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SAINT PETER, Minn., May 15, 2018 – River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic officials today celebrated the groundbreaking of a nearly $46 million expansion project, alongside USDA Rural Development State Director Brad Finstad and local, state, and national officials.

“Solid infrastructure and modern healthcare facilities play a key role in the economic sustainability of rural communities – attracting new businesses, retaining population and providing opportunities for future growth,” said Finstad. “Not only will these services benefit local St. Peter residents, but they will also address the regional healthcare needs of surrounding communities for years to come.”

River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic serves over nearly 46,000 residents in St. Peter and surrounding communities. The project includes renovation of the existing facility and expansion of approximately 35,000 square feet – providing this facility with the resources necessary to meet the demands of the rapidly increasing populations of the surrounding communities.  Once the project is complete approximately 20 full time equivalent positions will be added.

The new addition will create space for a larger emergency department with adjacent ER and Urgent Care services; a new pharmacy with a medication prep room; and 25 patient beds, nursing and support spaces.

Additionally, renovations to the surgery department will allow space for two additional operating rooms, allowing for continued growth.

Funding for the facility came in the form of a $33.3 million USDA Rural Development Community Facilities direct loan and a $5 million commercial loan through partnership with Peoples Bank Midwest. River’s Edge will contribute $7.6 million to the total $46 million project. Nearly $800,000 will go towards health e-connectivity in the form of nurse call, video, voice and data technology and approximately $160,000 will go towards resources for rural mental and behavioral health services.

For more information on USDA Rural Development programs, please contact your local Area Office by visiting

River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic has been recognized as a DNV GL Healthcare certified Hip & Knee Replacement Center. The DNV GL Healthcare Hip and Knee Replacement Certification, based on standards set forth by DNV GL Healthcare and considering the guidelines of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, recognizes program excellence in patient care and outcomes.  River’s Edge received its first certification in 2017.

DNV GL Healthcare certification as a Hip & Knee Replacement Center validates the hospital’s excellence across the spectrum of hip and knee replacement care, from diagnosis to treatment, rehabilitation, education and outcomes.

“This certification affirms River’s Edge Hospital and our OrthoEdge program provide the best hip and knee replacement care,” says George Rohrich, CEO at River’s Edge. “Our staff and surgeons are amongst the best in the country.”

“Recertification as a ‘Center of Excellence’ demonstrates the commitment to high quality services and care by the OrthoEdge Team (The Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic and Rivers Edge Hospital), “ said Andrew Meyers, CEO of The Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic. “It signals to the community and region our combined passion to continually provide quality care for all patients, with this recertification validating the total Hip and Knee Programs quality and value. It’s what patients should look for when contemplating surgical treatment of hip or knee needing replacement.”

“Achieving certification shows commitment to excellence,” says Patrick Horine, CEO of DNV GL Healthcare. “It helps demonstrate to your community that you are performing at the highest level.”

I CAN Prevent Diabetes ®, a diabetes prevention program held at River’s Edge Hospital has received reaccreditation from the Centers for Disease Control.

The class, led by Jennifer Donkin, registered dietician and Nicole Boelter, exercise physiologist at River’s Edge, is a 12-month program for people who are at risk for type 2 diabetes.  It focuses on weight loss and increased physical activity.

Donkin has been leading the I CAN Prevent Diabetes ® class since January 2012 and has been sending data to the CDC for 5 years.  “It has been rewarding to work with the participants and see the progress they make in changing their lifestyle over the course of a year,” said Donkin.

Evaluators from the CDC noted that River’s Edge has met all the requirements for accreditation.  “This is a remarkable achievement of which you should be very proud.”

Participants are eligible if they have had a blood test indicating pre-diabetes or by taking a risk assessment at their doctor’s office.  Donkin said local providers are supportive of the class because they see the benefits.

The next I CAN Prevent Diabetes® class begins on August 29 at 6 p.m.  For more information, contact Jennifer Donkin at 507-934-7694.

Janell Stock knew whatever was making her sick was serious when she called the ambulance to take her to the emergency room.  The nurse of 14 years has had asthma her entire life but when she could not breathe, she knew it was bad.

Now retired, Janell was working as an LPN at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center.  Other than asthma, she was in good health.  In 2014 she had called in sick to work, something that was unusual for her.  She was committed to her job and went in to work, still not feeling well.  It was an early Monday morning, 4:30 a.m. she recalled, when she called the ambulance because she could barely breathe.

The River’s Edge Ambulance was on another call so Janell had to wait for the Le Sueur Ambulance to arrive.  The St. Peter Police arrived first, with oxygen.  “That was helping,” Janell recalled with tears in her eyes.

When the ambulance arrived, she was taken to the Emergency Department at River’s Edge Hospital.  She was scared.  “I had this nice doctor. He was wonderful in a very confusing time.”

It was during that confusing time that the emergency department doctor made a decision that Janell feels saved her life.  Instead of being intubated and going to another hospital, the doctor administered magnesium through Janell’s IV, which opened up her lungs.  “If I wouldn’t have gotten that care, I would  have died.”

She was then admitted to River’s Edge and received care for her condition for the next six days.  “I finally felt I was in a safe place,” Janell said. “I was not going to die.”

Janell said they care she received from the River’s Edge staff was wonderful and the nurses were smart, helpful and kind.  “I could tell they really cared.”  Now, three years later, Janell is on oxygen all the time when she is at home and can go without it for short periods of time.  She is grateful for the care she received and says because of it she feels great.

The Minnesota Department of Health has stated that influenza is widespread throughout the state. River’s Edge is allowing patient visitors during this time with some restrictions. If you have a cough or cold please wear a mask during your visit.

If you are sick, stay home. Urgent Care is open 12-8 Monday- Friday and 8a-8p Saturday and Sunday.

You can stay well this winter by following these suggestions:
· Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
· Cover your cough, preferable by coughing into your sleeve
· Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread that way!

The Urgent Care clinic at River’s Edge moved across the hall on Dec. 5.  The new clinic is now located next to Mankato Clinic Dermatology.  The same entrance and parking area should be used.

Patient who are seen in the specialty clinic space with physician from The Orthopaedic & Fracture Clinic will also be seen in the new location.

This move was necessary so the current space can be emptied as this will be one of the first locations to be renovated in 2018 as part of the new construction and expansion project at River’s Edge.



The last thing Rhonda Witty needed the week of her son’s wedding was to feel sick and dizzy from the vertigo she has experienced for the past five years.    Rhonda’s week was filled with appointments at the dentist, hair salon, and an unplanned one at River’s Edge Physical Therapy.

Rhonda and her husband live in St. Peter during the winter months and live near Devils Lake, North Dakota in the summer months.  They were back in St. Peter in August for her son’s wedding.  She had been fighting vertigo regularly for the past year, saying if she would move her head a certain way, it would trigger symptoms.

Vertigo is a medical condition that causes a sensation of imbalance.  It is an inner ear problem where the crystals that send messages to the brain are out of place.  Bette Berndt, PT at River’s Edge Hospital, said that when those crystals are out of place, they send a message that you are spinning or falling.  Symptoms of vertigo include a feeling of spinning, tilting, imbalance, swaying, and may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, headache, and sweating.

Rhonda’s symptoms returned when she was getting her hair done.  She said she was laying in the chair and everything started spinning.  “I broke out into a sweat, my eyes felt like they were floating around,” she recalled.

The Thursday before the wedding Rhonda had a dentist appointment and the symptoms returned.  Rhonda said the hygienist asked her if she was okay because she told Rhonda her eyes were moving all over the place.  “You can see how I am feeling?,” she recalled asking.    They hygienist told Rhonda about a procedure that could help Rhonda feel better.  Fortunately, Rhonda also had her annual physical that day and talked to her provider.  “I called physical therapy and got in Friday morning with Bette,” Rhonda said.

The procedure the hygienist told Rhonda about was the one Bette used.  It is called the Epley Maneuver.   The technique is done by having the patient sit up on the treatment table.  The physical therapist has the patient turn their head to the right, and later the left, and fall back quickly to find which side needs to have the crystals adjusted.  If the patient gets dizzy on one side versus the other, that is the side that needs treatment.  Then the Physical Therapist lays the patient down on the treatment table, holding their head off the edge.  The Physical Therapist waits until the dizziness goes away then continues treatment in a different position.  This continues until the patient no longer feels dizzy while in a sitting position.  “It’s hard to explain, but easy to do,” Bette said.   Rhonda said her treatment took about 20 minutes.

After treatment Rhonda went home to rest and then went to the groom’s dinner that night.  She was tired and not her normal active self that night.  Her son’s friends commented that she looked like she was not feeling well.

On the wedding day, Rhonda was feeling great.  She was able to enjoy her son’s wedding with no vertigo symptoms.  Since then, she has been feeling good.   She knows what the triggers are and does things to prevent the dizziness.

Successful treatment of vertigo with the Epley Maneuver depends on the individual. In Rhonda’s case, it took one treatment.  Bette noted that some people need to come in more than one time for treatment.    Patients who have vertigo must have a physician referral before coming to River’s Edge for treatment.  Three of the physical therapists are trained in the Epley Maneuver – Bette Berndt, Kristine Hall and Deb Mattson.    To make an appointment with Physical Therapy, call 931-2200.


Interested in seeing how the Epley Manuever works?  Visit this link



New Global Research Spurs Call for Urgent Action on Stroke Prevention

River’s Edge Hospital, St. Peter has today joined the global call for urgent action to prevent stroke. The call to action, issued by the World Stroke Organization to mark World Stroke Day on Sunday the 29th October, responds to new data that shows stroke was responsible for over 116 million years of life lived with disability (YLD) worldwide in 2016. This adds to existing global mortality data that positions stroke as the second largest cause of death.

There are an estimated 17 million strokes worldwide each year.  While stroke incidence and mortality rates in high income countries have been on the decline, progress is still slow and uneven. There are also indications that the risk factors for stroke such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes and smoking are becoming increasingly prevalent in both high and low-income countries. This has the potential to slow progress on stroke prevention.

River’s Edge Hospital is designated by the Minnesota Department of Health as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital.  The MDH recognizes that River’s Edge has essential stoke protocols and systems in place for the best possible outcome for patients.  The Emergency Medical Staff (EMTs, Paramedics, Nurses and Physicians) are trained in quick identification and treatment of stroke symptoms.

Professor Werner Hacke, President of the World Stroke Organization said ‘On World Stroke Day 2017 our members are sending out a global message that stroke is preventable and that we all have good reasons to prevent it. We know that 90% of strokes are associated with just 10 risk factors that we can all do something about. Addressing these risk factors would not just have a major impact on stroke, they would also prevent deaths from other non-communicable diseases. Giving urgent priority to prevention now will yield obvious benefits in terms of reduced human, social and economic costs.’

World Stroke Day will be commemorated at events worldwide on 29th October 2017. More information can be found on the campaign website.

River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic in St. Peter was one of 139 hospitals and nursing homes from around the state recognized by the Minnesota Department of Health for achieving high influenza vaccination rates among facility employees during the 2016-17 flu season.  More than 90 percent of the staff received the influenza vaccination, earning a blue ribbon from the MDH.

The FluSafe program aims to get 100 percent of all health care personnel at hospitals and nursing homes in Minnesota, except those with medical exemptions, vaccinated against influenza each season. According to state health officials, unvaccinated health care workers can potentially pass highly contagious influenza to their patients, many of whom are at high risk for complications from influenza.

“Our patients’ health is our top priority,” said Janelle Rauchman, Chief Quality Officer of River’s Edge Hospital. “Participating in the FluSafe program helps us increase employee influenza vaccination rates and prevent flu from spreading to our patients. We also want all of our employees to be as healthy as possible during flu season.”

Health care facilities participating in the FluSafe program receive guidance and access to tools and promotional materials from MDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help them increase their influenza vaccination rates. The facilities record and document their vaccination rates through the state’s immunization information system, the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC).

More information on the FluSafe program, including a list of the 2016-17 facilities earning blue, red, and white ribbons, can be found on