State Senator Dan Hughes of District 44, recently sat down with Barbie Long, Director of Community HealthCare and Hospice at her invitation to discuss home health issues. During the interview, Long not only represented the Nebraska Home Care Association, but Community Hospital as well.
Long had hoped to take Senator Hughes on a home health visit with a Medicaid patient, but arrangements didn’t work out. She explained to Hughes that the Medicaid patients she sees “really are vulnerable adults or kids” as she discussed the new managed care Nebraska Medicaid program.
In responding to the purpose of caring for vulnerable people, Hughes said, “that’s what Medicaid was designed for. No question about that. That’s what government should do; that’s part of what government should be.
Long mentioned the hand the Nebraska Healthcare Association has played in working through issues the new Medicaid program has brought by arranging Town Hall meetings. She fears the program may change providers in the future, “and we have to start all over,” giving the example that Well Care just got their patient portal up after a year and half wait.
Hughes’ answer to why he was running for re-election was “to finish the job. I’ve learned a lot these past years and I’m still learning things to be a more effective legislator. I’ve invested four years in it already. I don’t like not finishing a job once I start,” he said.
The two discussed the broad areas they cover in southwest Nebraska. Senator Hughes, who is form Venango, explained District 44 is “a very big district” covering ten counties: Perkins, Chase, Dundy, Hayes, Hitchcock, Frontier, Red Willow, Gosper Furnas and Harlan. “When I get to Alma, I’m closer to Lincoln than I am to my house,” he said. Long understood the challenges of covering a large area as Community HealthCare and Hospice covers seven of the same counties including Chase, Dundy, Hayes, Hitchcock, Frontier, Red Willow and Furnas.
Troy Bruntz, Community Hospital President & CEO, who was also at the table, commented about the hospital’s home health business model, saying other hospitals in southwest Nebraska used to provide home health services. They no longer provide those services because they were losing money. He explained the long drives and time on the road, up to three-hour round trips to see one patient, which don’t make the service profitable. “We lose hundreds of thousands of dollars on home health services each year,” he said.
“So why do we do it? Our mission is Regional Healthcare Excellence. If we don’t provide home health services, it isn’t going to be offered in southwest Nebraska, other than maybe our county. But we can’t just focus on Red Willow County if we are going to be a cornerstone for health in the entire region,” he added.
He added that since Barbie has become director of the home health department, the amount of patients in home health have doubled and nearly tripled.
Community Healthcare and Hospice staffs seven field registered nurses who are also case managers. Long said the field nurses have 17-20 patients each. In addition to Long, department director, Kami Foster, is clinical coordinator. Nursing aides on staff also provide services. “We really are the eyes and the ears of the physician,” she said, “as well as advocates for the patient.”
Long added two important reasons for offering home health: The service can help to keep patients from re-admitting into the hospital, and home care is about one tenth the cost of caring for a patient in a facility, such as a hospital. “And we all want to stay home if we can,” she said.
Senator Hughes said if elected to a second term, his number one public policy priority will be property taxes, “because that’s what I’m hearing most about. If you look at the demographics of the 44th district, it’s predominantly agriculture. It’s hurting right now because of low commodity prices. The way we fund schools in this state heavily relies on property tax. This has created an intense burden on the ag community.”
Bruntz and Long said the ag economy has also affected the hospital financially more than it ever has before. Barbie mentioned knowing some farmers and ranchers with injuries who could not afford seeking medical care due to the extremely high deductibles and co-pays on their medical insurance.
They mentioned the hospital offers financial counseling service and social workers to assist people in those situations. Bruntz said the hospital gives away a million and half dollars every year in free and reduced services and is willing to work with patients with medical needs.
Hughes said he would consider who steps up to serve on legislative committees before he would consider whether he would change the committees he serves. “There are leadership positions that are vacant that I want to make sure we have the right people in place. If the right people step up, I’m happy to stay where I’m at as chairman of Natural Resources, and Transportation and Telecommunications. I hope to stay on the Exec Board as well,” he said. “I will go where I am needed. I’m a team player and I look at the bigger picture.”
Long asked if Senator Hugh’s understanding of the impact of home care services on his constituents has changed since he became a state senator. “I’ve had a little bit of exposure to the doctor side of the issue,” he said. “One of the things I enjoy about being a state senator is I do get to learn about so many things. I have learned a lot and have come to appreciate a lot more of what it takes to make southwest Nebraska work and the state of Nebraska. There are so many things that go on, that unless you are directly involved, you don’t think about.” He added that the more relationships he has, in areas of healthcare for example, if he doesn’t know the answer, he has someone he can call.
Bruntz added that “We are always here to help” and that he believes term limits have hurt.
Hughes agreed that senators need at least three, four-year terms. “I’ve never liked term limits and now that I’m on the inside, they are even worse than I thought of the devastation it’s done to Nebraska.”
Hughes said he is sympathetic to many state issues, but “we just don’t have enough money to go around. “Several areas have taken cuts and they want them back, and I certainly understand that, but the possibility of increased revenue is pretty slim outside of Internet sales tax revenue coming in January.”
On a different note, Hughes said he is not in favor of legalizing medicinal marijuana. “I’m in favor of whatever will alleviate suffering, but until the Federal government is willing to do testing to see what works, I can’t in good conscience allow anyone to (use it),” he said. “It’s coming back to the legislature. Every state which has started with medicinal has moved to recreation, but it’s not a path I feel morally we should go down.”
Senator Hughes closed the interview by applauding healthcare workers for their dedication to their profession. “Thank you for what you do. It is a critical part of what our society and our corner of Paradise needs so we can all stay here and enjoy life.”
This conference recognizes financial advisors who are among the leaders in the financial services firm. The conference also will provide additional training to help them serve more individual investors in their communities.
Sharleen Riemenschneiderwas among the 800 financial advisors who qualified out of the firm's more than 17,000 financial advisors in the U.S. and Canada.
The 2019 conference was held May 14 - 17 in St. Louis.
Edward Jones, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in St. Louis, provides financial services in the U.S. and, through its affiliate, in Canada. Every aspect of the firm's business, from the investments its financial advisors offer to the location of its branch offices, caters to individual investors. The firm's 17,000-plus financial advisors serve more than 7 million clients and care for $1 trillion in assets under management. Visit our website at edwardjones.com and recruiting website at careers.edwardjones.com. Member SIPC.
St Mary's Parish
At approximately 5:44 PM on Monday, February 4th , the City of McCook Fire Department responded to a reported fire at 811 East 2 nd Street. Upon arrival of the fire department at 5:46 PM, personnel reported heavy smoke and fire coming from the rear of the structure. Two occupants were able to escape the structure by exiting the front door. Crews quickly extinguished the fire that burned up the exterior of the back of the house and into a bedroom through a window.
The fire was under control within five minutes of the arrival of the fire department and before the fire could extend further into the interior of the home.
The resident of the structure, Mr. Jonathan Scott, reported that he was in the house, along with another resident, when all of the lights went out. Mr. Scott exited the structure and went around to the back yard where a generator was located that was supplying electricity to the house. Mr. Scott found the generator and several items around it, along with the siding of the house on fire. Mr. Scott went back into the home and advised the other resident of the fire. They both began looking for their pet cats and, when the smoke became too intense, they exited the structure.
Fire damage was contained to exterior of the back of the home while there was smoke damage throughout the home. The home was valued at just over $27,000 and $15,000 for the contents. Initial damage estimates were at $10,000 on the structure and $1,000 to the contents.
Members of the fire department completed the investigation and determined that the fire started in the rear of the structure from gasoline fumes being emitted from a gas powered generator. The fumes ignited and quickly spread to nearby combustible materials and the exterior of the home itself.
The Red Cross was notified and provided the resident with assistance.
Sixteen firefighters, two pumpers, one ladder truck, one ambulance and one command vehicle were on the scene for approximately 1 ½ hours making sure the fire had not spread into the interior and clearing smoke out of the structure.
Three McCook Community College softball players have been selected to the All-Region IX, Division I team. Sophomore outfielders Chanel Siebenthal (Lakewood, Colo.) and Jerusha Miner (Gunnison Valley, Utah) were named to the team along with freshman utility player Brooklyn Jensen (West Valley City, Utah). Miner played in 57 games batting .385 with 20 doubles, six triples, five home runs, 52 RBIs, 48 runs scored and 24 stolen bases. She had a .422 on-base and slugged .630. She topped the region with six triples and 192 at bats. She was fourth in doubles, fifth in RBIs, steals and total bases (121). Siebenthal led the Lady Indians with a .411 batting average in 58 games, she had 24 doubles, two home runs, 32 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases. She had a .449 on-base percentage and slugged .573. Her 24 doubles were the second most in Region IX. She had the second most plate appearances in the region and ranked in the top 10 in at bats, runs, total bases (106) region and stolen bases. Jensen led the region with 43 stolen bases. In 50 games played as catcher and infielder, she batted .397 with 36 runs scored and a .431 on-base percentage. As a catcher, she threw out nine runners trying to steal which was the second most in the region. She held base stealers to a 37.5 success rate, which was third best in the region.
Last week the McCook Community College volleyball program reached a milestone of sorts when the seventh of seven graduating sophomores signed a letter of intent to continue playing volleyball – “Seven for Seven” as MCC Coach Hayley Kobza is calling the journey that has landed all seven of her sophomores scholarships to continue playing the sport after they graduate from MCC.
Those seven sophomores include Ashley Carson, Hanna Emerson, Ryan Maddera, Onyessah Rocha, Brooklyn Evans, Haley Jacobsen and Ty Johnson.
These players were part of a sophomore squad helping lead the Lady Indians to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time this century and also helped MCC capture its first Nebraska Community College Athletic Conference Championship in 38 years and finished the season at 21-14, which included wins against two top-20 ranked opponents.
Of the seven MCC players, two are former high school teammates who were “discovered” at MCC during an open tryout in 2016 will play Division I volleyball. Two other MCC teammates will move on to play for the same team, one will play for a Division II program and four will play for National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) schools. Two are headed to South Carolina, two are headed to Missouri, one is going to Louisiana, one to Texas and one will play in Kansas.
Here’s a summary of the players, their season highlights and where they’re headed:
Ashley Carson, Ord, will continue her volleyball career as a setter at Division 2 Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina. One of three co-captains on the team, she was named to the all-Region IX volleyball team, had 1,268 sets – the most in Region IX, and sixth best among all setters in the nation. In addition Carson had 37 service aces, 237 digs, 40 blocks and 56 kills. She was also named to the Omaha World-Herald all-Nebraska team for players from two-year colleges.
Hannah Emerson, a 6-2 middle blocker from Greeley West High School in Colo., will play at NCAA Division I Coastal Carolina in Conway, South Carolina. She received honorable mention on the Omaha World-Herald All Nebraska team. She played in 35 matches this season and her block numbers were in the top 10 in the Region IX South Division in the four major blocking categories. She assisted on 106 blocks, tops in the division, was second in total blocks with 124, second with 0.94 blocks per set, and ninth in solo blocks with 18. Her block assist numbers were ninth most in the nation. This fall, Emerson’s Chanticleers will play the University of Nebraska on Sept. 21 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Ryan Maddera 6-1, who played outside hitter and middle for the Indians will play setter at Division 1 Southeast Louisiana in Hammond, La. Like her high school teammate Emerson, both came to MCC for an open tryout and two years later both earned scholarships to play volleyball this Fall at the Division 1 level. Maddera played in 35 matches this past season for the Lady Indians and recorded 398 kills, 228 digs, 16 solo blocks, 73 total blocks and 42 service aces. She ranked fourth among hitters in the Region IX South division in total kills, her 3.18 kills per set ranked seventh, and total blocks ranked 14th. She also received honorable mention for the Omaha World-Herald all-Nebraska team.
Brooklyn Evans, a 5-7 libero from Ogden, Utah, who converted from setter after her freshman season, will continue her career at NAIA Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo. Evans, named co-captain in August, played in 35 matches for the Lady Indians leading the team in digs with 321 (2.43 per game). That total ranked ninth among players in the Region IX South Division. She also had 98 assists (10th most in the division) and 37 service aces (ranked 11th in the region). Evans received honorable mention for the Omaha World-Herald all-Nebraska team. She will continue playing her libero/defensive position for the Vikings.
Haley Jacobsen is a 5-9 middle blocker/right side hitter from Chatfield High School in Littleton Colo., who will join MCC teammate Brooklyn Evans at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Mo. Jacobsen played in 25 matches for the Lady Indians where she had 78 kills, 41 digs, and 50 total blocks. Her blocks per set total (0. 66) was 11th best in among players competing in the Region IX South Division. At Missouri Valley College, she expects to continue playing right side where she spent most of her time this past season.
Ty Johnson, a 5-8 outside hitter from Conroe, Texas returns to her home state to play volleyball at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. Johnson, one of three co-captains, played in all 35 matches and had 227 kills on the season, 45 service aces, 97 digs, and 93 blocks. She ranked second in the south sub-region in block assists (84) and was fourth in hitting percentage (.261). She received honorable mention for the Omaha World-Herald all-Nebraska team. Johnson expects to play middle for the Lady Wildcats.
Onyessah Rocha, 5-5 libero from Topeka, Kan. returns to her home state to play for NAIA Ottawa University where she will play for the Braves, who won the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship and earned the program its sixth trip (fourth straight appearance), at the NAIA National Tournament. Rocha expects to compete for the starting libero position.
ALL SEVEN OF McCook Community College’s volleyball sophomores have now signed on to continue their volleyball careers at the next level. Pictured are (front row from left): Onyessah Rocha, Ty Johnson, Ashley Carson. (Back row): Haley Jacobsen, Hannah Emerson, Coach Hayley Kobza, Ryan Maddera and Brooklyn Evans.
Two McCook Volleyball players made Southwest Conference Volleyball team. Jayceea Hanson makes first team, and Robin Grigg makes Honorable Mention. You can view complete list here.
2018 SWC All Conference Softball Team
|Pitcher||Regan Armagost - Cozad, Fr|
Brenna Dugan - Cozad, (IF), Sr
Grace Cargill - Cozad (IF), Sr
Bailee Schurmann - Minden (IF), So
Avery Dunphy - Gothenburg (IF), So
Kandace Coleman - McCook, (IF), Jr
Kaitlyn Kleinknecht - Gothenburg (IF), Sr
Jercey Irish - Cozad (OF), Jr
Kaylin Martin - McCook, (OF), Jr
Alexis Bliven - Gothenburg (OF), So
Laurel Schmidt - McCook (OF), S
|Utl||Trinity Raburn - McCook (IF), Jr|
Hannah Merrill - Minden (IF/C), So
Haley Cargill - Cozad (Utl), Jr
Bailey Coulter - Gothenburg (P), Jr
Brolin Morgan - McCook (IF), Jr
2018-2019 Republican Plains Activity Conference All-Conference Volleyball Team(s). The teams were selected by the conference Volleyball Coaches on Wednesday, 11/15/2018.
Six McCook Community College student/athletes were selected by their respective coaches to be recognized for the 2018-2019 academic year as Athletes of the Year in their individual sports.
Lincoln – Train like a Husker this summer, as Nebraska men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg has announced a series of summer camps and clinics. The camps will take place throughout the month of June at the Hendricks Training Complex.
The 2019 camp series will feature two four-day camps, as well a pair of specialty clinics for boys and girls entering the 3rd-12th grade. In addition, there will also be a three-day Little Huskers camp for kids who are in grades K-4 for the upcoming year.
Hoiberg and his staff of instructors will work with campers on the fundamentals of basketball in a fun atmosphere. All camps are open to both boys and girls entering the respective grade level.
2019 Fred Hoiberg Basketball Camps
|Day Camp #1||Mon.-Thurs., June 10-13||9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.||Boys/Girls Grades 3-12||$250|
|Day Camp #2||Mon.-Thurs., June 24-27||9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.||Boys/Girls Grades 3-12||$250|
|Little Huskers Camp||Wed.-Fri., June 19-21||9 a.m. – Noon||Boys/Girls Grades K-4||$180|
|Ball Handling and Shooting Clinic||Friday, June 14||9 a.m.-Noon||Boys/Girls Grades 3-12||$60|
|Forward Specialty Clinic||Friday, June 14||1-4 p.m.||Boys/Girls Grades 3-12||$60|
|Dual Clinic Special||Friday, June 14||9 a.m. -4 p.m.||Boys/Girls Grades 3-12||$110|
Nebraska High School Tennis Coaches Association, in cooperation with the Nebraska Coaches Association, announces the Class B All-State Girls Tennis Team for 2019.
The McCook Bison Tennis Camp is quickly approaching. The Camp is open to all ages and playing levels and is designed to promote a better understanding of the game and strokes of tennis. Camp will be held at the Bison Tennis courts starting June 3rd for 3 weeks followed by 2 weeks of League. Deadline to register is Friday, May 17th. Flyers can be picked up at McCook Lettering, McCook High School Junior High, McCook Central Elementary and McCook St. Pats.