forward to continuing the facilities’ history of excellence. I have always had a love for OB and love working with my young mothers and their families. Beyond that, I hope to build a robust practice that builds long-lasting relationships with my patients.”

Recently, Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor announced their intention to start their own facility owned, provider based clinic. Kooiman further states, “We are excited to bring Dr. Moe on board. She will be an asset to our organization and will put us in a position to capture more of the Granite Falls market share. We are excited about the type of practice she will bring to our community.”

Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor will host an open house to introduce Dr. Vicky Moe, M.D. to the public with details to be announced at a later date. Dr. Moe will begin accepting patients around the first of the year.

Dr. Vicky Moe, M.D.

Dr. Vicky Moe, M.D.

Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor’s Response to ACMC Opinion Release

Twenty years ago Drs. Ken and Darrell Carter looked for ways to ensure the continued successful delivery of health care to Granite Falls. They spent many hours examining their options, and concluded that partnering with ACMC offered the best hope for success for viable health care delivery, maintaining the health of the clinic and hospital but most importantly, the health of the people in Granite Falls. Drs. Art Rillo and Mark Eakes joined them and have continued to serve their community.

FACT: Granite Falls Municipal Hospital does believe we have dedicated providers and appreciate all they have given to the community and organization. The decision to do a provider based clinic does not have to change our relationship with the current providers.

On August 4, Granite Falls Municipal Hospital administrators met with our ACMC Granite Falls physicians and told them they had hired a physician, planned to hire more and were opening a “provider based clinic.” The physicians were given three choices: “leave ACMC and join us, fold the ACMC clinic into our new one or keep your clinic the way it is and compete with us.” They were given 30 days to decide.

FACT: Granite Falls Municipal Hospital Administration met many times with ACMC to discuss provider based and other options. Those dates include:

• March 22, 2016 – Tom, Val, Patty, Allen met with Steve Gerberding, Cindy Firkins-Smith, and Tom Rozendaal to discuss the current leases and provider based. ACMC said no to provider based. However, they did say let’s discuss further in June as they were struggling to figure things out in Benson.
• June 13, 2016 – Granite Falls Municipal Hospital Administration, Granite Falls Municipal Hospital Board of Directors, ACMC Physicians, and Steve Gerberding met for a board education put on by Chris Champ from Eide Bailly and Tom Schroeder from Faegre Baker Daniels with a topic of provider based, among other topics. ACMC did not want to discuss.
• June 23, 2016 – Tom Kooiman and Cindy Firkins-Smith met to discuss provider based. ACMC said no to provider based for various reasons.
• August 4, 2016 – Granite Falls Municipal Hospital Administration and ACMC Physicians met in Granite Falls to talk about the hospital’s vision and let them know that they were giving ACMC 30 days to decide on the future relationship (buyout, provider based, or separate clinics).
• August 5, 2016 – Granite Falls Municipal Hospital Administration, Board Chair LaVonne Koenen, ACMC Physicians, Steve Gerberding, and Cindy Firkins-Smith met to provide the latter two with the same presentation that was presented to the physicians with a 30 day timeline. After much discussion, ACMC stated a reverse PSA might be an option, or else wanted to look at some sort of Joint Venture. They would digest and come up with concrete options that we may not have thought about. Again, they reiterated that provider based was not an option.
• August 16, 2016 – Granite Falls Municipal Hospital Administration and Steve Gerberding, Cindy Firkins-Smith, Tom Rozendaal, and John Wittenberg met in Willmar to see what options ACMC was able to provide. Nothing was provided. It was in fact at this point that Granite Falls Municipal Hospital Administration had a finger pointed at them saying, and I do quote, “We will compete and we will win!” Again, provider based was not an option.

We recognize that when hospital leadership changes there are pressures to make things happen quickly but thirty days isn’t much time for physicians who have given their lives to serving their community to decide the best direction, particularly when that decision affects so many people’s lives. Patients depend on their physicians to decide wisely. The Granite Falls Hospital is not in financial crisis; we believe a more thoughtful approach would serve both well. ACMC physicians asked the Granite Falls Hospital administration to extend the deadline for discussion to 90 days and during that period we would work together to seek common ground and identify joint ventures that would benefit all. Twenty days into the 30-day timeline, the Granite Falls Hospital administration released a press release signifying an intention to proceed with its provider based clinic and indicated, inaccurately, that ACMC did not support the hospital.

FACT: Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor is not interested in extending the timeline. In fact, if you go back to the March 22, 2016 date, and all subsequent date, we feel ample time for dialogue was given to discuss options for collaboration and solutions.

If someone had asked us, they would learn that this is simply not true. We support the Granite Falls Hospital and all our local hospitals. We are not only physicians; we are patients as well. We want the Granite Falls Hospital to provide the absolute best care to its community. We know that Granite Falls needs a new hospital facility and we want to work with them to make sure it’s designed for health care needs of the future.

FACT: Granite Falls Municipal Hospital does not question the providers’ dedication to our community.

We recognize the need to recruit new physicians to the community, and to grow services locally so patients don’t need to travel far for the care they need, and we know the importance of retaining good health care jobs in the community. We also understand the challenges that both hospitals and clinics are facing in today’s health care system with decreasing and changing reimbursement and less inpatient services. We think we will be better off working together with our community hospitals to create joint solutions where we can share services, improve access, provide benefits to our community and deliver the best health care to our patients at affordable costs.

FACT: Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and ACMC tried to jointly recruit. We presented them with a potential candidate and let them take the lead, but with the understanding that we would be an integral part of that process. Granite Falls Municipal Hospital was cut out of the process, and they lost the candidate as a result.

FACT: We believe patients shouldn’t need to travel at all, let alone not needing to “travel far.” The hospital believes 90% of healthcare should stay local.

However, we differ with the new Granite Fall’s hospital administration about the reliance on a Provider Based Clinic model to achieve these goals, because the first thing a provider based clinic does is increase cost to patients. Part of our commitment is to decrease costs, not to increase costs to patients.

What does a provider-based clinic mean to me?

According to Granite Falls Hospital CEO, Tom Kooiman, one of their goals in establishing a provider based clinic is to pass savings along to their patients. However, in June 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (“OIG”) issued a report criticizing provider based clinics and their billing practices and reaffirmed its recommendation that provider-based clinics be eliminated.
FACT: Granite Falls Municipal Hospital understands provider base may not be here forever, but that does not mean we cannot and will not have a clinic to operate. It is also a fact that Granite Falls Municipal Hospital understands critical access hospital and provider based billing and its effects on its community.
FACT: Granite Falls Municipal Hospital & Manor is one of the few critical access hospitals in MN that does not have a provider based clinic. Ironically, those hospitals that do not have a provider based clinic that we are aware of are affiliated with ACMC.

The OIG’s study found that the typical Medicare patient’s out-of-pocket cost for an office visit in a provider based clinic versus a free-standing clinic doubles from $14.90 to $28.61. The same thing typically occurs when patients have private insurance. Most patients do not want to see their cost for care double for the exact same services they were receiving locally prior to the hospital instituting a provider based clinic.

FACT: The cost of care is not doubled as described in this situation. Granite Falls Municipal Hospital has not established a pricing structure.

ACMC agrees. We don’t think anyone wants to pay more for health care, we think they want to pay less. We are working hard on demonstrated higher quality and lower costs for patients and we strive constantly for excellence. This is the future of health care.

FACT: Granite Falls Municipal Hospital agrees. We don’t want anyone to pay more for healthcare. We believe healthcare services should be provided as safely and as locally as possible.
First and foremost, about our patients.

ACMC is committed to the community of Granite Falls, the hospital our Granite Falls physicians and our patients. We are committed to hiring providers who are of the highest quality and who are also dedicated to the long-term care of this community. We are not interested in competing with the Granite Falls Hospital. We think that is bad for patients. No one will win. We believe a longer period for a robust and open discussion will us to create better ideas together. We want to collaborate with our hospitals on viable solutions that do not increase costs to our patients and results in high quality care locally.

FACT: As stated in another FACT, they told us “we will compete and we will win.” What changed their position to no one wins?

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