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Latest Northeast Wisconsin healthcare news & headlines – May 8, 2023 Issue

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May 5, 2023

Dropless cataract surgery now offered at DCMC
STURGEON BAY – Door County Medical Center (DCMC) has announced it is now offering dropless cataract surgery, eliminating the need for pre– and post-op eye drops.

The surgery is being offered in collaboration with Alexander Foster, a comprehensive ophthalmologist and refractive cataract surgeon at BayCare Clinic Eye Specialists, part of Aurora BayCare Health Center in Green Bay.

According to DCMC, after the patient’s cataract-impacted lens has been removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens, the surgeon applies a small amount of antibiotic in the eye and a small amount of steroid outside of the eye to help ensure infection and inflammation are properly treated with minimal side effects.

“Dropless cataract surgery is a clear win,” Foster said. “It has proven efficacious in preventing infection, sequestering inflammation, lowering healthcare costs and drastically improving patient outcomes. It’s also cost-effective for the patient compared to standard cataract surgery.”

DHS awards $8 million for substance treatment services
MANITOWOC/OSHKOSH – The Department of Health Services (DHS) has awarded $8 million in grants to 22 county agencies and three tribal nations to support treatment services for the problem use of opioids (prescription pain relievers, heroin and fentanyl) or stimulants (cocaine and methamphetamine).

“These grants will enable our local partners to remove the financial barriers to effective treatment, allowing more people to experience the promise of recovery,” DHS Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson said.

Northeast Wisconsin recipients of grant funds are:
Manitowoc County – $731,590Winnebago County – $313,422
The grant awards (which run through September) were funded by Wisconsin’s nearly $34-million share of the latest installment of the two-year State Opioid Response Grant Program through the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

In addition to providing funding for treatment needs, the DHS is using the $16.9 million available each year through the grant program to invest in prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery projects, as well as for the distribution of NARCAN, the opioid overdose medication.

A statewide Opioids, Stimulants and Trauma Summit will be held at the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells May 16-18, with in-person and virtual options available.

The registration deadline is May 11. 

For more information, see

Nightingale Awards held at UWO
OSHKOSH – During the annual Nightingale Awards ceremony last month, four nurses and a nurse leader were honored by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (UWO) College of Nursing and Board of Visitors.

For nearly 30 years, UWO has hosted the event to honor individuals who embody the spirit of Florence Nightingale – excellence in nursing practice or nursing leadership.

Those honored with the Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice were:
Christa Blohowiak – nursing education and practice specialist at ThedaCare in AppletonElizabeth Kaiser, staff development coordinator/infection preventionist at Bethel Home in OshkoshKathy Mallmann, an infusion and anticoagulation clinic registered nurse at SSM Health Waupun Memorial Hospital in WaupunLindsay Schehr – a nurse practitioner at Aspirus Divine Savior Hospital in Portage
Sarah Curran, an emergency department nurse manager at Aurora Medical Center-Oshkosh, was the recipient of the Nurse Leader Award.

Area hospital offers scholarships to healthcare students
MANITOWOC – Froedtert Holy Family Memorial Hospital in Manitowoc invites area students who are pursuing an advanced degree in a healthcare or dental field to apply for the Holy Family Medical/Dental Endowment Scholarship.

Hospital medical staff will award six $2,000 scholarships.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements for the scholarship:
Be a Manitowoc County residentBe pursuing an advanced degree in a healthcare or dental fieldHave been accepted to an accredited college, university or technical schoolHave a grade point average of 3.0 or aboveProvide an essay that describes their healthcare career objectives and financial need
The scholarship application is available online at

The deadline is Friday, May 12.

Ascension reopens salons for cancer patients
FOX VALLEY – Ascension Fox Valley has announced that its two “Joy, a Hair Salon and Oasis” locations – at Ascension Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton – have reopened.

Marianne Kasten is the salon’s new stylist. 

Salon services offered to patients treated at Michael D. Wachtel Cancer Center at Ascension Mercy or Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital’s Cancer Center include consultations for wigs, head shavings and haircuts for people of all ages.

The salons are made possible through donations to the Ascension Mercy and St. Elizabeth Foundations.

Appointments can be scheduled at either location by calling (920) 831-8458. 

Bellin College Nursing Assistant Team award for innovation
GREEN BAY — The Bellin College Nursing Assistant Team – which consists of Kelsey Zastrow, Ann Kasarsky, Mary Pfantz and Amanda Super – is the recipient of the 2022 Bellin VIP Award for Team Innovation.

Nominated by Laura Hieb, Bellin Health’s chief nursing officer and senior vice president, and Anna Hale, Bellin Health’s vice president of learning and talent development, the award recognizes the team’s efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic – training 14 members of the National Guard who were assigned on an emergency basis to serve Bellin Health.

Bellin College partnered with Bellin Health so National Guard members could achieve the necessary 75 hours of required training as nursing assistants under the Wisconsin Department of Health Services emergency training program.

The National Guard also served at Odd Fellow Home skilled nursing facility in Green Bay.

The Nursing Assistant Team will be among those honored at Bellin Health’s annual VIP event at Lambeau Field June 29.

HSHS hospitals recognized for efforts in tissue donation
GREEN BAY – HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital in Green Bay, and HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan have received awards for successful efforts to provide families with tissue donation information and options.

The American Tissue Services Foundation (ATSF) presents these awards to hospitals that achieve a tissue donation rate higher than the national average, which is 35-40%. 

The overall combined tissue donation rate for the three hospitals was 52% in 2022. 

Together, HSHS St. Vincent, St. Mary’s and St. Nicholas hospitals helped advance the lives of more than 4,300 tissue donation recipients last year. 

“It’s a wonderful feeling to work with families who see the value in selflessly donating their loved one’s tissue to someone in desperate need,” Ken Nelson, chief nursing officer, HSHS St. Vincent and St. Mary’s hospitals, said. “HSHS hospitals across Northeast Wisconsin receive training during the year in tissue donation practices from ATSF, the hospitals’ tissue donation partner, and each hospital has a donation committee that meets regularly. This helps us to be comfortable when speaking with a family about possible life-saving donation when the time is right.”

Gifts of tissue, which include bone, skin, heart valves, connective tissue and veins, are used in more than one million surgeries routinely performed each year in the United States. 

On average, one tissue donor can help more than 100 people by saving lives, as well as increasing strength, mobility and independence for many hospital patients.

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