December 2018

December 20, 2018 – ST. PETER –  River’s Edge Hospital was not invited by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota to participate in the Medicare Blue Plus Southern MN Network Advantage plan for 2019.  Despite attempts by River’s Edge Hospital administrators to reach out to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, the insurer has denied a request to allow River’s Edge Hospital to be an in-network facility. Also excluded from the network is The Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic in Mankato, River’s Edge Hospital’s partner in the OrthoEdge joint replacement program.

Although River’s Edge Hospital is an out-of-network facility for the BCBS Medicare Advantage PPO program for Southern Minnesota, people who wish to continue to use River’s Edge Hospital for services can still do so with the understanding that out-of-pocket costs may be higher with this Advantage plan.  If you would like to come to River’s Edge Hospital in-network, you may want to choose a different insurance company that offers a Medicare Advantage plan.  You have the option to change your plan through March 31, 2019.

Both River’s Edge Hospital and The Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic work hard to provide high-quality, cost-effective care that patients are looking for.  River’s Edge is a nationally certified Hip and Knee Replacement Center of Excellence and ranks in the top 5 percent in the nation for patient experience as reported by Press Ganey.  OFC consistently scores better than others in Southern Minnesota for outcomes as reported by MN Community Measurement.

While not an in-network provider for this Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare Advantage Plan, River’s Edge Hospital is an in-network provider for all other Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare supplement plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield commercial plans.  To find out if your plan is in-network, contact your insurance provider or River’s Edge Patient Financial Services at 507-934-7605.

When Dale Heins lived beyond his 50’s, he was a little bit surprised. Both of his parents had passed away before reaching the age of 60, and because he pictured a similar fate for himself, he didn’t pay much attention to how he cared for his body. The result was that he became very obese, and the stress and strain from the extra weight on his joints made walking painful. It wasn’t until he realized that his poor health was affecting his relationships with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren that he decided it was time to do something to change his situation.


Shedding Extra Weight Would Mean a Better Surgery Outcome

Although his knees were giving him trouble, Dale knew that going into surgery in his present physical condition wouldn’t prepare him for the best outcomes, so the first thing he did to begin moving down a path towards inevitable knee surgery and better health was to lose weight. With perseverance and the partnership of his wife, Dale lost 180 pounds over the course of a year.

“It changed my life dramatically,” said Dale. “I couldn’t have done it without my wife doing it with me. She was very supportive.”


Surgery for Both Knees at the Same Time

It was when Dale and his wife returned from a vacation to Alaska that he talked to Dr. Kyle Swanson at the Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic (OFC) about knee replacement surgery. Dale had been consulting with Dr. Swanson for four years. During the course of that time, he had received injections that controlled the pain. At first, the effect of the treatments was very long-lasting. However, the treatment that he received prior to his vacation only lasted five days. On this visit with Dr. Swanson, they both knew that it was time to consider surgery.

“Both of my knees were bad, so we talked about the pros and cons of doing both at the same time,’ said Dale. “I made the decision to do both knees so that I would only have to go through this one time.”

Confidence in Professional and Personable Doctors and Staff

As Dale anticipated his upcoming surgery that would take place at River’s Edge Hospital, he had the utmost confidence in Dr. Swanson. During consultations, Dale found Dr. Swanson to be very personable. He discovered that they had some mutual interests as they chatted, but when it came to surgery and his care, Dr. Swanson was all business.

“What truly impressed me was that Dr. Swanson talked at length about how professional he and his staff are, and I found that they are every bit as professional as he described,” said Dale.

Impressive Customer Service Doesn’t Happen by Accident

From the first time that Dale walked through the door, right through to his last post-operative physical therapy session, Dale was just as impressed by the professional care that he received at River’s Edge Hospital as he was with OFC. The caring and supportive attitude of the staff was present in all of their actions, and he felt like they empathized with what he was feeling and anticipated his every need.

“I come from a sales background and I understand customer service,” said Dale. “What I received from River’s Edge Hospital was customer service and I know it’s not an accident. People have to be taught and held accountable to do that and that’s what River’s Edge does.”

Increased Mobility Means Improved Quality of Life

Now that Dale is a few months down the road from his double knee replacement surgery, he is already experiencing an improved quality of life. Because of his increased mobility, he can walk and interact better with his grandkids and great-grandkids, and he looks forward to many more years to watch them grow. He’s able to be more involved at his church, whether it’s flipping burgers for an event or being available to assist older congregation members who are in need.

As he looks back on his experience of going through double knee replacement surgery, what Dale remembers most is the support and encouragement from the people at River’s Edge Hospital and the Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic. Even through the tough parts, like post-op physical therapy, the care he received set him up for success.

“They made me feel like a rockstar the whole time,” said Dale.