Skip to main content


News and Notes: December 2018

Nov 27, 2018 12:00PM ● By MED Magazine


For the first time ever, Avera Careflight has based a new PC-12 fixed-wing plane in South Dakota’s capital city. A new 13,000-square foot hangar at the Pierre airport provides 10,000 square feet of hangar space plus staff sleeping quarters, a meeting room, training room, commons area and storage space. A staff of three are stationed at the hanger around the clock, including a nurse, a paramedic and a pilot. In addition to Pierre, Avera Careflight has a fixed-wing plane and helicopter based in Sioux Falls and a helicopter in Aberdeen.

Avera Health was recently named one of the nation’s Top 10 Most Wired organizations in healthcare.  This is the 19th time that Avera that received the Most Wired honor. As a Top 10 winner, Avera was recognized on stage in San Diego last month. In addition to its telehealth system, other innovative uses of technology at Avea include a virtual visit platform, a patient portal, smartphone with secure messaging for hospital staff, and a fully integrated EMR that can be accessed from the patient bedside. Avera was the only South Dakota health system named to the 2018 list.

 Jordan Anderson recently joined Avera Health Plans as Vice President of Sales. Anderson will work with both DAKOTACARE and Avera Health Plans to grow both business models. He comes to Avera from UnitedHealthcare where he was Director of Sales.

Black Hills

Samantha Loen, an RN at Regional Health Rapid City Hospital has been recognized with a DAISY Award for outstanding nursing. In her nomination, the family member of a former patient thanked Loen for her “advocacy”. “She kept dad’s medical team informed and helped make decisions regarding his care,” stated the nomination.

Regional Health Home+ Home Health in Rapid City has been awarded the Strategic Healthcare Programs (SHP) Best Superior Performer award. Home Health achieved an overall patient satisfaction score that ranked in the top 20th percentile of all SHP clients during the 2017 calendar year. Rapid City Home+ offers a wide array of home health services including hospice, skilled nursing care, rehabilitative therapy, palliative care, specialty and long-term-care pharmacy, home infusion and home medical equipment.

Sanford Nurse Meghan Lupica of Sanford’s RN Central Resource Pool was recognized with a DAISY Award this Fall. She was described as caring, compassionate, creative, prompt, positive, and thoughtful.


Orthopedic Surgeon Phinit Phisitkul, MD, and Sports Medicine Physician Ruslan Safarov, MD, have joined Tri-State Specialists, LLP, in Sioux City. Dr. Phisitkul is fellowship trained in orthopedic foot and ankle surgery as well as sports medicine and has expertise in minimally invasive arthroscopic and endoscopic procedures, ankle replacement, tendon and ligament reconstruction, and the correction of bunions, hammertoes, and flatfoot.

Dr. Safarov completed his sports medicine fellowship at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York and sees patients with shoulder, elbow, and knee problems. He also has special expertise in arthroscopic surgery as well as the treatment of work-related injuries and fracture care.

Dave Sly, DO, FAAFP, has joined UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine–Sunnybrook.Sly received his undergraduate education from Northeast Missouri State University/Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri and his DO from A.T. Still University - Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri. He completed his residency in Family Medicine in Illinois and is passionate about preventative medicine, chronic disease management and nutrition.


Prairie Lakes’ $40 million Specialty Clinic opened in October after two years of construction. Specialty services in the Prairie Lakes Specialty Clinic include cardiology, dermatology (skin), general surgery, nephrology, pulmonology, and urology. The 65,000 square foot building also includes a lab, PT, OT, Glacial Lakes Orthopaedics, and a therapy pool. The campus also got an east entrance canopy and the helipad was relocated. A public open house was held October 23rd.

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha was named a Best Children’s Hospital by the Women’s Choice Award in November. Children’s also earned its Best Children’s Emergency Care Award, based on being an accredited pediatric trauma center and offering a regional pediatric ICU. “Our Best Children’s Hospitals award helps raise awareness of the top quality care offered for children—not only the critically ill—with specialists, services and technologies for their unique needs,” says Delia Passi, founder and CEO of the Women’s Choice Award.

Children’s Hospital’s Hand in Hand program has been nationally by the American Hospital Association for providing innovative and collaborative palliative and end-of-life care. With the Circle of Life Award Citation of Honor, the AHA praised Children’s program for its “devoted support for seriously ill patients and their families from diagnosis through end of life and beyond”. The program was also commended for its efforts to reach families throughout a multi-state rural area and to overcome economic disparities.