US Senator Tina Smith Visits Ortonville Area Health Services

US Senator Tina Smith Visits Ortonville Area Health Services

US Senator Tina Smith visited Ortonville Area Health Services this afternoon to listen and to learn how she can support communities to keep and sustain their health care in the face of a lot of really big challenges.  Her main questions today were:  how do you make it work in your communities, what are your challenges, what are the opportunities and what can she do to help bolster the areas, especially around workforce.  Other health care representatives present joining the discussion were representatives from Appleton Area Health Systems, Johnson Memorial Health Services (Dawson) and Lakewood Health Systems (Staples).  Carrie Bendix from the SW MN Private Industry Council (who also works with the workforce development board for the 14-county area) was also present to talk workforce.

There was great discussion shared amongst all in attendance which ended with Carson Ouellette, the Northwest Minnesota Outreach Representative for Sen. Smith, bringing the discussion to a close with “So I hate to cut it short but I do want to get a chance to see the award-winning OB department!”  With that, they wrapped up the discussion and took the tour.  (Ironically, Dr. Stacy Longnecker had left the meeting midway through to deliver a baby!)

US Senator Tina Smith talking with Maria Botker (OB & ER Nursing Coordinator) during the tour.

In reference to the “award-winning OB department”, Carson was referring to the 2019 Rural Health Team Award – in recognition of contributions improving the health of rural Minnesota at the Minnesota Rural Health Conference which was held in Duluth earlier this year.  (see video below)

We are very fortunate to have the Big Stone Health Care Foundation who has been key in recruiting many of our local people back “home” to work at Ortonville Area Health Services (OAHS) and to have a strong relationship and support through Sanford Health.

An interesting side note (one that I had forgotten) was that both Dr. Botker and Dr. Longnecker started their health careers way back “in the beginning” working as CNAs.

OAHS currently has six MDs with three more coming on board by November 2020.

Ortonville Area Health Services is dedicated to offering excellent care in all facilities of their health care system.  They serve the area through Ortonville Hospital, Northside Medical Clinic, and Clinton Clinic, Fairway View Senior Communities, and OAHS Home Health Agency.

Fairway View Senior Communities on our 18-hole golf course.

For more about Ortonville, you’ll find their community blog at and the City’s official website at

Written by Vicki Oakes

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