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.


Dr. Kenneth Carter Nominated for 2014 Family Physician of the Year Award

By Scott Tedrick

The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAWP) has announced that local resident and ACMC family physician, Kenneth Carter, M.D., is one of three finalists for the 2014 Family Physician of the Year Award.

I think it’s great. I think he deserves it,” said Granite Falls Hospital Administrator and CEO George Gerlach. “He and Dr. Darrell [Carter] have been the backbone of our medical staff for as long as I’ve been here. He’s been the Chief of Staff and headed a variety of departments. He’s a big part of the healthcare community and I’m glad he was nominated and I am glad he’s a finalist.”

Family physicians were nominated for the award by patients and colleagues.  The MAWP Board of Directors will select a winner after reviewing each finalist’s qualifications and reading nomination letters received on their behalf. It is asked that no additional letters be sent.

The 2014 Family Physician of the Year will be recognized at the MAWP Annual Meeting on April 11.  The other finalists include Dr. Sheldon Burns, Edina and Dr. Patrick Zooks, St. Cloud.

The Family Physician of the Year Award is presented annually to a family physician who represents the highest ideals of the specialty of family medicine, including caring, comprehensive medical service, community involvement and service as a role model.

The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians is a professional association of approximately 3,000 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students organized to assist family physicians in providing quality medical care in Minnesota. The MAWP 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. 


April is Occupational Therapy Month

Celebrating Occupational Therapy Month

As your local Occupational Therapy staff members at the Granite Falls Municipal Hospital and Manor we would like to take the time to celebrate our profession with you all during the month of April. April has been designated as Occupational Therapy month and is celebrated around the nation within the profession. We are honored to be in your community and to have had the opportunity to work with some of you. On the other hand, some of you may not be familiar with our profession; therefore, we would like to take this time to introduce you to Occupational Therapy.

 Occupational therapy enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping to promote health, prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability. It is a practice deeply rooted in science and is evidence-based, meaning that the plan designed for each individual is supported by data, experience, and “best practices” that have been developed and proven over time.

Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants focus on “doing” whatever occupations or activities are meaningful to an individual to assist in living purposeful and meaningful lives. It is occupational therapy’s purpose to get beyond problems to the solutions that assure living life to its fullest. These solutions may be adaptations for how to do a task, changes to the surroundings, or helping individuals to alter their own behaviors.

When working with an occupational therapy practitioner, strategies and modifications are customized for each individual to resolve problems, improve function, and support everyday living activities. The goal is to maximize potential. Through these therapeutic approaches, occupational therapy helps individuals design their lives, develop needed skills, adjust their environments (e,g., home, school, or work) and build health-promoting habits and routines that will allow you to thrive.

By taking the full picture into account—a person’s psychological, physical, emotional, and social makeup as well as their environment—occupational therapy assists clients to do the following:

  • Achieve goals
  • Function at the highest possible level
  • Concentrate on what matters most to them
  • Maintain or rebuild their independence
  • Participate in daily activities that they need or want to do.

We can be reached at (320)564-6244 for additional information and/or inquiries.

ot patient1 ot patient3 ot patient2

Paulette, COTA/L; Danielle, OTR/L; Kelly, OTR/L; Cristin, COTA/L

Paulette, COTA/L; Danielle, OTR/L; Kelly, OTR/L; Cristin, COTA/L

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