February brings in snow, health and fun


Health is Joel Beiswenger's business so there was no way Saturday's snowfall was going to keep the president and CEO of Tri-County Health Care away from the M. State-Wadena campus.

With a new carpet of white on the ground outside the crowded interior of M. State took on the busy hum of a marketplace.

More than 65 exhibits by local organizations and businesses were on display and there was plenty of entertainment including face painters, artists, dancers and Taekwondo demonstrations.

"We usually get about 800 people," Beiswenger said as the crowd flowed around him in the M. State-Wadena commons.

Beiswenger admitted he has not been at every Festival of Health but since there have 28 he can hardly be charged with dereliction of duty.

Beiswenger is like a scout in many ways. He is part of the visionary team that keeps TCHC moving ahead. He works with the Board of Directors, the Medical Staff, and internal and external constituents. This includes strategic planning and implementation, operations and financial management at Tri-County Health Care.

"We always try to grow our market," Beiswenger said. "We're like any other business. We look at market data."

Market data has led Certified Nurse Midwife Dawn Dahlgren-Roemmich to Sebeka for a daily clinic. It sent Dr. Jessica Grimes to Ottertail in January as a new Family Practice physician.

If TCHC sees a need for services in a community which they can fill the wheels will turn.

Recently, TCHC has been working with a "linx" surgical procedure that helps people suffering from acid reflux disease. The procedure can correct the effects of acid reflux with the use of magnets planted in a ring around the esophagus. It blocks acid from the stomach reaching up but allows still allows the passage of food to the stomach.

TCHC surgeons have done about two dozen of the procedures in the last 18 months and they worked out well.

"It's a great thing," Beiswenger said. "It helps people with their lifestyle."

The private, non-profit health care system is headquartered in Wadena but it has clinics in Baxter, Bertha, Henning, Ottertail, Sebeka and Verndale. Sebeka and Henning are two of their oldest clinics which more than 30 years of service to their communities.

New to the festival this year was some light stretching and yoga led by Prenatal Instructor Pam Doebbeling.

The February Festival of Health is sponsored by Tri-County Health Care, Tri-County Health Care Foundation and M. State-Wadena.