OAHS Attains 5-Star Rating for Outstanding Rural Healthcare

Ortonville Area Health Services (OAHS) is proud to announce its recent advancement from a 4-star to a 5-star rating by the National Rural Rating System (NRRS), a testament to its ongoing commitment to providing quality healthcare in rural communities.

The NRRS Star Rating System evaluates rural and critical access hospitals on a scale of 1-5, with 5-star being the top ranking. This system uses the same metrics and criteria as the 5-star rating system of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), offering an assessment for smaller hospitals not covered by CMS ratings.

These star ratings serve as a platform for hospitals/clinics to showcase their success, representing a noteworthy recognition of their commitment to patient satisfaction, quality care, and overall performance. OAHS joins just eight other healthcare organizations in achieving 5-star status in 2024. (View the full list at fivestarratings.org.)

Dr. Allan Ross, CEO of OAHS, notes, “This serves as a testament to the outstanding work that our teams deliver to the patients and residents in our region. I am immensely proud that their unwavering dedication and hard work are being acknowledged and celebrated.”

Moving ahead, OAHS remains committed to further enhancing service excellence and elevating patient care.OAHS 5-star Award

Upcoming Childbirth Education Class (January 2024)

OAHS will conduct a childbirth education class in January 2024. These classes are led by OAHS Childbirth Educator Maria Botker, CNS, RN.


Mon., January 8th, 2024 from 6pm-9pm AND
Mon., January 15th, 2024 from 6pm-9pm


Clinic Conference Room at OAHS (Report to the front lobby of the hospital. Maria will meet you and show you the way to the  education room)

What to Bring:

You and your labor partner or support person

What to Wear:

Comfortable clothes

What You Will Learn:

Nutrition and exercise during pregnancy, labor details, comfort techniques, newborn care, breastfeeding/bottle-feeding, the role of the labor partner, relaxation during labor, and much more…


Free for those planning to deliver at OAHS


Reserve your spot by calling Maria’s office voicemail at 320-839-4025 or email her at [email protected]. RSVP before January 5th!

We look forward to seeing you in class!


OAHS Earns Prestigious 4-Star Rating

Ortonville Area Health Services (OAHS), a committed healthcare provider serving western Minnesota and northeastern South Dakota, is proud to announce that it has been awarded a prestigious four-star rating by the National Rural Rating System (NRRS), a program recognizing excellence in rural healthcare.

This esteemed designation is a testament to OAHS’ dedication to delivering high-quality care and exceptional patient experiences. The NRRS evaluates health systems based on rigorous standards, including patient satisfaction, quality of care, and overall performance.

Dr. Allan Ross, CEO of OAHS, notes, “Our teams work diligently to provide the best care for the communities we serve, and I am so happy that they are being recognized for the exceptional care they provide for our patients and residents.”

The four-star rating reflects OAHS’ ongoing commitment to meeting the unique healthcare needs of rural communities throughout the region. This recognition highlights their success in providing outstanding medical services despite the challenges often faced by rural healthcare facilities.

Brian Lee, Chairman of National Rural Rating System, reflects, “This award is a testament to their unwavering commitment, dedication, expertise, and compassionate care provided to the community every day. In a rural setting, where healthcare challenges are unique and often complex, achieving this level of excellence signifies not just clinical capabilities, but also a deep connection to the community. This recognition reaffirms rural healthcare to be a beacon of health, hope, and healing.”

OAHS extends its heartfelt thanks to its dedicated team of healthcare professionals, whose tireless efforts and unwavering commitment to patient care have made this achievement possible.

About OAHS:
Ortonville Area Health Services (OAHS) is a city-owned, rural health care system located on the Minnesota side of the Minnesota/South Dakota border. OAHS consists of a 25-bed critical access hospital licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health, a 51-bed nursing home, a home health agency, three provider-based physician clinics, and a senior living facility with catered living and assisted living apartments. The mission of OAHS is to provide personalized, high-quality, and compassionate care through caring professionals in a healing environment. For more information, visit oahs.us.

About the 5-Star Rating System:
The 5-Star Rating System ranks rural and critical access hospitals – with five stars being the top ranking and one star being the lowest. The Star Ratings are like the CMS Stars, which allow hospitals/clinics to promote their success and are used as high-quality recognitions. Most small and rural hospitals (60%) do not qualify for CMS Ranking because of a low number of qualifying inpatients, but are held to the same high patient satisfaction criteria. This new program recognizes the hard work and dedication rural and critical access hospitals provide nationwide. The rankings include overnight hospital stays (HCAHPS) and are based on data collected by certified CMS patient satisfaction vendors. For more information, visit FiveStarRatings.org.

Kiana Conrad, FNP now seeing patients

Kiana Conrad, Family Nurse Practitioner

Kiana Conrad, NP

Ortonville Area Health Services (OAHS) is pleased to announce that Kiana Conrad, Family Nurse Practitioner, is now seeing patients at Northside Medical Clinic in Ortonville. Kiana was recruited through a long-standing partnership between OAHS and the Big Stone Health Care Foundation, which has brought over twenty providers to the area.

“We are excited to have Kiana as part of the medical team here at OAHS,” said Clinic Director Liz Sorenson. “She is a team player who understands rural medicine and is dedicated to providing compassionate care.”

Kiana obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from South Dakota State University, graduating in 2015. In 2021, she completed her Master of Science in Nursing from Bradley University. Kiana most recently worked as a hospitalist nurse practitioner at Monument Health Rapid City Hospital. Before that, she was a charge nurse at Milbank Area Hospital Avera prior to completing her nurse practitioner requirements.

Kiana lives in Milbank, SD, with her husband, their three boys, and a puppy named Griffey. They are a very active family and are always on the go with sporting events and activities. (Go Twins and Skol, Vikings!) Regarding her role at OAHS, Kiana states, “I am most looking forward to making a positive impact in serving Ortonville and the surrounding communities. We have a phenomenal healthcare team, and I am so grateful to be a part of the OAHS family.”

To schedule an appointment with Kiana Conrad, NP, please call (320) 839-6157.

Tracy Dozak, NP Joins OAHS Medical Team

Tracy Dozak, Family Nurse PractitionerOrtonville Area Health Services is pleased to announce that Tracy Dozak, Family Nurse Practitioner, has joined Ortonville Area Health Services and will begin seeing patients on July 3. Tracy will provide services at Northside Medical Clinic in Ortonville and the OAHS Clinton Clinic in Clinton, MN. She was recruited to the area through a long-standing partnership between Ortonville Area Health Services and the Big Stone Health Care Foundation, which has brought over twenty providers to the area.

“We are excited to welcome Tracy Dozak to the provider group and medical team here at OAHS,” said Clinic Director Liz Sorenson. “She has a great understanding of what it takes to provide whole-person and family care. In addition, Tracy has strong ties to the area, and we look forward to utilizing her expertise in staffing the Clinton Clinic.”

Tracy obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Bemidji State University in 2009. In 2013, she completed her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. Most recently, Tracy has worked as a Nurse Practitioner at Essentia Health in Wahpeton for the past eight years. She brings a wide range of experience as a Certified Nursing Assistant, Emergency Medical Technician, and Registered Nurse before her current role as a Family Nurse Practitioner providing holistic care for patients within the scope of family practice, primarily focusing on preventative, evidenced-based medicine.

Tracy is originally from Blackduck, MN and has resided in Wahpeton, ND for the past 15 years, along with her husband and two sons, ages 13 and 9. She and her family have been coming to our region for recreational purposes for the past several years, so this area is not unfamiliar to them. Tracy and her family are excited to relocate and enjoy all the outdoor opportunities this location offers. She states, “My sons love to fish, hunt, play sports, basically love to be outside, and they are thrilled to be able to fish every day!”

In anticipation of her new role, Tracy notes, “I look forward to the privilege of helping to keep the community healthy. It takes a community to raise a family. Therefore, we must be invested in the health and wellness of the community so they can assist in raising our children.”

For more information on Ortonville Area Health Services or to schedule an appointment with Tracy Dozak, NP, please call (320) 839-6157.

Michelle Deutz, PMHNP Now Seeing Patients at OAHS

Ortonville Area Health Services (OAHS) is pleased to announce that Michelle Deutz is now seeing patients at Northside Medical Clinic. As a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), Michelle provides mental health services along with her colleague Twila Mursu, PMHNP and the whole of OAHS medical staff. Michelle was recruited to the area through a long-standing partnership between Northside Medical Clinic, Ortonville Area Health Services, and the Big Stone Health Care Foundation, which has brought over twenty providers to the area.

“We are very excited to have Michelle on board to enhance mental health services to the community,” said Clinic Director Liz Sorenson. “The compassion and understanding Michelle brings to her role not only strengthens the Mental Health team but the entire organization in providing wraparound care to the patients we serve.”

Michelle has previously worked as a Registered Nurse since obtaining her RN degree from Winona State University in 2018. She then pursued her Master of Nursing degree from the University of North Dakota, graduating in August 2022. As a PMHNP, Michelle is specially trained to provide behavioral health services to people of all ages, with her primary focus being children and adolescent patients. She states, “I am most looking forward to helping people remember that there is always hope and light, even in the darkest times, and that no one has to go through those times alone.”

For more information on Ortonville Area Health Services or to schedule an appointment with Michelle Deutz, PMHNP please call (320) 839-6157.

OAHS Receives Grant to Purchase Ultrasound Equipment

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has awarded Ortonville Area Health Services (OAHS) $102,614 in grant funds to purchase state-of-the-art ultrasound machines as part of a $26.4 million ultrasound initiative in Minnesota. The initiative includes nearly $18.3 million to help Minnesota hospitals and health centers purchase ultrasound imaging devices and an additional $8.1 million to boost sonography and point of care ultrasound (POCUS) training opportunities across the state.

The grant funds have allowed OAHS to purchase two new ultrasound machines: a GE Voluson Swift Ultrasound and a GE Venue Go Premier Ultrasound. These point-of-care ultrasounds are increasingly mobile and allow for fast assessment of patients. Dr. David Collins, Emergency Medicine Physician at OAHS notes, “Point-of-care ultrasound has become increasingly utilized in the clinic, hospital, and emergency department setting across the US. The latest ultrasound technology provides even better imaging quality as well as tools to assist us with making faster and more accurate diagnoses. Formal ultrasound is not always readily available in our community but with point-of-care ultrasound technology, we are able to get the ball rolling to initiate treatment while waiting for the complete study to be done at a later date. This is an exciting time to be in medicine and for our community as a whole!”

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures inside the body. This safe, cost-effective tool supports other clinical information to help providers make timely diagnoses and provide appropriate treatment.

Walter Panzirer, a Trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust, said the grants will help improve access to exceptional medical treatment for all Minnesotans, whether they live in the heart of Minneapolis or a smaller rural or underserved community.

“Our hospitals and health centers need to stay current with rapidly advancing technology so they can continue to provide top-notch healthcare close to home,” Panzirer said. “These grants help ensure that facilities across Minnesota have the latest and greatest ultrasound equipment and training.”

More than half of the 196 devices purchased through the grants (109) are POCUS machines, which are used by providers at the bed or tableside for immediate assessment of a patient to quickly determine a course of action. The grants will also provide 69 general ultrasound systems and 18 cardiovascular ultrasound systems, which aid in imaging of the heart.

The initiative also includes more than $8.1 million to train new sonographers, offer continuing education to sonographers and ultrasound technologists, and provide comprehensive POCUS training to doctors, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. The training grants include more than $917,000 to the Minnesota Rural Health Association to support sonographer training in rural and underserved areas of the state, more than $1 million to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to expand St. Cloud Technical & Community College’s sonography program, and nearly $6.2 million to the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians Foundation which will partner with High Quality Medical Education (HQMEDED) to provide POCUS training across the state.

“These grants are a game changer for rural hospitals across the state,” said Thomas Pahl, PA-C, an emergency department clinician, instructor with HQMEDED, and member of the Minnesota State Trauma Advisory Council. “Clinicians and sonographers will not only have access to the newest ultrasound equipment on the market, but they will also be able to pursue educational opportunities to become more proficient at use of the equipment, expand the studies they can perform, and incorporate these skills into their clinical practices.”

OAHS Receives Performance Leadership Award

Ortonville Area Health Services has been awarded a 2022 Performance Leadership Award for excellence in Patient Perspective by the Chartis Center for Rural Health. Given as part of the National Rural Health Day celebration, the Performance Leadership Awards honor top quartile performance (75th percentile or above) among rural hospitals in Quality, Outcomes, and Patient Perspective.

“Quality of care and our patient experience has been a primary focus at OAHS,” said Dr. Allan Ross, CEO of OAHS. “This recognition not only reflects on the care a patient receives from those providing direct patient care but also reflects on the numerous behind-the-scenes people who greatly contribute to the patient experience. I am very proud of the team we have at OAHS.”

Chartis Award for Performance Leadership

The Performance Leadership Awards are given to rural hospitals based on the results of analysis from the Chartis Rural Hospital Performance INDEX, the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance in the United States. INDEX data is trusted and relied upon by rural hospitals, health systems with rural footprints, hospital associations, and state offices of rural health across the country to measure and monitor performance across several areas impacting hospital operations and finance.

About Ortonville Area Health Services

The mission of OAHS is to provide personalized, high-quality, and compassionate care through caring professionals in a healing environment. OAHS offers a broad scope of regional services:

  • Northside Medical Clinic provides family medicine and specialized care in Family Medicine/Obstetrics, Emergency Medicine, and Psychiatry. Satellite clinics and outreach services are available in Wheaton, Canby, and Clinton, MN, as well as the OAHS Trojan Clinic within Ortonville Public Schools.
  • The Ortonville Hospital, a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital, is a state-of-the-art facility that provides obstetrical care, surgery, and outpatient services.
  • Fairway View Senior Communities provides comprehensive services while cultivating a vibrant community culture that celebrates individuality in all stages of life. Services include catered living and assisted living apartments with numerous on-site amenities and opportunities for socialization. Fairway View Neighborhoods provides long-term care nursing services and support in a home atmosphere that honors choices through meaningful activities while respecting each resident’s individual preferences.

Changes to OAHS Respiratory Clinic Process

December 6, 2022: Ortonville Area Health Services is changing the appointment process for patients experiencing respiratory, influenza-like symptoms. Currently, this patient population is served in a location that allows them to avoid the main clinic area and entrance. This was necessary during the height of COVID to minimize the spread of illness while allowing OAHS personnel to see patients in a location where it was safe, effective, and efficient.

Now, patients with respiratory, influenza-like symptoms can once again receive care inside the clinic. Below is an overview of what to expect:

  • When you schedule your appointment, please communicate all symptoms, including any respiratory symptoms you may be experiencing.
  • Arrive at the clinic as you typically would. Enter through the clinic and report to the registration area. Most importantly, wear a mask.
  • Registration staff will assist you to a designated room, bypassing the waiting room, where you will wait to see your healthcare provider.
  • Your appointment will take place as it typically does. After your appointment is complete, you do not need to report to the registration area to check out.

The drive-in option will remain in place for patients who have found it the most convenient way to receive care, meeting the patient where they are and where they feel most comfortable.

As treatment options for COVID have expanded to include preventative vaccines, home testing, effective treatment options, and better knowledge of the virus, OAHS has readdressed how patients with respiratory symptoms are cared for in the clinic while still ensuring the best patient experience possible for everyone. We appreciate your patience as we navigate and work through this change to our process.

The ABCs of Safe Sleep – Infant Safe Sleep Week

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has proclaimed November 13-19 Infant Safe Sleep Week. The following information from the Minnesota Department of Health contains simple tips that can dramatically reduce infants’ risk of unexpected death:

For Minnesota’s Infant Safe Sleep Week, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is encouraging parents and caregivers to tune into what pediatricians are saying about the best ways to keep babies sleeping safely.

For the first time in five years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in June updated its safe sleep recommendations for preventing unexpected deaths for children up to 1 year old. The recommendations continue to support the ABCs of safe sleep:

  • ALONE: Infants should always sleep or nap alone – not sharing beds or cribs with others.
  • BACK: Always put a baby on their back to sleep or nap.
  • CRIB: Babies should always sleep or nap in their own safety-approved crib, play yard, bassinet, or portable crib without blankets or pillows. To keep warm during Minnesota winters, parents are urged to dress babies in pajamas or other clothing appropriate for the temperature.

In addition, for the first time, the AAP recommendations recognized cradleboards, used by some American Indian communities, as a culturally appropriate infant sleep surface, according to the AAP. Caregivers should be careful not to overly bundle the infant in a cradleboard, causing the baby to overheat.

“If we’ve learned anything, it’s that simple is best. Parents can keep their babies safe by remembering their ABC’s. Their baby should sleep, Alone, on their Back, and in a Crib or bassinet without soft toys, pillows, bumpers or blankets,” said Dr. Andrew Kiragu, past president of the Minnesota chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a co-chair of the chapter’s child safety caucus.

Recognizing the importance of building awareness around this public health issue, Governor Tim Walz proclaimed November 13-19 Infant Safe Sleep Week.

Research continues to show that bed-sharing raises the risk of a baby’s injury or death, according to the AAP recommendations. Risks of sleep-related death increase five to 10 times when sleeping on the same surface with someone else when an infant is under 4 months of age. The risk goes up when the co-sleeper is impaired by fatigue, alcohol, or drug use. Additionally, couch sleeping is very risky. The risks of sleep-related infant deaths are up to 67 times higher when an infant is sleeping with someone on a couch, soft armchair or cushion, the AAP said.

Parents can also save their money and avoid cardiorespiratory monitors, as there’s no evidence they reduce the risk of unexpected infant deaths, according to the recommendations. Parents should also reject head-shaping pillows and weighted blankets, weighted sleepers, weighted swaddles, or other weighted objects on or near a sleeping infant as they can create an unsafe sleeping space.

Minnesota Data

Minnesota’s most recent data from 2020 showed fewer unexpected deaths, 33, than in an average year, according to MDH research. Between 2014 and 2020, Minnesota averaged 47 unexpected infant deaths each year, where Minnesota babies died suddenly and unexpectedly. Nearly all those tragic deaths happened in unsafe sleep environments. There is some evidence that Minnesota parents and caregivers are ensuring safer sleep spaces, increasingly putting babies to bed without soft objects and bedding. In 2020, 64% of mothers reported not using soft bedding, compared to 48% in 2016, according to data collected through monthly surveys with new mothers through the Minnesota Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (MN PRAMS).

Nationally, about 3,500 infants die from sleep-related infant deaths a year in the United States, according to the AAP. The annual number of deaths has remained about the same since 2000 after a substantial decline in deaths in the 1990s attributed to public health campaigns encouraging parents and caregivers to put babies to sleep on their backs.

“This week is an opportunity to get the word out about safe sleep practices such as having babies sleep on their backs, alone and in a crib,” said Minnesota Department of Health Assistant Commissioner Mary Manning. “It also provides a chance to highlight the need for all Minnesotans to have the financial and housing opportunities necessary to provide safe sleeping spaces for babies.”

While overall death numbers have declined, persistent racial and ethnic disparities exist that reflect broader societal inequities, according to research. Nationally, the rate of sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs) among Black and American Indian/Alaska Native infants was more than double and almost triple, respectively, that of white infants (85 per 100,000 live births) in 2010-2013, according to AAP. In Minnesota, between 2014 and 2018, the disparity was three times greater for Black infants and more than eight times greater for American Indian infants than for white infants.

As part of safe sleep week, MDH also continues its tradition of partnering with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to illuminate the I-35W Bridge in pink, white and blue during Infant Safe Sleep Week on the night of Nov. 16. Hennepin County partners are also illuminating the Lowry Avenue Bridge in pink, white and blue on the same night. In addition, MDH thanked the Sanford Luverne Medical Center for its commitment to education and best practices by achieving Silver Safe Sleep Hospital status as part of the National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification.







450 Eastvold Ave

Ortonville, Minnesota 56278


Ortonville Area Health Services will receive single prime sealed bids for the Respiratory Clinic Renovation until 2:00 PM local time on September 27, 2022 at the Ortonville Area Health Services, 450 Eastvold Ave, Ortonville, Minnesota 56278, at which time and place all bids will be publicly opened and read aloud.

Bidding documents, including the Proposal Form, Drawings and Specifications, will be on file at the link below on September 17, 2022 https://woldae.sharefile.com/d-sd19213f82a944a2fb902b5ba815b6af8

This project includes renovations of existing offices, housekeeping room, and nurse station to create a new Respiratory Clinic within the existing clinic, addition of a new canopy and exterior ramp, and sidewalk replacement.

The Owner requires construction to commence immediately after the awarded bid. Schedule to be coordinated and confirmed with the owner prior to demolition with the selected contractor.

Contact Gretta Berens at Wold Architects and Engineers with any questions, [email protected], 651.227.7773

Dr. Allan Ross, Chief Executive Officer

[ORTONVILLE, MN] 08/31/22 Allan Ross, MD, assumes role as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ortonville Area Health Services (OAHS).

On July 12th, OAHS Health Care Board of Directors, in collaboration with Sanford Health, announced Dr. Ross as upcoming CEO, a long-time medical provider and then-current Chief Medical Officer at OAHS.

Dr. Ross reflected on his new position, “I feel fortunate to be able to continue to serve OAHS in this new capacity. OAHS is a strong organization and I look forward to working alongside the dedicated employees and providers to continue to be the premier healthcare organization in the region and best serve our patients and residents.”

Ross, originally from Ortonville, is a graduate of University of Minnesota earning his M.D. in 1997 and completed his Family Practice Residency with HealthSystems Minnesota/University of Minnesota-Methodist Hospital. Dr. Ross has been a medical provider at OAHS for the past 22 years and was named Chief Medical Officer in 2019. He has also served on the Sanford Health Network Board of Directors since 2021, the Minnesota Community Measurement Advisory Board from 2010-2018, and was on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Rural Health Core Cooperative from 2006-2009. Dr. Ross and his wife, Lisa, raised their three daughters in Ortonville and enjoy traveling to Duluth, Minn. to visit them.

Ortonville Area Health Services is a regional healthcare leader providing personalized, high quality and compassionate care through caring professionals in a healing environment.

OAHS services include:
• Northside Medical Clinic that provides family medicine and specialized care in Family Medicine/Obstetrics, Emergency Medicine, and Psychiatry – with satellite clinics and outreach services in Wheaton, Canby, and Clinton, MN and the OAHS Trojan Clinic within Ortonville Public Schools.
• The Ortonville Hospital, a state-of-the-art facility that provides 25-inpatient beds and obstetrical care, surgery, and outpatient services.
• The comprehensive Fairway View Senior Communities that provides catered living and assisted living apartments with numerous on-site amenities and Fairway View Neighborhoods, a resident-focused facility that provides long-term care nursing services and support.

Photo Credit: Caiti Barr Photography

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