Eye exams are an important part of maintaining your eye health, no matter how old you are. But how do you know if you need to have your eyes looked at by a professional?

At the MLHS Annual Shareholders’ meeting on November 15, an announcement was made about the new Phase IV building project, which the board of directors has approved. Improvements include a two-story addition for 17 patient rooms; a larger Emergency Department, which will offer patients more privacy; and a new kitchen and cafeteria.

You go to a hospital or clinic, emergency room or urgent care, and you see the nurses and medical providers, and you may notice the system around you that’s in charge of making sure you get the care you need. But what you may not know is, there’s a department that you don’t see, which also cares about what kind of services you get, and that’s the Quality Department.

Mille Lacs Health System is reminding people this fall that distracted driving kills. Every day, 11 teens die because they were texting and driving. Over half the road crashes in the US today involve the use of a cell phone, and many of these lead to death or severe injuries. Locally, MLHS Emergency Room Medical Director Dr. Arden Virnig was so disturbed by the number of cases the ER deals with as the result of distracted driving that he requested a campaign to help people become more aware of the risks. “I would love to see you,” notes Virnig, “but not in the Emergency Room because you or someone else was distracted while driving.”

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems, such as heart disease, nerve damage, eye problems, and kidney disease.

National Immunization Awareness Month is a reminder we all need vaccines throughout our lives. And because back-to-school season is here, it’s the perfect time to make sure your children are up to date on their vaccines.

August is National Immunization Awareness month, and Mille Lacs Health System reminds its patients that immunizations are not just for children. All adults should get recommended vaccines to protect their health. Even healthy adults can become ill and pass diseases onto others. Everyone should have their vaccination needs assessed by a health care professional. Certain vaccines are recommended based on a person’s age, occupation or health conditions (such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes or heart disease).

No one wants to think about school during the summer break, but something important to remember is that summer is a good time to get a sports physical for your child if they play sports in school.

If your student athlete has not gotten their physical yet for the upcoming academic year, now is a great time to think about scheduling that before the fall rush. Having a sports physical allows the student to speak with his or her healthcare provider and talk about any concerns they have, and identify possible issues before those issues block an active and productive season.

Mille Lacs Health System’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) is always looking for more patient/family members to join the new council. The PFAC is part of a broader system of hospitals – not only across Minnesota, but all over the US– who have embraced the idea of giving patients and families a voice when it comes to their healthcare. Minnesota Hospital Association strongly encourages its members to create PFACs, and those that have find the initiative very successful.