Are you going to be eligible for Medicare in the near future? Have you been on Medicare for a while and want to better understand what it offers? Do you have a family member you help with Medicare issues?

“Welcome to Medicare” is for you! This free seminar offered by Cass Health’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) counselors will be held on Thursday, July 7th from 5 to 7 pm. The seminar will be held at 1500 East 10th Street in the Senior Life Solutions building. Registration is needed by June 30th by calling 712-243-7545.

“Welcome to Medicare” will cover Medicare Part A and Part B benefits, the prescription drug benefit (Part D), Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare supplement insurance.

SHIIP is a service of the State of Iowa. SHIIP services are free, confidential, and unbiased. SHIIP counselors are trained by the state and do not sell or promote any insurance companies, policies or agents. Cass Health is a local sponsor for SHIIP in Cass County.

Atlantic, IA – A global shortage of contrast agents used in CT exams is impacting local hospitals including Cass Health.

“Contrast agent is a solution that we inject into patients before an imaging test. Much like the name says, the contrast solution enhances the area of interest so that radiologists can see a more detailed image of exactly what’s going on inside of that patient,” said Cass Health Radiology Director Carrie Schmitt.

GE Healthcare manufactures the contrast agent in Shanghai, which has been affected recently by a surge of COVID-19 cases and strict lockdowns. Production at the facility is expected to return to normal at the end of June, but in the meantime, hospitals across the world are dealing with unprecedented shortages of the material.

“Every hospital across the country is dealing with this critical issue. At Cass Health, we are conserving our current supply of contrast agents, and we are taking steps to ensure that our patients are still getting the right care at the right time. We have an experienced radiology team, and together we’ve planned how we can adapt to challenging circumstances like this, while always maintaining patient safety and excellent care,” said Schmitt.

Cass Health will continue to monitor the shortage and inform the community of any further updates.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Cass Health’s Senior Life Solutions team raises awareness about the signs, symptoms, and risk factors regarding mental health and how to know when to seek help. Over the past couple of years, mental health has moved to the forefront for many. An increasing number of folks are beginning to see it for what it is: a vital component of your overall health and well-being, just as important as your physical health. At the same time, mental health conditions, resources, and conversations can still feel complicated and out of reach.

Many people are learning about mental health topics for the first time. Having a widespread understanding of the topic can help you be more informed if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health condition or crisis.

Around half of the people in the U.S. will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition at some point in their life. This understanding can help us to be more empathetic to the mental health of our families, friends, and community members.

There are signs and symptoms to be aware of and specific factors that can lead to mental health conditions or crises. What resources are out there – and how do I know if they’re right for me?

By becoming acquainted with the common signs of mental health issues, we can be more prepared, confident, and less afraid of where to start when addressing our mental health.

“Understanding the signs and symptoms of a mental health condition is the first step to a happier, healthier life.” says Senior Life Solutions Program Director Karmen Roland, RN. “Understanding that mental health conditions are common and treatable is the next. We must keep working to break down the stigma against mental health to ensure people receive the help they need.”

There’s often no single cause for a mental health condition. Instead, many possible risk factors can influence how likely a person is to experience a mental health condition or how severe the symptoms may be. Some risk factors for mental health conditions include trauma, which can be a one-time event or ongoing, genetics, brain chemistry, lifestyle (such as a lack of sleep), as well as environment or social determinants such as financial stability and health care access.

Of course, understanding the risk factors for a mental health condition can be more problematic when it’s your mental health. It’s hard to see the changes. Take time to ask yourself about any changes in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to see if this is part of a pattern caused by a situation affecting the health of your mind. Here some questions to get you started:

Our society focuses much more on physical health than mental health, but both are equally important. If you are concerned about your mental health, several options are available. You are not alone – help is out there, and recovery is possible.

It may be hard to talk about your concerns, but simply acknowledging that you’re struggling is a huge step.

You may not need this information today yet understanding the basics of mental health will mean you will be more prepared if you ever need it. Go to to learn more.

Senior Life Solutions is Cass Health’s program designed to meet the unique needs of individuals typically 65 and older experiencing depression and/or anxiety related to life changes that are often associated with aging. If you or someone you know is struggling, our program wants you to know we are here to help. Whether through our program, or another service, our team works to identify and address the emotional needs of those in our community and provide support.

If you need more information, education, or would like to discuss support, please call 712-250-8100.

Cass Health proudly announces that Shelley Paulsen, LPN was honored with the DAISY Award during Nurses Week.

A packed room of family, friends, and colleagues surprised her with a special ceremony to present the award. “I was shocked to walk into that room and see everyone there. While I don’t like being the center of attention, I am grateful for this recognition. I’ve always felt lucky to be a nurse and to be able to have such an impact on others,” said Paulsen.

Paulsen has worked for 26 years at Atlantic Medical Center. She first joined the team as an immunization nurse, and she also worked with Dr. John Weresh until his retirement. Since then, she works daily with Scott Hixson, PA-C.

Her nominator wrote, “Shelley needs to know just how truly amazing she is and that she has touched my life for many years at my lowest times in life and my highest times. I believe that God truly knew what he was doing with Shelley becoming a nurse and making our paths cross.”

Paulsen commented, “I truly enjoy the patients and families we care for. I always try to treat them with respect and kindness, to let them know they are important to me, and that’s allowed me to develop a relationship with them over the years. It’s especially fun to see the babies I cared for bring their babies in to see us!”

Nurses at Cass Health are honored twice annually with The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.® The award is part of the DAISY Foundation’s mission to recognize the extraordinary, compassionate nursing care they provide patients and families every day. The DAISY Award committee at Cass Health wishes to thank all nominators for their submissions. Each nurse who was nominated will be presented with a special pin and a copy of the nomination.

The DAISY Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, established in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, by members of his family. Patrick died at the age of 33 in late 1999 from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little known but not uncommon auto-immune disease. (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.) The care Patrick and his family received from nurses while he was ill inspired this unique means of thanking nurses for making a profound difference in the lives of their patients and patient families.

This is one initiative of The DAISY Foundation to express gratitude to the nursing profession. Additionally, DAISY offers J. Patrick Barnes Grants for Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Projects, The DAISY Faculty Award to honor inspiring faculty members in schools and colleges of nursing, and The DAISY in Training Award for nursing students. More information is available at An online nomination form is available at


Read Shelley’s nomination letter here.

Cass Health is pleased to welcome Emily James, MSN, ARNP, FNP-BC to the team of providers in the Emergency Department and AMC Rapid Care.

As a board-certified family nurse practitioner, James will provide care to patients of all ages. A familiar face to many, she has worked in the Cass Health Emergency Department as a nurse since 2017.

“I always knew I wanted to continue my education. One of the advantages of the healthcare field is the constant learning and continual change. I’ve already had the experience of caring for patients as a nurse, but now as a nurse practitioner, I can provide care to patients on a different level,” said James.

James earned her Master of Science in Nursing from Purdue University Global and is board-certified by The American Nurses Credentialing Center. She received her Associates of Applied Science in Nursing from Southwestern Community College in 2015, and her bachelor’s in 2018 from Purdue University Global. Emily is also a DAISY award nominee; she received nominations in 2016, 2018, and 2019.

Cass Health is pleased to welcome board-certified hand and microvascular surgeon Dr. Caliste Hsu.

Dr. Hsu specializes in hand and microvascular procedures and surgeries. Her discipline includes endoscopic and open carpal tunnel release, treatment for arthritis of the hand and wrist, as well as repairs for traumatic injury to the tendons, nerves, and arteries.

“Cass Health is very fortunate to be able to add a needed orthopedic subspecialty to the many services we already have available,” stated Tammy Bireline, Chief Clinic Administrator. “Adding someone with Dr. Hsu’s training and expertise will only raise the level of care we can provide our community.”

Dr. Hsu is board certified by the American Board of Surgery. She is fellowship-trained in Hand and Microvascular Surgery. She is a member of the American College of Surgeons and the American Medical Association.

Dr. Hsu will provide care to patients on the second and fourth Fridays every month at Atlantic Medical Center Surgery Clinic. To make an appointment, please call 712-243-7535.

Cass Health is pleased to welcome board-certified neurologist Brian Boes, MD. Dr. Boes specializes in all types of general neurology, including seizures, strokes, migraines, neck and back pain. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

He is a graduate of University of Nebraska Medical Center, and he completed his neurology residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He has been in practice since 1996.

Dr. Boes will provide care to patients on the second and fourth Mondays every month at Atlantic Medical Center, RHC. To make an appointment, please call 712-243-2850.

ATLANTIC, IOWA – Cass Health CEO Brett Altman was recently recognized as one of nation’s “67 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know” by Becker’s Hospital Review.

According to the Becker’s article, “The executives featured on this list have put their heart and soul into ensuring their communities have access to the best healthcare services possible. While rural hospitals across the country have faced closure in recent years, these leaders have developed a model for not only surviving but thriving.”

Altman said he was grateful to be recognized. “This is a great honor for Cass Health,” Altman said. “While I’m honored to be a part of this list, I must give credit to the entire team at Cass Health that delivers nationally recognized, award-winning health care every day of the year. They have been pushed to their limits – working through a pandemic and a major construction project – and yet we’ve seen them continually rise to the occasion and go above and beyond to exceed patient expectations and our goals.”

In conjunction with the Health Resources and Services Administration, Cass Health received its first shipment of free at-home COVID-19 tests for the public.

Beginning March 1, individuals can receive up to four free test kits per household. Each test kit includes two tests. Test kits can be picked up from the entrance screeners in Atlantic, or from Registration staff members in Anita, Griswold, and Massena.

The tests can be used by individuals who are mildly to moderately ill but do not feel like their symptoms need to be evaluated by a healthcare professional. If their symptoms and condition worsen, patients are advised to seek care.

These antigen tests can also be used by those who have been exposed to COVID-19 but do not have symptoms.

These at-home tests may be appropriate for some travel-related requirements, but antigen tests are not always the required method of testing. Travelers are urged to check with their airlines and destination regarding testing requirements.

For more information, please visit

Cass Health announced today it has been recognized as a 2022 Top 100 Critical Access Hospital. Compiled by The Chartis Center for Rural Health, this annual recognition program honors outstanding performance among the nation’s rural hospitals based on the results of the Chartis Rural Hospital Performance INDEX™.

“Over the last several years, we’ve faced a pandemic, construction, adding providers, adding services, and more. And yet, despite all of the changes and challenges we’ve worked through, we’ve come away again in the top tier of all critical access hospitals in the country. The only reason this is possible is because of our spectacular team; their resilience and passion for healthcare is unmatched. We are blessed with the best, and we’re proud to celebrate this achievement with the communities that we are privileged to serve,” said Cass Health CEO Brett Altman.

“Despite unprecedented adversity rural providers continue to display resiliency and a steadfast commitment to their communities,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader, The Chartis Center for Rural Health. “Honoring the Top 100 is one of the highpoints of our year. We are delighted to recognize the exceptional performance and innovation of this year’s recipients, particularly in light of the extraordinary challenges facing America’s rural health safety net.”

Over the course of the last 12 years, the INDEX has established itself as the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance. Leveraging publicly available data, the INDEX is trusted by rural hospitals, health systems with rural footprints, hospital associations and state offices of rural health across the country to measure and monitor performance across a variety of areas impacting hospital operations and finance.