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Health Care in Ames Continues to Expand, Improve

An engaged and generous community supports vital health care in Ames and the region.

By Karen Vernon on May 10, 2023

Story County Medical Center’s Wellness Department provides a wide range of services to all communities and residents in Story County.
Steve Woit

Many valued health care providers call the Ames MSA home. These organizations demonstrate their commitment to the local area through coordinated outreach activities and are, in turn, supported by engaged communities.

Providing Vital Support

“We are fortunate to provide care in a community that appreciates the value of having access to high-quality health care available locally,” says Loni Pringnitz, vice president of development for Story County Medical Center. “Historically, as we have expressed a need that will improve the level of care we are able to provide, the community has stepped up to provide vital private support.”

Pringnitz says the community has supported capital improvements over the years, such as the development and expansion of its South Campus facility. “It is humbling to know your community has your back,” she says.

Support comes in other specific ways as well, like a recent memorial gift that provided an emergency room charging station for smartphones and other devices.

“This gift is providing comfort and convenience to those who have loved ones in emergency situations,” Pringnitz says.

McFarland Clinic in Ames, Iowa
McFarland Clinic

Ensuring Access to Health Care in Ames

McFarland Clinic is another health care provider focused on providing access to vital services. As Iowa’s largest physician-owned multispecialty clinic, it is home to 190 physicians and more than 140 advanced practice providers representing over 50 medical specialties.

“The scope of our practice makes McFarland Clinic unique,” says Shelley Goecke, director of marketing and public relations. “Other communities of this size have primary care and specialty physicians, but might have to drive well outside their local area to have the number and variety of specialties we have here.”

Casting a Wide Net of Care

On any given day, five to seven of McFarland’s physicians travel to other communities to provide specialty services, either at another McFarland Clinic location or at a smaller rural hospital. This direct outreach means patients can be seen in their communities, reducing travel and inconvenience.

“In 2022, we had 50 physicians representing 16 specialties who traveled more than 130,000 miles as part of this outreach – that’s the equivalent of circling the globe more than five times,” she says.

Goecke says McFarland Clinic’s physicians and staff are committed to charitable giving in their communities as well, and have recently formed a foundation. “This will allow us to focus on education and on continuing to advance the medical care that is available in our community,” she says.

Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, Iowa
Mary Greeley

Giving Makes a Big Impact

At Mary Greeley Medical Center, the community’s generosity is on display in a multitude of ways.

“The impact of giving can be seen throughout the medical center and community,” says Melissa McGarry, foundation executive director and director of external relations for Mary Greeley.

She says the community’s gifts, totaling more than $2.5 million in 2022, have supported projects like the Healing Garden on the east side of the campus; cancer programs ranging from navigation to support patients on their journey, wigs, nutrition services and financial assistance; and the Mary Greeley Mileage Club, which promotes physical activity and good nutrition in local elementary schools.

ARCH – Alternative Response for Community Health – is a pilot program between Mary Greeley Medical Center, Ames Police Department, Iowa State University police and other local agencies. This specialized response unit is staffed by professionals trained in mental health and crisis stabilization.

“The two-person ARCH team social worker and paramedic can provide an immediate response to certain 911 calls and help connect individuals with additional resources in the community, thereby avoiding arrests and unnecessary emergency room visits,” McGarry says.

Grifols in Ames, Iowa
Steven Lawrence

Working Globally, Acting Locally

Grifols is a global health care company that develops life-saving medicines derived from human plasma to treat rare and chronic conditions.

“Working for Grifols feels like we’re making a genuine difference in the world,” says Aaron Ellis, manager of the Grifols center in Ames. “On one hand, we produce a wide range of medications for patients with chronic conditions. On the other, we provide a significant financial incentive to our plasma donors for their time spent at our center, which bolsters the local economy.”

Donor services representative Logan Elder says Grifols has also supported local communities through food drives and other fundraisers, and takes pride in giving back.

“It is Grifols’s mission to improve lives worldwide, and for us, that starts right here in Ames,” he says.

Local Solutions Power Orthodontic Advancements

Founded in Ames more than 40 years ago as a simple DOS-based practice management program for orthodontists, Ortho2’s forward-thinking approach has taken it first to a Windows-based system and more recently, the cloud.

“Ortho2 delivers premium practice management, imaging and communication solutions for orthodontists and pediatric dentists,” says Amy Schmidt, president. “It has expanded in scope from basic patient information and billing to include many more features, such as imaging, patient education videos, and practice and patient applications.”

Schmidt says Ortho2 is always working on ways to advance its partners and their practices, like the financial slider application on the horizon, which will facilitate easier case acceptance. “When COVID-19 hit, we quickly shifted our focus to a virtual appointment app, allowing orthodontists to continue seeing their patients,” Schmidt says.

Having Iowa State University close by is definitely a benefit, she says, and many alumni are now Ortho2 employees. The company recently opened several part-time positions, allowing current students to join their team.

“Couple that with all the friendly, hardworking people in central Iowa – think Iowa nice! – and Ames is truly a great place to grow a business,” Schmidt says.

Ortho2 believes in giving back to the local community. The company has partnered with the United Way of Story County’s annual giving campaign and food drives for more than two decades, and its employees have contributed nearly $200,000 in that time.

“Our top-notch team works hard to ensure success for us and our partners,” she says. “We’re proud to be part of the larger orthodontic community, and to have a small part in helping build confidence by creating beautiful smiles.”

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