Offering Patients Hope

12 Feb 2020 News

This article has been published with the gracious consent of the Mountrail County Promoter.

You assume that you know the face of opiate addiction. You believe you can tell just by looking at a person, but that is not true. A person is  often struggling in plain sight. It affects all ages and demographics and could be anyone that you know.
Addiction to opioids can happen quickly and easily. Many times, it persists with that person not looking for the “high” but rather just struggling to feel normal. Withdrawal is so profound and so deep that the only way they can get by is to have that opiate on board. They seek it out just to try to have a normal life. It snowballs and takes over their life.
That is where a new program at the Mountrail County Medical Center’s Rural Health Clinic is looking to help. Abbey Ruland, PA and Tammie Braaflat, FNP are offering a MAT Program to help patients looking to move forward and through addiction to a successful and healthy life.
MAT stands for Medication-Assisted Treatment, a strategy for combating opioid use disorders that combines behavioral counseling with prescription medications containing buprenorphine, such a Suboxone.
By the time patients come to them, they say, they are often desperate. They may have lost their job or relationships to the drug addiction. They may have used up their financial resources to get more drugs. They say it is not in an attempt to get high, but rather to take away the horrible pain that comes with the addiction.
Both have taken the required coursework on how to prescribe the medications that will help and credit current CEO Ben Bucher for also having providers on staff in Cando that are part of the MAT programs. They are also working with them with the ECHO Project. Through the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, the North Dakota Opioid Use Disorder TeleECHO gives providers a virtual learning network with other treatment providers. This program gives collaboration, support and ongoing learning with subject-matter experts and healthcare staff as they look for new ways to support patients in their home communities.
Ruland started her training while still working with Trinity in New Town. She finished that just before returning to practice in Stanley. Braaflat took her training in Bismarck in November and finished the online portion in December. They say that much of the training was in pharmacology and the science of chemical addiction. They learned about the different medications that could be used to treat the addiction and how each works, as well as the side effects and things to watch for during treatment.
It covered how to start the process, known as induction, and the protocols to follow so they do not cause sudden severe withdrawal. It included skills for interviewing and counseling patients. It is about spending the time getting to the bottom of the issue, including the “whys” and “hows” and how to change going forward.
They say it opened their eyes to the differences in the traditional ways to look at addiction and slip ups. Instead it needs to be treated like any other disease. Rather than condemning for a slip up or relapse, instead it is creating open dialog about the ups and downs in the process. It is about not condemning the patient, but rather helping them to avoid those issues in the future. They want to build honest and open relationships to be a pillar of hope for the patient.
Opioid addiction needs to be treated like any other disease. You don’t look at a diabetic and ask why they don’t stop eating or why they don’t just do what is necessary. You work with them. Addiction needs to be treated the same way.
The goal  is to help patients get their lives back on these medications. They want them to be able to regain a sense of normalcy that will allow them to function within their relationships and jobs.
Treatment with MAT will help patients in their own community. In the past patients have had to travel as far away as Bismarck. That is  not realistic if their whole life  then revolves on going that far to get the help they want.
Opioid addiction often starts with a prescription. The addiction happens so fast. For many it is a prescription after a surgery and then the patient finds they can’t go without it. It happens quickly and unexpectedly. It then turns into the need to get more pills, often on the street. It can also turn to a heroin addiction rather than pills because that is cheaper and easier to find.
The buprenorphine works to bind tightly to the receptors while providing no altered sense or euphoria. It allows the patient to get through the painful, profound withdrawal from the opioids.
The MAT program is open to patients ages sixteen and up. The buprenorphine can be used by pregnant patients. It is recognized by all major medical organization. Research shows that this treatment method shows better outcomes. It is not substituting one drug for another, but rather finding a way to help patients reach their goals.
Depending on where the patient is in their addiction and what opiates they are using, they will work with them as they stop and then start the buprenorphine. It is all timed out and dosages will be adjusted as needed. They say that everyone’s story is different, so they are focusing on helping each patient meet their goals. It is not an overnight fix, but they can get there.
It is hope in a hopeless situation. They want their patients to be able to see the light and help them get there. Like any other medical problem, the patient has to have the desire to get better. With open and honest conversation, they can help them get there. They will guide you through this to feel good again. They stress that  they want their patients to know that they are there with compassionate open minds to help. They want them to know they do not need to be scared or ashamed to ask for the help.
Although the program in Stanley has only started in the past few weeks, they already have patients that are benefitting from the program. Opioid addiction is a large issue in Mountrail County, but both are quick to point out that if  you are dealing with it or have a family member dealing with it just losing a single person is a big deal.
They have made sure that the pharmacy is carrying the medication that is dispensed by prescription. At the beginning of treatment, patients will likely be seen twice a week until they are stabilized with their withdrawal and treatment. It will then be based on patient needs, but likely at least monthly.
The length of treatment with buprenorphine will also depend on the patient. For some it could be a lifelong prescription. For others it could be working on a plan to get off it as well once the addiction is treated and their situation changes. That is no different than any other medical diagnosis like diabetes, heart conditions, blood pressure and more that require long-term or lifelong treatments.
You can schedule appointments with either Ruland or Braaflat by calling the clinic at 628-2505. If you are concerned about discussing addiction as the reason for making the appointment, they say that you can tell the scheduler you are looking for medication review or a checkup. They say that discretion is one of their highest priorities as they work towards their goal of wanting people to feel better and find hope for a better future.

Nominations Open For Long Term Caregiver Award

22 Jan 2020 News

January 1st, 2020 marks the beginning of the submission period for the North Dakota Long Term Care Association Caregiver Award.  This annual award recognizes employees across the state of North Dakota who go above and beyond their everyday duties to substantially enhance the quality of life for residents of long term care facilities.  The NDLTCA takes this time each year to honor and recognize those special employees who make a difference in the lives of North Dakota’s aging population.  Mountrail Bethel Home, a CMS 5 star rated nursing home, is proud to employ Director of Rosen Place Assisted Living Facility, Lauren Hysjulien, a previous winner of the award.  When asked about the award, Lauren stated, “It was a nice way to feel appreciated for all the hard work I had put in during the previous year”. “You don’t always know that the work you’re doing makes a difference, but receiving this award helped show me that even the little things can make someone’s day a little better”.   

Applications to nominate an employee can be picked up from the Director of Social Services, Kelly Gustavson, or can be found at the link here.  All employees working in North Dakota long term care facilities are eligible for this award, but MUST be nominated by a resident or family member to be considered.  This award will be judged based on how the nominated caregiver substantially enhances the quality of life of residents.  Mountrail Bethel Home’s motto is “nobody takes care of your like your own”.  Employees pride themselves on treating residents with the respect and dignity they would give their own family members, and this results in the top quality care we strive to provide.  Residents and family members are welcome to nominate more than one staff if applicable.  Winners of the award will be presented with a cash prize during the annual NDLTCA Spring Convention in Bismarck.  All nominees will receive a Certificate of Outstanding Achievement from the North Dakota Long Term Care Association, and will be listed in the Caregiver Booklet.   All entries must be postmarked by Friday, February 7th to:

North Dakota Long Term Care Association

1900 N 11th St

Bismarck, ND 58501

For more information, or for any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Kelly Gustavson at 701-628-2424 ext. 118 or at

New Providers Joining Staff At MCHC

10 Oct 2019 News

Two providers are joining the staff at Mountrail County Health Center which will alleviate some of the staffing shortages over the past few months. One will be a new face, while the other will be familiar to many of the patients at the facility. Rich Laksonen, FNP-EMP has been on staff since September 25, while Abbey Ruland, PA will rejoin the staff on Monday, Oct. 21.

Rich Laksonen earned his nursing and graduate degrees at Northern Michigan University. He is both an FNP and EMP, meaning that he is certified as the family nurse practitioner, but also an emergency medicine practitioner.

He has worked as an ER nurse, flight nurse and paramedic during his career. He transitioned to the military and was stationed at Minot Air Force Base. He also flew medical flights from Williston, so he has been familiar with western North Dakota. Since returning home to Michigan, he has worked exclusively in the emergency room.

He will be seeing patients in the clinic but will be focusing on emergency room coverage. His position will see him taking call and covering nine to ten days per month. Because the on call is a 24 hour per day job it will be considered a full-time position.

Living in the UP in Michigan just outside of Marquette, he flies into North Dakota on a Thursday and then leaves again on Tuesday. He will continue to work his position in Michigan as well until November. After that point, he and his wife, Katy, may consider a move back to North Dakota. She has a degree in professional sports management and is currently working in human resources.

As a provider he is able to treat the full scope of routine and emergent medical problems, although he knows that the majority of his time will be spent with the on call treatment in the emergency room. To that end, he says that his time in the clinic is likely to be spent dealing with acute or emergent visits.

He says that his addition to the staff is to make sure the schedule is open so that patients can get immediate care. His current position in Michigan has him working exclusively in emergency and critical care medicine, so he says that the ER is where he likes to be.

His hiring is thinking outside of the box for MCHC and is an addition that will work well to meet patient needs. He says that signing his contract was able to help him fill in the needs in Stanley’s healthcare system. He says that he is not taking on patients as a primary care provider, but rather if their primary provider is booked, they will still be able to get in and be seen as soon as possible.

Administrator Ben Bucher say, “Rich brings with him a lengthy history of providing emergency care.  His time here will mainly focus on emergency medicine, which will allow our local primary care providers to see more patients in the clinic.  So far Rich has impressed our staff with his emergency room skills and willingness to help out in the clinic, nursing home, or assisted living whenever there is a need.”

Abbey Ruland, PA, is a familiar face for many in the Stanley area. She started at MCHC in January of 2013 and worked there through the end of October last year. At that time, she took a position with Trinity working at the clinic in New Town. Now almost a year later, she returns to the MCHC on Monday, Oct. 21. She will be working in the clinic and hospital but will take some daytime call on those weeks that Laksonen is not in Stanley. She will see patients in the clinic Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Ruland earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Montana and her Physician’s Assistant from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

Her return to Stanley, she says, will allow her to provide regular family practice medicine to patients. While she enjoyed her time in New Town and is sad to leave there, she is excited about the opportunity to come home and take care of the people she lives and works with. She says it is an amazing opportunity and is looking forward to getting back, settling in and making a mark by helping as many people as she can.

She also says that without having to take call, she will now look to focus on the kinds of services needed and how she can help to make those a reality. She also says that by adding Laksonen, it shows how far the MCHC facility has come in the last year and it makes her excited to do what she can to help the community.

When she was contacted by Administrator Ben Bucher and Administrator In Training Steph Everett, she says that she was happy to consider coming back to work with the colleagues she learned how to practice medicine with. She enjoyed working in New Town and says that staff there was great, but this is her home. She looks forward to broadening her own horizons while providing services and care that is needed here.

She is also excited to work with Laksonen, saying that as a highly qualified emergency provider it is exciting to work side by side and learn the skills he brings to the table. She says that adding him to an already great staff brings more brains to work together to come up with the best plan of care for patients.

She also says that the way Bucher and Everett are working together, the sky is the limit when it comes to healthcare in the Stanley area. She says that with an eye on the prize to serve the community, the facilities will continue to move forward in healthcare.

Ruland and her husband, Matt, live south of Ross where they farm and ranch. They have two daughters, Cora age 3 and Sloan age 1.
Bucher says, “ We are very excited to be bringing Abbey back to MCMC.  Her passion for providing excellent health care resonates with her patients, this is evident with her strong patient following.  I look forward to the energy and uplifting spirit she will bring to MCMC, and I’m excited for our patients who get to reunite with Abbey.”

This article is reprinted with the gracious consent of the Mountrail County Promoter.

Mammography Unit Provides Services at Home

8 Oct 2019 News

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and that’s something that staff at Mountrail County Medical Center would like their patients to remember. Getting a mammogram is easier for patients in the Stanley area thanks to a Mammomat Revelation 3-D mammogram that was added to the radiology department last August.

Now a year into serving patients Mammography Technologist Beth Johnson, RT, says they have seen more than double the patients they thought they would see when they started offering the services last year. She says that patients are really happy with the ability to have the 3D mammogram done compared to the 2D that is offered with the mobile unit.

The 3D slice technology is especially valued by patients with dense or fibrous breast tissue. Many of those patients who receive a recall or follow up recommendation after having the 2D mammogram. That would mean a wait to get in to have the 3D mammogram done and result in a drive to at least Minot to have it done.

Because of the 3D technology, Johnson says, it is possible to catch issues earlier because they see deeper into the breast tissue. She says that dense tissue and cancerous tissues sometimes look the same, so the thin slices make it easier to differentiate.

Johnson says that patients are still scheduled one day per week, but if the demand rose additional days could be scheduled. She says that she has also been able to offer the services in the evening when she has two or three patients making the request. She says that makes it easier for women who work during the day with her ability to adjust the schedule.

She also wants patients to know that they do not need to feel self-conscious coming in for the mammogram. They have made the unit as pleasant, private and comfortable for patients as possible.

Mammogram recommendations call for a baseline at age 40 unless there is a family history or current issue that has a doctor recommending an earlier scan. There is not a “cut off” or “age out” date for mammograms, which are recommended yearly.

Johnson says that patients are grateful to have the 3D services. She says that patients should feel and know that they are getting the latest technology possible with the machine. The machine was purchased through funding from the Reiarson Trust. That money was set aside with specific conditions. It cannot help with operations at all for the hospital or clinic but can aid them by purchasing different equipment for the facility.

Getting a mammogram is a unique opportunity because it allows for early detection or peace of mind for patients. With Breast Cancer Awareness in October, now is the perfect time to schedule your mammogram, especially if you have been putting it off over concerns of travel time for a relatively short test.

This article is reprinted with the gracious consent of the Mountrail County Promoter.

Why have the bed numbers in MBH been decreasing over the years?

Did you know this about the Mountrail County Health Center? 

Over the past couple of years, members at the Mountrail County Health Center have been answering questions, comments or concerns they have heard on the street from patients, community members or employees. Over the next year, we will be revisiting these old Did You Know’s, taking the ones that need updating, and letting you know how we have changed it, hopefully for the better.  If you have a specific non-health related question you want an answer to, please email that question to

 Why have the beds at MBH been decreasing over the years?

For years, the Mountrail Bethel Home was a 57 bed skilled nursing home facility, with a waiting list.  Now, we are a 36 bed skilled nursing home facility with 12 beds on “layaway” (meaning they are not being used).  This is due to the “great depression lull.”  Within ten years, by 2029,  recent studies done by Strengthen ND show that our 65+ age group is projected to increase 45.4%, much due to the Baby Boomers aging. With that happening, we won’t be able to find an open bed in North Dakota.

We know here at the Mountrail Bethel Home that the landscape has changed.  More elderly are staying home longer or moving into Assisted Livings, rather than nursing homes. Over the next couple of years, a committee comprised of board members and MBH employees will be strategically planning what the future MBH will look like.  Should we build a 48 bed Nursing Home with an Alzheimer’s Wing?  Should we build a 36 bed nursing home and build more Assisted Living apartments?  Should we bring basic care into our nursing home care plan?

In order to move forward like we want to, we need to have immediate help from the community.  We need to fill our beds to 36 residents again.  Our care at MBH is top notch.  We love and deeply care for our residents and it shows.  The Mountrail Bethel Home has achieved the highest ranking for safety and quality from CMS a Nursing Home can reach – a 5 – Star rating.

We are up against a variety of obstacles, one being:   “Why is it so expensive to have our loved one in the Nursing home?”   Usually a loved one is in the nursing home because the family cannot take care of them at home anymore.  They are here at the Mountrail Bethel Home so that our qualified staff can take care of them with any needs that arise 24/7. With that being said, each resident care level is different.  There are 48 levels a resident may be in.  Each of those levels is set according to specific criteria.  The MDS Coordinator has a forty page complete assessment which is done every three months on each resident.  This assessment determines which level a resident falls into.  The assessment looks at the resident’s memory and cognitive state, any diagnoses they have that are being treated, how much assistance they require with their cares (dressing, eating, transferring, bathing, mobility, walking, toileting, and personal cares), if they need wound care, oxygen, IV, special cares, dietary needs, have incontinence, order changes, doctor visits, and a comprehensive review of their chart.

Rates in the nursing home are determined by the state of North Dakota every year in December based upon cost reports filed by each facility.  The reason the government has such a comprehensive influence on the rates is due to the fact that skilled nursing facilities are state and federally funded.  The state of ND has rate equalization.  We want it that way.  Rate equalization means that MBH charges the same rate for Medicaid patients versus Self Pay.  States like South Dakota do not have rate equalization.  Who picks up the tab on the low paying Medicaid rate are the self-pay nursing home residents.  That is why the state is seeing such a high rate of nursing homes closing.  The linked article shared by the North Dakota Long Term Care Association is heartbreaking at best.  (Nursing Homes Are Closing Across Rural America, Scattering Residents

We here in Stanley don’t want to scatter our residents across ND and take them away from the community they grew up in and helped mold.  We are committed to this community, which is the reason we are building a 14 unit Assisted Living, Rosen Place on 8th, to allow our residents to not have to move to Minot and beyond when they see they need more care than their home can offer. That is also the reason we want to methodically plan the future footprint of the Mountrail Bethel Home.

Please contact Kelly Gustavson with any of your needs and questions by calling 628-2442, ext. 118.  If you want further information in regards to where your loved one fits on the Long Term Care Decision tree, please go to  We sincerely thank you for your continued support of Mountrail County Medical Center and Mountrail Bethel Home!

Many Avenues…One Goal…Your Health!

Orthopedics Comes To Stanley

1 Mar 2019 News

A collaborative effort between Mountrail County Medical Center and McKenzie County Healthcare Systems will mean good things for Stanley area patients. As part of their efforts to bring more specialists into the T. H. Reiarson Rural Health Clinic, Dr. Ravindra Joshi and Dr. Leah Brewster, FNP-C will begin seeing patients in Stanley on Thursday, Feb. 28.

Joshi is bringing his many years of experience and prior service in northwestern North Dakota and northeastern Montana to McKenzie County Healthcare in Watford City and now also in Stanley. Certified in orthopedic surgery by American, Canadian, British and Indian examining bodies, Joshi received his Master of Orthopedic Surgery degrees from the University of Liverpool and the University of Bombay. He completed his orthopedic residency at St. Thomas and Guy’s Hospital Orthopedic program in London. He received advanced medical education through fellowship training in total joint replacement surgery at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center and New York Orthopedic Hospital.

In 2000 he moved to practicing medicine in North Dakota, specializing in total joint replacements of hip, knee and shoulder, sports related surgery, trauma surgery, shoulder rotator cuff repairs and related surgery, hand and foot surgery as a general specialist in Orthopedic Surgery.

Brewster, a Stanley High School graduate, earned her Associates Degree in Nursing from NDSCS in Wahpeton in 2003 and then her Bachelors Degree in Nursing from UND in Grand Fords in 2005. Her Doctorate Degree in Nursing was earned at NDSU in Fargo in 2013. She is certified by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and is trained in Family Practice, so she can see patients of all age ranges. She worked cardiac and vascular medicine for four years after graduating and then went on to do orthopedic medicine. She has also done some walk in clinic work over the past year.

Having relocated his practice to Watford City in December last year, Joshi says that he has a goal of creating a rural network to take care of patients in their own communities. That is what will bring he and Brewster to Stanley each Thursday of the month. They plan to start out seeing patients from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and increase the times from there if patient load demands.

Surgeries would be done in Watford City, but they say that the patient oriented and focused care they can offer in a rural community like Stanley helps provides those services locally and help local clinics and hospitals flourish.

He started seeing patients in December in Watford City. He is involved in creating the orthopedic related portion of the surgical suites and equipment needed. They have been putting together the team needed to operate the surgical suites and should be able to offer the surgical procedures starting in mid-March with same day surgeries and then expanding into the in-patient procedures.

The outpatient satellite services offered in Stanley’s clinic will include orthopedic care for injuries, arthritis, sports injuries, carpal tunnel, rotator cuff, bunions and more. While any needed surgeries would be done in Watford City, patients will be able to have office procedures such as joint injections with cortisone and lubricant done in Stanley. They will also be able to offer testing including x-rays, labs, MRI, CT scans and physical therapy. Post-surgical visits will also be able to be done in Stanley.

Joshi says this will allow patients to recuperate and heal at home with their families rather than being in distant facilities. With the exception of surgery itself, examinations,  treatments and joint injections can be done close to home.

Joshi also says that his goal  in life is to do something for the communities and give back. With rural networking he says as a specialist he can do the majority of the work and then designate the right  person he trusts for the rest of the project. Creating rural networks makes it easier for residents to connect with what they need. A prime example is the adding of a good source of providers so people do not have to go elsewhere for medical care. That in turn supports the local community.

Brewster says that she serves as the peri-operative medical and orthopedic specialist provider. She  will coordinate the surgery with a patient’s primary care provider as well as considering any other factors or specialists that may be involved in the patient’s care. She will take care of scheduling the lab studies, x-rays, etc. and then  be involved in the risk assessment of patients making sure the patient is cleared and safe to proceed with the surgery. While in Stanley she will also be involved in seeing the patients for their orthopedic and trauma related needs.

While Joshi and Brewster continue to live in Minot, Brewster is doing most of her work remotely as the liaison and coordinator from Minot. She will be making the trip to the clinic in Stanley. Joshi is in Watford City Monday through Wednesday and then Stanley on Thursdays. He is holding Fridays for rural networking appointments.

The pair has a goal of offering high value and patients satisfaction outcome. They say they are there for the patients, providing the best orthopedic care to achieve that outcome. By rural facilities working together, they believe that there are many ways to provide better care for everyone while also realizing some cost savings.

Stephanie Everett, Foundation Director/P.R. and Marketing Director/Administrator in Training at MCHC, says that when the T.H. Reiarson Rural Health Clinic was built the goal was to host specialists and improve patient care in Stanley. This opportunity with Dr. Joshi and Brewster is one more step in offering patients the ability to receive the best quality care locally.

To schedule appointments, patients are asked to call  the Specialty Clinics of McKenzie County Health Systems at 701-444-8730. Patients contacting the Stanley clinic will be directed to that number for scheduling.

Lions Club Donates Super Bowl Proceeds

1 Mar 2019 News

The Stanley Lions Club presented checks totaling $2,750 as the  proceeds from their Super Bowl Raffle Boards last week. Recipients this year were the Mountrail County Health Foundation, Ina Mae Rude Aquatic Center, the Stanley Park District and the Will Athletic Complex Renovation project.

Pictured above, left to right, are Lowell Vedaa, past Lions President; LuWanna Meiers, representing the Aquatic Center; Brandi Larson, representing the Park District; Roger Gjellstad, Lions Vice-President; Heath Hetzel, representing the Will Athletic Complex; and Steph Everett, representing the Health Foundation.

A Change in Administration Coming for Mountrail County Health Center

7 Dec 2018 News

When Rocky Zastoupil submitted his resignation as MCHC Administrator/CEO on October 29 of this year, the boards of MCHC began the work to fill the vacancy. Zastoupil’s resignation will be effective on December 31, 2018. The boards have met, and the vacancy will be filled over the next year by interim Administrator/CEO Benjamin Bucher of Rolla. That will give time for Mountrail County Health Foundation Director Steph Everett to complete the training necessary to take over the position as the next Administrator/CEO of MCHC.

The selection process began when HR Director Janet Chastain reached out to the Long-Term Care Association. The association maintains a list of administrator’s potentially available to serve as interim administrators. With eight names on the list, she reached out to the boards and Bucher, asking if they could meet. At that meeting held on November 7, the boards felt that Bucher was an impressive candidate both in his response, resume and the interview process.

Bucher is the current CEO/Long-Term Care Administrator for Towner County Medical Center and Towner County Living Center in Cando. He is the Board Chair of the North Dakota Hospital Association, a member of the Heartview Foundation Board of Directors and on the CAH Quality Executive Committee Board.

Bucher says, “This is not a unique situation, having a CEO or Administrator resign. It is important to come together and help each other out, especially as part of small town rural healthcare.” The same situation occurred in Cando with them needing an interim administrator for eight months. The board there appreciated the assistance and said that they would be willing to offer the same assistance if the need arose.

Bucher holds a Masters in Business Administration with Specialization in Healthcare as well as a Masters of Science in Nursing, FNP-BC. He has a current practice as a Family Nurse Practitioner, family practice, emergency department and hospital inpatient at Towner County Medical Center in Cando and Presentation Medical Center in Rolla. His past work experience includes clinical nursing instructor for public health nursing at UND; and a registered nurse, patient care coordinator/supervisor at Altru Health System in Grand Forks. His honors include being named the ND Emerging Rural Health Leader the same year Dr. Mark Longmuir was named the Rural Health Care Professional.

Bucher will be splitting his time between the facilities, saying that his time in Stanley will likely be a few days every few weeks. However, when he is not on site, he will still be available 24/7 by phone or email.

This situation will put responsibility on staff in both facilities, but he says that he knows that the staff is in place in both to assure that they will run well. The managers, supervisors and all staff will have to buy in to the arrangement. “I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think that both facilities were able to do that,” he says.

MCHC board president Heath Hetzel says, “We are very thankful for the years of service that Rocky gave us.  He navigated us through some tough situations over the past 3 years.  We are now moving to a new chapter with Rocky’s retirement.  We are looking forward to having Ben as our interim administrator/CEO and the wealth of knowledge and experience he will bring to our facility.  We are also excited for the opportunity to have local interest in becoming the next CEO/Administrator for Mountrail County Health Center.  I have worked with Steph over the past 5 years while she has been the Foundation Director and have been impressed with how she conducts business and the energy that she brings to her job.”

For Everett, the work will begin right away as she will need 480 hours of training, and then complete all national and state testing. Dan Kelly of Watford City will oversee her hours as preceptor. He will oversee her training in Stanley’s facility and Cando’s with Bucher when he is there, along with his facility in Watford.

The training and testing are necessary for administrator of a nursing home. It breaks it down all areas of running the facility. The goal is that by May or June she will have the working knowledge necessary to begin assuming leadership roles at MCMC. By training with both Bucher and Kelly she believes she will have the necessary understanding to run the critical access hospital.

Everett says, “I want to thank the board members of the: Mountrail Bethel Home, Mountrail County Medical Center and Mountrail County Health Foundation/SCH for having the confidence in me to take on the position of CEO/Administrator. In the five plus years I have been the Foundation Director, we have seen tremendous growth. As I look ahead, I see awesome opportunity, and a great team that I am excited to lead to higher levels of growth. I wholeheartedly believe in our community and working together to ensure that Mountrail County and the City of Stanley has a thriving Health Center that will take care of the residents of our community for over another half century. I look forward in working with Ben over the next year to make this all happen!”

Everett has served as the Foundation Director since October of 2013. She says that she will still fill that position as well with the help of an assistant that will be hired by the Foundation Board. She loves that job and does not want to give it up. In fact, she says that by combining that with the administrator/CEO it will unify all the boards. She is emotionally vested in the facilities and the belief that they are a local facility that serves the communities around them.

Foundation board president Wade Enget says, “The Mountrail Health Foundation Board fully supports the hiring of interim Administrator/CEO Benjamin Bucher of Rolla, and the long-term plan to hire Steph Everett for the position of Administrator/CEO of MCHC.  In the past five years, Ms. Everett, as the Executive Director of the Mountrail County Health Foundation, has shown strong support for providing quality health care for our community and the surrounding area.  Ms. Everett brings the energy, ability and commitment needed to meet the Foundation’s goal:  “Your Health”.”

She and her husband Jim will be building a home in Stanley, something that also shows her commitment to the facility and the community. Her belief structure stresses the importance of the survival of healthcare facilities in Stanley. It is not only the jobs that the facilities provide, but also the access to healthcare with the clinic, emergency room, hospital, swing bed and nursing home.

She is concerned that at this point, the nursing home is down to 26 residents. She says that it could also be a sign of the times as the population is essentially between the generations that are using nursing homes. However, she says that it is important to keep that nursing home and all of the facilities vital and used by the community. The new assisted living under construction is a needed service for the community. She also recognizes that updates are needed for the nursing home in the future.

Access to healthcare is critical to the future of a community. Everett looks forward to being a part of that well into the future.

This article is republished with the gracious consent of the Mountrail County Promoter.

SACF Awards Grants

28 Nov 2018 News

Community Foundation Awards Grants

The Stanley Area Community Foundation awarded grants to seven different entities on Thursday, Nov. 15. $52,943 in grants was awarded to projects that will serve the community and the area as a whole. The foundation had nine applications totaling $187,000.

This year’s recipients were the Mountrail County Health Foundation for the assisted living project;  the Sibyl Center for the children’s summer theatre and carpet installation; Stanley High School for the speech team; Stanley High School for the drama club for props; the S.A.C.K. program for backpacks and food for children for weekends and extended breaks; Flickertail Village to replace shingles on buildings; and Opportunity Foundation for autism services equipment.

The Stanley Area Community Foundation was created in 2008 by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to create a permanent financial resource to support local nonprofit projects. The purpose of SACF is to maintain a permanent source of funding for projects in the community of Stanley and the immediate surrounding area. Gifts from many individuals are pooled together and invested in a permanent fund. Each year, the local advisory committee uses income from the foundation to make grants. As the foundation continues to grow, the amount they are able to give also increases. In their first year, grants totaled $4,676, raising to $35,594 last year. Including this year’s grants, the foundation has awarded $206,327 in grants.

Each year, SACF has seen charitable giving grow. Contributions in 2013 to the Foundation were about $320,000 bringing the total at the end of the year to just over $700,000. In 2016 the Foundation reached their target goal of hitting the $1 million mark. As that figure continues to grow, they can increase their giving. This year, the Foundation’s assets increased again to just over $1.5 million total.

As the end of the year approaches, many people are looking for charitable giving options and the Foundation board believes this is one way to donate locally and support the community. Grants awarded in the past have included Flickertail Village, Women of Today, Stanley Parks and Recreation, Stanley High School Vo-Ag, Ina Mae Rude Aquatic Center, Stanley Fire Department, Mountrail Community Food Pantry, Blue Jays Boosters, the Golden Age Club, the Rural Mental Health Consortium, Stanley FCCLA, Stanley DECA, the Stanley High School Band, Mountrail Bethel Home, Domestic Violence NWND program and Tri City CARES.

With changes to North Dakota tax laws, charitable giving to endowments and foundations has never been more attractive to the state’s residents. Both qualifying businesses and individuals can now claim up to 40% of their gift as tax credits on their state income tax. Those credits can also be carried forward for more than one year. With the reduction in the state tax and the credit that may also be applied to federal taxes, the gift is one that allows taxpayers to choose charitable organizations to receive tax dollars. The gift then also helps to support their communities in unique ways like the Stanley Area Community Foundation. When considering charitable giving, businesses and individuals should always consult their tax professionals to make sure they are doing what is best and right for their own individual circumstances.

Those wishing to donate to the Stanley Area Community Foundation can send their tax-deductible gift to: Stanley Area Community Foundation, PO Box 154, Stanley, ND 58784. For more information on the foundation you can contact Grace Lystad at (701) 628-3253 or John Heinen at (701) 590-4614. The local advisory committee consists of Doug Kinnoin, Jenny Gaaskjolen, Wayne Johnson, Dan Lindberg, Don Longmuir, Grace Lystad, Abbey Ruland, Ray Schepp and Ashley Skarsgard.

Organized in 1976, the ND Community Foundation was formed as an efficient means of meeting the needs of North Dakota in the educational, charitable, arts, scientific and health areas. It is a public nonprofit tax-exempt corporation which receives and distributes charitable funds to support a wide range of programs which benefit North Dakotans. The Foundation administers charitable endowment and non-endowment funds in both the restricted and unrestricted categories on behalf of communities, businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals.

Pictured above are the members of the SACF and representatives of recipient organizations. Back row, left to right are Kier Jackson, representing the SACK program; Grace Lystad, SACF board member; Rory Porth, representing Flickertail Village; and Jenny Gaaskjolen, SACF board member. Front row, left to right, are Janinne Paulson, representing the Sibyl Center; Steph Everett, representing the Mountrail County Health Foundation; Katherine Harwood, representing both the Stanley High School speech team and drama club; and Rebekka Freije and Jamie Walker-Fuller, representing Opportunity Foundation.

How can I help support our new Rosen Place on 8th Assisted Living?

Rosen Place on 8th Assisted Living will provide a much needed added service to the residents of Stanley and Mountrail County.  Because most Assisted Living facilities are located in larger towns, seniors are forced to move away from smaller communities to have access to this kind of care.  Not only does this impact them, it also affects their families who now have to travel to visit them.  The nearest Assisted Living to us is 60 miles to the east in Minot.  We know we are losing Stanley residents to these Assisted Living facilities in Minot and other large cities. The Mountrail County Health Foundation is committed to finding a solution to allow our Stanley residents to enjoy their last years within their community, where they have lived and contributed to for so many years.  Rosen Place on 8th will be the perfect place and location for our residents to continue to live and contribute to their community.


The Mountrail County Health Foundation (MCHF) has been diligently working on helping fund the construction and furnishings of Rosen Place on 8th.  The Foundation’s purpose is to provide avenues through which donors can share in the philanthropic goals of the Mountrail County Medical Center and Mountrail Bethel Home.  In the past years Mountrail County Health Foundation has assisted in funding 1.) Phase One; the Emergency Room, Ambulance Bay, and CT scanner addition; and 2.) Phase Two; the expansion of the T.H. Reiarson Rural Health Clinic.  Now, the Mountrail County Health Foundation is focusing on Phase Three, which is assisting with the expansion/renovation of the Mountrail Bethel Home.  Thinking outside the box, Mountrail County Health Foundation has been researching and putting into place different ideas as to how to receive funding for this project.  We have been working closely with several entities that award grant money.  One of the grant opportunities we have been chosen to be a part of is the St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation’s Twice Blessed program.


It’s a truly a blessing when you give a gift to others.  We’re honored to be working with St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation to double your blessings during our TWICE BLESSED campaign for funding to help with the purchasing of the needed furnishings for Rosen Place on 8th.


In fact, any donations given to the Mountrail County Health Foundation for Rosen Place on 8th during the period of time from November 15th through December 31st, are eligible for a match by the St. Joseph’s Community Health Foundation, up to $5,000.  Any monies collected over this amount will not be matched, but will still be distributed to the MCHF.


Please help MCHF earn our 1-1 match by going to and find the MCHF link to donate or call Steph Everett at 628-1405 to have a donation card mailed to you.   Or mail your check made out to the St. Joseph’s Community Foundation with “MCHF – Twice Blessed” in the memo line to:  St. Joseph’s Community Foundation, 308 2nd Ave SW, Minot, ND  58701.  All gifts are welcome.  To give of one’s self freely is always a blessing.  So give your gifts double the impact this holiday season with TWICE BLESSED. We so thank you for thinking about this.


And as stated a few weeks ago in a “Did You Know” and in an ad this week, we will start to take applications for Rosen Place on 8th on Thursday, November 15th at 9:00 AM either in person or by phone to Kelly Gustavson, LSW at 701-628-2442 Ext 118 for Rosen Place on 8th.  Her office is located at Mountrail Bethel Home.  All calls and voice mails are time stamped with date and time of call.  There will be a deposit required to be on the waiting list as follows:

  • One bedroom will be $1500
  • Two bedroom will be $1700


Checks can be made to Rosen Place on 8th.  A refund will be issued for any of the following:

  • No longer qualifying/failing the screening
  • Change in condition that makes the applicant ineligible for Assisted Living
  • Event of a death


The Mountrail County Health Center and the Mountrail County Health Foundation appreciate your continued support. We are always striving to do better. Nobody takes care of you like your own.

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April 9th, 2020

As a precautionary measure against Coronavirus, the entire MCHC Campus is closed to visitors.

This includes:  MCMC Hospital, Rosen Place on 8th, Mountrail Bethel Home, and Centennial Court.

If you have questions, or need more information, please call the corresponding department manager.
Our main phone number: (701) 628-2442.

Rosen Place - Lauren at extension 153
Mountrail Bethel Home - Tanya at extension 105
Mountrail County Medical Center (Hospital) - LaRae at extension 189
Mountrail Bethel Home Nurses Station - at extension 124

Thank you for your help in keeping us all safe.

Updates will be posted to this website and our FaceBook page as they become available.