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Nurse Prescribes Reading

February 26th, 2020

NOEL — Children around McDonald County call her “The Book Nurse.” Since starting as a family nurse practitioner at Ozarks Community Hospital’s clinic in Noel four months ago, Karen Madsen has earned that title.

Nearly half of the clinic’s patients are under 18, and Madsen discovered many of them had few books of their own at home, something that troubled her. Books can help children gain knowledge and promote overall emotional health and happiness. So “The Book Nurse” was born.

First using books she purchased on her own, Madsen began asking children after their medical visits if they would like a free book. She saw their faces light up when they picked out a book — anything from a beginner Dr. Seuss book to chapter books for teenagers.

As the program has grown, she solicited book donations from her family and from others in the OCH organization. Now she always has a bundle of books close by for her next patient’s visit. To date, she has provided more than 150 free books to children from Noel and throughout McDonald County.

After a few weeks of distributing books, children throughout the community began telling their friends the tale of “The Book Nurse,” and before long children were coming in for routine health visits asking by that name to see her, said Colton Holland, director of the Noel Clinic.

“We had a child come in for an appointment and ask her: ‘Are you The Book Nurse?’” Holland said. “We realized that what she was doing was spreading throughout the community, and people were more comfortable coming to the doctor because they felt like they knew her already. Many times we find that people are reluctant to come to the doctor for a variety of reasons, but people enjoy coming to see ‘The Book Nurse.’ Karen’s kindness really goes a long way.”

Madsen’s most poignant encounter was with a child who said she had never owned a book and clutched her new book from “The Book Nurse” as if it was her most prized possession.

“She looked at all the books and chose one — Charlotte’s Web — and said, ‘I’ve never read this one before!’” Madsen said. “She hugged the nurse and told her how happy it made her feel. It was a sweet thing to see.”

“I think that it’s shocking that in 2020 there are children in this country who don’t own a book,” she continued. “I’m trying to do whatever I can do to correct that.”

Books have been a lifelong passion for Madsen. The granddaughter of a long-time kindergarten teacher, Jessie Showalter, Karen grew up in adjacent Newton County, where she obtained her first library card at age 5. It didn’t take long for her to be a regular at the library, reading as much as she was able.

Her home was filled with books as well, which enlightened her childhood. One of her favorites was “Little Women.”

“Books have always been a part of my life, and when I was thinking of ways to give back to my patients, I thought giving children a book would be a lot better than just giving them a piece of candy,” Madsen said. “It’s a way to show them that I truly care about them.”

Madsen credits the entire team at the Noel clinic for growing the free book program, which has become an opportunity to provide extra outreach to the community. First, people have to feel comfortable coming to the clinic, which provides both preventative healthcare and assists those who are sick. While many people avoid the doctor because they fear it will cost too much, and with some in the community who can’t speak English, staff members make extra efforts to help patients feel comfortable by helping them with affordable healthcare options and ensuring they feel well cared for when they come in. In fact, the clinic never turns away “walk-in” patients who don’t have an appointment, even if that means working past closing time.

Holland says the team — Citlaly “Lolly” Hernandez, Natalia Vazquez and Rosa Sanchez — will do things like sitting next to patients in the waiting room who are having trouble filling out new patient paperwork, and they are extra compassionate to those patients visiting the doctor for the first time — both children and adults — who may be anxious or uncomfortable. They will also help patients who are concerned about their healthcare costs, working directly with insurance companies and providing affordable options to those who don’t have insurance.

The entire team in Noel has embraced “The Book Nurse” and her idea, which has grown efforts to ensure every child in McDonald County has his or her own book. It has also built trust in the community that everyone will be well cared for.

“This effort starts at the front from the moment people walk into our clinic,” Madsen said. “It’s all of us working together. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do, and I’m excited about how we’re going to continue to do this in the future.”

Madsen smiles when she’s told children in the community have called her “The Book Nurse,” a title she embraces, and thinks of her grandmother, who she hopes would be very proud of her efforts. She wants to pass on that love of books to the children in the community.

“If that’s how they remember me, that would be perfectly fine with me,” Madsen said, humbly. “You get to a place where the difference you make in life is much more important than anything else, and I think we should all remember that.”


OCH offers free skin cancer screenings

February 25th, 2020

GRAVETTE — In recognition of National Healthy Skin Month, Ozarks Community Hospital of Gravette is offering free skin cancer screenings on Thursday, Nov. 21. Dr. Hilton McDonald, who specializes in identifying and treating skin cancer, will be performing the evaluations.

The screenings will be from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday at the OCH Specialty Clinic, located on the second floor of the hospital in Gravette. Those interested in participating should contact the hospital at 479-344-6870 to reserve an appointment.

McDonald, who has helped hundreds of skin cancer patients, said people often put off having a spot on their skin checked, and these screenings will allow patients the peace of mind to determine if the spot is benign or if further treatment is necessary.

“A lot of people have a spot on their arm or their face and don’t think anything about it — they just choose to live with it,” McDonald said. “Having those spots checked will help your quality of life to know if treatment is needed.”

A follow-up appointment can be scheduled if further treatment is needed following the free screening. Dr. McDonald will discuss options with each patient.

Even if someone has a spot that isn’t cancerous, there are opportunities for removal. McDonald said he has helped many patients who want to have large and small growths removed from their body, and insurance often covers the procedures.

“People don’t have to live with those brown spots that have developed on their body,” said McDonald, who also specializes in reconstructive plastic surgery. “It can be life-changing to have them removed.”

A native of Prescott who has a passion for treating rural patients, Dr. McDonald is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia and received his doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Oklahoma State University. He also has a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Northern Colorado.

Ozarks Community Hospital is a tri-state safety-net healthcare provider headquartered in Gravette, serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Ozarks. The hospital is based in Gravette and includes a multitude of clinics located in Southwest Missouri, Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma. OCH locations can accept Medicaid, Medicare, UHC Military and other insurances. For more information, visit www.OCHonline.com.


September 14th, 2017

Springfield, MO – Ozarks Community Hospital (OCH) has filed a motion dismissing a request for an Administrative Law Judge Hearing with the Civil Remedies Division of the Department of Health and Human Services Departmental Appeals Board following a recent memorandum issued by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

CMS has amended the State Operations Manual to address the issues Ozarks Community Hospital encountered during a survey process and appeal related to the federal definition of a hospital set in a provision of the Social Security Act.

Hospital surveyors are now required to consider whether the hospital is primarily engaged in providing inpatient services and there is a minimum standard and specific guidance on factors to consider.

According to OCH Health System Chief Executive Officer Paul Taylor, “The guidance in the amended Manual which tells surveyors how to audit hospital operations is exactly what we were asking CMS to do. Give us a rule and we will satisfy it. Before this change, it was like being ticketed for speeding even though there was no established speed limit. CMS showed up and said our inpatient census was not high enough compared to the volume of outpatient care we were doing. We increased our inpatient volume and CMS accepted our Plan of Correction which stated we would maintain that increased inpatient census. A few months later, for reasons known only to CMS, they showed up again and decided what we were doing—which they had approved—was not enough. In other words, they changed the speed limit. We asked CMS to tell us how much was enough and CMS said they could not.”

Under the new guidance, a hospital with no inpatients on the day the survey commences, will not be surveyed and the CMS regional office will conduct an investigation to determine whether the hospital has maintained an average daily census (ADC) of 2 for the prior 12 month period. If not, the hospital will be presumed to have failed to meet the standard. If the hospital had more than an ADC of 2, the hospital will be surveyed and the new guidance provides a number of factors to be considered.

Taylor added, “There is no mention in this new guidance of the volume of primary care being done by the hospital—which was the critical factor in the final decision on OCH by CMS. CMS said OCH looked more like a primary care clinic organization than a hospital. We always believed that we were doing a good thing by filling a need for primary care in the patient population we served, which was mostly people covered by governmental programs or uninsured. Had this guidance been in place in 2015, we would never have had a problem with CMS.”

Ozarks Community Hospital suspended the Springfield hospital license last summer after CMS published notice the hospital did not meet the federal definition of a hospital. Taylor filed an appeal last fall and has been focusing his efforts on communication and education in order to advocate for a change in CMS regulations. In a reply brief filed in the appeal, Taylor wrote, “CMS’s refusal to establish a fixed standard or quantitative interpretation of ‘how much’ less than ‘more than’ is sufficient to meet the definition results in arbitrary and capricious enforcement of the definition—as it has in this case.  Since the hospital industry has evolved (primarily through CMS mandates) to provide more outpatient than inpatient services as a whole and as individual facilities, CMS must promulgate a standard so that the hospital industry has some inkling of how far below more (i.e. 51%) the hospital can fall before it has fallen too far. CMS has refused to provide or divulge that standard.”

“Since there was very little chance OCH would reopen the facility as a general acute care hospital, we appealed the decision so that what happened to OCH’s Springfield hospital would not happen to another hospital. With this new guidance from CMS, the hospital industry has an ascertainable standard to assert as a shield against the subjective whim of individual decision-makers who, even when well-intentioned, can get things wrong where there is no standard. We now know the speed limit and it will be our own fault if we get caught speeding. For that reason, we have dismissed our appeal,” Taylor said.

The OCH Health System is a safety-net organization encompassing a hospital and a multitude of clinics located throughout the Southwest Missouri, Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma area. OCH can accept Medicaid, Medicare, UHC Military and other insurances. For more information, visit www.OCHonline.com.

CMS Memo Primarily Engaged is available by clicking on the attached link.


Kory Miskin, DPM now seeing patients at OCH Southwest City Community Clinic!

April 4th, 2017

Southwest City, MO – Dr. Kory Miskin is bringing foot care to McDonald County.  As of April 2017  he will be visiting the OCH Southwest City Community Clinic every other Wednesday.

Dr. Miskin also sees podiatric patients at the OCH of Gravette Specialty Clinic.

He can perform clinic procedures including the removal of ingrown toenails, warts and pre-cancerous lesions; minor hammertoe procedures; and removal of foreign bodies. He also offers surgical procedures including bunion, hammertoe and flatfoot reconstruction; neurectomies; plantar fasciotomy; heel spurs; fracture repair; ankle scopes and fusions; equinus procedures; forefoot and hindfoot fusions; amputations; tarsal tunnel releases; and soft tissue mass excisions.

For a complete list of podiatric services and procedures available, click the following link: http://www.ochonline.com/patients/specialties/podiatry/.

Dr. Miskin joined OCH in November 2016. He received his education from Brigham Young University – Provo and from Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine. He is currently is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association and American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

To contact Dr. Miskin’s office, call 479-344-6870.

OCH Health System Hosting 2nd Annual National Rural Health Day Photo Contest

November 11th, 2016

 OCH Health System is hosting its 2nd annual National Rural Health Day Photo Contest to celebrate the 2016 National Rural Health Day! Check out our photo submissions and vote for the best photos that showcase the beauty of the areas and patients we serve!


  • This contest is open to all OCH Facebook Fans, and there is no entry fee. Visit us at www.facebook.com/OzarksCH to enter.
  • Each participant is allowed to post ONE picture of what “Rural means to YOU.” All photos must be original artwork of the entrant and must not infringe upon copyrights, trademarks, and rights of privacy, publicity or other rights of any person or entity.
  • The OCH Health System has the right to remove photos from the contest consideration if the content of the photo promotes obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive content, or contains otherwise inappropriate content.

Submission Process

  • Post ONE picture of “What Rural means to YOU”! Be sure to include the hashtag #celebratethepowerofrural. Make sure the picture is set to public so you can share outside of your organization. Only one entry per person will be accepted.
  • Share your submission and OCH’s FB page to gain likes. Visitors must “like” the picture on our page for it to count. You may share the link to the Facebook picture on other social media (i.e. Twitter, website, etc.), but only the likes on the Facebook picture will be counted         for the challenge.
  • The winner will be determined by the picture with the most likes as of FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18 at 8 a.m. The sooner you get your entry posted, the better chance you will have to win!


  • OCH is giving away one $50 GIFT CARD to the wining photo (photo with most likes).
  • The winning photo will be featured as a header image on the OCH Health System Facebook page, as well as on the other OCH Health System brand social media pages (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+).

OCH of Gravette provides athletic trainer for Gravette Schools

September 12th, 2016

Gravette, AR – Ozarks Community Hospital (OCH) of Gravette welcomes Leo F. Krajewski ATC, CSCS, to the therapy services department.

Leo Krajewski, ATC, CSCS is a Certified Athletic Trainer and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He has over 26 years of experience as a Certified Athletic Trainer and more than 13 years as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, including for Batesville High School and Harrison High School in Arkansas.  His office is based off campus at Gravette Public Schools, where he will serve as the full-time athletic trainer.

“I am very excited to be part of OCH as they begin this new era of sports medicine and Gravette School system coverage,” says Mr. Krajewski.  “It is a real honor to become part of the rich history and tradition of Gravette Athletics; I look forward to helping them any way I can.”

Krajewski received his Master of Science in Exercise Science and Exercise Physiology from Illinois State University. He received his Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from Lock Haven University.  He has experience in the United States Army as well as experience providing athletic training at Presentation College, Lyon College, North Arkansas College, Minot State University and Trinity Health.

To contact Leo Krajewski, ATC, CSCS, call Gravette High School at 479-787-4180.

The OCH Health System is a safety-net organization encompassing a hospital and 17 clinics located throughout the Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas area. The OCH health system serves patients in Springfield, Nixa, Carthage, Marshfield, Noel, Bolivar, Rogersville, Sparta, Mt. Vernon and Gravette, Ark. OCH can accept Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare and other insurances. For more information, visit www.OCHonline.com.



OCH acquires four rural health clinics in McDonald County January 2017

September 1st, 2016

OCH-Elk RiverMcDonald County, MO – The OCH Health System is acquiring four McDonald County clinics currently owned by Elk River Health Services, Inc. as of January 1, 2017.

The four rural health clinics are located in Anderson, Pineville, Goodman and Southwest City. After the first of the year they will be known as OCH Anderson Rural Health Clinic, OCH Pineville Medical Clinic, OCH Goodman Family Clinic and OCH Southwest City Community Clinic.

There will be no change in staff or healthcare providers. OCH is retaining the 17 Elk River Health staff and has been working closely with the Elk River Health leadership to prepare for the ownership change. Clinic providers currently include R. David Hill, D.O.; Coral Couchenour, D.O.; Mark Kennedy, FNP-BC; Diane Rowe, FNP-C; Jill Rogers, FNP-C; and Asefa Gebre, PA-C.

“Elk River Health Services, Inc. has served McDonald County’s medical needs for the past 36 years.  Due to economic pressures from the medical insurance industry Elk River has been forced to make changes in order to continue service to the county,” says R. David Hill, D.O., medical director and physician for Elk River Health. “It is with pleasure we are able to announce our merger with the Ozarks Community Hospital health system.  This move will provide the Elk River Health clinics in McDonald County with the economic security needed to survive the future challenges on the immediate horizon.”

The Elk River Health clinics cover care for more than 7,500 patients in the McDonald County area. R. David Hill, D.O. will continue as medical director of the clinics until 2021; after which OCH will continue serving residents in McDonald County.

“Our health system continues to look for opportunities to expand in rural areas as a way to support our passion for serving the underserved and providing access to care,” says Andrea Harp, senior communications manager of the OCH Health System. “Acquiring these clinics fit our mission and model for growth. McDonald County data has shown high rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and includes more people below poverty line and food affordability than much of the state. We know we can make a difference in the community, and continue efforts to focus on serving those who need it most.”

R. David Hill, D.O. and Megan Gore Hill opened the Southwest City Clinic in 1980.  In 1994 they formed Elk River Health Services, Inc. and added the Anderson Rural Health Clinic. Both clinics became federally certified rural health clinics in 1994. In 1999 the Pineville Medical Clinic was opened and in 2007 the Goodman Family Clinic was purchased.

The OCH Health System is a safety-net organization encompassing a hospital and 17 clinics located throughout the Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas area. The OCH Health System serves patients in Springfield, Nixa, Carthage, Marshfield, Noel, Bolivar, Rogersville, Sparta, Mt. Vernon and Gravette, Ark. OCH can accept Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare and other insurances. For more information, visit www.OCHonline.com.


Jason Glass, PsyD, joins OCH Northside Behavioral Medical Clinic

August 9th, 2016

Springfield, MO – The OCH health system is pleased to welcome Jason Glass, PsyD, back to the OCH Northside Behavioral Medicine Clinic.

Dr. Glass will be available to see patients Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon. Dr. Glass will be offering neuro psych testing, external EMDR, bariatric and pain evaluations, compliance sessions and crisis intervention services. In addition to this, Dr. Glass will be working closely with Dr. Ceniceros and Dr. DelCampo to collaborate on care for Suboxone and pain management patients.

Dr. Glass received his masters and doctorate degrees from the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Mo., with a concentration in neuropsychology. He previously studied at Southwest Baptist University for his bachelors in psychology. Dr. Glass has experience working for the OCH Health System in Gravette, at the OCH Medical Offices and at the OCH Northside Behavioral Medical Clinic.

To request an appointment with Dr. Glass at the OCH of Northside Clinic, please call 417-837-4043 or fax 417-875-4773.


What you need to know about the OCH health system – July 2016

July 20th, 2016

Updated 7/26/16:

By now, most of you have seen the news regarding our Springfield hospital. Some of the information circulating is incorrect, which is why we wanted to offer a few points of clarification on the recent announcement:

  • Due to staffing coverage, the OCH of Springfield Emergency Room will only be open until 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 27. After that, it will be closed. If patients have a medical emergency starting 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 27, please call 911 or visit a Springfield ER nearby:

    • Cox North ER – 1423 Jefferson Ave
    • Mercy ER – 1235 E. Cherokee Street
    • Cox South ER – 3801 S. National
  • Our Springfield clinic campus (2828 N. National) remains open. We are not closing our doors. As of Monday, August 1, the main entrance on the Springfield clinic campus (previously ER entrance) will be open 6:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday.
  • Services affected by this change include our Springfield emergency department (which will remain open until midnight on July 29), our Springfield inpatient services unit, and our Springfield OR.
  • All OCH facilities continue to welcome Medicaid, Medicare and Tricare insurances, as well as many other insurances.
  • The OCH health system includes the following clinics: OCH Primary Care Clinic (2828 N. National), OCH Medical Offices Clinic (2828 N. National), OCH Northside Behavioral Medicine Clinic (2828 N. National), OCH Evergreen Clinic (1540 E. Evergreen); as well as OCH Christian County Clinic (Nixa), OCH Sparta Clinic (Sparta), OCH Webster County County Clinic (Rogersville), OCH Wellpointe Family Medical Clinic (Marshfield), OCH Lawrence County Clinic (Mt. Vernon), OCH Polk County Clinic (Bolivar), OCH Jasper County Clinic – Carthage Campus (Carthage), OCH Noel Clinic (Noel), OCH Gravette Clinic (Gravette, Ark.). Our health system also includes a hospital in Gravette, Arkansas.
  • All facilities listed above remain open and can accept new patients. For contact information, visit www.OCHonline.com.

Thank you to each of our employees and physicians who have selflessly helped us carry out our mission for the past 15 years. You are the lifeblood of our organization and we are heartbroken by this news.

No matter what, our mission still remains our driving force. What has occurred does not dampen our spirit. We are grieving this unexpected change, but we remain dedicated to finding ways to provide access to care for those who need it most.


OCH Health System Expanding Services in Carthage

December 29th, 2015

Carthage, Mo. – OCH Health System is expanding patient services at the OCH Jasper County Clinic – Carthage Campus. Louis DelCampo, MD (Interventional Pain Management) Jackie Beene, MD (Hepatitis & Family Practice) and Jessica Kirk, FNP (Pediatrics & Family Practice) will be relocating their current Webb City practices to Carthage on January 4, 2016.

“We are excited to see this growth at our Carthage campus,” says Gail Gamble, Clinic Manager. “These providers have each worked at OCH for many years, and we look forward to the many ways that these additional service lines will benefit this community.”

Dr. DelCampo is a board certified anesthesiologist. He received his degree from the University of Bologna Medical School and completed his residency at St. Luke’s Hospital. The OCH Pain Management Clinic provides an integrated care approach that incorporates multiple treatment and healthcare professionals to address the numerous problems that accompany chronic pain.

Dr. Beene is a family practice physician with a focus on hepatitis treatment. He has experience in hospital and personal practice settings throughout southwest Missouri. He received his degree from the University of Arkansas School of Medicine and his accreditation as a pharmacist from the University of Arkansas Pharmacy School.

Jessica is an AANP certified Family Nurse Practitioner. She has been a nurse practitioner for nearly 10 years, after receiving her master of science in nursing degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a bachelor of science in nursing from Pittsburg State University. Jessica has experience in pediatrics and primary care.

These providers are relocating to Carthage from Webb City due to a growing patient population throughout Jasper County. To contact the OCH Jasper County Clinic – Carthage Campus or schedule an appointment, call (417) 237-0604.

The OCH health system encompasses two hospitals and 17 clinics located throughout southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. For more information about the OCH health system, visit www.OCHonline.com.


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