Winona Health now offers Intensive Behavioral Therapy (IBT) for Obesity

New service covered by Medicare for those who qualify

For many people, weight loss feels like a life-long struggle. Winona Health now offers additional help for those who want ongoing support in their effort to lose weight and improve their health.

Intensive Behavioral Therapy (IBT) for Obesity is a Medicare benefit for people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Those interested who know they are overweight but don’t know whether their BMI is over 30 should contact their healthcare provider.

This Medicare benefit allows up to 22 visits per year with no co-pay or deductible, including:

  • A weekly visit with a dietitian for the first month.
  • A visit with a dietitian every other week for months two through six.
  • If successful in losing at least 6.6 pounds in six months, continued monthly follow-up with the dietitian for months seven through 12.

IBT for Obesity is based on collaboration, education and coaching. Here’s what to expect:

  • Brief/basic nutrition education.
  • Self-monitoring of food intake.
  • Participation in goal-setting.
  • Work with a dietitian on a personalized weight-loss plan.
  • Brief visits with a dietitian for a weigh-in, coaching and goal-setting.
  • Success in losing weight!

IBT for Obesity is covered by Medicare and is not subject to co-pay or deductible. The program may be covered by commercial insurance. Those interested should check with their insurance provider.

Those who are interested in losing weight and improving their health, should talk with their healthcare provider about this Medicare benefit. To schedule an appointment, call 507.454.3650.




Free Health Talk: Preventing dislocation complications after hip replacement

Thursday, March 15: noon – 1 p.m.

Kenneth Johnson, MD, an orthopedic specialist at Winona Health will present a free Health Talk: Preventing dislocation complications after hip replacement, Thursday, March 15 from noon – 1 p.m. in the BA Miller Auditorium at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Ave. Winona, Minn.

Dr. Johnson will discuss hip replacement surgery and steps to take to prevent dislocation complications.

Whether you’ve had hip surgery or are considering it, this is an opportunity to meet Dr. Johnson and learn more about preventing complications after hip replacement.

The presentation is free. Complimentary light lunch provided. RSVP required by Tuesday, March 13.

RSVP here

or call 507.457.4394.

In addition to Dr. Johnson, Winona Health’s Orthopedic and Sports Medicine clinic includes orthopedic specialists Andrew Millis, MD and Michael Dussault, MD, along with Adam Fletcher, MD, a Family Medicine physician with a special interest in Sports Medicine. Winona Health’s comprehensive orthopedic services staff also includes athletic trainers and physical therapists to help people prevent or recover after surgery or an injury. Learn more about Orthopedics and Sports Medicine at Winona Health.

Winona Health going blue March 5 to shine a light on the importance of colon cancer screening

Beginning Monday, March 5, 2018, Winona Health will be lit up in blue, joining healthcare organizations across Minnesota in shining a light on the importance of colon cancer screening. A colonoscopy is a simple screening that could save your life.

Winona Health is participating in Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month along with more than 60 civic, public, and private organizations across the state that are banding together to turn Minnesota BLUE in March to show support for colon cancer survivors and patients, while raising awareness about the importance of screening.

Colorectal cancer is the nation’s No. 2 cancer killer in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be. Screening for this preventable cancer should start at age 50 for those with average risk. What many don’t realize is screening should start earlier for African Americans and other ethnic groups, as well as for individuals with a family history of colon cancer or polyps.

What can be done to reduce the risk of colon cancer? According to the Colon Cancer Coalition, a non-profit organization based in Minneapolis, Minn.:

  • Get screened as recommended, starting at age 50, or earlier for those with certain risk factors.
  • Maintain a healthy weight, and adopt a physically active lifestyle.
  • Understand the symptoms, and talk with your doctor if you experience blood in your stool, chronic constipation or unexplained weight loss.
  • Consume a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, while limiting consumption of red and processed meats.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption and don’t smoke.

“Now if you drive by and see Winona Health lit up in blue, you’ll know why,” said Sandy Gruszynski, cancer care coordinator at Winona Health. “And if you’re due for a colonoscopy, we encourage you to stop worrying about it and get it scheduled.”

Those who haven’t scheduled a colonoscopy because they don’t have a regular healthcare provider may call 507.454.3650 and say they’d like to establish care with a new healthcare provider, or they can learn more about local healthcare providers online at and click on Find a Provider.

Those who already have a healthcare provider and would like to know more about the General Surgeons who perform this screening procedure can visit and find information about General Surgeons: Matthew Broghammer, DO; Wen-Yu Vicky Haines, MD, FACS; and Crystal Lumi, MD, FACS.


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About the Colon Cancer Coalition

The Colon Cancer Coalition is a non-profit organization based in Minneapolis, Minn. dedicated to encouraging screening and raising awareness of colon cancer. The organization’s signature Get Your Rear in Gear® and Tour de Tush® event series are volunteer-driven in communities throughout the United States. In 2017 the Colon Cancer Coalition granted over $1 million dollars to local communities that will build and sustain programs promoting early prevention, screening, and patient support services for this disease. By making the words colon, colorectal and colonoscopy a part of the everyday language, we believe we can overcome the fear and decrease deaths from this largely preventable cancer. For more information visit

You’re invited – More than Healthcare: Community Conversations about Health

Monday, March 19, 2018

If doing something out of the ordinary is on your list of goals for 2018, here is the perfect opportunity.

Everyone is welcome to share in a conversation about healthcare at a Winona Community Table event, More than Healthcare: Community Conversations about Health, on Monday, March 19 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion Post 9, 302 East Sarnia Street in Winona.

American Legion members, teachers, parents, young adults, seniors, caregivers … anyone who has thoughts and observations about health and healthcare is encouraged to attend. This Winona Community Table event is an opportunity for all community members to share opinions and ideas.

“Everyone’s voice is important, and all observations and ideas are welcome” said Rebecca Lamberty, vice president of Emergency and Urgent Care Services at Winona Health. “We’re looking forward to a compassionate, inclusive community conversation for people to share their thoughts. We welcome everyone, and we are interested in getting a deeper understanding of our community.”

Winona Health President/CEO, Rachelle Schultz, MHA, Ed.D., will be among the event facilitators. General topics will be introduced and conversations will flow based on the thoughts and ideas shared by community members.

The event is free and open to everyone, a variety of snacks and beverages will be provided.

Those interested are encouraged to invite others to attend. The conversation is enriched when people from diverse backgrounds come together to share their thoughts and ideas.

If you have questions or to RSVP, call 507.494.7371.

Expanded kidney care services now available

New kidney care services help area residents improve quality of life

People dealing with any stage kidney disease can now receive comprehensive care right here at Winona Health. Thanks to expanded Nephrology Services and a Kidney Care Team, people who have kidney disease have improved access to local care designed to prevent or delay the progression of kidney disease.

Winona Health’s Nephrology Clinic, located within the Internal Medicine department, is overseen by a Nephrologist and staffed by a Kidney Care Team. The interdisciplinary team includes the nephrologist, a registered nurse, a dietitian, and a social worker.

“Our Kidney Care Team provides what we call ‘person-centered care,’ based on what each person needs and wants for themselves,” explained Emilie Volkman, MSW, MA, LISW, CAPSW, LNHA, Winona Health Dialysis department coordinator. “Research shows that this type of care leads to improved outcomes. There are many factors that impact a person’s health outcomes; medical, health, social, financial, housing, dietary, etc., and we can help people make a plan to manage these things and their disease – and possibly prevent it from progressing to the stage that requires dialysis.”

Volkman said that by slowing down the disease and helping people understand their options as the disease advances, they can ultimately improve a person’s quality of life because they’ll be able to do more of what they enjoy.

Those who have any stage kidney disease who are interested in learning more about this service and how it could help them better manage their condition may contact Winona Health’s Kidney Care Team at 507.457.8560.



Gift benefits Cancer Care patients

Sam Quandahl, owner of Floor Coverings of Winona, presented a check to Sandy Gruszynski, RN, Cancer Care Coordinator for the Winona Health Cancer Care Clinic.

Local business supports local people dealing with cancer

Sam Quandahl, owner of Floor Coverings of Winona, presented a $600 check to Sandy Gruszynski, RN, Cancer Care Coordinator for the Winona Health Cancer Care Clinic.

The locally-owned Winona business conducts a monthly giving program and in October, the Winona Health Foundation Breast Cancer Fund was chosen as the recipient.

“We like to help local people,” said Quandahl. “It seems like you hear about people with cancer every day, and we are glad to help people right here in our community.”

Through charitable gifts to the Winona Health Foundation, local people who have cancer received over $9,500 for personal necessities in 2017.

“Through my work at the Cancer Clinic, I see a lot of patients who need resources not covered by insurance,” said Gruszynski. “Through generous gifts like this one, we can help patients defray transportation costs, purchase personal necessities, and meet any number of needs. You can’t believe how grateful they are to receive these special gifts.”

The Winona Health Foundation has several cancer funds including funds for general cancer care, breast cancer and men’s cancers. For more information, contact the Winona Health Foundation at 507.474.3328.

HealthyFit for Life 6-week program. Learn more – sign up!

Those interested in finding extra motivation and inspiration to improve their health are encouraged to sign up for Winona Health’s next HealthyFit for Life program.

HealthyFit for Life is a six-week program to help people lose weight and keep it off.  Many people know “what to do” to lose weight, but have a hard time “doing it.” HealthyFit for Life is not just about changing what you do, but ultimately changing how you think about living a healthier life.

The next HealthyFit for Life program begins February 19 and meets Mondays from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. through March 26 on the second floor of the Parkview Office Building at Winona Health, 855 Mankato Ave. in Winona. The program costs $90, class size is limited and registration is required.

Learn more about HealthyFit for Life and other wellness programs at Winona Health.

To register, call 507.457.4329.

Influenza: Clearing up the Confusion

Denver Brown, PA-C

By Denver Brown, PA-C, Winona Health Family Medicine

It’s that time of year again. We’ve enjoyed the holidays with friends and family and in the process exchanged some unwanted infectious maladies.

Influenza is a common but often confusing subject, so I thought I would address some of the common questions and misconceptions regarding this illness.

  1. Influenza is not the “stomach flu.” Influenza is a respiratory virus that causes symptoms of fever, body aches, cough, sore throat, headaches and fatigue. Symptoms are often severe and people feel like they want to be in bed all day. Gastroenteritis is the medical term for what most people call the “stomach flu.”  Usually the main features of this are vomiting and diarrhea. In most cases it resolves in a day or two and generally is not dangerous except for significant dehydration that can occur in some cases.


  1. “The influenza vaccine didn’t help me in the past or it made me sick.” Facts: The influenza injection vaccine does not have anything “alive” in it and does not cause influenza. The influenza nasal spray has an alive but weakened virus and has the possibility to cause infection and so is limited to certain types of patients. Influenza vaccination also does not protect against the common cold viruses. The influenza vaccine provides no protection against the “stomach flu” because they are completely different bugs.


  1. Myth: Influenza is not dangerous. Facts: Severity changes year to year but according to the CDC, influenza causes between “140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually since 2010.” Generally, young and healthy folks without other complicating factors do not get dangerously ill. Young children (especially under 2 years of age) and adults over 65, are more likely to have severe influenza that is sometimes life threatening. There are also medical conditions that can increase your risk of a dangerous influenza infection including pregnancy, heart disease, asthma, COPD, and diabetes to name a few.


  1. How to prevent infection: Influenza vaccination is helpful, but the effectiveness of the vaccine does vary year to year and does not guarantee protection. Good old hand washing and avoiding contact with people who have influenza are good steps for prevention.


  1. “How do I treat influenza?” For most of us, just staying at home, resting and using symptom relief medications is totally appropriate. If you have risks for severe infection as listed above, you should think about seeing a healthcare provider to get an antiviral medication that can help decrease the severity and length of the illness. The CDC website ( provides a complete list of indications for antiviral therapy. It is important to note that treatment is generally only effective if started in the first 48 hours of the illness, so this is not something to wait for if it is indicated.

So, a toast, to health, to increased awareness of influenza and a year of staying free of flu!

Cardiopulmonary program earns AACVPR certification

Winona Health Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialists, Back (l-r): Elizabeth Torkelson, Carly Christianson; Britta Aukee. Front (l-r): Jen Welch, Amy Hammer, and Cardiac Rehabilitation Lead, Lynn Sprain.

Winona Health’s Cardiovascular Rehabilitation program has been certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR). The department was recognized for its commitment to improving the quality of life by enhancing standards of care.

Cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation programs are designed to help people with cardiovascular problems (e.g., heart attacks, coronary artery bypass graft surgery) and pulmonary problems (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], respiratory symptoms,) recover faster and improve their quality of life. Both programs include exercise, education, counseling, and support for patients and their families.

“The patients we work with often keep coming back to exercise here even after their official program has been completed,” noted Lynn Sprain, Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation team lead. “People often comment that they can tell we love what we do. We were all drawn to this field because we love helping people achieve their maximum potential.”

The Winona Health Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation program participated in an application process that requires extensive documentation of the program’s practices. This program certification is the only peer-review accreditation process designed to review individual programs for adherence to standards and guidelines developed and published by AACVPR and other professional societies. Each program is reviewed by the AACVPR Program Certification Committee and Certification is awarded by the AACVPR Board of Directors.

AACVPR-certified programs are recognized as leaders in the field of cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation because they offer the most advanced practices available. AACVPR Program Certification is valid for three years.

Learn more about Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at Winona Health.



Founded in 1985, the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the mission of reducing morbidity, mortality and disability from cardiovascular and pulmonary disease through education, prevention, rehabilitation, research and disease management. Central to the core mission is improvement in quality of life for patients and their families.

Matthew Coy, PA-C, joins Occupational Health team

Matthew Coy, PA-C

Matthew Coy, PA-C, has joined the Winona Health Occupational Health team

As an Occupational Health Physician Assistant, Coy works in collaboration with area employers to treat work-related accidents and injuries, perform DOT examinations, and other employment physicals. The Occupational Health team includes laboratory and nursing staff and athletic trainers for a coordinated and comprehensive approach to care.

Coy earned his Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks and Cytogenetics Certification from the Mayo School of Health Sciences in Rochester, Minn. He received his Bachelor of Science with an emphasis in genetics at Mankato State University, Mankato, Minnesota. Coy joined Winona Health in 2016 and has been caring for patients in Urgent Care.

Coy is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants. He also has received medical examiner certification to perform DOT (Department of Transportation) Physicals.

In his free time, Coy enjoys spending time with family, walleye fishing, golfing and other outdoor activities.

Winona Health’s Occupational Health team is available to visit area businesses and organizations to help determine ways to keep employees safe, healthy and productive.

For more information about Occupational Health at Winona Health, contact Jennifer Warner, Nurse Supervisor of Occupational Health at or 507.457.7717.