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The Veterans Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic-Waukon opened just two years ago. This team of providers have had a total of 16,182 patient visits serving 4,507 patients, more than doubling since the first year. Pictured, from left to right, is Katy Maker, Nurse Midwife and Nurse Practitioner; Tara Fink, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner; Dr. Dave Schwartz family practice physician; Halie Ruff, Nurse Practitioner; Jon Hawes, Physician Assistant; Sue McMillan, Nurse Practitioner; and Alex Berns, Nurse Practitioner.

Waukon Clinic Two-Year Anniversary-Serving Thousands In Short Time while Providers Continue to Grow

The Veterans Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic-Waukon opened just two years ago, on May 3rd, joining the Gundersen Waukon Clinic in providing accessible family health care to the area communities.

“The statistics show, after just two years, the incredible need and impact of this new clinic.  A total of 16,182 patient visits have been made since opening day, serving 4,507 patients.  This number is more than doubled since our first year,” states Laura Baxter, Clinic Director.  “We have added providers since last year, to allow for greater access to local healthcare and even added a nurse mid-wife and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner to widen the range of services we provide, to meet the growing needs of our area communities.”

Katy Maker is Certified Nurse Midwife who joined the clinic nearly one year ago.   She brings over 30 years of experience and has assisted in nearly 2,000 deliveries.   Maker is proficient in water births and encourages her mothers to try it for the many benefits for both mom and baby.

“I have always preferred the rural practice where families have access to quality care and do not have to travel to have their babies.  We are the only hospital in the region that offers water birth and I enjoy those very much,” states Nurse Midwife Maker.   “Our team of providers all help support each family to have the birthing experience they want, keeping births in their community and as natural as they desire, making it a safe, satisfying birthing experience.”

In addition to being a full-scope nurse midwife, Maker is a Family Nurse Practitioner and provides care to patients in both the Waukon and Postville clinic locations.   She offers well-child visits and well-woman visits as well as primary care and annual Medicare physicals.  She also has same-day appointments available for all acute patients, both male and female.

Alex Berns joined the Veterans Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic-Waukon as a Family Practice Nurse Practitioner last fall and is accepting patients of all ages.  He began his career at Veterans Memorial Hospital as a C.N.A. then continued as a full-time nurse after receiving his RN degree.  Now after branching out and gaining experience in Hospice, Emergency, the ICU in Rochester and general inpatient care, he returned to his home area to serve his community.

“I chose to become a family nurse practitioner knowing that I wanted to do more as a provider and benefit those near me,” states Alex.  “I continue to farm in my spare time and coming back to work at the VMH clinic was the perfect opportunity.  All of the staff at VMH are excellent.”

Alex is available to care for youth and adults of all ages for immediate health concerns such as flu, COVID, sore throat, earache or blood pressure issues; for disease management such as diabetes, hypertension and digestive issues; and for annual wellness exams for well child, adult physicals, Medicare physicals and sports physicals.

Tara Fink also joined the clinic last fall as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, filling a large void in the community.  “Helping people, bottom line, is the biggest reason that I chose a career in mental health. After a history with my own mental health struggles, it was difficult to find good support in rural Iowa and I vowed to help change this for others in this community who are struggling,” explains Tara Fink, PMHNP.  “With my advanced nursing degree, I can make a greater impact within the community.  I see all patients through their lifespan in order to reduce barriers for all ages in the community.  I have a passion for improving the community that we live in through the reduction of stigma and indifference.”

Tara was drawn to working at Veterans Memorial for the location and the fact this is an underserved, rural Iowa Community.   Tara is available to see patients at both the Veterans Memorial Hospital Postville and Waukon clinics.

“Without the accessibility of this new clinic and our wonderful providers, I don’t know where those over 16,000 patients would have gone to get the care they needed,” adds Baxter.    “We are happy to be here for people when they need us.  With our additional providers, we are able to offer more availability for same-day appointments and greater accessibility, allowing everyone to get the care they need, when they need it.”

To make an appointment to see any of these providers in Waukon, call 563-568-5530 or to see Tara or Katy in Postville, please call 563-864-7221.