Scholarship recipients observe surgeries at ERMC

Recent graduates Samuel Mateer of Harper Creek High School, and Halli Hood of Eaton Rapids High School recently had the opportunity to observe surgeries performed at Eaton Rapids Medical Center (ERMC). Mateer and Hood were presented with the sixth-annual ERMC Foundation Scholarship Award earlier this year, and in addition to the $1,000 scholarship, the hospital invited the recipients to view surgical procedures.

“I shadowed with Larry Lutz, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and got to see several surgeries including a rotator cuff operation, hernia surgery, ACL surgery, and a hip replacement,” Mateer said. “I loved the experience; it opened my eyes to what the job really means and made me realize how much I truly want to be a CRNA.”

Hood observed two total joint replacement surgeries performed by Dr. Paul Kenyon at ERMC. She described it as “an amazing experience that many don’t get to see.” Adding that, “It was a privilege to meet the amazing staff at ERMC and observing these procedures was my favorite part of the scholarship. The real-world experience was even more valuable than the money itself!”

In the fall Hood will be attending Lansing Community College to become a registered nurse, and plans to continue her education at Michigan State University to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Samuel Mateer will be attending Western Michigan University’s nursing program, the first step to becoming a CRNA.

The ERMC Foundation began offering the $1,000 scholarship in 2011 to high school seniors who plan to pursue a registered nursing degree. The purpose of the scholarship is to provide local students with assistance in entering the healthcare field. To learn more about the scholarship or the hospital visit

Article posted on July 1st, 2019. - Article Permalink

Lean training puts ERMC staff on the cutting edge of healthcare process improvement

On Thursday, June 20, a team of 14 Eaton Rapids Medical Center (ERMC) staff members graduated from an intensive six-month education and training course called Lean. Funded by a grant from the Michigan Center for Rural Health (MCRH) and led by Todd Sperl of Lean Fox Solutions, enrollment in the training was offered to all hospital staff and focused on developing intensive problem solving skills, as well as identifying and eliminating wasteful steps in workflow to improve overall hospital processes and patient outcomes.

Each of the four Lean teams was tasked with choosing a different need or issue within the hospital and finding intuitive, efficient ways to correct it. The teams then used the tools and skills they developed throughout the six-month course to create plans of action.

“Having the opportunity to participate in Lean training and certification has provided me with tools to eliminate unnecessary waste and improve processes while understanding and delivering value to our patients,” said Heather Schragg, Lean team member and ERMC’s Director of Patient Experience. “I’m fortunate to be part of an organization that allows employees to take part in meaningful initiatives such as this.”

Each group identified a different workflow issue within the hospital and worked to create a thoughtful solution. Projects included a surgical supply storage remodel, a reworking of the scanning and collection process of patients’ consent to treat forms, creating a standardized process for minor procedures within the hospital's specialty, lab, and medical-surgical departments, and streamlining the patient referral process to ensure patients have the best experience possible.

“The value of these four projects alone will make a huge impact on the facility,” said Todd Sperl. “Our main focus is on improving the patient experience; that’s the main result we’re after. All of the teams have done a wonderful job with that goal.”

All members of the Lean teams were awarded certificates of completion after presenting their final initiatives to the hospital’s CEO and President Tim Johnson, CFO Shari Glynn, and COO Kristine Allen. The projects will continue into the future and help Eaton Rapids Medical Center remain at the forefront of medical efficiency and patient care.

Article posted on June 25th, 2019. - Article Permalink

Summer Food Safety

Summer is the perfect season for family gatherings, graduation parties, potlucks, BBQs, and more. Practicing good food safety at these events helps reduce your risk of getting sick from a foodborne illness (such as salmonella or norovirus). Sometimes, there can even be an outbreak of a foodborne illness affecting many people. The National Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 48 million (1 in 6) people every year in the U.S. get sick from a foodborne illness. The CDC lists five main causes of foodborne illnesses:

1) Keeping potentially hazardous food at the wrong temperature. Some food quickly grows bacteria when it is held between 40-140° F, also called the “danger zone”. Keep raw and prepared food that could spoil cold (40° F or below in the refrigerator or packed in ice) or hot (140°F or above in a crockpot, stove/oven, or on the grill) until being served. Any potentially hazardous food found to be in the “danger zone” for four or more hours should not be consumed and should be thrown away.

2) Cooking potentially hazardous food to the wrong temperature. Meat and dairy products can become contaminated with bacteria during processing, so it is important to thoroughly cook these items to a temperature that kills bacteria that can make you sick. For example, ground beef and bratwursts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F as read by a food probe thermometer. A full temperature chart can be found here:

3) Cross-contaminating food and surfaces. Follow these simple rules when handling raw meat or eggs:

  • Don’t rinse raw poultry in the kitchen sink. This can cause bacteria to splatter.
  • Wash hands, utensils, equipment, and work surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after they come in contact with raw eggs and raw meats.
  • Thoroughly rinse and/or scrub fruits and vegetables before cutting them up.

4) Failing to practice good hygiene or follow smart health rules when sick. Properly washing your hands is one of the simplest and most effective means of prevention against illness. When sick (especially when experiencing vomiting or diarrhea) you should avoid making food for others or frequenting public gatherings until you have been symptom-free for 48 hours.

5) Food from unsafe sources. Food, water, and even ice for consumption should all come from an approved supplier. Unregulated food and water sources pose a much greater risk for illness. Unregulated foods may be contaminated, diseased, or otherwise not fit for human consumption. Approved suppliers are regularly inspected and must maintain a food safety benchmark that protects consumers.

At public events where the food is prepared and served at the same location, the Barry-Eaton Health Department (BEDHD) is responsible for assessing and licensing temporary food service operations. If you think your event may require a temporary food service license, please contact BEDHD’s Environmental Health Division at (269) 945-9516 (Barry) or (517) 541-2615 (Eaton). Food prepared at home and shared at community gatherings is not inspected, but it may pose a much greater risk as attendees may not know if the food, kitchen, or the person(s) preparing the meal were following good food safety practices as outlined above. Symptoms of common foodborne illnesses include diarrhea, fever, dehydration, stomach cramps, upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting. People with these symptoms should call their health care provider and drink plenty of water, if possible, to avoid getting dehydrated. For more information on food safety and foodborne illness visit

-From the Barry-Eaton District Health Department

Article posted on June 18th, 2019. - Article Permalink

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