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TCHC brings OB/GYN care to rural clinics

Women in Henning and Sebeka no longer have to travel for routine OB/GYN services.

Instead, they can set up appointments with Tri-County Health Care specialists at their local clinics.

In February, Dr. Vickie Dennis started seeing patients at TCHC’s Sebeka clinic. On Wednesday, Dr. Janelle Strom became available for appointments at the Henning clinic.

“We want to bring care to (women in these communities) so they don’t have to travel so much,” Strom said.

OB/GYN specialists handle a wide range of women’s health issues and don’t require a referral for appointments.

“We do a little bit of everything within the specialty,” Strom said, from annual exams and fertility care to treating menopause and handling all sorts of pelvic issues.

One of the main misconceptions, she said, is that OB/GYN doctors only treat pregnant women.

“Women’s health encompasses so very much,” said Strom, who will focus on non-pregnancy women’s health needs in Henning. “There is no boredom. No day is the same.”

Strom, who’s been with TCHC for two years, and Dennis, who was recently hired, have a combined half-century of experience. A third OB/GYN specialist, Dr. Jennifer Arnhold, will continue to work out of the Wadena clinic. 

“We have a very talented and veteran OB/GYN staff,” said Jil Fiemeyer, TCHC spokeswoman.

Over the past few years, the health-care network has made improving women’s health services a major priority.

“Right now our access is incredible compared to our competition,” said Jill Doll, TCHC women’s health coordinator. “Not only are (women who go elsewhere) traveling, but they are waiting a while to get in to be seen. We don’t allow that to happen.”

Most women’s health issues can be handled in Wadena, Strom said.

“We can do just about everything here …,” she said. “We’re doing so much in this little hospital.”

For high risk cases, TCHC has a collaborative relationship with St. Cloud Hospital, where Strom, whose specialties include minimally invasive pelvic surgery, has privileges to practice.

Strom and Dennis are no strangers to each other or to this part of Minnesota. They worked together at St. Cloud Hospital for 12 years. Strom is a Pelican Rapids native, while Dennis hails from Park Rapids.

Reuniting at TCHC, Strom said, “is just really fun for both of us.”