Archive by Author

Understanding Pain can Mean Reducing It!

  To overcome a thing, you need to first understand it. It’s as ancient philosophy, and one that applies to more scenarios than you might imagine; among them, pain. 

  Increasingly, medical research is showing that when a patient is taught why they hurt, those individuals experience a reduction in pain, fear and anxiety. This is the aim of Therapeutic Neuroscience Education (TNE), a new therapeutic resource now being offered by Big Stone Therapies.

   “It’s really patient education on what pain is,” says Hana Gilbertson, PTA. “What they’re finding is that the more the patient understands what pain is, their pain level decreases, with just that education on their injury – that tissues heal, that overtime your body heals itself.” TNE, comes into play when tissues have healed, but pain persists, which is considered part of chronic pain.

  One way this mind-body therapy approach aims to help reduce pain is by helping patients to understand what to expect with their particular injury. This, in turn, can reduce anxiety, and reducing anxiety is important because in a self-perpetuating cycle, anxiety about pain can often cause that pain to increase. 

  “It’s decreasing that fear and anxiety of what could be wrong,” says Gilbertson. “Because often times you’ll have that initial injury and there can be a lot of pain with it, but we can teach you ways to help manage your pain and promote tissue healing”

  “And not only do they have pain, but they probably have some other stresses that are causing some of their pain,” adds Susan Clark, PTA. “Like, ‘Am I going to lose my job because I haven’t worked in two to three months, am I going to be able to take care of my children?’”

  This type of additional stress in a person’s life can exacerbate their symptoms.  

  Another side effect of injuries that TNE addresses is the loss of awareness of a limb that can sometimes accompany an injury. Or conversely, increased sensitivity. 

  “What happens,” explains Gilbertson. “Is when they have that chronic pain in a certain extremity, they almost begin to neglect that side or not recognize it. There are physiological changes that can happen as well,” she continues. “When they start avoiding any sort of use with, say, a hand – if it’s been immobilized, for instance in a cast, for a long period of time, their brain almost does not recognize that hand anymore.”

  At the other end of the spectrum, some patients may become hypersensitive.

  “They can be in so much pain that even their clothing can bother them, or wearing shoes can bother them,” says Clark. “So we’ll educated them on desensitization techniques.”

  TNE is now being used to help reduce pain for a wide variety of individuals. It has shown particular promise for those with chronic pain, which affects an estimated 100 million Americans and can be caused by a number of conditions. Fibromyalgia, TMJ, migraines or tension headaches, lower back pain, even arthritis, are also among the conditions where TNE has been shown to help significantly reduce pain.

  “We’ve seen a huge call for it,”

 “As therapists since we have had this continuing education, we are able to better identify the patients that need TNE,” says Clark of the TNE program, which Big Stone Therapies began implementing a little over a year ago. “Far more than we’d expected.”

  One reason for that is because more and more physicians are also learning about the benefits of TNE. 

  “Our physicians here at the Madison Clinic have been informed about TNE from our department,” says Physical Therapist Matt Carmody, who encourages patients to discuss TNE with their doctors if they believe they might benefit from it. “If you’re concerned, ask your doctor.”

  It’s true that TNE isn’t right, or even necessary for every patient. But for many, understanding and learning to deal with their pain can be an important step in the road to recovery. 

Pictured:  Matt Carmody, PT, DPT, Susan Clark, PTA, and Hana Gilbertson, PTA

World Day of Prayer Service


World Day of Prayer Service

Friday March 3, 2017

Madison Healthcare Services Chapel

1:30 pm

Fellowship to follow

Sponsored by Madison Healthcare Services, Zion and St. Pauls in Bellingham.

Heart Health

cardiac rehab 2017February is Heart Month, used as a podium to educate people about their heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men and women, accounting for 1 in 4 deaths in the US.  Nearly half of Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease such as high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity, or an unhealthy diet.  Risk also increases with age.  Madison Healthcare Services has a variety of programs to benefit your heart health.

MHS partners with CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center from St. Cloud to provide monthly Cardiology outreach services.  The heart center has been named a Top 50 Cardiovascular hospital by Truven Health Analytics and was listed in Becker’s Review as one of the top 100 hospitals and health systems with excellent heart programs in 2016.  We are very fortunate they partner and come to Madison so our patients do not have to do any traveling! Typically patients are referred to a cardiologist by their primary care provider for issues such as chest pain, shortness of breath, heart valve disease, and abnormal heart rhythms.  The cardiology group from Central MN Heart & Vascular will see patients in our clinic at a consultation and provide treatment regimens in conjunction with the patient’s primary care provider.  If warranted, the cardiologist may order additional cardiac testing to be performed to further investigate the cause for the patient’s symptoms.  MHS is pleased to be able to conduct the additional tests at our facility.

Our providers Dr. Brant Hacker and Michael Deyo, PA also provide cardiac stress testing.  Both Dr. Hacker and Michael Deyo have received specialized training and education to oversee the cardiac stress testing protocols.  A cardiac stress test is sometimes called a treadmill or exercise test.  It helps identify how well people’s heart handles its workload.  Stress tests are performed here every Monday.  If you think you are a candidate for a stress test you will need to consult with your primary care provider so they can provide you with a referral.

Madison Healthcare Services also has a cardiac rehab program which offers 2 phases of rehab.  Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program designed to help improve your cardiovascular health. The cardiac rehab program at MHS offers education on healthy eating, stress/coping with cardiovascular disease, smoking cessation and helps patients maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Phase 2 is available for individuals with stable chest pain, a history of heart attack, heart and lung transplant, coronary artery disease with cardiac interventional procedures, valvular heart disease and/or associated surgeries and chronic stable heart failure.  We also offer a phase 3 program which is not covered by most insurances and is offered to individuals who successfully have completed phase 2, have risk factors for heart disease, known coronary artery disease, or other heart related problems. Individuals are monitored by an Advanced Cardiac Life Support certified RN, who works under the direction of an MD.

If you have any questions about Cardiac Rehab contact Marissa Stahl at 320-698-7199 ext: 7104 or Jill Mortenson 320-698-7155 for any Outreach Cardiology questions.

Reach Out & Read

There’s more to ensuring a child’s well-being than just making sure they’re physically healthy. No matter how young, a child’s mental and emotional development is just as vital.

One important way to aid development is by reading to children starting in infancy. Numerous studies show that reading to children stimulates brain growth and, according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Reading strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime.”

Unfortunately many children don’t have this opportunity. Those same studies show that one-in-three children enter kindergarten without the language skills necessary to learn reading. And approximately 2/3 of children fail to develop reading proficiency by third grade.

There can be many factors preventing a parent from reading to their children, from a lack of financial resources for purchasing books, to a lack of information on how to choose appropriate material. Others may simply be unaware of its importance in their child’s development. That is why Madison Healthcare Services will be hosting a pilot program that aims to help provide books for these young patients as part of their regular Well-Child visits.

The Reach Out & Read program, which was started over 20 years ago by pediatricians at Boston Medical Center, is coming to MHS. Reach Out & Read provides age appropriate books to children during their Well-Child visits to help foster their development.

“Children six months to five years of age will be given a complimentary book at each Well-Child visit,” explains Melanie Miller, (RN). “If they attend all of their Well-Child visits, children will begin kindergarten with 10 complimentary books.”

Miller, who is a nurse at the hospital (and is pursing her doctorate degree in family nurse practice) is the one the people responsible for bringing Reach Out & Read to the facility.

“Ninety percent of all brain development occurs before the age of five,” says Miller. “Ninety percent. And children who are part of this program score three to six months ahead of their peers on vocabulary tests. It helps introduce new words and also teaches them to concentrate and sit still.”

The program is already underway, having started Jan. 1, 2017, and several families have already received books as a result.

Along with the books themselves, doctors and nurses will advise parents on how to get started reading to their children and provide them with helpful literature. Marie Nolte, (MD),  medical director for the program, is assisting with these literature updates and educational resources for the providers and nurses.

Funding for the program was made possible thanks to  donations from a local individual and the LqPV Early Childhood Initiative.

“My hope is to keep this going indefinitely,” says Miller, regarding the Reach Out & Read program.

For now, the pilot program is slated to run until April, but if it proves successful in the coming months, providing books could become a regular part of MHS’s Well-Child visits.

They will continue to need funding, however, so they welcome any monetary donations or books.

“Funding is great, because we like to purchase developmentally appropriate books from Reach Out & Read,” says Miller. “But anyone who wants to donate books – we can then have those books available for children to read in the waiting area and the rooms.”

   To schedule a Well-Child visit for your child, or to learn more, call the clinic at 320-598-7551. You can also contact the clinic if you’re interested in donating to the Reach Out & Read program. Questions about donations can be directed to Miller, or to clinic manager Kris Monson.


books 2

National Activity Professionals Week

At care centers people have the same basic needs at any age, the need to laugh, have fun, explore, and live their life to its fullest. This is why it is so imperative to have an engaging activities staff that recognizes each residents’ abilities and try to offer something for everyone to allow them the right to choose from an array of enriching, fun activities.  At MHS we are very fortunate to have such an awesome staff to be able to offer these kinds of daily activities to our residents.  Director, Cindy Bogenrief says she is the one that has been blessed to be surrounded by so many wise, patient, and loving people.  “I get the opportunity to make someone’s life a little bit brighter every day.  Some residents don’t have family and some live far away, so we become family.  We laugh, cry and give hugs.  We dance, spill our coffee and help each other along the way”.

January 22-28 is National Activity Professionals Week recognizing all activity professionals by the National Association of Activity Professionals that represents activity professionals working in geriatric settings. The focus of this organization is to provide opportunities for professional development and personal growth.

The MHS Activities Staff offers a wide variety of arts and crafts, physical activities/exercise, bingo, bible studies, food demonstrations/baking, games, trivia, and so much more.   Some of the residents’ favorite activities include live music, spring, summer, and winter carnivals, a Valentine Sweetheart Dinner, Christmas parties, fair exhibits, and Halloween events.

Ardis Christensen, a veteran of MHS enjoys working with the residents on a one-to-one basis. She enjoys helping the residents in any way she can.  Her favorite part is being able to make the residents smile and help them have the good days.  Working in activities is constantly changing and keeps our staff on their toes.  Activities help preserve the highest level of mental and physical function which is important to keep individuals connected while also raising self-esteem and prevents depression.  Holly Webber states “I enjoy making an activity schedule that keeps the residents interested in coming to our activities as well as keeping them physically and mentally active. “  Many group activities are offered as well as one-to-one activities to fit everyone’s preference.

At Madison Healthcare Services we are proud of our Activity Department for their commitment to continue to enhance the quality of life to our residents. We would like to give a huge thank you to Director Cindy Bogenrief, Ardis Christiansen, Holly Webber, and Joseph Espinoza and celebrate them not only for National Activity Professional Week but every day for their creativity and fun they offer to our residents and the facility. Also thank you to all the volunteers and people who contribute their time and talents to MHS.  You make a difference in the lives of everyone whom you touch and it is greatly appreciated!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer please contact Cindy B at 320-598-7536. The activity calendar is also posted on our website if you would like to know what’s going on at the care center each month.


L-R: Ardis Christensen, Holly Webber, and Activity Directory, Cindy Bogenrief not pictured Joseph Espinoza.

activities 2017

Important Notice Regarding Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Individual Market Plan: BlueConnect (Does NOT affect Medicare Recipients)

You may have noticed Madison Healthcare Services is not included in Blue Cross Blue Shield’s individual market plan BlueConnect which has a limited health insurance provider network. This could mean your most convenient option for care will not be covered.  This does NOT affect Medicare recipients. We’re disappointed that our patients in southwest Minnesota will now have limited options.  Here is how you may be affected by the limited network option:

  • You’ll have to drive to another community for your care.
  • You can’t keep the provider you know and trust.
  • You may have difficulty setting up appointments due to insufficient capacity of in-network providers to handle new patients. 

We have contacted Minnesota officials about our concerns, and we think you should too.  This Friday January 20th at 12:00 at Madison City Hall Auditorium (404 6th Avenue Madison) a meeting will be held with Senator Gary Dahms and MN Representative Chris Swedzinski.  Please attend this very important meeting to speak directly with our legislators regarding this insurance and healthcare issue. 

The Madison area is covered under District 16A.  Below is contact information:

Gary Dahms

95 University Avenue W.

Minnesota Senate Buildilng, Room 2111

St. Paul, MN 55155



Chris Swedzinski

100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Saint Paul, MN 55155



Sample Letter to use as a guide:

(Your Name)


(City, State, Zip)




Honorable (Full name)

(Governing Body, ex: Minnesota State Senate)

(Office Address)


Dear (Representative/Senator) (Legislator Last Name)


My name is (First & Last) and I live in your district.  As a constituent of yours, I hope you will consider the issues people are experiencing in southwest Minnesota due to limited health insurance doctor networks. 

I’m very upset I can no longer access my longtime Madison Healthcare Services provider due to limited health insurance options in southwest Minnesota.  Because my Madison Healthcare Services provider is not in Blue Cross Blue Shield’s BlueConnect limited health insurance doctor network I will have to drive (x) miles to receive my care.  I will also have to find a new provider.  My premiums are already increasing, yet I still don’t have access to my local provider or convenient care.

(Include a personal story if you choose to provide more impact)

I appreciate your time and consideration on this issue.  Please support any legislative initiatives to allow my Madison Healthcare Services provider to be in-network with BlueConnect. 



(Your Name)


Gov. Mark Dayton, Office of the Governor & Lt. Governor

116 Veterans Service Building

20 West 12th Street

ST. Paul, MN 55155


Commissioner Edward Ehlinger, MD
PO Box 64975

St. Paul, MN 55164-0975


Healthcare is Changing for the Better: MHS is now a Minnesota Certified Health Care Home

green-hchA health care home is your central site for care.  It is an enhanced, direct way of navigating and delivering your health care needs through all spectrums of the health care continuum. It is a team centered approach of care that gives you access to all the services and support you need.  The team includes yourself, your primary care provider, therapists, specialists, and staff at the clinic who you have chosen to play a role in your care.  It may also include trusted family or friends who are involved with your health care.  Everyone benefits from this coordinated, patient-centered care.  Contact the clinic if you would like more information on Health Care Homes 320-598-7551.


  • Develop a primary care plan that addresses your needs
  • On-going relationship with your primary care provider sharing mutual respect and trust
  • Care is focused on you as a whole, not just one part or problem
  • Receive coordinated care that is tailored to fit your specific needs
  • Your primary care provider partners with other specialists and connects you to other services and support networks if needed
  • Your cultural and religious beliefs are valued, when possible, your preferences for treatment and care are met.
  • You take charge of your own health by knowing all the aspects of your specific care
  • You are given information to help you learn more about your ongoing health concerns to avoid less ER visits and hospital stays


Pie & Coffee Social Tuesday November 8, 2016


Spooktacular Fun Run/Walk/Bike/Stroll October 29

spooktacular-pictureJoin us for the 6th Annual Spooktacular Fun Run!

5K FUN RUN  Run/Walk/Bike/Stroll

Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016
Registration: 8:15 to 8:45 AM
Race Starts: 9:00 AM at Madison Lutheran Home Entrance

Fee includes a T-Shirt!
$15 if registered by October 12th
$20 after October 12th Proceeds to benefit local Gifts for Kids

For more information call 320-698-7162.
Registration forms available at:

Big Stone Therapies
900 2nd Ave, Madison, MN  or

Madison Healthcare Services Clinic
900 2nd Avenue
Madison, MN 56256

(Or download the form, fill it out and mail to either place – just put Spooktacular Registration on the envelope)

FluSafe 2015-2016


Madison Healthcare Services recognized for efforts to protect patients from influenza.

At least 96 percent of facility’s employees received influenza vaccination in 2015-2016

Madison Healthcare Services was among 153 hospitals and nursing homes from around the state recognized by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for achieving high influenza vaccination rates among facility employees during the 2015-16 flu season.

About 96% of Madison Healthcare Services employees received influenza vaccinations during the past season of the Minnesota FluSafe program. The facility received a blue ribbon and certificate of achievement from Minnesota Commissioner of Health Edward Ehlinger for its efforts.

The FluSafe program aims to get 100 percent of all health care personnel at hospitals and nursing homes in Minnesota, except those with medical exemptions, vaccinated against influenza each season. According to state health officials, unvaccinated health care workers can potentially pass highly contagious influenza to their patients, many of whom are at high risk for complications from influenza.

Of the 153 facilities that participated in FluSafe this year, 63 reached vaccination rates of 90 percent or greater, 47 reached rates of between 80 and 89 percent, and 29 reached rates of between 70 and 79 percent.

. “All FluSafe participants made a commitment to promote flu vaccination for their employees, and they did a great job. We congratulate and thank them for their hard work.”

Health care facilities participating in the FluSafe program receive guidance and access to tools and promotional materials from MDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help them increase their influenza vaccination rates. The facilities record and document their vaccination rates through the state’s immunization information system, the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC).

More information on the FluSafe program, including a list of the 2015-16 facilities earning blue, red, and white ribbons, can be found on