Flu Season in Full Swing

National Flu Awareness Week


  • The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
  • People of every age, including people in good health, are at risk of flu.
  • Influenza can cause illness & sometimes severe disease in persons of any age.
  • Flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of t1ospita1lzatlons and thousands or tens of thousands of deaths each year in the United States.
  • Although a majority of hospitalizations and deaths occur in people 65 years and older, even healthy young children and younger adults can have severe disease or even die from influenza.
  • Over 100 pediatric deaths from influenza were reported to CDC last season.


Flu Vaccinations

  • An annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect against this potentially
    serious disease.

– Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, missed work and
school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

– Flu vaccination also may make your illness milder if you do get sick.

– Getting vaccinated yourself protects people around you, including those    who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young
children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

  • Despite the unpredictable nature of the flu, you should know:

– You need the 2017-2018 flu vaccine for optimal protection against the
flu this season because:

o Flu viruses are constantly changing, and this season’s vaccines
have been updated to protect against the viruses that
surveillance data indicate will be most common this flu season

o  A person’s immune protection from vaccine declines over time so
annual flu vaccination is needed for the best protection

  • It takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protects against influenza virus infection.
  • While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity is usually highest between December and February, though activity can last as late as May. As long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to get vaccinated, even in January or later.
  • With flu activity increasing & family & friends planning gatherings for the holidays, now is the time to get a flu vaccine if you haven’t been vaccinated yet this season. A flu vaccine can protect you & your loved ones from the flu.


#GivingTuesday M-R-I for Y-O-U

Many may think an MRI machine is just a piece of equipment, but it’s so much more. It can be a LIFESAVER. An MRI scan can help diagnose cancer, strokes, aneurysms, spinal issues and other injuries.

“A patient came in for an MRI on her shoulder due to severe pain,” recalls an MRI technician. “I noticed an abnormal area in her lung and brought this to the radiologist’s attention. The patient was diagnosed with lung cancer. I was told by the radiologist I saved her life because we caught the cancer early.”

At Bear Lake Memorial Hospital we have access to a mobile MRI machine, however, it is a shared resource between several hospitals and is only here 1 to 2 times per week. There are often waiting lists to receive an MRI with our current setup, which forces urgent out of the area trips to get an MRI scan. This limited access makes it difficult for our community to receive the best care.

Purchasing an MRI is an investment in us.  It is an investment in our community. It is an investment that we cannot delay.  This is an M-R-I for Y-O-U.

Your generous contribution to purchase an MRI machine can be made as a one-time investment or it can be structured as a periodic, recurring donation that you can modify at any time. Because Bear Lake Valley Health Care Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, your gifts are tax deductible.

Please use the enclosed donation card and return envelope to send in your gift or go online to https://www.blmhospital.com/foundation/ and click “Donate Now”

Brake for Breakfast Success

Bear Lake Memorial Hospital kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with their annual Brake for Breakfast event on Wednesday, October 4th. Car after car proceeded through the nursing home driveway to receive their goodies. Brake for Breakfast is a regional event co-sponsored with The Hospital Cooperative in Pocatello.  With the help of hospital auxiliary volunteers, 1200 bags were given out containing information about mammograms and breast cancer along with a light breakfast. Some informational items were generously donated by the Susan G. Komen Affiliate of Idaho/Montana.

Another success to celebrate includes Bear Lake Valley Health Care Foundation and the Hospital Auxiliary purchasing a new bus for the Nursing Home and Assisted Living residents. An open house for the public will be held October 19th from 5– 6:30 pm to view the new bus and see the recently built employee/patient patio on the south end of the hospital. Donors will be recognized that evening.

Bear Lake Memorial wants to remind the people of Bear Lake Valley that prevention is the best protection and to get your mammogram. An appointment can be made by calling 208-847-1630.

BLMH named Top 100 Rural Hospitals in America

Bear Lake Memorial Hospital in Montpelier, ID was recently named one of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States by iVantage Health Analytics and The Chartis Center for Rural Health. BLMH is one of only three hospitals in Idaho that have received this ranking.

Bear Lake Memorial scored in the top 100 of Critical Access Hospitals on iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®. The INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive rating of rural providers. Each hospital is measured across eight pillars of strength: Inpatient Share Ranking, Outpatient Share Ranking, Cost, Charge, Quality, Outcomes, Patient Perspectives, and Financial Stability.

“It’s more important than ever that rural hospitals proactively understand and address performance in the areas of cost, quality, outcomes and patient perspective. iVantage’s INDEX was designed to serve as this industry model,” said Michael Topchik, national leader of the Chartis Center for Rural Health.

Bear Lake Memorial Hospital and its Skilled Nursing Facility have also been recognized as Five Star Facilities by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Recognitions like these reinforce the high standard of quality healthcare the hospital provides and will continue to provide to the citizens of the Bear Lake Valley. Hospital Administrator, Dennis Carlson boasts, “This achievement is very gratifying and validates our daily commitment to providing the best health care possible to our community while maintaining an efficient and effective facility.”


FIVE STAR – Nursing Home

Bear Lake Memorial Hospital has given another reason for the community to celebrate.   The hospital’s Skilled Nursing Facility was presented with a “Five Star” status, the most prestigious accolade Medicare grants to nursing homes across the nation.  With this honor, Bear Lake Memorial’s Skilled Nursing Facility joins an elite status, a standing only one in ten nursing homes receive throughout the country.

The nursing home is managed by Darin Dransfield, Administrator, and Director of Nursing, Shelly Phelps.  Together, they explain that the Five Star ranking is comprised of three components: staffing, quality measures, and the state survey process.   Darin Dransfield expounds, “Medicare scrutinizes the quality of our staffing and the delivery of our care.  Every nine to fifteen months, state officials inspect our facility during a thorough, week long process.  Our outcomes compare to the best in the country”.

Leadership at the Skilled Nursing Home consist of care provided is in harmony with the hospital’s vision to be “The Most Caring Hospital on Earth”.   In order to do so, Dransfield explains, “We strive to create cherished experiences for our co-workers, residents, and the Bear Lake area.  We are unyielding in our belief that the quality of resident care is dependent upon the quality of care we provide our employees and community.  By hiring the most caring employees, we naturally provide five-star services to our residents and to the members of the Bear Lake Valley.”

It is not uncommon to find the nursing home employees painting a neighbors house, serving hamburgers at a football game, or writing thank you cards.  In the facility, one experiences this five- star service through warm greetings from every employee.  Most importantly our staff members comfort our residents with hugs or will cry with someone who is sad.  Bear Lake Memorial is unique by offering in-house dialysis services to their residents.  Unlike large urban areas, this nursing home feels like family because of this five-star status. To tour this gem call Darin Dransfield at 208 847 4380.


BLMH CEO Receives Star Garnet Award

RodJacobsonThe Idaho Hospital Association presents Rod Jacobson with the Steven A. Miller Star Garnet Award on October 10, 2016 at their Annual Conference in Sun Valley.

Rod has exemplified outstanding leadership in the pursuit of healthcare excellence throughout his career at Bear Lake Memorial Hospital (BLMH). He began his career at the facility in December of 1978 as a lab technician. Throughout his career at BLMH, he has been a visionary and progressive leader, always striving to improve himself, the organization, and the community; thus greatly impacting the health of this Idaho community in countless ways. He obtained his master’s degree in human resources management in August 1980 and resigned from his duties as a lab technician to take on the mantle of CEO in 1983. From day one, Mr. Jacobson has conveyed a leadership style of vision, excellence, compassion, and integrity. Under his direction, a staff of 254 employees and 1o4 volunteers has developed the “count on us to care” culture whose vision going forward is to be “The Most Caring Hospital on Earth.”

Bear Lake Memorial Hospital is a 21-bed critical access hospital in southeast Idaho that serves Bear Lake County and the surrounding areas. A small-town facility has become “The Little Hospital that Can,” offering state-of-the-art equipment, skilled and dedicated physicians and staff, a friendly and caring environment, and the center of health for the community. Throughout his career as CEO he has always looked for ways to exceed expectations, strive for excellence, and meet the needs of the patients, their families, and the community in a compassionate and professional manner. His personal mission statement is “I will only promise what I can deliver and I’ll always deliver more than I promise.” He has been a man of his word in living up to that statement as he always delivers more than he promises. Numerous projects and advancements have been initiated throughout Mr. Jacobson’s career as CEO. Expansion and growth has been a mainstay of his vision, including a major remodel project in 1997 which allowed for an updated lab, cafeteria, and a new physical therapy department. In 2006 the 35-bed skilled nursing facility was remodeled to include 10 new private patient rooms. The following year, an assisted living center was acquired and remodeled to accommodate 24 more of the aging population in the valley in a beautiful, home-like setting. In 2015 this same assisted living center was remodeled to accommodate 30 resident rooms and a large activity room. Programs and facilities have been added to meet the needs of the community, such as home health, mental health, dialysis, orthopaedics, a sleep lab, women’s health, and fitness and weight management. Another hospital remodel was initiated in 2012 with a HIPAA compliant entry/reception area, expanded physical therapy department, and the addition of the Auxiliary’s gift shop “The Sunshine Corner.”

This was not the end of his vision. In April 2014, hospital construction began again…beautiful modern, state-of-the-art, new private patient rooms that have the ability to allow family members to stay with the patient in a private setting, a nurses’s station that includes private physician portals, two ICU rooms in a private area, one new OR room, a new labor & delivery room with a jetted tub, a nursery, ample storage, a private med room, and a comfortable private waiting room for patient families. Mr. Jacobson’s vision of growth continues as the hospital is now implementing chemotherapy and mammography services. The hospital received awards and recognition for EHR compliance in 2012 under his direction and has since successfully adopted EHR in the nursing home as well as the hospital. Due to his sound fiscal planning, revenues of nearly one million in 1978 have increased to over 32 million as of the end of 2015. The ability to grow with the needs of the community involves two vital arms of Mr. Jacobson’s visionary leadership. One, the development and encouragement of both the hospital Auxiliary and the Bear Lake Valley Health Care Foundation. These entities provide the fund raising and volunteer support that allows for expansion projects, new equipment, and health fairs and screenings for the community. A population that is very poor monetarily has caught the vision of giving back in so many ways for the betterment of all. One example would be the Auxiliary’s Thrift Store which was established in 1998 under the somewhat skeptical direction of the CEO. Always willing to think outside the box, he gave the go-ahead to a project he was not sure was a winner. Today the volunteer run thrift store nets an average of $5,000 per month, provides a means for even the least affluent members of the community to contribute to the growth of the hospital (either through donations of goods or shopping) and has become a key hub of goodwill for the Bear Lake Valley.

The Health Care Foundation and the Auxiliary have funded over five million dollars of hospital growth and continue to thrive under caring and progressive leadership at Bear Lake Memorial Hospital. The second arm of Mr. Jacobson’s visionary leadership is the development of his “Grow Your Own” program. This is an education opportunity program for advancing the healthcare careers of individuals in the community and keeping them with the organization after their training is completed. Long-time employees now include former dairy farmers, a car salesman, an insurance agent, a science teacher, housekeepers, CNAs, and students from the high school’s medical careers class, all who have obtained their education and training and now serve in such capacities as radiologists, physical therapists, director of nursing, ultrasound technician, and a respiratory therapist. Recruitment and education of qualified and caring staff has resulted in an environment of dedication and loyalty to each other and to the community. Thanks to the dedicated leadership of Mr. Jacobson, Bear Lake Memorial provides outstanding, big-league healthcare in a small-town “treat you like family” environment. He has lent his visionary leadership skills to numerous other boards and projects during the course of his career at the hospital.

He served as chairman of the Idaho Hospital Association Board of Directors. He has been instrumental in developing a healthy community through his service in the Lions Club, Rotary Club, the Mosquito Abatement Board, and also assisted in the establishment of the National Oregon/Californian Trail Center in Montpelier. Because of his love for youth and his desire to see them succeed, he has donated countless hours working with Bear Lake Little League baseball for years. He organized and oversaw 24 years of the biggest All-Stars Baseball Tournament in Idaho. He was influential in growing the Allinger Parks organization to improve and expand city parks (while personally and proudly serving as maintenance man and chief sprinkler repairman). Probably the most notable, he served for 10 years as a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America graduating 21 Eagle Scouts under his leadership. Mr. Jacobson is an administrator who has demonstrated vision and determination without end. He has spent countless hours preparing to leave this latest expansion as a legacy of the most caring hospital in the world, and patient rooms that reflect that goal in every detail. Not only has he been a leader for those at Bear Lake Memorial Hospital, but he’s been a leader in the healthcare field. He is an inspiration and role model to his peers. He has made an impact on anyone who has come in contact with him through his strong leadership abilities. This father of four, grandfather of 10, avid fly-fisherman, advocates for the betterment of mankind, makes a difference every day in the lives he touches and will do so for years to come thanks to his insightful, caring and progressive leadership.

Just Keep Swimming . . . Water Safety

Water Safety

In a recent survey conducted by the Red Cross Organization, almost half of the adults surveyed say that they have had an experience where they nearly drowned, and one in four know someone who has drowned.  Over 90% of families with young children will be in the water at some pint this summer, and 48% of those plan to swim in a place with no lifeguard. With so many planning to be near or in the water, it is important to follow basic water safety rules and become informed.  Here are some common guidelines:


  • Always swim with a buddy: do not allow anyone to swim alone.
  • Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well by enrolling in certified courses.
  • Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not leave them with another child. Avoid distractions when supervising young children and always stay within arm’s reach.
  • Have young children wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.  Staying safe around water doesn’t mean having kids wear water wings!
  • If you have a pool, secure it with appropriate barriers. Many children who drown in home pools were out of sight for less than five minutes.


  • If a child is missing, check the water first.  Seconds count in preventing death or injury.
  • Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, and life jacket.


  • Drink plenty of fluids.  Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine
  • Wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF factor of at least 15. This should be higher for young kids.


  • Be weatherwise!  Always check local weather conditions before departure.  If you notice dark clouds, rough or changing winds, or a sudden drop in temperature, get off the water! Getting caught in rough waters can quickly become a dangerous situation.  Pay attention and use common sense when deciding whether or not to go out.
  • If caught in a thunderstorm on open water, stay low in the middle of the vessel.  If there is lightning, disconnect all electrical systems and stay clear of all metal objects.
  • Always tell someone of your travel plans.  Tell them where you will be and give them a timeframe for when you will be back.
  • Make sure ALL passengers are wearing U.S. Coast Guard approved life vests. The majority of drowning victims are the result of boaters not wearing their lifejackets.
  • Operate at a safe speed at all times and be courteous to other recreationists.
  • Make sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat. If the primary handler is injured or incapacitated in any way, it‘s important to make sure someone else can follow the proper boating safety rules to get everyone back to shore.

Using common sense and following a few safety rules can help ensure that your summer is fun and disaster free.



Allergies or a Cold?

Joe-UsePresented by Joe Dayton, Physician Assistant

Bear Lake Family Care Clinic
208-847-4495 or

Cokeville Clinic
(307) 279-5852

You’ve got a cough, runny nose, and congestion.  Do you have allergies or is it a cold?  Sometimes it can be hard to tell because the symptoms of colds and allergies can be very similar.  Although cold and allergy symptoms can be much the same, the causes are very different.  The information below may be helpful to determine if you are simply fighting a cold or if allergies are your problem.

Colds – Colds are caused by many different viruses.  When your body begins to attack the virus, the effects of this immune response are common symptoms of a cold, such as congestion and coughing.  You may also develop fever, aches, and pains. Colds are contagious and you can pick them up when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or shakes your hand.  Your immune system fights off a cold in a couple of weeks, at the most, and then you should stop having symptoms.

Prevention and treatment of colds:  To prevent cold symptoms, try to prevent the cold-causing virus from entering your system.  Keep your distance from people who have colds and wash hands often.  If you have a cold, cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve, where the germs can dissipate and die, to prevent spreading the virus to other people.  There is no cure for a cold, but over-the counter cold medication can be helpful. It is also helpful to rest and get plenty of fluids.

Allergies- Allergies are caused by an overactive immune system.  For some unknown reason, your body mistakes particles such as dust or pollen for germs, and then attacks them. Your body releases a chemical known as histamine, which is what happens when you are fighting a cold.  This usually causes swelling of nasal passages, coughing, runny nose, and sneezing. Itchy eyes are also a common symptom of allergies, but rarely a symptom of a cold.  Allergies do not cause aches and pains as the cold virus usually does.  Allergies are not contagious, but some people may inherit a tendency to develop them.

Prevention and Treatment:  Try to avoid substances you are allergic to, called allergens.  Avoid going outside on days when pollen is high, and re-wearing clothes worn outside.  Common allergens include: pollen, mold, animal dander, and dust mites.  There is no cure for allergies, but symtpoms can be significantly controlled.  Treatment may include the use of over-the-counter allergy meds to prevent symptoms (i.e. Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra), antihistamines to treat current symptoms, nasal spray steroids, decongestants, and/or allergy shots. Avoid use “Afrin” or “4- way” types nasal sprays as these can actually worsen symptoms when used regularly.

If you tend to get a chronic “cold” that develops suddenly and at the same time each year, you may actually have a seasonal allergy.  Usually, a physical examination can determine which condition you have.


Do you suffer from Migraines?

Crane-UsePresented by Dr. Peter Crane, buy Family Medicine
Bear Lake Family Care Clinic 208-847-4495

If you suffer from migraine headaches, you are not alone.  Between 12 and 16 percent of people in the U.S. experience migraines.  Migraine headaches are three times more common in women than in men. Migraines may happen only once or twice a year, or as often as daily.

Migraines can be classified as “classic” or “common.” Classic migraines start with a warning sign, called an aura.  About 20 percent of people with migraines experience this before a migraine.  The aura may include flashing lights or bright spots, zigzag lines, changes in vision, or numbness or tingling in the fingers of one hand, lips, tongue or lower face. Auras can also cause temporary muscle weakness and even changes in speech.  Symptoms of aura typically last five to 20 minutes and rarely last more than 60 minutes. The headache occurs soon after the aura stops. Common migraines do not start with an aura.  Common migraines start more slowly than classic migraines and they usually last longer.  The pain of common migraines may be only on one side of your head.

Other symptoms of migraine can be: intense throbbing or dull aching on one or both sides of your head, nausea or vomiting, blurred vision or blind spots, pressure behind one or both eyes, being bothered by light or noise, feeling tired or confused, feeling cold or sweaty, stiff or tender neck, and lightheadedness.

Migraines can be triggered by a number of factors which include: stress, menstrual periods, physical exertion, fatigue, lack of sleep, hunger, certain foods, smells such as perfumes,  and some  medications. Doctors also believe that changes in the level of a body chemical called serotonin can be a trigger for migraine headaches. People who have frequent migraines may benefit by keeping a “headache diary”, which can be used to determine what triggers a migraine and what treatment or course of action helped to relieve it.

Treatment for migraine depends upon the frequency, severity, and symptoms of your headache. There are two types of medicines for migraine treatments.  One type focuses on stopping the headache from becoming severe and relieving the pain.  This type of treatment is most effective if medication is taken when the signs of migraine first appear.  Preventative treatment includes medicines that are taken on a regular basis, sometimes daily, to reduce how often headaches occur.  Talk to your doctor about which type of medication is best for you.

In addition to taking medication, you can do some things at home to help manage migraine pain.  Try putting a cold compress or cloth over your eyes, forehead, or on the back of your neck. You can also try massaging your scalp, using a lot of pressure.  Lying down in a dark, quiet room is also beneficial to many migraine sufferers.


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