SCBH is announcing its new CEO

Kurt WaldbilligAfter conducting a nationwide search led by healthcare search firm B. E. Smith, Swift County-Benson Hospital has hired Kurt Waldbillig as its Chief Executive Officer. A skilled healthcare executive with more than 15 years of leadership experience, Waldbillig assumes his duties on Monday, March 23.  He replaces current SCBH CEO Frank Lawatsch who is retiring after 18 years at the SCBH helm.


“Kurt brings extensive experience leading rural healthcare organizations, a successful track record in physician recruitment, and a dedicated focus on providing high-quality patient care to the community,” said Kory Johnson, Swift County-Benson Hospital Board Chair. “We are excited to have Kurt join our senior executive team and are confident that under his leadership the hospital will continue to meet the expanding healthcare needs of the community.”


Formerly, Waldbillig served as vice president of physician services at St. Alexius Medical Center in Bismarck, N.D. In this role, he provided leadership for an outreach network consisting of seven managed critical access facilities and four affiliated critical access hospitals, as well as the daily operations of the primary care clinics and 12 specialty physician clinics. Previous executive positions include serving as chief executive officer at Sakakawea Medical Center in Hazen, N.D., Jacobson Memorial Hospital in Elgin, N.D., and Richardton Health Care Center in Richardton, N.D.


“Swift County-Benson Hospital was seeking a dynamic healthcare executive with comprehensive rural healthcare experience and a proven capability to build strong collaborative relationships with physicians and the community,” said Mark Madden, senior vice president of executive search for B. E. Smith.  “Kurt’s experience and leadership style were the perfect fit.”


Waldbillig earned a master’s degree in healthcare management from the University of Bismarck and a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. He is a member of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

Help to Eliminate Falls and Accidents at Home and in the Workplace

Occupational Health ServicesThe ability to navigate your home or workplace efficiently is important to one’s overall health.   A home that was once safe can become a hazard to a person in a wheelchair or recently home from the hospital.  Rugs or stairs that were once welcome accents to the home décor can become hard to navigate to person impaired by an accident or stroke.  In the workplace, a mismatch between the worksite design and the person’s abilities can lead to unsafe and inefficient work practices and, ultimately injuries.

Our Occupational Health specialists are able to evaluate your work and home environments and develop a common sense rehabilitation plan for your areas of concern.  If you are interested in more information about  home and workplace Ergonomics and Occupational Health contact the Rehabilitation Center directly at 320-843-1340.

SCBH and the CentraCare Heart Center Proud Partners in the Treatment and Prevention of Cardiac Disease

Cardiovascular DiseaseCardiologists from the CentraCare Heart Center at St. Cloud Hospital visit patients at SCBH every month.  Recently, CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center at St. Cloud Hospital was named one of the “50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals in the nation” by Truven Health Analytics, a leading healthcare data company.  For its latest independent study, Truven Heath Analytics evaluated outcome data from more than 1,000 top U.S. hospitals and singled out 50 that achieved superior clinical outcomes for cardiovascular health.   The CentraCare Heart Center has also been designated one of the nation’s “100 Top Cardiovascular Hospital” for the last twelve years by Thomson Reuters.


At SCBH, we’re proud to bring you quality specialists close to home.   For information about appointments  call SCBH 320-843-4232

New Rehab Center Opens

 Smiling Faces...New Spaces<br />New Rehab Center Opens    Smiling Faces…New Spaces

      The New Rehabilitation Center

After an accident, joint surgery, or an injury or an illness that causes chronic pain, skilled Rehabilitation is a vital part of your continued healing and wellness.  SCBH has partnered with Big Stone Therapy to provide skilled physical, occupational, speech and sensory integration therapy to persons of all ages.

If you need physical therapy and can’t come to us, we can come to you. If you or a loved one needs a home safety assessment, call SCBH.  If your child needs sensory integration therapy, we have therapists specially trained in pediatric therapy.   Back pain or chronic pain? Let us help you.

The new Rehabilitation Center offers a variety of therapies and assessments:

  • Pre-employment physicals
  • Body mechanics education
  • Home safety assessments
  • At-home physical therapy
  • Athletic training at school
  • Special pediatric program for sensory integration
  • Special trained orthopedic services
  • Back and neck pain therapies
  • Disk assessment and therapies
  • Individualized programs for stroke patients
  • Assessment and help with chronic pain
  • Balance therapy and Vestibular system rehab for inner ear balance

News from Frank Lawatsch, CEO — February 2013

The clinic/hospital project is progressing according to schedule. The building is fully enclosed, floors have been poured and stud walls erected as you saw in a recent edition of the Swift County Monitor. The contractor will begin sheetrocking next week.
The entire project is estimated to be completed in September. We appreciate the understanding of patients, neighbors and staff members for the inconveniences that
occur during a project of this type. We know you will be pleased with the new facilities which will better accommodate the needs of our patients and staff.
As mentioned in our last newsletter, the SCBH Governing Board is evaluating the reinstatement of OB delivery privileges at SCBH with the understanding that SCBH will make a good faith effort to reinstitute the OB program at SCBH by the time Dr. Dammeyer returns from his fellowship C-section training in June. A tentative timetable for training our nursing staff has been developed in concert with Rice Hospital OB personnel and standards and protocols are being developed in concert with established professional association guidelines. Finally, the financial effect of reinstituting the program will also need to be further evaluated.
We’re pleased to announce that Dr. Stephen Asp, Otolaryngologist, will begin providing outreach ENT services at SCBH this month. Also, Dr. James Green, orthopedic surgeon from Morris, has started providing orthopedic coverage when Dr. Holte is out of town. We previously mentioned that Dr. John Dvorak, ophthalmologist, is providing outreach services at SCBH as well as Dr. Erol Uke who provides outreach urology services. 
We appreciate the outreach surgical services provided by ACMC providers Dr. Steve Kidd, general surgeon, and podiatrist, Dr. Jon Pederson and the oncology consultation provided by Dr. J. Michael Ryan as well as the outreach cardiology services provided by the cardiologists from St. Cloud Cardiology. We also want to recognize our local providers, Drs. Roger Bauer, Matt Dammeyer, Rick Horecka and Mary Felt and Rachel Wilcox for their commitment and service to our community.
We strive to provide as many services as we can locally to eliminate the need for travel out of town. You should feel free to ask your provider if you can have a service or procedure performed in Benson.
We’re pleased to welcome Mark Frank and Kory Johnson to the SCBH Governing Board and want to thank outgoing members, Dr. Tony Hilleren and Ed Ulmaniec, for their service on our board. We also want to thank outgoing members of the SCBH Auxiliary, Margie DeMarce and Holly Rodahl for their service and welcome Angela Nissen and Angie Mattheisen to membership on the auxiliary board. Finally, we want to thank Helen Claussen, Julie Holte and Julie Zniewski for their service and welcome new members Jon Hawley, Gary Loen and Traci Pahl to the SCBH Foundation Board.
Finally, we are excited about the 100th anniversary of the Benson hospital. The SCBH Foundation is planning our anniversary as the focal point for Emerald Eve
2013. Our thanks to Patty
Schreck, member of our governing and foundation boards, for assuming the responsibility of chairing the planning committee. We look forward to seeing you on April 12 at McKinney’s! 



The construction is nearly complete. . .

Please Join Us  for our Open House 


on Tuesday, October 22, from 4:00pm – 6:30pm for our Open House.

Stop in and take a tour of our new facility.  See the new clinic, therapy department, and more!  The official ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 4:15pm.  Refreshments will be offered.

There are many reasons to have your Surgery, Tests and Treatments at SCBH. JUST ASK…

  • Did you know Swift County-Benson Hospital can provide many of the inpatient, outpatient and surgical services you may need?  JUST ASK your provider if you can be treated close to home at SCBH.
  •  Did you know that hospitals the size of Swift County-Benson Hospital usually have less incidences of staph infection than larger hospitals?  JUST ASK your provider to have your surgery or procedure performed close to home in Benson.
  •  Did you know that all healthcare professional staff in the nation go to the same schools and take the same tests to be certified and registered?  Your nurse may have attended school and taken the certification test with a nurse that works at Mayo, Alina, or Appleton.  JUST ASK your nurse to tell you about that.
  •  Did you know that Swift County-Benson Hospital has an excellent staff retention and education rate.  Our staff comes from the Benson area, not a nurse’s registry.
  •  It’s a proven fact that you will heal faster and have more positive outcomes if you receive visits from friends and family.  Visits to Swift County-Benson Hospital are more relaxed for both patients and loved ones because driving to SCBH is easier and parking is a breeze, especially in the winter.
  •  Based on patient outcomes,  Swift County-Benson Hospital has been named one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation by Thompson-Reuters.
  •  Swift County-Benson Hospital has a new state-of-the-art surgery center.  Skilled doctors from many specialties come to SCBH to perform surgery.  JUST ASK your provider which specialties practice here.
  •  If you have treatments or surgery at Swift County-Benson Hospital you will begin your therapies and treatments with the same professional and continue with the same person until you have recovered.  JUST ASK if you can stay close to home.
  • If you have a problem or a question and have stayed close to home, your doctors and nurses are more accessible to you.  They know you.  You are a person to them, not a condition or a number.  JUST ASK if you can be treated close to home at Swift County-Benson Hospital.



2013 SCBH Board Changes

Hospital, Foundation and Auxiliary Board members give many hours to keep these organizations moving and maintain the vision for the future of SCBH. Thank you seems like such a small thing to say for all the work these people have done for the hospital.

This year we would like to thank our outgoing hospital board members Ed Ulmaniec and Dr. Anthony Hilleren for all the expertise and guidance they have provided to the hospital board. We would also like to welcome Mark Frank and Kory Johnson to the board. We appreciate your willingness to share your time and talents with SCBH.

Helen Claussen, Julie Holte and Julie Zniewski will be leaving the foundation board. Each of these women have been tremendously active on the board and we appreciate everything they have done. New members on the foundation board are Traci Pahl, Jon Hawley and Gary Loen. We welcome you and look forward to working with you as you share your expertise with SCBH.

Many thanks to outgoing Auxiliary Board members Margie DeMarce and Holly Rodahl. They have done an outstanding job. We welcome new Auxiliary Board members Angela Nissen and Angie Mattheisen. 

SCBH Breaks Ground on New Clinic and Rehab Facilities

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SCBH Celebrates 100 Years of Healthcare Services

Swift County-Benson Hospital is 100 Years Old this year.  We’re planning a century year of celebration, starting with Emerald Eve in March 2013.  Watch the web, newsletter or the newspaper for lots more information.

Big Stone Therapies Joins SCBH to Provide Inpatient and OutPatient Rehabilitation Services

Big Stone Therapies, Inc. is pleased to partner with Swift County-Benson Hospital to provide inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services. Big Stone’s services include physical, occupational, and speech therapy services.

The Big Stone Therapies rehabilitation department at SCBH is led by Clinic Manager, Neil Feist, PT. Neil’s responsibilities include managing daily operational functions, overseeing staff, and providing physical therapy services to patients. Its physical, occupational, and speech therapy staff will work to meet the demands of the Swift County-Benson area.

The physical therapists provide a full-spectrum of care to help patients regain strength, mobility, and functionality. They offer treatment for outpatients and inpatients including, but not limited to: orthopedics, post-surgical rehabilitation; hip, shoulder, knee, and ankle rehabilitation; walking or balance disorders; back and neck disorders; joint and muscle pain; arthritis management; stroke rehabilitation; Parkinson’s issues; other neurological issues; and work-related injury rehabilitation.

The occupational therapy team helps outpatients and inpatients function to the best of their ability in activities of daily living. Services include, but are not limited to hand therapy (elbow, wrist and hand); home safety assessment; upper extremity functional exercise (coordination, strengthening, range of motion, and sensory training); activities of daily living retraining (for home or work); and adaptive equipment recommendations; wheelchair evaluations; and cognition and memory assessments.

The speech-language pathologist works with the full range of communication and its associated disorders. The speech therapist evaluates and treats speech, language, and swallowing disorders in outpatients and inpatients of all ages, from infants to the elderly. Therapies for swallowing disorders, stroke impairments, voice disorders, cognition and memory deficits are offered.

Individuals who are considering if they might benefit from outpatient rehabilitation services can talk to their doctor about a referral to Big Stone Therapies or call Neil Feist, PT, Rehabilitation Manager at 320-843-1340.  Anyone on the rehabilitation staff will be happy to explain the process of obtaining a referral.

Big Stone Therapies, Inc. operates 20 clinics in Minnesota and South Dakota. The clinics are either contracted through hospitals and long-term care facilities or are stand-alone, private clinics. Big Stone locations include Appleton, Baxter, Benson, Browns Valley, Farmington, Graceville, Hendricks, Ivanhoe, Madison, Marshall, Minneota, Morris, Olivia, Ortonville, Thief River Falls, Wheaton, and Zumbrota in Minnesota and Milbank, Sisseton, and Watertown in SD. The company was formed 22 years ago by physical therapists Wade VanDover and Paul Treinen. VanDover, CEO, and Treinen, COO, continue ownership in the company today along with Roman Taffe, CAO, and Angela Meyer, Vice-President of Long-Term Care.

To learn more about Big Stone Therapies, please visit their website at

Comprehensive Sleep Medicine Program Now Available at Swift County Benson Hospital

As a result of a recently formed partnership with Whitney Sleep Diagnostics & Consultants, Swift County Benson Hospital is pleased to announce its new sleep medicine program.  Patients can now receive diagnosis and treatment for their sleep disorder right in Benson.  Whether you are experiencing symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Insomnia, Restless Legs Syndrome or any of the 84 known sleep disorders, you can now receive care without having to leave town.

People who snore excessively or stop breathing during sleep may have sleep apnea.  It is estimated that up to 18 million American adults have sleep apnea.  Untreated sleep apnea can increase a person’s risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and work or traffic-related accidents due to daytime fatigue.  If you or someone you care about is having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or not waking up refreshed, you can talk with your healthcare provider about sleep.  A simple screening tool available through your healthcare provider’s office can help determine if a sleep study is the best course of action for your situation.

“Sleep medicine continues to grow as a need among our patients, so we’re excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Whitney, and bring his expertise to our patients.  Of course, patients also benefit from not having to travel,” commented Melissa McGinty-Thompson, Chief Nursing Officer at Swift County Benson Hospital.  “Our patients now have the ability to be tested locally, and receive follow up from their study by the same Board Certified Sleep Specialist that interpreted their sleep study.  Our new sleep program is driven by positive patient outcomes as opposed to simply diagnosing a sleep disorder. Now people living in and around Benson can receive the same, if not better, sleep medicine services as those who live in a major metropolitan area.”

Patients who have had a sleep study in the past, but are either non-compliant with therapy or have questions about their study can talk with their Healthcare Provider about a consultation with a Sleep Specialist.  Whitney Sleep can also help with CPAP questions and supplies.

Patients who wish to have the continuity of care–sleep disorder diagnosed, treated and managed–that Whitney Sleep is able to provide locally, should tell their provider that they would like a referral to the full service sleep lab at Swift County Benson Hospital.

Dr. Courtney Whitney, who oversees all aspects of the sleep program at Swift County Benson Hospital, is a Board Certified Sleep Physician.  In 2004, he opened the Whitney Sleep Center in Plymouth, MN and in 2008 created Whitney Sleep Diagnostics specifically to provide comprehensive sleep medicine services to the rural market.  His decision to partner with rural hospitals allows people living in less populated areas access to all of the benefits of a fully accredited sleep center.

According to Dr Whitney, “The new partnership with Whitney Sleep helps demonstrate the commitment Swift County Benson Hospital has to the community it serves.”

“Trust Your Heart” at CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center

CentraCare Heart and Vascular Center

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