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March 2010

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Raiter Clinic’s Dr. Vicki Anderson named Physician of the Year
Dr. Anderson award


January 2010

The Lake Superior Medical Society recently named Dr. Vicki Anderson of Raiter Clinic “Physician of the Year.” This award is given to a physician who consistently demonstrates qualities recognized as defining excellence in medical care delivery. Dr. Anderson has been a family practice physician in Cloquet since 1975.

“This award is well-deserved,” said John Turonie, Raiter Clinic administrator. “We are pleased to see Dr. Anderson receiving this honor acknowledging her dedication as a physician in Cloquet for the last three decades.”

The Lake Superior Medical Society is a component unit of the Minnesota Medical Association. Since 1886, the LSMS has provided a forum to support its physician members and their efforts to deliver quality patient care, enhance public health, provide community education and engage in philanthropy within the community.

Pictured here are Dr. Wiig (LSMS President) Terry Anderson and Dr. Vicki Anderson.
January 2010 Dr. Ripp recognized by Lake Superior Medical Society
dr. ripp award
Raiter Clinic welcomes Dr. Skip Hofstrand!
dr. hofstrand


January 2010

Raiter Clinic welcomes Dr. Skip Hofstrand to it staff. Dr. Hofstrand, an emergency physician, has over 30 experience helping patients in the Northland.


Raiter Clinic supports Cloquet Community Memorial Hospital

breuer and turonie

July 2008

Raiter Clinic administrator, John Turonie (right) presents a check to Cloquet Community Memorial
Hospital administrator, Rick Breuer in continued support of the hospital's expansion.

Dr. Woodward

Raiter Clinic welcomes Dr. Jessica Woodward

November 2007

Raiter Clinic in Cloquet welcomes family physician, Dr. Jessica Woodward to its staff. Dr. Woodward is a certified family practice physician who grew up in Cloquet. She is glad to be back home in the Northland and welcomes new patients.



Dr. Leuhr

Dr. David Luehr receives honorary degree

October 2007

David D. Luehr, M.D., a family physician at Raiter Clinic, has achieved the Degree of Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the national medical association representing nearly 94,000 family physicians, residents and medical students.

The degree was conferred on more than 250 family physicians during a convocation on Saturday, October 6, in conjunction with the AAFP's annual meeting in Chicago.

Established in 1971, the AAFP Degree of Fellow recognizes family physicians who have distinguished themselves through service to family medicine and ongoing professional development. AAFP Fellowship entitles the physician to use the honorary designation, "Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians."

Criteria for receiving the AAFP Degree of Fellow consist of a minimum of six years of membership in the organization, extensive continuing medical education, participation in public service programs outside medical practice, conducting original research and serving as a teacher in family medicine.

The AAFP was the first national medical specialty organization to require its member to complete a minimum of 150 hours of accredited continuing medical education every three years. It is the only medical specialty society devoted solely to primary care.



Raiter Clinic Celebrates Smoke Free Carlton County and Minnesota

group photo

September 2007

Community members, elected officials and Raiter Clinic physicians recently gathered to acknowledge two major public health events for 2007:

First was the unanimous approval in February by the Carlton County Board of Commissioners of the Carlton County Smoke-Free Public Places and Place of Work Ordinance. Second is the Minnesota Freedom to Breathe Act, strongly supported by Carlton County physicians, which goes into effect October 1.

David Luehr, M.D., a physician at the Raiter Clinic and a past president of the Minnesota Medical Association, spoke to the assembled health care professionals, and offered special thanks to three area legislators: Sen. Tony Lourey (DFL-Kerrick), Rep. Mary Murphy (DFL-Hermantown), and Rep. Bill Hilty (DFK-Finlayson).

Physicians know the dangers of passive smoking, Luehr said, and they stepped up to the challenge, meeting with county board members, testifying and talking to legislators.

"We see the suffering smoke causes our patients. Secondhand smoke has been associated with heart disease, cancer, asthma and sudden infant death syndrome," he said. "The local smoke-free ordinance applies to all workplaces including bars, restaurants with a 25-foot setback provision from entrances, exits, open windows and ventilation intakes. The adoption of this strong ordinance helped lead the way for the entire state to go smoke-free only months later."

Minnesota was a leader in the nation when it passed the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act of 1975, Luehr recalled. "In 18 days, on October 1 2007, new amendments to this Act will become law with the Freedom to Breathe Act. Minnesota will again lead the nation in public health policy, as we become the 20th state to pass a smoke-free workplace ordinance."

He praised the group Carlton County Citizens for Smoke-Free Environments, which is actively working to promote implementation efforts of both the local ordinance and the new statewide law.

University of Minnesota students tour Raiter Clinic to gain first-hand knowledge of medical care in rural Minnesota

August 2007

As part of a special course introducing students to the rigors of life as a family physician or pharmacist working in a small community, 58 UMD Medical School students and 55 students from the College of Pharmacy visited Raiter Clinic as part of a day-long tour of six rural communities in northern Minnesota.

"We are very grateful to all the physicians, pharmacists, business and community leaders who spend time with out students, " commented Ruth Westra, D.O., Chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, DUluth campus. "An experience like this inspires these students to become rural family physicians and pharmicists, and we all know that it's crucial to do so because our rural areas face shortages in healthcare professionals. Introducing them to rural community leaders is a concrete, effective way to do that."


Raiter Clinic physicians attend Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians conference

Five Raiter Clinic physicians attended the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians annual spring refresher conference in St. Paul. The conference is the biggest continuing medical education session for family physicians in the state of Minnesota.

Victoria Heren, M.D., Ricard Puumala, M.D., James Rogers, M.D., Daniel Palmquist, M.D. and David Luehr, M.D. attended the two-day conference, which was attended by over 400 family physicians.

The conference gives family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students the opportunity to learn about trends in caring for patients and their families.

The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians is a professional association of approximately 3,000 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students organized to assist family physicians in providing quality me care in Minnesota.


Dr. David Leuhr appears
on CBS Evening News

January 2007

Raiter Clinic Family Practice Physician, Dr. David Leuhr, served as a medical consultant for a January 23 CBS news story on the prices of prescription medications available online.

A CBS news crew visited Raiter Clinic to interview and film Dr. Leuhr about a week before the story aired.

CBS correspondent, Wyatt Andrews, reported that Consumer Reports' Best Buy Drugs site offers medications at prices that are sometimes much less than a consumer is paying at the local pharmacy.

"This is one of the hidden secrets of the health care system," says Gail Shearer of Consumer Reports.

Shearer says drugs earn a "best buy" label based on what works the best, at the best price.

The recommendations are all based on research collected by the Oregon Health and Science University, which concludes that some of the most heavily advertised drugs, like Nexium for acid reflux or Lunesta for insomnia do work as advertised, but don't work better than drugs that are half the price.

"What surprised me was how large the potential savings are for individual consumers," says Shearer

Dr. Leuhr noted that many patients are swayed by an ad that they see for a drug and come in asking for the most expensive drug.

"I would especially encourage them to go to this Web site if they have seen the latest ad for the latest miracle drug," Leuhr said.

Physician recognized for a lifetime of dedication to medicine

January 2007

Raiter Clinic's Vicki Anderson, M.D. was recently presented with the Thomas A. Stolee Exceptional Dedication to the Practice of Medicine Award by the Lake Superior Medical Society. This award is given to a member physician who has demonstrated a lifetime of exceptional dedication to the practice of medicine.

In addition to her work at Raiter Clinic, Dr. Anderson currently serves as Chief of medicine, pediatrics and rehabilitation at Cloquet Community Memorial Hospital. Dr. Anderson graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School and began her practice in Cloquet in 1975.

The Lake Superior Medical Society is a component unit of the Minnesota Medical Association. Its membership includes over 640 physicians from South St. Louis, Carlton, Lake, and Cook Counties. The Society provides a forum to support its members and their efforts to deliver quality patient care and enhance the public health.


Raiter Clinic serves as host site
for medical student

December 2006

Joanna Burns, a third-year medical student at the University of Minnesota will be working with Dr. Thomas Osborne during the coming months as part of the Rural Physicians Associate Program, which pairs medical students with physicians to give them a hands-on experience working in rural healthcare.

Hosting health professional students during the course of their studies benefits both the students and the communities. Students are exposed to the variety of experiences that come with working in a rural practice, and the communities benefit from access to more health professionals.

Historically, many of these students elect to return to serve in out state Minnesota at the conclusion of their schooling.

Raiter Clinic welcomes Ms. Burns to the Northland!


Raiter Clinic physician hosts
delegation from Russia
to discuss rural health care

article by: Wendy Johnson- The Pine Journal

August 2006

Dr. Beth Mork's interest in the Russian medical system started in1996-97, when she lived there prior to going into medical school. Recently, this Raiter Clinic family practice physician had a chance to bring what she's learned in the U.S. to a country half way around the world.

Mork was among three local physicians who hosted a small contingency from Petrazavodsk, Russia, to tour Raiter Clinic and Community Memorial Hospital and discuss rural health care.

Mork became involved with the city of Petrazavodsk in 1999 when she was going to the University of Minnesota-Duluth and was involved in a medical exchange program that involved visiting the city to bring in medical supplies. She returned in 2001 to complete a four-week neonatal intensive care unit rotation with a Russian physician who had done some training in Duluth at St. Mary's.

"I was the first University of Minnesota student who had ever done [medical] study abroad in Russia, mostly because others shy away from the language barrier but also because it's also such a vastly different medical system over there," explained Mork.

Russia's medical system is an entirely specialist-driven, so there's no such thing as a family doctor and no such thing as family care. In rural areas, they have someone who's received training similar to a medical assistant in the U.S.

Mork said the Soviet Union once had a fairly decent medical system, but since it fell apart, things have changed.

"The physicians are excellent, but they have very limited technology and very limited funds," she said. "I think Russia is now understanding that maybe they have to readdress that."

Currently there are some governmental initiatives afoot in Russia to start bringing primary care physicians, such as family practice doctors, to specifically address rural health.

Mork was contacted by UMD professor emeritus, Ed Haller, to see if the group from Russia could tour and discuss health care in Cloquet and address the broader issue of rural health care.

The primary person in the contingent was a public health consultant from Petrazavodsk who is dealing specifically with the initiative to establish family medicine in Russia. The local tour group also included Dr. Lee Cohen, a family practice doctor from Two Harbors who also speaks Russian.

Mork said the health consultant had "lots and lots of questions about our scope of practice, how many people we see in a day, and the American medical system and where we think we're going with things."

The group was very impressed with Raiter Clinic and Community Memorial Hospital, especially the emergency room.

"Emergency care is very different in Russia, as is overall hospital care," said Mork. "It's very much the way we cared for patients back in the 1950s, with long hospital stays and families who are required to bring their own bedding and food. Some hospitals still don't have hot, running water. It's very much like, 'Come and stay at the hospital and then we'll figure everything out.' Here, we do the really critical things while the patient is in the hospital and then we do the rest on an out-patient basis."

Following the visit, Mork said her impression from Drs. Cohen and Haller is that they'd like to get more involved and discover how the three can be of benefit to the people in Petrazavodsk.

"The idea is to set up a more formal exchange and specifically to train some of their physicians," related Mork. "They have some doctors who are working on developing a family medicine curriculum for Russian physicians."

Mork is excited about the possibility of establishing some sort of medical exchange program with Petrazavodsk in the future - and hopefully being a part of it herself.

"I think it really provides Raiter Clinic, the hospital, and potentially the city of Cloquet an opportunity to be involved in something pretty profound," she said. "I think we have a chance to really model, come forth, and give to others."


Raiter Clinic's Dr. Luehr helps set AMA policy

June 2006

David Luehr, M.D. represented Minnesota physicians at the American Medical Association Annual Meeting, held June 10-14 in Chicago.

As an AMA alternate delegate, Dr. Luehr participates in the development of AMA policies on health care issues, and at the state level, takes part in policy development through the Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) Board of Trustees.

Dr. Luehr is the president of the MMA.

The AMA took action on three Minnesota resolutions. In response to Res. 403, the AMA will ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to study the public health impact of discarded pharmaceuticals and personal care products on the nation's drinking water supplies and develop guidelines for physicians and the public for the proper disposal of these products.

Responding to Minnesota Resolution 505, the AMA set policy recognizing that in order to achieve high quality and cost-effective health care, patients must follow their medical treatment program. The AMA resolved to compile a list of resources and tools to help physicians and patients improve adherence to treatment plans.

The House of Delegates referred to the Board of Trustees Minnesota resolution 302, calling on the AMA to study the issues regarding certification and recertification by medical specialty boards such as their appropriateness as measures of competency, the varying methods and criteria for recertification, and third party payers' requirement of board certification as a condition of participation in their networks.

Resolutions adopted by the AMA House of Delegates become the official policy of the AMA and guide its actions.


Modern Healthcare Magazine recognizes contributions of Dr. James Rogers

May, 2006

Dr. James Rogers, a family practice physician at Raiter Clinic, was recently named an honorable mention Trustee of the Year for the small healthcare organizations category in Modern Healthcare's 2006 competition. The award recognizes individuals for their volunteer contributions to healthcare governance.

Rogers has served on the board of trustees at Cloquet Community Memorial Hospital (CCMH) since 1997, and has been the board chair since 2003.

Rick Breuer, chief executive officer of CCMH, nominated Rogers for the award. "Trustees are volunteers, and like other volunteers they are part of the blood that make things work," said Breuer. "I think this award reflects well on Dr. Rogers, and our board as a whole."

Rogers believes that hospitals are an integral component of medical care in rural communities. This is sometimes easier said than done. In 2003, when Rogers became chair of CCMH's Board of Trustees, the hospital had a loss of $1 million on operating revenue of $15 million.

"We were in a place where we (would) either expand and develop services or fall by the wayside and disappear," says Rogers.

The hospital opted for the expansion and development route. Breuer says this required a strong commitment from everyone involved. "Being a trustee for a nonprofit hospital can be more and more challenging from year to year," he said.

This commitment was demonstrated in B=board chair, Dr. Jim Rogers. During the hospital expansion, he looked for other ways to reverse the hospital's fiscal situation. In one instance, he encouraged the administration to cut spending and convert to critical-access status, which allows rural hospitals to collect Medicare payments based on costs rather than prospective payment. The designation boosted revenue $600,000 in fiscal 2005.

The tide was turning in other ways as well. In fiscal 2004, the first year the hospital was in the black, it earned $1.6 million on operating revenue of $26.1 million. In fiscal 2005, the hospital earned $2 million on operating revenue of nearly $31 million.

Dr. Rogers will soon step down as board member and chair at CCMH. Trustees at CCMH are limited to nine years of service before they are required to leave the board for at least one year. Rogers' break is well deserved. His tireless efforts over the last nine years have played an integral role in the growth and success of the hospital.

"In order for an organization to do well, its board has to be strong," commented Breuer. "I think Dr. Rogers can feel good about the time he's served. He's been a great board member, a great physician, and great board chair."


Raiter Clinic physicians join Northstar Physicians Network

March, 2006

Steven Vopat, MD, James Ryan, MD, and Brance Modin, MD, all general surgeons with Raiter Clinic and Community Memorial Hospital have joined the Northstar Physicians Network.

The mission of Northstar Physicians is to support and promote the independent practice of medicine. Dr. Kenneth Ripp, a family practice physician at Raiter Clinic, was elected president of Northstar's board of directors in January, 2006.

"Our criteria for membership are very strict and all of these physicians practice quality medicine," said Jeff Tucker, executive director of Northstar.

Northstar Physicians is a network of over 155 physicians, plus physicians assistants, nurse practitioners and other clinical professionals who provide care to patients of all ages. We have 22 independent practices, with 26 site locations across Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin. Northstar Physicians is also the administrative office for the CareNorth Health System, a top-ranked care system that is a partnership of St. Luke's, Northland Medical Associates and Northstar Physicians.


Dr. Ripp recognized by Lake Superior Medical Society

February, 2006

The Lake Superior Medical Society recognized Dr. Kenneth Ripp in appreciation of his leadership and commitment. For his work, Ripp was presented with the President's Gavel Plaque.


Dr. Puumala achieves life membership with the American Academy of Family Physicians

February, 2006

Ricard Reino Puumala, M.D. has achieved the Life Membership status with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). The AAFP recognizes family physicians who have distinguished themselves through service to family and ongoing professional development. To achieve AAFP Life Membership status, a family physician must be a continuous member for a minimum of 20 years, demonstrating his/her dedication to continuing medical education and the family medicine specialty.

Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents more than 94,000 physicians and medical students nationwide. The AAFP was instrumental in establishing the specialty of family practice, and was also the first medical specialty organization to require its members to earn 150 hours of approved continuing medical education every three years. It is only the medical specialty organization devoted solely to primary care. The AAFP website can be found at


General surgeon, Dr. Jim Ryan,
joins Raiter Clinic staff

October, 2005

Raiter Clinic is pleased to welcome Jim Ryan, M.D. to its staff.

Dr. Ryan is a general surgeon who has performed over 6,000 surgical procedures in his 10 years of medical practice. In addition to general surgery, Dr. Ryan is also available to perform endoscopy, colonscopy, esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), and bronchoscopy.

Dr. Ryan graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School and completed a general surgery residency at Mayo Clinic. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery.

Dr. Ryan makes his home in Sturgeon Lake.


Dr. Luehr to head
Minnesota Medical Association

article by: Scott Stein - The Pine Journal

September, 2005

Cloquet physician Dr. David Luehr has made a career out of helping patients and improving health care systems at Raiter Clinic. Now he’ll get to help the state of Minnesota and the nation do the same thing. Luehr was sworn in last Thursday as president of the Minnesota Medical Association (MMA). He’ll serve for one year as the organization’s primary spokesperson and will continue to participate in setting policy. “It’s a tremendous honor for me,” Luehr said. “The slogan we have at the MMA is ‘Physicians working for a healthy Minnesota.’ That’s something I’ve worked on my whole career, so it’s a good fit for me.”

Luehr will continue his full time practice at the Raiter Clinic, where he’s been a Family Practice doctor for 27 years. When news of his appointment started making its way through town, a rumor circulated that Luehr would resign his position at Raiter Clinic. “I’m going to be here for 10 more years,” Luehr said. “I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to do here at the Raiter Clinic.”

MMA has some 10,000 physician members. As a nationwide health care leader, the reforms and policies groups like the MMA advocate can become not only state but national issues. Luehr said MMA is leading a health care reform effort focusing on a few key areas. The first is promoting public health. “We need to support public health programs,” Luehr said. “Those budgets have been cut and the result is that problems like teen smoking increase. That raises costs for the whole system. Public health is a wise investment.”

MMA is also advocating universal health insurance. Luehr said it costs all health care consumers more money to have uninsured people because the uninsured don’t take advantage of preventive care and often end up in emergency rooms instead of taking care of the problem earlier. “The cost is enormous,” Luehr said. “They wait too long and end up in the emergency room, which is very expensive. The hospital’s costs go up and everyone has to pay more for health care. Rates would be lower if everyone had health insurance.”

MMA presented these ideas and other reform plans to the state legislature last year. Lawmakers were impressed and are likely to bring up the issues during the next legislative session. Clearly there is no shortage of issues for Luehr to work on. Luehr is also eager to make a mark on his more personal mission. At the MMA meeting last Thursday, he spoke about his desire to improve the quality of health care delivery. “We’re going to look at ways to help patients adhere to their physician’s medical advice,” Luehr said.

He also wants to work on raising awareness about the need for exercise and researching how successful patients with high blood pressure have been at getting their blood pressure under control.

Other MMA initiatives include promoting healthy diets in health care facilities, raising public awareness about the risks of scarring and blindness associated with laser treatments, and providing lactation consultants as a part of maternity care
A large part of pushing those reforms forward means working well with the legislature and other organizations. His schedule away from Raiter Clinic will be a bit more sporadic, but many patients won’t notice any change.

As the voice of the organization, Luehr could also find himself in the national spotlight. Minnesota is known as a health care innovator. Many states look to Minnesota as a model of potential national health care policy. Luehr plans to attend two of the American Medical Association’s conferences and said he’s looking forward to talking with other state and national health care policy makers.
“I’m excited and honored about this opportunity,” Luehr said. “We have a great health care system in Minnesota. I’m going to work on making it even better.”


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