Latest News from January 2011

VCHS Offers Hospice Volunteer Training

January 31, 2011

ORD - Valley County Health System's Home Health and Hospice Department will be conducting hospice volunteer training in Ord during March.

The 16-hour training program will be held on Tuesday evenings, March 1, 8, 15 and 22, from 5-9 p.m. at Valley County Home Health/Hospice Department, 400 S. 23rd Street.  Pre-registration and regular attendance is required to complete the program and become a hospice volunteer. There is no cost to prospective volunteers.

Hospice affirms life while providing support and care for persons in the last phases of an incurable disease so they might live as fully and comfortably as possible.  Betty Smedra, a VCHS Hospice volunteer says, "I have found an inner peace and serenity from volunteering with the Hospice Program.  In general, people are not afraid of death, but of the dying process.  Through hospice we are able to give them the courage to cope with the process of dying.  My experiences have not been somber, but rather fun-filled in many instances. I have learned from patients that it is important to do things while you can and to reminisce on what mattered most.  We help them remember their life and that they made a difference in the lives of others."

For more information or to register, call the VCHS Home Health and Hospice Department at 800-352-2171 or 308-728-4355 or Marilyn Winkelbauer at 308-728-4315.


New Law Includes Help for Charities

January 31, 2011

ORD - Individuals who are 70 ½ years or older may once again roll over up to $100,000 from an individual retirement account (IRA) directly to a qualifying charity without recognizing the assets transferred to the charity as income. The provision was included in the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853), which was signed into law by President Obama December 17. 

The new law will simply extend the charitable rollover, originally enacted in 2006. The only change to note is that the new law allows donors to make qualified charitable distributions through January 31, 2011 and elect to have them treated as qualified charitable distributions for 2010.   Recognizing that the extension of the IRA charitable rollover provision occurs so late in 2010, this change may be of particular benefit to donors who would like to take advantage of the rollover in both 2010 and 2011 but may not have time to make the 2010 distribution prior to December 31, 2010. The provision is still time-limited. It will apply only to qualified distributions made before January 1, 2012.

This extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover is a boon to local charities that are experiencing the effects of a tough economy. The new law allows taxpayers 70 ½ and older to share their wealth by giving retirement savings directly to charity-and bypassing income tax.

Becky Ries, Administrator of the Valley County Health System Foundation, an affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation (NCF), says many Nebraskans have taken advantage of the charitable IRA rollover provision. For example, a few years ago Bette Rice of Palisade used the IRA rollover opportunity to benefit her community. Her gift is now permanently endowed within the Palisade Community Foundation Fund. "What a wonderful way to give back to your community," said Ries. "Our affiliation with the Nebraska Community Foundation makes giving a gift through your IRA a very simple and easy process."

Thanks to decades of deliberate saving, some of today's retirees have more money in their IRAs than they need for daily living expenses and long-term care. Charitable individuals and couples have expressed an interest in giving the funds to charity, but without the tax-free rollover provision, income tax had to be paid on all withdrawals. This could reduce value of the gift. Others are concerned about designating their children as IRA beneficiaries, since that may draw unintended tax consequences.

"For larger estates, a good portion of IRA wealth goes to estate taxes and income taxes of beneficiaries," said Jeff Yost NCF President and CEO. "Experts estimate heirs may receive less than 50 percent of IRA assets that pass through estates. People can avoid this high level of taxation by making a charitable gift through a qualified charitable distribution from their IRA," Yost said.

A provision in the new federal law extends the option of transferring IRA assets directly to charity. By going directly to a qualified public charity, such as the Nebraska Community Foundation, the money is not included in the IRA owner's income and is not taxed.

The Nebraska Community Foundation can help donors execute the transfers and choose from several charitable fund options for their gift. Donor-advised funds do not qualify for tax-free charitable distributions from IRAs.

"This really is a limited-time offer.  The window is open now, but it will close at the end of 2011," said Yost. "For anyone interested in establishing a permanent legacy in his or her community, this is the opportunity of a lifetime to make the gift of a lifetime."

For more information about this charitable giving opportunity, contact Becky Ries at 308.728.3011 or You may also contact Jim Gustafson, NCF Gift Planning Director at (402) 323-7341 or at

Established in 1990, the Valley County Health System Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization. The Foundation's mission is to seek, receive and administer donations and gifts for the sole benefit of Valley County Health System. The Foundation's number one priority is enhancing and sustaining high-quality healthcare in Central Nebraska.

The Nebraska Community Foundation is a statewide organization using grassroots charitable giving to build prosperous communities. NCF works with 1,800 volunteer leaders serving 232 communities. Established in 1993, the Nebraska Community Foundation provides training, strategic development, gift planning assistance and financial management for its 205 affiliated funds located throughout the state. In the last five years more than 37,000 contributions have been made to NCF affiliated funds, and more than $70 million has been reinvested to benefit Nebraska communities.

For more information visit



Thiel Named Employee of the Quarter

January 25, 2011

Julie Thiel has been named Employee of the Quarter at Valley County Health System.

In a letter nominating Thiel for the honor, a co-worker explained how she exemplifies the five values of Valley County Health System. "Julie shows respect to every person she works with and is respected by her coworkers.  She has been instrumental in the Paragon implementation of both nursing and pharmacy.  We could not have done it without her.  She is very kind in dealing with the issues, problems and questions with our new computer system.  She tries to make sure every detail is correct to the best of ability in everything she does."

Thiel is currently the Acute Care Administrative Assistant at VCHS.  She has been employed by Valley County Health System since ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­July 2001.

Julie is picuted left receiving her certificate and gifts from Interim CEO, Joyce Seward.



VCHS Deficiency Free in State Survey

January 21, 2011

The State of Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services visited Valley County Health System from January 3-5, 2011 to conduct their five year licensure survey.  In a letter dated January 18, 2011 from Joann Erickson, RN & Administrator of the Office of Acute Care Facilities, the hospital was notified of compliance with the federal regulations pertaining to critical access hospitals and no deficiencies were cited.  


VCHS CEO Search Update

January 20, 2011

The Valley County Health System Board of Trustees has engaged the services of BryanLGH Health System to recruit the next CEO.  The Board recently met with Dr. Steve Steinkuehler, Ph.D., Manager of Physician and Executive Search from BryanLGH.  During the session, Steve discussed his in-depth process of preparing for the search and candidate selection. He spent time at VCHS gathering data to better personalize the search.  The job description and qualifications for the next CEO were discussed and finalized. 

Next steps include Mr. Steinkeuhler returning to Ord in two weeks to sum up the process.  Tentative plans are to interview approximately 3 candidates in mid-March.  The interview process will be conducted at VCHS and will involve the candidate and their family. Each interview will include a community tour, social meetings, visits with VCHS Senior Management and Management Teams and Medical Staff.  The goal is to have a CEO in place within 3 months and no more than 6 months.

Kara Fischer, VCHS Board Chair stated, "The board feels very comfortable with Steve as he has worked with VCHS prior to the CEO search with physician recruitment. He is familiar with the Ord area and rural health care. We are confident he will be instrumental in helping us match our needs with the right person for the job."


Julie Klimek Hired as VCHS Infection Control & Education Manager

January 18, 2011

Julie Klimek, RN has been hired as the Infection Control & Education Manager for Valley County Health System.  She began her position on January 17th.  Julie previously worked at Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha. 

Julie graduated from Atkinson West Holt High School in 1994.  She received her associate degree in Nursing from Metro Community College in 2004.  She is married to Mike Klimek, who is an Ord High alum. 

Mike and Julie are moving to Ord with their two children; Brodie, age 3 and Molly, 2.


Activities Professionals Week: Jan. 16-21

January 18, 2011

January 16-21, 2011 is National Activities Professionals Week.  Sharon Hanks and Jen McBride make up the Activities Department at the Valley View Living Center.  With their creative ideas and zest for life, Sharon and Jen work seven days a week to provide a fun, life enhancing program for the residents to keep their senses alive indoors and out with  trips, parties, music and much more.  Among these duties the gals work alongside staff and volunteers to make the action "come to life".  Valley View Living Center gives a big "Kudos" for all they do.


Bengston Attends National EMS Directors Course

January 14, 2011

Jennifer Bengston, MD at Valley County Health System attended the National EMS Medical Directors course from Jan. 10-12 in Bonita Springs, FL.  The course was provided by the National Association for EMS Physicians (NAEMSP®.) 

NAEMSP® is the pre-eminent organization for EMS medical directors.  The distinguished faculty for the course is recognized as experts in various aspects of the prehospital and disaster medicine/management fields.

A maximum of 75 physicians can attend the course each year. Dr. Bengston and five other physicians from Nebraska were selected to attend in 2011. Their expenses were paid for by the NE Emergency Services Program.

Dr. Bengston is the Medical Director for the Ord, Comstock, Ericson, Loup County, Burwell and VCHS EMS squads.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bengston, call the VCHS Medical Clinic at 308-728-4202.


Heritage Program Hires New Director

January 14, 2011

Kimberly Nation, Licensed Mental Health Practitioner (LMHP) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) has been hired by Diamond Heritage to manage the Heritage Program for Seniors at Valley County Health System.  Nation replaces Mary Jane Drake who retired in October after five years with the program.

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and her Master of Arts in Education at Chadron State College.  Previously she worked for the Nebraska Department of Probation as a Problem Solving Court Coordinator.  She also has extensive experience in mental health counseling.

The VCHS Heritage Program for Seniors is a behavioral health program that provides individualized treatment for older adults who suffer from psychiatric, emotional or behavioral disorders.  For more information, call 308.728.4340.


VCHS Child Dev. Committee Offering Parenting Class

January 11, 2011

The Valley County Health System Child Development Committee is offering the five-week parenting class titled, Becoming a Love & Logic Parent®.  The class is designed to give you practical skills that can be used immediately.  It is designed by the Love & Logic Institute, Inc. and is America's most practical and entertaining parent training.  The class is designed for those with children who are in elementary/middle school and provides answers to many day-to-day parenting challenges.

If you answer yes to the following questions, this class might be for you:

  • Would you like to feel more confident as a parent?
  • Would you like to have more fun parenting?
  • Would you like to feel more relaxed at the end of the day?

The five-week class will begin on Monday, January 24, 2011 and continue each week through Monday, February 28 (skipping Valentine's Day.)  It will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Ord United Methodist Church - 304 S. 16th Street.  The cost is only $5 per family and includes the book.  Scholarships are available if needed.  Childcare will be available.  There must be a minimum of 10 families register in order to hold the class.

To learn more or to register, call 308.728.4347.  Registration deadline is Wed. January 19th.  To download the registration form click here.


Psota Hired as VCHS Clinic Manager

January 4, 2011

Catina Psota has been hired as Medical Clinic Manager at Valley County Health System.  She will be responsible for coordination of the medical clinic activities and coordination with other departments.

Catina began on January 3rd. She lives in rural North Loup with her husband Tony and their three children; Cali: 14; Joseph: 11 and Jaden: 20 months.