BVHS joins Mayo Clinic Care Network

Blanchard Valley Health System is the first Ohio-based health care facility to become a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network….

FINDLAY, Ohio — Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS) and Mayo Clinic announced Friday, October 11, that Blanchard Valley Health System has joined the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

Blanchard Valley Health System is the first Ohio-based health care facility to become a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a group of carefully vetted, independent health care systems that have special access to Mayo Clinic’s knowledge and expertise.


“Blanchard Valley Health System is excited to become a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network,” says Scott Malaney, President & CEO of Blanchard Valley Health System. “The opportunity to collaborate with Mayo Clinic, and 40 plus other independent organizations from around the world working to improve the care we provide patients, is compelling. The knowledge, resources and commitment that stand behind the care network is truly impressive. We are honored to join the quest for an unparalleled level of clinical quality for our patients.”

Left to Right: Lenae Barkey, chair, provider relations of Mayo Clinic Care Network, Dr. Mark Larson, Midwest region medical director of Mayo Clinic Care Network, Scott Malaney, CEO and president of Blanchard Valley Health System, Michael Denike, MD, chief medical officer of Blanchard Valley Health System.

Physicians from Blanchard Valley Health System will be able to combine their understanding of their patients’ medical needs with Mayo Clinic expertise, so patients get exactly the care they need, close to home. There is no additional cost to patients.

“Mayo Clinic is pleased to welcome Blanchard Valley Health System to the Mayo Clinic Care Network,” says Mark Larson, M.D., medical director, Midwest region, Mayo Clinic Care Network. “Blanchard Valley Health System has a long-standing commitment to serving the health care needs of its community. Collaboration has been part of the vision, and we look forward to working closely together.”

As a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, Blanchard Valley Health System will have access to:


  • AskMayoExpert
    AskMayoExert is a point-of-care tool that offers concise clinical information on hundreds of medical conditions, and includes medical protocols, treatment recommendations and medical references. The database can be used wherever health care is provided.


  • eConsults enable Blanchard Valley Health System physicians to contact Mayo Clinic specialists for second opinions on specific patient cases when they believe additional input will benefit their patients.
  • eBoards
    The live video conferences enable Blanchard Valley Health System’s medical teams to review and discuss complex cases with a Mayo Clinic multidisciplinary panel and other doctors in the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

 Health Care Consulting

  • Blanchard Valley Health System can access Mayo’s extensive experience, knowledge and subspecialty expertise to attain clinical, operational and business goals.

Staff from Blanchard Valley Health System also can use educational materials designed for patients, and access opportunities for professional development and continuous medical education.

Created in 2011, the Mayo Clinic Care Network has more than 40 member organizations across the U.S., and in Asia, Mexico and the Middle East.


About Blanchard Valley Health System

 Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS) is a non-profit, integrated regional health system based in Findlay, a unique micropolitan community in Northwest Ohio. BVHS is one of the largest employers in the area with more than 3,000 associates and serves an eight-county area that includes Hancock, Allen, Putnam, Henry, Wood, Seneca, Wyandot and Hardin counties. The BVHS mission is to provide “Caring for a lifetime.bvhs”

About Mayo Clinic

 Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to everyone who needs healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for additional Mayo Clinic news and An Inside Look at Mayo Clinic for more information about Mayo.

BVHS Weekend Column: My Achy, Breaky…Back

Many will be familiar with the feelings of a stiff, sore back after a wrong twist, a bad bend or an intensive workout….

My Achy, Breaky…Back , by Andrius Giedraitis, MD
Blanchard Valley Pain Management

Dr. Andrius Giedraitis, MD 


 Back pain, whether in the neck or lower back, has become ubiquitous. The National Institute of Health estimate that 80 percent of all Americans have suffered from back pain at some point in their lives, and the number of adults whose life is markedly affected continues to grow.

Many will be familiar with the feelings of a stiff, sore back after a wrong twist, a bad bend or an intensive workout. These pains are usually musculoskeletal in origin and will heal over time with rest, ice/heat and over-the-counter medications.

However, chronic back pain, or the type of pain that persists for more than three months, typically has different origins. While the reasons for these aches abound, many patients are unaware that there are several treatment options available to decrease their pain, restore functionality and improve their quality of life.

Both neck and lower back pain are often a result of degenerative or arthritic changes in the spine. While these terms may sound intimidating, these changes are commonly a product of time, as they become more prevalent with age. These specific types of pain may be accompanied by radiating pain, numbness or tingling into the arms or legs, respectively.

At times, these pains may be so severe or debilitating that they require surgery. However, many causes of pain may be treated with less invasive procedures by a pain management specialist. These interventions are very safe, do not require a hospital stay, and allow for the patient to walk out the door shortly after the procedure. With the growing concern about the long-term consequences of opioid medications, these interventions are an increasingly appealing therapy for the appropriate patient.

As an added benefit, the pain relief achievable with a procedure may help patients discontinue the use of other medications used for pain. Patients should be advocates for their health and well-being, so explore with your primary care physician whether you would benefit from evaluation.


Blanchard Valley Health System provides a total continuum of care to more than 100,000 households in an eight-county area.

BVHS Weekend Column: Do Antibiotics Up the Risk of C. diff

Clostridioides Difficile (C. diff) infection (CDI) is common in immunosuppressed individuals…..

Do Antibiotics Increase the Risk of Clostridioides Difficile?
by Lisa Shaheen, RN, Birchaven Village Home

Lisa Shaheen, RN, Birchaven Village


Clostridioides Difficile (C. diff) is a common bacterium of the human intestine. When there is a disruption in this healthy intestinal bacterium, it can lead to the overgrowth of C. diff bacteria in the colon, becoming an infection and causing diarrhea. A C. diff infection (CDI) is common in immunosuppressed individuals and can be caused by the overuse of antibiotics

The initial symptom of CDI will be liquid diarrhea, frequenting more than three times in 24 hours. This criterion must be met before seeking a stool test to confirm the diagnosis. Each individual may have a different course of treatment, based upon the severity of the infection.

A person with CDI will have spores released from the stool. These spores can float around and land on any inanimate object and live for up to five months. They can only be seen under a microscope, so people are unaware when they come into contact with them. Therefore, proper and frequent handwashing is important to combat the spread of infection. Research has also shown that alcohol-based hand sanitizer is not effective against C. diff.

Cleaning the environment in which the person resides is also essential because the patient will continue to shed spores in their stool even after the active diarrhea phase is over. In a home setting, using bleach wipes to clean surfaces is appropriate.

When taking an antibiotic, the “good germs” in the intestines can be killed off, therefore making it easier to become infected with C. diff. Limiting the usage of antibiotics will also help limit new cases of CDI. Patients should always discuss symptoms of medications with their physician.

Since the emergence of multi-drug resistant organisms has proliferated, it is of utmost importance to use antibiotics judiciously. Limiting the use of antibiotics will help reduce the risk of a CDI in your future.






Blanchard Valley Health System Develops New Center

New Heartburn & Reflux Center for GERD Patients opens…..

 A network of physicians at Blanchard Valley Health System have recently joined together to establish the Heartburn & Reflux Center of Northwest Ohio. The center will provide comprehensive care to help patients eliminate heartburn and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and related disorders.

The center is led by Jessica Reynolds, MD, a general surgeon with Surgical Associates of Northwest Ohio. A “reflux care navigator” will also be available to patients, to assist with ordering and scheduling of tests, appointments and patient follow-ups.

Dr. Jessica Reynolds

“Our team of multidisciplinary specialists carefully evaluates each patient, providing them with individualized treatment options to take back control of their life,” Dr. Reynolds explained. “We are dedicated to helping patients find answers and ultimately find relief.”

Patients who would like to find out more information or to schedule an appointment with the Heartburn & Reflux Center of Northwest Ohio can call 419.423.GERD (4373) or visit

BVHS Weekend Column: Management of Diabetes

Unlike most medications, insulin is not available in a tablet or capsule…..

Management of Diabetes,by Ross Ellerbrock, Pharm. D.

Ross Ellerbrock, Pharm. D


Diabetes is diagnosed when a person’s pancreas is unable to produce insulin properly. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the destruction of the cells required to make insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount sugar in the blood. Whereas, Type 2 diabetes results from the gradual loss of insulin-producing cells or resistance to insulin throughout the body.

Insulin medication was developed in the 1920s by an orthopedic surgeon from Ontario, Canada. Beginning with pancreas extracts that had shown success in lowering blood sugar, the investigation continued until impurities were removed. Eventually, only a small section of the pancreas was extracted and proved to lower blood sugar in models. As advancements continued, Eli Lilly and Company became interested and acquired the rights to manufacture insulin.

By 1982, Eli Lilly had marketed Humulin which is “human” insulin. Today, there are multiple different insulin products available to treat diabetes. These insulin medications are categorized based on their onset of action and duration of action. The fast-acting insulins begin to work within 5-15 minutes and last for about three hours. Because of the rapid onset, this type of insulin is usually reserved for mealtime coverage. The ultra-long acting insulins can last for more than 24 hours. These long-acting insulins are designed to simulate the amount of insulin that would normally be released from the pancreas throughout the day.

Unlike most medications, insulin is not available in a tablet or capsule. Insulin, in the form of a solution, is administered just under the skin into the subcutaneous fat layer. This is done using an insulin pen with needles, an insulin pump, or syringes with needles. Patients with diabetes are required to test their blood sugar to ensure blood glucose levels do not get too high or too low. Depending on the person, testing can range from once a day to multiple times per day. This can be measured using a glucometer which may require the patient to prick their finger to obtain a sample of blood. With technological advancements, some blood glucose monitors are now attached to the skin, saving patients from pricking their fingers.

Management of diabetes will likely require a team approach with the help of friends, family, nurses, dieticians, physicians and pharmacists. While there is not cure for diabetes, keeping blood glucose levels near normal, taking medication and keeping a healthy diet are key in managing your diabetes and living a healthy life. 



Weekend Column: What is Telehealth?

With the use of telehealth, providers can deliver a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic services….



What is Telehealth? by Michelle Kindle RN,BSN, Bridge Home Health & Hospice

Today, there are roughly seven million older adults striving to be independent, yet have difficulty leaving home and do not want to put stress on family members.

Telehealth is a method of remote health care provided in the home to improve access to quality care, reduce hospitalizations and lower costs. Recently, telehealth applications have expanded to improve access to care and communication, especially for remote, vulnerable, or marginalized populations.

Telehealth provides a wide range of services such as transitional care for those with heart failure and other chronic illnesses, palliative care, home-based care, behavioral and mental health services.

With the use of telehealth, providers can deliver a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic management services. Examples of such services include virtual visits via live video, remote monitoring, and provider-to-patient communication and messaging tools. These technologies are designed to be patient specific.

Virtual visits and remote monitoring can reduce the frequency of home visits by health care clinicians, reduce cost and reduce the burden of transportation for those with mobility limitations. Both the patient and family will be provided with education and other support tools for managing care at home.

Although telehealth began more than four decades ago with a small number of hospitals providing services to those in remote areas, it is still limited. However, as policy makers reduce regulatory barriers and providers focus on improving telehealth strategies, it is likely that telehealth will be implemented universally.

By improving access to health care, telehealth can help reduce unmet needs and improve quality of life for the patient and their families.


BVHS Weekend Column: Understanding Chronic Pain

Those who are suffering from chronic pain experience symptoms of constantly feeling an ache…

Understanding Chronic Pain, by Thomas Kindl, MD, Blanchard Valley Pain Management

Dr. Thomas Kindl


When hearing the term “chronic pain,” many people can quickly mention a friend or family member who had to stop their favorite hobby because of it. Chronic pain varies in intensity and frequency, affecting over 100 million Americans.

Some experience chronic pain constantly, while others only feel it in episodes. Though many people have heard of it, few can accurately define the condition and fully understand the effects chronic pain can have.

According to the American Chronic Pain Association chronic pain is defined as, “ongoing or recurrent pain, lasting beyond the usual course of acute illness or injury or more than three to six months, and which adversely affects the individual’s well-being.”

 Any person experiencing noticeable pain for more than three months, regardless of age, is suffering from chronic pain. Pain can originate from a wide variety of sources. When it comes to chronic pain, the primary sources are joint pain, neck pain, back pain, headaches or injury-related pain.

Those who are suffering from chronic pain experience symptoms of constantly feeling an ache ranging from mild to severe, shooting or burning types of pain, or extended feelings of soreness, stiffness or tightness.

Aside from the obvious physical issues caused by chronic pain, many individuals also report psychological struggles. These struggles include fatigue, mood changes, stress, anxiety, depression, irritability or restless nights of sleep.

If you are worried that you or someone you know is experiencing chronic pain, it is in your best interest to contact a pain management specialist.



Bluffton Hospital Fall Festival Fun

16th Annual on Saturday, September 28

Join Blanchard Valley Health System (BVHS) in celebrating the fall season at Bluffton’s 16th Annual Fall Festival. The special festivities will take place on Saturday, September 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bluffton Hospital, located at 139 Garau Street.

Bluffton Fall Festival is a day of activities open to those of all ages. Bluffton Hospital will be offering free pumpkin decorating, an inflatable bounce house and train rides for children. Complimentary Kona Ice treats and refreshments will also be provided.

“We invite everyone to come out and enjoy the different activities available at Bluffton Hospital,” stated Jenn Olson, BVHS corporate event planner. “It’s a great opportunity to meet associates who provide extraordinary care for our community.”

Bluffton Fall Festival began in 2004 at the Mennonite Memorial Home and stretches among six locations. Transportation is offered during the festival, with accessible buses traveling between each point of interest.

“This is an entertainment opportunity for the entire family,” continued Olson. “BVHS is proud to be a part of this event and proud to serve the Bluffton community.”

BVHS Weekend Column: Intubation vs. Tracheostomy

It is important to understand the purpose of these and how they differ….

Intubation vs. Tracheostomy, by Emily Dulgar RN, Birchaven Village
Emily Dulgar, Birchhaven RN

When you hear a physician say that you or a loved one needs to be intubated or needs a tracheostomy, it is important to understand the purpose of these and how they differ.

A tracheostomy (trach) is a procedure in which a doctor surgically makes an incision in the trachea, sometimes called the “windpipe.” Tracheostomy procedures are performed when there is an obstruction in the airway and intubation is medically not possible, a patient has inefficient oxygen delivery or has problems with secretions.

Once the incision is made, a tube is placed in the windpipe. This tube holds the airway open and allows air to move in and out of the lungs. When a trach is placed, one may be able to breathe without a breathing machine, also known as a ventilator, or a ventilator may be needed.

When a tracheostomy is no longer needed, it can be removed and allowed to heal on its own, or the physician may close it surgically. Patients can be discharged home with a trach; but with that, comes new learning experiences. A trained respiratory therapist or a professional nurse will help you and your family learn to care for the trach.

Intubation (or being intubated) is the process in which a breathing tube is placed into the mouth and down the throat to provide oxygen via a machine. Intubation is done when one cannot maintain their airway on their own due to anesthesia or illness. Often, a person is intubated for a short time, and a person would not go home when they are intubated. Patients cannot be discharged with intubation and must have medical supervision.



BVHS Welcomes Dr. Mushtaq Ashraf

Joined the medical team of Hematology & Oncology Associates…

Mushtaq Ashraf, MD, has joined the medical team of Hematology & Oncology Associates, part of Blanchard Valley Medical Practices. Dr. Ashraf will see patients at The Armes Family Cancer Care Center located at 15900 Medical Drive South, Findlay.

Dr. Mushtag Ashraf


Dr. Ashraf received his medical degree from the University of Karachi’s Dow Medical College (Karachi, Pakistan). He then completed his internal medicine residency at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center (Toledo, OH) and his medical oncology fellowship at the University of Toledo Medical Center (Toledo, OH).

“I feel privileged to be providing hematology and oncology care to the Findlay community at The Armes Family Cancer Care Center,” stated Dr. Ashraf. “I want to improve the quality of life for my patients and be their advocate.”

Dr. Ashraf is accepting new patients. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 419.422.9898

Dr. Clara Rimmer Joins Blanchard Valley Medical Practices

Provider at Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine of Northwest Ohio

Dr. Clara Rimmer has joined Blanchard Valley Medical Practices. Dr. Rimmer will be a provider at Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine of Northwest Ohio, a division of Blanchard Valley Health System. She is pleased to provide a variety of pulmonary care services, specializing in individualized asthma therapy and tobacco cessation.

Dr. Clara Rimmer

Dr. Rimmer received her medical degree from Albany Medical College (Albany, NY) and her medical degree from Albany Medical College (Albany, NY). She completed her internal medicine residency and pulmonary & critical care fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical Center (Rochester, NY).

“I look forward to caring for the community through helping patients manage and treat their respiratory and pulmonary illness,” stated Dr. Rimmer.

Dr. Rimmer is now accepting new patients. To make an appointment, call 419.429.6441.

Bluffton Hospital Expands Services

24/7 Orthopedic Surgical Services coverage…..

Bluffton Hospital, a division of Blanchard Valley Health System, is now offering 24/7 orthopedic surgical services coverage for the emergency room. Additionally, inpatient and outpatient orthopedic services are also available on the main campus, located at 139 Garau Street, Bluffton.

Orthopedic surgical services offered at Bluffton Hospital will include shoulder, hand, elbow, hip, knee, and foot and ankle surgeries.

“Bluffton Hospital has a strong commitment to those we serve,” stated Nicole Keuneke, director of operations at Bluffton Hospital. “We strive to provide exceptional care to our customers by offering services that meet the needs of our community. The 24/7 orthopedic coverage in the ER makes access to quality health care even more convenient.”


To learn more about the services offered at Bluffton Hospital, please visit

Bluffton Hospital is a division of Blanchard Valley Health System, which provides a total continuum of care to more than 100,000 households in an eight-county area.