Help us Welcome Craig Ostman to the 
PMC Board of Directors

We are happy to announce Craig Ostman has joined the PMC Board of Directors.  Craig was raised in the Sacramento California Valley where his family raised hops, pear orchards, and cattle.  Craig has been a resident of Conrad for most of his years in Montana. He started his career as an Agricultural Banker in 1977 at Production Credit Association (PCA) and Federal Land Bank where he worked for 12 years.  His work took him, and his wife Kathie, to managing banks in Valier, Glendive, and Kalispell. Craig happily returned back to the eastern side of the Rocky Mountain front in 2008 where he was the manager of the Shelby and Chester US Banks. This past August, Craig retired from banking after 41 years of service. Having experience as a member on hospital boards in Glendive and Shelby, he now looks forward to serving on the PMC Board in Conrad, the place he and his wife have always referred to as “home.”  The Ostman’s raised three daughters and have two grandsons.      
 

 

Ostman joins Bernard Ries (Chairman), Darby Donoven (Vice Chairman), Janice Hoppes (Treasurer), Gena Ries (Secretary), Brent Gaylord (former Chairman), and Debbie Sturm on the PMC Board of Directors.  PMC applauds all of its volunteer Board Members and past Board Members for their commitment and service to PMC and the entire community.  The next Board meeting will be Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 6:00 pm at the Main Conference Room at PMC.  Everyone is welcome to attend.   
 

Help us Welcome two new Doctors of Physical Therapy during
National Physical Therapy Month
 

October is National Physical Therapy Month and to celebrate PMC would like to introduce our two new Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPTs). Bethanie Funderburk (left) joined the team back in September and Brad Keenan (right) came on the second week of October.  

Stephanie Keil-Harris, Speech Therapist and Rehab Director, comments: 

“We are proud to welcome Brad and Bethanie to our department and this community.  Already, their commitment to patient care is evident throughout the Physical Therapy practice. They are highly trained clinicians with outstanding diagnostic and rehabilitation skills, and they have such a friendly, pleasant manner with our patients.”


PMC is fortunate to have two highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy hire this fall, but it wasn’t by coincidence.  Brad and Bethanie moved to Montana together this summer to take advantage of our great outdoors and explore Big Sky Country.  Brad, originally from Holiday Shores, Illinois and Bethanie, born and raised in Springfield, Missouri met at Missouri State University while earning their DPTs.   The couple celebrated their achievements together last May as they earned their Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees.


The couple has noteworthy achievements for their time in undergrad as well.  Bethanie earned a full-ride scholarship to the private school, Drury University, where she earned her BS Degree in Exercise Physiology.  She has an impressive history of volunteer work, including four years helping with the Boys and Girls Club and spending time with residents at nursing homes.  In 2015, she completed a semester project with a local Special Olympics team, in which she designed an instructional guide for exercise programs and guidelines that addressed the different physical challenges that each athlete faced. 

Bethanie Funderburk, DPT (left)  and Brad Keenan, DPT (right).  

Brad played for the Southern Illinois Cougars Men’s Ice Hockey team while he earned his BS Degree in Exercise Science. He continued playing at the Missouri State University Men’s Ice Hockey team until a knee injury ended his hockey career. Brad has logged many volunteer hours helping host hockey clinics for kids five and older.  He also did a semester project participating in the “The Arc of the Ozarks.”  In this project he developed an educational resource for teachers that have classrooms with children facing disabilities.  The resource he developed was used to help educate teachers about the children’s disabilities and their capabilities.  


Together, Brad and Bethanie volunteered on a children with disabilities Hippotherapy project.  Hippotherapy combines physical, occupational, and/or speech therapies with the use of horses. 


Bethanie has been working with Leandra Gebhardt, DPT, as PMC’s chief Geriatric Physical Therapist. Funderburk shares that her interest in geriatric rehabilitation began through volunteer work in High School, 


“I began volunteering at nursing homes during high school and throughout college.  I really enjoyed the time I spent there. I chose my career path when my 96 year-old friend (who I later considered family) fell and broke his hip when I was visiting him at his home.  That’s when I knew I wanted to study Geriatric Rehabilitation.”


Brad shares that he became interested in physical therapy as a career when he was treated for his sports injuries.  After seeking treatment for three knee injuries and one for his wrist, Brad had a feel for the work environment involved with physical therapy.  He knew he wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, just like his physical therapist, Carol, did for him.  Brad continues, 


“I wanted a meaningful career and am very happy to be pursing this at PMC.  I feel that my work here is valuable.  I love that I get to know my patients on a personal level.  I appreciate that this facility is a Critical Access Hospital as well and I think that is a big service to a small community like Conrad.” 


Brad is accustomed to small town living having grown up in Holiday Shores (population 2,882).  After living in college towns for several years he said he was ready to be back in a small town.  He is excited to snow ski and snow shoe this winter.  Bethanie’s current hobbies include running, reading, and hot yoga, although Brad says she will love snow shoeing in no time.  Brad and Bethanie have already been out hiking. Bethanie states her highlights of moving to Montana so far,


“We hiked to Grinnell Glacier and Jackson Hole earlier this summer and it was breath-taking.  We love living the outdoor lifestyle especially hiking and camping. We are both thrilled to be living in Conrad and look forward to being a part of this small-town community.” 


Bethanie reflects on her time so far are at Pondera Medical Center and states that she appreciates the acute, extended care, outpatient, and home health options that the PMC Rehab Department offers.   


“I am enjoying my time at PMC and especially with the Rehab team here.  I love the energy and the attitude of the Rehab department as a whole.  It was very clear, even in my first few days, that patient care is the number one priority at PMC. That isn’t always the case in healthcare, and I really appreciate being part of a team that shares that core value with me.” 


Both Brad and Bethanie are well-rounded individuals and we are thrilled to have them as part of our team. Please help us welcome them to our wonderful community. 

 
New & Improved!  
New Diagnostic Equipment at Pondera Medical Center 
64-slice CT Scanner

Computerized Tomography or CT scan is arguably one of the most valuable diagnostic imaging tools in modern medicine.  Combining X-ray images from 64 different angles or slices, providers can see clear images of bones, blood vessels, and soft tissue. CT scans can be used to diagnose disease or life-threatening illnesses associated with chest pain, trouble breathing, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.   An added feature is the improved speed of the CT that shortens the requirement of patients to hold their breath during the procedure. Besides being quick and simple for the patient and providing greater diagnostic capabilities,  one of the most important features, according to Ellsworth, is the reduction of radiation, sometimes reduced as much as 82% from that of previous versions. Ellsworth adds, 

“This new CT scanner is safer for our patients.  Having the technology here that can reduce radiation by that margin is huge.  With this scanner we will be able to perform low-dose CT scans for patients that require frequent scans and also for people that are at high risk for certain disease that are looking for low risk screenings.”   

“The Helmsley Trust understands the need for critical access hospitals to have the best equipment possible to take excellent care of the rural population.  Now, patients can know that the scans they receive here, at home, are just as high quality as the scans they would receive in bigger hospitals.  As providers, we can also have confidence in our diagnosis with more clear cut images.”  - Edie Ellsworth, Family Nurse Practitioner 

In March 2017, PMC received notice that the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust’s Rural Healthcare Program had awarded PMC the $400,000 grant to purchase this state-of-the-art technology.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The installation began June 20th as a team began removing the old 16-slice CT from the facility and brought in the new 64-slice CT.   During the installation time, PMC brought in a mobile CT scanner to cover the ER and needs of patients.  

“Receiving this quality of scan locally will be pivotal for patients that are transferred to another hospital for treatment.  Number one, they will not have to risk more radiation exposure to themselves and secondly, they won’t have to waste time getting a second CT scan, which would mean they could get the treatment they need faster.”

- Edie Ellsworth, FNP

In addition, the 64-slice imaging provides even higher degrees of resolution, clarity, and definition.  The images from this CT scan can see clearly down to 0.28 millimeters.  This CT has the best spatial resolution in its class – 20% higher than previous GE systems.  This can be critical to any patient, but especially for older patients with low bone density or osteoporosis. In this type of patient, fractures often cannot be diagnosed using X-ray technology alone.  However, using the CT scan’s high resolution, providers are able to better visualize fractures that may not have been seen in other films, which leads to quicker diagnosis, treatment, and recovery for patients. Nate Hjelm, Imaging Manager, shares his enthusiasm, 

 

“We, here in the Radiology Department at Pondera Medical Center, are so excited to have received, through the Helmsley Charitable Trust, one of the latest generation of CT scanners in the state. Our new 64-slice GE revolution EVO will put us at the head of the pack in terms of imaging technology, and give us the ability to compete with even the largest facilities in Montana.”    


This new CT scanner has potential to benefit the Pondera County community and central Montana region greatly. Besides improved diagnostics, higher quality films including those required for oncology can now be obtained on the PMC campus. The ability to provide this high quality service to a critical access hospital is exciting and a reminder that rural America has not been overlooked.  Pondera Medical Center can’t say enough about the generosity of the Helmsley Trust. Dr. Jay Taylor, Chief of Staff at PMC concludes,


“Through the generosity of the Helmsley Trust, PMC can offer the most advanced CT imaging to our community.  Better images, with less radiation exposure, allow improved patient safety while providing us the ability to confidently diagnose and test more patients close to home.” 
 

New Service! 
Introducing our new,  state-of-the-art 1.5T 
MRI Scanner

In April, a Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scanner was added to the roster of PMC services.  Every Tuesday morning, the portable MRI can be found parked at the East Parking lot entrance.  Though portable, the traveling service offers quality results and reduces the waiting times for this diagnostic procedure for local patients.  MRI can look at the brain for tumors or an aneurysm; can find problems in the organs and structures in the abdomen such as the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder.  But that’s not all, MRI can also check for spinal stenosis, disc bulges, and spinal tumors; it often provides more definitive information regarding issues originally discovered by X-ray, Ultrasound, or CT scan.  

The state-of-the-art, high-channel, 1.5T MRI scanner improves overall image quality in:

  • Breast Imaging

  • High risk screening

  • Diagnosis and staging
     

  • Abdomen/Pelvis Imaging

    • Studies can be done with
      no breath-holding

       

  • Hi-Resolution MSK Imaging

    • New high-channel count coils
      for all exams

       

  • New Non-Contrast MRA Techniques

    • Neuro, body, and extremities
       

  • Hi-Resolution Neuro and Spine Exams

    • Higher sensitivity to small bleeds and infarcts

    • Better correction of motion artifacts

 

“This service is a great addition to the Imaging department at PMC. We can now offer the community top of the line MRI imaging with the same great home town service. Best of all, our wait times are a fraction of those in Great Falls.” –Nathan Hjelm, Imaging Manager at PMC-Radiology

Acute Room 107: Renovated! 

 

We are now welcoming patients into the new and improved room 107.  This room now has beautiful artwork, new blinds and chairs.  We've updated the sink vanity, floor and paint color to complete the new look. 

Bill O'Leary, CEO and Laura Erickson, CNO showed off the new improvements to the Board of Directors in May.  The changes were well received. Thank you to everyone that helped finish this project!   

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