Clinic grand opening points toward future in Rock Rapids

Clinic grand opening in Rock Rapids recognizes bond, with eye toward the future

By: Mick Garry .

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Sanford Rock Rapids’ grand opening on May 4 celebrated a new clinic while also giving area residents a glimpse of the direction of health care.

The event signified a step forward in Sanford Health’s 20-year history with Rock Rapids, Iowa. The unveiling of the new 9,600-square-foot facility also pointed toward Sanford’s commitment to the community.

In particular, the new building puts an emphasis on convenience and privacy for patients and families. Beyond that, it will grant increased access to outpatient services. Together, these factors formed the cornerstone of the design of the new clinic.

“It will be great to have private treatment rooms and an area designed for rehab,” said Melissa Sandbulte, a Sanford Health physical therapist. “New and improved equipment will be a great asset as well. I also like working close by the outreach doctors — it will be nice to be able to pop in and ask questions.”

Specifically, the new building will increase access by providing larger lab and physical therapy areas as well as centralized scheduling and registration. The list of services includes:

  • Family Medicine
  • OB/GYN
  • Rehab
  • Ear, Nose and Throat
  • Behavioral Health
  • Urology
  • Vascular Surgery
  • Cardiology
  • 3D Mammography
  • MRI
  • CT
  • Ultrasound
  • Infusions
  • Wound Care
  • Stress Testing
  • Orthopedics

Family medicine is provided by appointment and walk-in and includes urgent care. Hours are also expanded, with the clinic open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. The clinic will be open 8 a.m. to noon Saturday as well.

Rock Rapids’ special bond

The grand opening reminded visitors of the bond that exists between the clinic and the town it serves.

“In every rural community, trust and familiarity is vitally important in the patient-physician relationship,” said Nicole Woodley, who has served the clinic as an OB/GYN for the past two years. “I hope that I can continue to build these relationships to continue to give lifelong care to the women in this community.”

No. 1, the importance of keeping that bond fresh applies to a new facility. Second, it focuses on the rapport between Sanford Health’s staff and Rock Rapids area residents.

“Small communities have a very close relationship and lots of ownership of their health care facilities,” said clinic director Laurie Jensen, a 19-year Sanford employee who has worked in Rock Rapids for 11 years. “I value the team of staff and providers we have that will take great care of our patients.”

In short, the clinic has built a unique level of familiarity with Rock Rapids by retaining a committed core. Chief of staff Dr. Chester DeJong has been part of the clinic for 24 years. Additionally, physician assistants Brenda Vis and Kathy Ranschau have been working at the clinic for more than 25 years. Physician assistant Rebecca Roemen has been part of the group for more than five years.

“The blessings from being a physician assistant and working in this area for 46 years are having the privilege of caring for generations of patients,” Vis said earlier this year. “Many that I have cared for as infants have become parents themselves. I’m thankful for the opportunity to watch them grow into adulthood and beyond.”

A bright future

It’s a common theme among staff members. They will now be part of what for them is also a new environment.

“I love working in a small community and getting to know the patients one-by-one,” Sandbulte said. “Oftentimes we see patients a few times a week for multiple weeks — you really get to know the patient and their family personally.”

This personal attachment is staying in Rock Rapids. It’s just getting a new home.

“The future of medicine will be more about taking care of patients on an outpatient basis,” said April De Wit, an RN care manager with Rock Rapids for seven years. “And providing them with the tools to know how to care for themselves at home and when to reach out to their care team for more help and support.”

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