The Latest News


FHN Leaders Talk About Ways to See Your Healthcare Provider

July 1, 2020 – FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE and Director of Patient Access Sarah Graybill talk about the many different ways patients can make an appointment with their healthcare provider in this week's COVID-19 video update.

"While it is safe for patients to make a regular appointment to come in and see their provider, some of our patients may still be uncomfortable going out. They can reach out with a phone call, a message through our patient portal MyFHN, or choose a virtual telehealth visit," Graybill said. "We have people available to help patients arrange and get the care they need, and we often can schedule next-day or even same-day appointments."

The video, along with all of the previous weeks' videos, is available on FHN's COVID-19 information site, www.fhn.org/coronavirus. Forthcoming update videos will be shared once every two weeks.

FHN Offering Outpatient Lab Services at Hospital Starting July 6

June 24, 2020 – FHN's Outpatient Lab Services, which were relocated to FHN's Freeport Family Healthcare Centers in April to ensure patient and staff safety during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, will again be available at FHN Memorial Hospital effective Monday, July 6.

"For our Lab patients as well as all others, we have implemented many precautions at the hospital and throughout our office locations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our patients and staff," said FHN Chief Quality Officer and Family Medicine physician Rebecca Pedersen, MD, CPE, FAAFP. "For example, hospital patients who may be affected by COVID-19 are isolated from other patients, and the caregivers helping them do not 'cross over' and treat non-COVID patients."

The temporary hospital outpatient lab locations at FHN's two Freeport Family Healthcare Centers (Burchard Hills, at 1010 W. Fairway Drive, and Highland View Drive, at 3001 Highland View Drive) will be available until the end of business on Thursday, July 2.

To learn more about how FHN is ensuring the safety of its patients, staff, and communities, please view our safety video at www.fhn.org/wereopen.

FHN, Jo Daviess Juvenile Justice Council Wrap Up Prevention Grant

June 23, 2020 – In 2014 FHN, in partnership with the Jo Daviess County Juvenile Justice Council (JJC), was awarded a Strategic Prevention Framework Partnership for Success (SPF-PFS) grant by the Illinois Department of Human Services to decrease 30-day alcohol use by 8th - 12th graders in Jo Daviess County. The results of the 2014 Illinois Youth Survey revealed that the Jo Daviess County youth 30-day use of alcohol rate exceeded the state average by 8 percent, one of the highest use rates in the state.

The five-year grant, which was extended an extra year, supported a comprehensive community assessment which identified four contributing factors to the high youth alcohol use rate. Youth reported a low perceived risk of using alcohol; permissive community and family norms that enable the use of alcohol by youth; and parents providing alcohol to youth in multiple settings.

Following the assessment, FHN and JJC developed a strategic plan which identified two evidence-based strategies, a youth prevention education program, and a parent communication campaign.

The parent communication campaign launched in the fall of 2017. Over the past three years, messaging has been delivered via multiple media sources including direct mail, newspaper ads, posters, billboards, social media, and even a video contest. (The winning video can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/FHNIYS.)

The youth prevention education program, All Stars Building Bright Futures, was started in the spring of 2018 at four of the county middle schools. Thanks to the support of the schools' administration, by the end of 2019, all 7th and 8th grade students at all six middle schools completed an All Stars youth prevention education program.

The goals and outcomes of the parent communication campaign and the youth prevention education program will be measured by the biennial Illinois Youth Survey (IYC). The results from the 2018 IYS showed an overall 7 percent decrease in 30-day alcohol use by 8th - 12th graders compared to 2014. The county results from the 2020 survey will be available late summer, and will be shared online at www.fhn.org/IYS.

The funding from the SPF-PFS grant will end on June 30. The strategies will be sustained in Jo Daviess County through an extension of FHN's Substance Use Prevention Services grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services. A copy of the June 2020 Jo Daviess County Underage Drinking Parent Communications Executive Profile Report is available at www.fhn.org/IYS.

Virtual Gran Fonda Tour Runs Through June 27

June 15, 2020 – This year's Virtual Gran Fonda Tour Against Cancer invites area cyclists and families to enjoy some healthy exercise and see some of the area's most beautiful roads on their own.

Families are invited to dedicate their Family Fun Ride of any length to those who are battling or have battled cancer. GPS maps and cue sheets are available for 30-mile, 50-mile, 75-mile, and a 50-mile gravel route on the event's website, www.fhn.org/touragainstcancer. Participants are asked to complete their chosen routes by June 27.

In lieu of a registration fee, participants and supporters are invited to donate to the Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center at FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport. (A donation link is available at the site above.) Participants who donate $50 or more will receive their choice of a commemorative t-shirt or water bottle. This year's sponsors are Loescher Heating and Air Conditioning, McPherson Law Offices, State Bank, and Union Savings Bank.

Dave Fonda, the founder of and inspiration for this event, loved cycling and his community. He began this fundraiser in 2007, dedicated to parlaying his passion into a cause that could help those fighting cancer. Dave lost his own battle with cancer in 2018, and the event has been renamed in his honor.

For more information or to register, visit www.fhn.org/touragainstcancer.

FHN Offering Healthcare Scholarships

June 11, 2020 – Pursuing a career in healthcare begins with passion and education. In continuing to encourage ambitious students in our community, FHN is proud to offer multiple scholarships for students in the FHN service area who are pursuing careers in healthcare.

Multiple scholarships will be offered this year, each with different application criteria and financial amounts.

Healthcare Career Scholarship Program for up to three $1,000 scholarships
Diversity Healthcare Career Scholarship Program for up to three $1,000 scholarships
Volunteer Resource Scholarship Program for one $500 scholarship to an active member of the FHN Student Volunteer Program with a minimum of 40 volunteer hours

The deadline for all applicants is Friday, Sept. 4. For more information and application forms for each scholarship, visit www.fhn.org/scholarships

FHN, SCHD Offering COVID-19 Community Testing June 17, 24

June 9, 2020 – The Stephenson County Health Department and FHN have teamed up to offer drive-through testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus for individuals age 18 and over, including those without symptoms (asymptomatic), at FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills, 1010 W. Fairway Drive in Freeport.

The testing will be available in two sessions, and may be rescheduled in case of bad weather:

Wednesday, June 17, 5 - 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 24, 5 - 7:30 p.m.

No appointment or healthcare referral is required for this first-come, first-served no-cost nasal pharyngeal testing. Participants must bring valid ID and remain in their car for the testing. Although tests will be sent for external laboratory diagnosis immediately and processed quickly, results are not returned within any specific timeframe.

Please note that this is not an antibody test; it will only tell you if you have the coronavirus as of this date, not if you have had it previously.

Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions.

FHN Leaders Talk About Welcoming, Safeguarding Patients

May 28, 2020 – The latest weekly video update from FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE on the organization's COVID-19 preparations highlights the steps being taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

Gridley and FHN Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CIC, talk about the many precautions FHN is taking to protect patients and staff during the COVID-19 epidemic and beyond. It's more than extra cleaning: FHN has made changes in how patients are welcomed into and navigated through the hospital and clinics, to staff scheduling, removing what could be points of infection spread like water fountains and tabletop condiments in the cafe.

Gridley also shares an update on FHN's readiness to welcome patients back for non-COVID-19 treatments and procedures.

The video, along with all of the previous weeks' videos, is available on FHNs COVID-19 information site, www.fhn.org/coronavirus.

FHN's Miles And Minutes is Back for 2020

May 20, 2020 – One of the best ways to keep healthy - even during a pandemic - is to keep moving, so FHN is again inviting families across northwest Illinois to turn their warm-weather chores and fun into cash for their schools with the popular FHN Miles And Minutes program.

Summer exercise like golf, virtual 5K runs, hikes and walks, and even everyday physical activity like mowing the lawn and gardening can count as exercise - as well as summer workouts for student-athletes age 12 and over. FHN encourages all exercisers to practice safe social distancing.

The program begins Monday, June 1 and runs through Sunday, August 30. Exercisers can join at any time during the summer. The competition is online-only and there is no charge to participate. Anyone 12 yea

rs and older can participate, including student athletes. Registration and the competition rules, as well as information about how miles will be calculated to determine the winning school systems, is available at www.fhn.org/milesandminutes.

A calculator on the website will automatically convert minutes of almost any type of physical activity into miles. This will make it easy to follow the competition, and prizes will be awarded in three categories:

• School system with the most average "miles" logged per participant
• School system with the most "miles" total
• Schools not eligible for above prizes will be entered into a drawing to win one of three cash prizes.

The program normalizes miles based on the number of students in each school system to help ensure that all schools have an equal chance to win, no matter their size or how many participants they enlist. Prize money will be awarded in the fall.

Participants from any zip code can support any school system, so family members in Lena, for example, can designate their miles to the River Ridge school system if they wish. Running totals will be displayed on the website and reported throughout the summer, and you can keep up with what's happening on Miles And Minutes Facebook page.

FHN Leaders: We're Open, We're Safe and Ready to Care for You

May 13, 2020 – FHN has created and made available the latest weekly video update from FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE on the organization's COVID-19 preparations. Videos have been released every week since mid-March to update the community on how FHN has prepared for the pandemic - and continues to do so - while welcoming patients back for non-COVID-19 treatments and procedures.

Gridley and FHN Chief Physician Executive James Kolka, DO, discuss the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) ruling allowing Illinois healthcare organizations to "open up" for elective procedures and routine appointments.

Dr. Kolka, an emergency medicine physician, points out that Emergency Department visits are down, but the patients coming in have been sicker. "We've had more cardiac patients coming in via ambulance, in more serious condition, than the previous three months," Kolka said. "We want to stress that our hospital and clinics are open, and it is safe to come in for routine visits to monitor and manage chronic conditions like diabetes, COPD, and heart disease."

The video, along with all of the previous weeks' videos, is available on FHN's COVID-19 information site, www.fhn.org/coronavirus.

Burchard Hills Issues Temporary Hours Changes

April 28, 2020 – In order to conserve resources during the COVID-19 pandemic, including staff time, some services and locations have been consolidated on a temporary basis. This includes closing some offices early and others temporarily until stay-at-home mandates change.

Beginning this week, laboratory and X-ray services at the FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills in Freeport will have the following temporary hours of operation:

  •   7 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday through Friday

Burchard Hills Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy services will have the following temporary hours of operation:

  •   7 a.m. - 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
  •   CLOSED Tuesdays and Thursdays

Primary care and specialty provider offices at Burchard Hills (and throughout FHN) may vary; please call your provider's office for more information.

FHN Implements Strict New Visitor Restrictions for COVID-19

April 17, 2020 – For the health and safety of FHN's patients, staff, and providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport has issued strict new visitor policies for the Emergency Department and The FHN Family Birthing Center.

Effective today, no visitors will be allowed in the Emergency Department. People who accompany a patient to the ED should leave a contact phone number with registration. There is one exception to the rule: One parent or guardian will be allowed to accompany a child under the age of 18.

Patients in the FHN Family Birthing Center may be accompanied by one support person for the duration of their hospital stay. If the support person leaves at any time, he or she will not be allowed to return.

These heightened restrictions are in addition to the previous COVID-19 visitor restriction implemented at FHN Memorial Hospital: No visitors for patients hospitalized for general treatment/procedures except for emergencies or end-of-life situations.

Please visit the main registration desk during business hours if you have questions, or the check-in desk in the Emergency Department after hours or for ER questions.

Spaces Available in FHN Community Garden

April 16, 2020 – Get out in the garden for some exercise, fresh air and - eventually - healthy, fresh produce this year by taking part in FHN's Community Garden!

Spaces are available in FHN's Community Garden for this growing season. The raised garden beds, 4 x 8 feet, are $25 each.

The Community Garden is located just west of the FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills, 1010 W. Fairway Drive in Freeport. Applications for the 2020 growing season are due by Sunday, May 31, and planting can begin as soon as the beds are prepared.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, gardeners will be asked to maintain social distancing guidelines while working on their bed. The FHN Community Garden rules are a part of the downloadable application form, which is available at www.fhn.org/communitygarden. For more information, call toll-free 1-877-6000-FHN (1-877-600-0346) ext. 901.