Author: Virginia Gay Hospital

Virginia Gay Hospital asks public to take a short online survey about area access to primary care

Virginia Gay Hospitals and Clinics is asking everyone, both those who have and those who have not been patients of the hospital or its affiliated family medical clinics, to take a survey regarding area access to primary care. Answers are completely anonymous and the purpose is to understand how to better assure access to primary care. Virginia Gay has made investments establishing the new clinic in Atkins, an expansion to the clinic in Van Horne, and the hospital continues to study additional services that may be needed in Urbana. All those investments are in addition to the new clinic being constructed in Vinton that will be suitable for as many as nine health care providers. In the past two months three additional PA’s have been added to the Virginia Gay staff. Julie Samora, PA-C, will be assisting in the hospital and the emergency department. Ben Nigg, PA-C, and Abby Stermer, PA-C, will be seeing patients in several clinic locations. “Our mission is providing primary care,” explains Mike Riege, Virginia Gay Hospital Administrator, “but we need everyone’s help to make certain we’re doing all we can to make access possible for everyone. This survey isn’t limited to patients of Virginia Gay. We want to understand more clearly the choices people make to receive health care and how we might improve our ability to serve everyone in the Virginia Gay primary...

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Community Blood Drive at Virginia Gay Hospital

Thank you to all the Lifesavers in our community! You really make a difference. Virginia Gay Hospital partners with LifeServe Blood Center to organize community blood drives. Every two seconds, someone, somewhere needs blood so the donors who take time to roll up their sleeve and participate truly are lifesavers. Thanks to those who donated at Virginia Gay Hospital, 112 units of blood were collected in 2016 saving as many as 336 lives! If you would like to participate in the next blood drive scheduled an appointment for Tuesday, January 24 from 1-5:30 pm. It will be in the cafeteria area located on the lower level of the hospital (502 N. 9th Avenue, Vinton). Schedule your time at or call LifeServe Blood Center at 800.287.4903. Who can give blood? You may be eligible to donate if you are in general good health and: Are 16 years of age or older (16/17 with parental consent). Weigh at least 120 pounds. Have allowed proper time period to pass between previous donations. Have blood pressure, pulse, temperature & hemoglobin levels that meet LifeServe Blood Center guidelines. Are not pregnant. Are not taking antibiotics for an infection. Virginia Gay Hospital, Clinics, Home Health, Nursing & Rehab sponsors community blood drives about six times each year. For blood donation questions & answers, please visit and search blood donation or call LifeServe Blood...

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Influenza on the rise; know the difference between the flu and a cold

The CDC reports that flu season is now getting into full swing with more people being diagnosed. They also report that this year’s vaccine is matching the most commonly diagnosed strains, and that people should still seek immunization if they haven’t already been immunized. Most people throw around the word “flu” so commonly that it’s difficult to think of influenza as an emergency, but it can be, and not just for the young or old. At the end of this article is a link to an ABC News story about a 29 year old mother of three who died from influenza, leaving behind the children and a husband who survived service in Afghanistan. Once again, let’s start by reviewing the most significant differences between a cold and the flu. One condition comes on gradually, fever is rare, aches are slight if any, and chills are uncommon. Sneezing, a stuffy nose and sore throat are common. Chest discomfort occurs but it’s mild to moderate and is often accompanied by a hacking cough. Headache is rare. You probably recognized these symptoms as those of the common cold, and you are right. Now let’s review influenza. Influenza comes on much more abruptly and fever is usually present and persists for 3 to 4 days. Chills are very common and achiness can leave you feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus. Sneezing,...

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Meet Julie Samora, a new face in Virginia Gay Hospital

For Julie Samora, PA-C, Vinton is almost a different world from Miami, where she received her education and worked. “I came to Virginia Gay for a visit in October. I rented a car at the Cedar Rapids airport and it took about 2 minutes. I walked less than a block outside to the car, and everything just seemed so easy that it felt like heaven. I was looking for the quality of life I could enjoy while working in health care, and what really excited me about Vinton and Iowa was how everyone here is so nice and so helpful….I’m still a bit amazed.” Julie’s position at Virginia Gay will include emergency and work as a hospitalist. She will also help in the clinics when needed. “I’m very excited about this opportunity because I’m going to enjoy a much wider array of experiences than most PA’s typically get. No one I know from my program in Miami has been offered an opportunity like this. But then again, they haven’t considered Iowa.” “When I was visiting emergency medicine residency programs I would ask myself if it felt right – if I could see myself living and working in that place long term. I visited three programs in California and I liked it there, but I couldn’t see myself staying. When I first visited Iowa for an interview at Virginia Gay...

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Get emergency and urgent health information from Benton County Public Health and Virginia Gay Hospital by email or text

Get the most accurate public health information with greater speed by sharing your email address and/or cell number with Virginia Gay Hospital and the Benton County Public Health Department. Your information will not be shared with any other organization and will be used to contact you with public health information in the event of a public health emergency, or with other urgent information relevant to Virginia Gay’s mission of providing excellent health care for all residents of Benton County. An example of the need to communicate quickly occurred last week when Virginia Gay’s phone service was disrupted because a cable was cut in Cedar Rapids. It was several hours before service was restored and residents had no information about the outage while their calls resulted in a busy signal. Click HERE to provide basic contact information and your preference for receiving notifications via text, email, or both. If the link doesn’t work you can also use the following link to register. Unsubscribing is quick and easy if in the future you wish to discontinue receiving notices. Sign-up to receive emergency and health related...

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Mediacom outage impacts VGH phone lines

Virginia Gay Hospital, Clinics, Home Health, Nursing and Rehab is currently working to implement their back-up phone system due to a fiber optic issue in Cedar Rapids with Mediacom this afternoon (12/14/16).  “We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience as we work to set-up our backup system,” says Sherri Isbell, Chief Information Officer. The public is advised to please call 911 in the event of a medical...

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Building a Strong Foundation

(Article reprinted from Virginia Gay Hospital’s bi-annual publication, “Thrive” Fall/Winter 2016 issue) Virginia Gay Hospital Healthcare Foundation is more than just the Tree of Lights annual appeal for funds each holiday season. It’s an integral part of providing healthcare in Benton County. Dr. Maggie Mangold: “Many times a parent tells me the book I shared with their child and sent home with them was their child’s first book. For parents struggling to keep the lights on and the kids fed, books can be a luxury, of both time and money. That’s why I believe in this program and am so pleased that our community and all the primary care providers at Virginia Gay support this program.” In 2014, the Foundation began raising funds to start a local “Reach Out And Read” program.  To date the program has received donations of $10,000 and has given more than 2,000 books to children visiting Virginia Gay clinics. Rick Murphy: “In 1992, my mother died of breast cancer at the age of 53. Six years later my dad died of colon cancer. Our sister Jill, always the brain in the family, switched careers to fight cancer; she became a cancer researcher. It was just five years after dad died, in March of 2003, that cancer took my sister Jill’s life when she was just 40 years old.” During the past 18 years the...

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VGH Hospital and Clinics continues transition to new healthcare information system

Patients are experiencing the need for a bit more patience at Virginia Gay’s Family Medical Clinics as a result of upgrades to health care software that will improve access to all their health information. “We’re setting-up every patient’s information when they come for their first appointment now that we’re using the new software and unfortunately, that takes more time,” explains Melissa Macku, Director of Clinic Operations, “It also means we’re not able to see as many patients as usual and that’s causing delays in getting appointments. At the same time we think it’s worth the inconvenience now because the new system is going to give our patients and our care providers access to all the health information in one place, whenever they need to access it.” Melissa also explains that while there is no good time to do a software installation, cold and flu season makes it worse. “We’ve been working on this for months. Unfortunately the hospital partner guiding us through the process, University of Iowa Health Care, and the electronic healthcare software provider, EPIC, only had this time slot available for us.” Patients of Virginia Gay Hospital and Clinics will soon be able to see their own medical record 24 hours a day, 7 days a week wherever they are. Patients will be able to track their own test results and read the notes from their visits....

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VGH welcomes Julie Samora, PA-C

Virginia Gay Hospital and Clinics has added another Physician Assistant to its staff. Julie Samora, PA-C, will be working in the emergency department and also as a hospitalist. Mike Riege, Virginia Gay Hospital Administrator, is pleased to welcome Julie as part of the team. “We are growing and we need to attract new providers if we are to deliver the excellent care our patients have come to expect from Virginia Gay. There are two things to be excited about with Julie’s decision to join us. First, she’s a well-qualified, bright person committed to patient care. Secondly, the advantages we offer; our quality of life and the opportunity to grow as a professional, is what attracted Julie to Virginia Gay. As a community, and as a health care community, I think we’re on the right track for a bright future.” Ms. Samora is the first of a number of new staff members being recruited and hired to expand access to health care at Virginia Gay Hospital and its Family Medical...

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