The Latest News


FHN Offering Seasonal Flu Shot Clinics

September 16, 2021 – FHN is offering a number of safe, convenient drive-through and walk-in seasonal flu shot clinics this fall throughout northwest Illinois.

“As the pandemic continues, it's more important than ever to get a flu shot,” said FHN Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CIC. “Whether you have been vaccinated for COVID-19 or not, it's important to have your annual flu shot. If your last flu shot was before June 1, 2021, you need a new one for the coming season.”

This year's public drive-through flu shot clinics are:
Sept. 24, 3 - 6 p.m. FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills, 1010 W. Fairway Drive, Freeport
Sept. 30, 3 - 6 p.m. FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills
Oct. 2, 9 a.m. - noon Terrapin Park, 350 West Street, Elizabeth (next to the Elizabeth Grand Antique Mall)
Oct. 7, 3 - 6 p.m. FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills
Oct. 9, 9 a.m. - noon FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills

At this year's public flu shot clinics, adults under 65 years of age will get a quadrivalent vaccine that protects against four strains of influenza for $31.

Persons over 65 will receive a high-dose version of the four-strain vaccine ($67).

Children cannot receive their flu shot at any of the drive-through clinics, but FHN provider offices will have appropriate dosages for pediatric patients as well as for adults.

Drive-through immunizations may be paid for by cash, credit card, or check payable to FHN. Receipts will be available to submit to individuals' healthcare insurance provider for reimbursement.

There will be no out-of-pocket expense if you are covered by Medicare Part B (please present Medicare card) or a Medicare HMO accepted by FHN (list available at each location - covered persons MUST present the Medicare HMO card instead of the Medicare card for the billing process).

A number of walk-in events are scheduled for senior centers and other locations:
Oct. 5, 1 - 3 p.m. Mest Manor, 525 Third Street, Savanna
Oct. 6, 10 a.m. - noon Bethel United Methodist Church, 217 S. Hickory St., Shannon
Oct. 7, 9 a.m. - noon Carroll County Senior Center, 17612 E. Benton St., Mount Carroll (a free blood pressure screening also will be available)
Oct. 10, 10 a.m. - noon First Lutheran Church, 301 S. Clay Street, Mount Carroll
Oct. 11, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 118 E. Mason St., Lena
Oct. 14, 1:30 - 3 p.m. Sullivan's Foods, 201 Dodds Drive, Lena
Oct. 14, 4 - 6 p.m. Sullivan's Foods, 103 W. North Avenue, Stockton
Oct. 15, 9 a.m. - noon Golden Meals, 524 W. Stephenson Street (rear entrance, lower level), Freeport (a free blood pressure screening also will be available)

These walk-in events will follow all current pandemic precautions and are subject to change. For the most updated information, visit www.fhn.org/flu2021 for a complete list of dates, times, and locations.

Please note that these prices are only available at these flu shot clinics; other rates may apply in FHN offices.

Because of federal guidelines to prevent identity theft, everyone must present a photo ID to receive an immunization. Participants are asked to wear a shirt or top that makes their upper arm easily accessible. All persons in vehicles attending a drive-thru clinic must arrive wearing a face covering; those receiving a shot will be given a 2-ply reusable fabric FHN mask, while supplies last, after their shot for future use.

Persons with allergy to eggs or the flu vaccine, those with an illness accompanied by a fever or depressed immune system should not receive the flu immunization at these locations. For more information, call FHN Community Services at 815-599-7437.

For more information on FHN's flu shot clinics and how you can avoid the flu, visit www.fhn.org/flu2021.

Eight Area Schools Win FHN Miles And Minutes Cash

September 14, 2021 – Eight area schools will receive checks from FHN this fall, thanks to their dedicated fans who counted their exercise minutes through the summer with FHN's Miles And Minutes program. Together, exercisers logged enough activity (for the contest, miles were normalized to help ensure a more level playing field for schools of all sizes - this final count is actual miles) to equate to 66,545 miles - a little over two times around the world!

FHN's Miles And Minutes encouraged participants to be active and log various types of physical activity to win prize money for the school of their choice.

Miles And Minutes winners were chosen in two main categories -miles per school system (normalized based on the number of students in each school system to help ensure that all schools had an equal chance to win, no matter their size or how many participants they enlist) and average miles per participant. The winners are:

Miles per School System:
Tri-County Christian - 105,330 normalized miles ($2,000)
Aquin Catholic Schools - 51,245 normalized miles ($1,000)
Immanuel Lutheran School - 23,990 normalized miles ($500)


Average Miles per Participant:
Dakota - 227.3 ($2,000)
West Carroll - 200.5 ($1,000)
Tri-County Christian - 196.87 ($500)


Schools that did not win a prize in the two main categories are eligible for Sweepstakes prizes. Miles And Minutes participants took part in contests throughout the summer to win points for their school, and this year's winners are:

Warren School District - $500
Eastland School District - $400
Freeport School District - $300


The free program had 454 participants who logged a total of 2,072,550 minutes of exercise from June 3 through August 30. (All together, that's about 2 years and 3 weeks of exercise!)

FHN Wound Center Recognized for Patient Satisfaction

August 25, 2021 – The Center for Wound Healing at FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport has earned RestorixHealth's Excellence in Patient Satisfaction Award.

The award is presented to RestorixHealth wound center partners that demonstrate exceptional success by meeting or exceeding a national patient satisfaction benchmark of 96 percent.

The Center for Wound Healing at FHN Memorial Hospital celebrated 10 years of patient successes in April 2021, with more than 55,000 patient visits and more than 10,000 different “dives” treating a patient using one of the Center's two hyperbaric oxygen chambers.

The Center's caring team includes Medical Director Rafael Castro, MD; Administrative Director Roland Tolliver, DPM; Podiatrist Richard Bell, DPM; and Nurse Practitioner Carrie Wright, FNP-BC. The Center has a 97 percent healing rate, and the average time it takes to heal a wound in the care of its experts is 32 days, which is lower than the national average.

For more information on the Center for Wound Healing at FHN and the services available there, visit www.fhn.org or call the Center at 815-599-7410.

FHN Experts Discuss Delta Variant, Back-to-School Preparation

August 18, 2021 – “We want face-to-face instruction in our schools this year,” says FHN Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier MSN, RN, CMSRN, CIC in the latest FHN COVID-19 update video. “Protective measures like getting a vaccination if you're able and wearing masks when necessary can make this happen.”

FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE and Kochsmier talk about the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus and the importance of slowing down the spread of infection in the latest FHN COVID-19 update video available at www.fhn.org/coronavirus.

Gridley confirms that state laboratories have identified cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant in northwest Illinois, and that local case numbers and hospitalizations are rising.

“We are doubling down on precautions to help stop the spread of the virus,” Gridley said, noting that the vast majority of FHN team members and providers are vaccinated and that masks must be worn at all FHN facilities. “We are using all of our tools, the most important of which is vaccinations, to protect the health and safety of our patients and communities.”

Vaccines are the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 “ and the way we can stop the virus from mutating into more transmissible strains like the Delta variant, Kochsmier explained.

“The more opportunity we give a virus to spread, the more it will mutate and become stronger,” she said. “When most people have been vaccinated, the virus has nowhere to go.”

Though vaccinated people can catch a “breakthrough” case of COVID-19, their bodies are better prepared to fight off the virus, Kochsmier said. “The vaccination has been very successful in preventing more severe illness and death.” Breakthrough cases are rare, she said, and usually not as severe as in those who haven't been vaccinated.

“Right now, the best thing we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones “ especially children younger than 12, who can't yet get the vaccine, is to get vaccinated and take the proper precautions when needed,” Kochsmier said. “Wear a mask, have good hand hygiene, stay away from crowds and if you spend time inside, like children in a classroom, have a window open to increase airflow throughout the room.”

Learn more about how FHN is working to help stop the spread of COVID-19 at fhn.org/coronavirus.

FHN Women's Health Team Moving to Burchard Hills

August 9, 2021 – FHN's Women's Health Team is moving across town to make families' medical appointments a little easier.

Beginning August 16, FHN Ob/Gyn specialists Keith Martin, MD, FACOG and Lee Sesslar, MD, FACOG, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioners Danielle Siedschlag, WHNP-BC and Sara Smith, WHNP-BC will see patients on the second floor of FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills, located at 1010 W. Fairway Drive in Freeport.

“We believe this move will make it easier for our patients by bringing our care for women at all stages of life to the same place where they might see their primary care provider or family pediatrician,” said Dr. Martin, who also serves as FHN chief medical officer.

The move will give the women's health team more space to educate patients and collaborate with specialists as well as updated exam rooms equipped with the latest technology. It will be seamless for patients - the office phone number (815-599-7750 or toll free 877-538-0958) will not change.

“If you're due for a checkup or need to establish with a provider, now is a good time to come in and see us at our new location,” Dr. Sesslar said. The team is welcoming new patients.

Learn more about FHN's Women's Health Team providers and services at www.fhn.org.

FHN Celebrates Its Own with Special Events

August 9, 2021 – FHN is celebrating its team members this week with a series of “thank you” events held at FHN locations throughout the region.

Earlier this week, Freeport Mayor Jodi Miller officially proclaimed Tuesday, August 3 as FHN Day in the City of Freeport as local team members were treated to a lunch featuring treats from several local food trucks. (Team members working on different shifts or at locations other than Freeport enjoyed lunch and some special treats, as well.)

The proclamation detailed:
Whereas: FHN is a vital part of the Freeport community; and Whereas; FHN leadership and staff strives to keep Freeport and the surrounding area healthy by providing state of the art medical facilities and care; and
Whereas, FHN is the largest employer in Freeport and Stephenson County, not only providing high quality care and caring and compassionate staff but also with that employment bringing an economic boost to the area; and
Whereas, in 2020 FHN spent $4.8 million on enhancements and upgrades to facilities and major medical equipment that in turn benefit the health and well-being of all who receive medical care with FHN; and
Whereas, FHN spends more than $68 million each year on goods and services it needs to provide healthcare such as medical supplies, utilities for their facilities and food for hospital needs; and
Whereas, FHN provides many innovative and preventative services and programs to serve the community such as, Connect the D.O.T.S. (Doors of Team Support) and the Mobile Rx Pantry Program. They also support civic and cultural programs and make space available to community groups; and
Whereas, during Covid-19, FHN was a critical part of the weekly Covid Team meetings to provide up to date news and direction to the area; and whereas, as your mayor I would like to thank FHN for all you do to support Freeport and the surrounding communities and for your hard work and dedication to promote healthy choices to our citizens.

In a message to all those employed by FHN, President and CEO Mark Gridley said: “I believe that you all deserve so much more than a day or two to celebrate the difference that you make throughout our community every day.”

“So many of our staff work all hours and days of the week throughout a large geographic area,” Gridley said. “No matter what change and challenge we face with the passage of time, it is the skill and compassion of our FHN family that always gets us through by working together and caring for one another.”

FHN is the largest employer in Freeport and Stephenson County, and its team of nearly 1,200 people care for patients throughout northwest Illinois and southwest Wisconsin. For more information on FHN, visit www.fhn.org/docs/2020FHNQuickFacts.pdf.

FHN Offering Healthcare Scholarships

July 15, 2021 – 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.

Several scholarships will be offered this year, each with different application criteria:
• Healthcare Career Scholarship Program for up to three $1,000 scholarships
• Diversity Healthcare Career Scholarship Program for one $1,000 scholarship
• Volunteer Resource Scholarship Program for one $1,000 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. 3. For more information and application forms for each scholarship, visit www.fhn.org/scholarships.

Join FHN Experts for Walk with a Doc Starting July 24

July 13, 2021 – FHN is proud to be a part of the nationwide program Walk with a Doc, which gives people a chance to take a walk and learn about their health from a local healthcare professional.

The first FHN Walk with a Doc will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 24 by the concession stand at Krape Park, 1799 S. Park Boulevard in Freeport. This FREE 45 “ 60 minute Walk is a safe, fun, family- and pet-friendly way to get some steps, learn about health, and meet new friends.

All attendees at the first Walk will receive their choice of a free t-shirt or pedometer (while supplies last).

FHN Behavioral Health Nurse Practitioner Misty DeHaven, FNP-BC, is the host for the first Walk. In coming weeks, the schedule and topics include:
July 31 “ Katie Alvarado, RN & Jess Harweger, RN “ Imaging and Breast Health
August 7 “ Terry Donat, MD, FACS, FICS “ Ear, Nose, & Throat
August 14 “ Tamisha Bonvillain, FNP-BC, IBCLC “ Family Medicine
August 21 “ Roland Tolliver, DPM, FACFAS “ Podiatry & Wound Care
August 28 “ Tracy Love, RN “ Stroke Awareness
Sept. 4 “ Javeria Qureshi, MD, MPH, FACS “ Surgery

A complete schedule and more information about Walk with a Doc is available at www.fhn.org/WWAD.

These events are intended to educate and provide an opportunity for healthy exercise. Specific questions about your or your family's healthcare should be directed to your primary healthcare provider. For assistance finding the right primary care provider, call FHN at 815-599-6860.

FHN Opens New Facility Dedicated to Jo Daviess Patients

July 8, 2021 – FHN is proud to announce the opening of the FHN Jo Daviess Family Healthcare Center conveniently located off U.S. Route 20 in Stockton.

The new facility, opened in June 2021, brings the latest technology to the area, said FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley. “We're proud to make this investment in this region, and our team members are excited to provide state-of-the-art, compassionate healthcare for the residents of Jo Daviess County and surrounding communities here.”

The spacious, airy building was designed to take advantage of natural light to create a comforting, healing atmosphere while offering expanded services including all-digital imaging on site. The clinic's address is 600 North Rush Street in Stockton and the phone number is 815-947-3211.

“This facility was built with patients in mind,” said FHN Chief Medical Officer Keith Martin, MD, FACOG. “It allows us to offer our patients team-based care, which is a relationship-based approach to healthcare. It's more personal, and there's room to involve both primary care providers and medical specialists in each patient's team.”

The building is equipped with the advanced equipment and information technology used by FHN providers, making it much easier to bring in additional expertise on patients' cases when needed. FHN providers offer care in 39 specialized areas of medicine, including cardiology, orthopaedics, obstetrics and gynecology, and behavioral health.

A video tour of the facility (in lieu of an open house due to pandemic safety protocols) is available at www.fhn.org/jodaviess. Learn more about FHN's providers and specialties at www.fhn.org.

FHN Experts: Vaccine Helps Stop Spread of COVID-19 Variants

July 7, 2021 – With northwest Illinois in Phase 5 of opening up during the COVID-19 pandemic, FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE and Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier MSN, RN, CMSRN urge those who haven't yet been vaccinated to get their shots in FHN's latest pandemic update video.

“When the nation first had vaccines, it was a ‘vaccine versus virus' race,” Gridley said. “Now, we're facing a ‘vaccine versus variant' race.”

“When the COVID-19 vaccine spreads, it evolves to create these new variants, like the Delta variant we've heard so much about lately,” Kochsmier said. “Getting more people vaccinated against COVID-19 gives the virus less ‘room' to spread and create these variants.”

All three available COVID-19 vaccines offer protection against the virus' new variants, Kochsmier said. She points out that people who have already had COVID-19 must be vaccinated to be protected against the new, more contagious strains of the virus.

Area residents can get vaccinated through their county health department or at a retail pharmacy, Gridley said. There is no cost for a COVID-19 vaccine. Visit www.vaccines.gov to find a convenient vaccination site. COVID-19 vaccines are now available to anyone age 12 or older.

As we all navigate the uncertain territory of opening up and interacting with other people safely, Gridley urges people to take the time now to schedule checkups, preventive screenings and procedures they may have put off at the height of the pandemic.

“Get out and enjoy our area, support our local businesses, and be respectful of each other. Some people are choosing to keep wearing masks and keeping their distance from others for their safety -please respect people's choices.”

The current FHN COVID-19 update video, as well as all previous pandemic-related videos, can be viewed at www.fhn.org/coronavirus.

FHN Honoring Dr. Merry with Retirement Wishes

July 2, 2021 – After a long and distinguished career, FHN Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Physician Michael J. Merry, M.D. will retire this month. “Dr. Merry has cared for thousands of area families over several decades,” said FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley. “He has been an integral part of FHN, and we will greatly miss him.”

Rather than a public open house, because of pandemic restrictions FHN is asking former and current patients as well as friends to honor Dr. Merry with cards and online wishes. Cards should be sent care of Kim Stasi to FHN Memorial Hospital, 1045 W. Stephenson Street, Freeport, IL 61032. Online greetings and well-wishes may be sent at www.fhn.org/Merry.

All of the online greetings will be included in a scrapbook for Dr. Merry. Those who wish to participate should submit their greeting or send a card by Friday, July 9.

S. Burchard Avenue Closed Monday

June 18, 2021 – The City of Freeport will close Burchard Avenue from La Cresta Drive to the FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills in Freeport from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, June 21. Access to the FHN Burchard Hills location will be available via W. South Street from the east.

All departments at the FHN Family Healthcare Center “ Burchard Hills in Freeport will be open as usual.