ThedaCare acknowledges its role in rural areas

Dear Editor:

ThedaCare health clinics and hospitals play a vital role in the rural communities they serve, providing high-quality care close to home for area residents. We look forward to joining with the Wisconsin State Office of Rural Health to celebrate National Rural Health Day on Thursday to draw attention to the unique health needs of rural areas and the efforts we take to address them.

Approximately 1.5 million people — or one in four Wisconsin residents — live in rural communities across the state. The small towns and rural areas served by ThedaCare are the heart of our state. The hospitals and clinics serving these areas keep communities strong and healthy by not only providing high-quality heath care, but also providing good jobs.

Just as each community is different, so are their healthcare needs. Community Health Action Teams (CHAT) led by ThedaCare identify these unique issues and create plans to address them. CHAT teams have worked on or are currently working on:

• Berlin: Increase mentoring to local teens by partnering with the Tri-County Boys & Girls Club to provide mentoring for students in grades 8-12. This program will start early next year.

• New London: Working on becoming a trauma sensitive community.

• Shawano: Sponsoring a drug take-back event for prescription medications.

• Waupaca: Battling heroin and other drug and alcohol abuse by implementing a drug court, providing Vivitrol, using trained recovery coaches and starting a support group for family members and friends of users.

• Wild Rose: Developing an in-school mentoring program for students provided by senior mentors.

We are proud members of the rural communities we call home and where we put families and patients first as we strive to provide convenient, high-quality care.

Bill Schmidt, Craig Kantos and Tammy Bending,

Vice presidents of critical access operations for ThedaCare

Editor’s note: The letter was also signed by Traci Berry, Kathy Markofski, Cheryl Seelig and Kelli Tarlton, practice administrators for ThedaCare Physicians locations in Shawano, Waupaca, Wild Rose, New London and Berlin; and Penny Block, Pam Mork, Peg School and Dawn Shuman, directors of nursing for ThedaCare Medical Centers.