Lydia Newman

Due to inclement and impending weather, the Prairie Lakes Specialty Clinic, Cancer Center, and ENT Clinic at Mallard Pointe will be closing at noon Wednesday, February 22nd and will be closed Thursday, February 23rd. Cardiac Rehab and Wound Clinic will be closed February 22nd and 23rd. Home Care and Hospice Services will be provided where deemed safe.

If you or someone you are with is experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911.

We encourage you to stay indoors and keep off the roads if possible.

Tips to stay safe indoors during winter storms

Prairie Lakes Healthcare System (PLHS) was recently named one of the top 20 rural and community hospitals in the country. This is the sixth time PLHS has received this recognition since it was introduced by The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) seven years ago. To celebrate this achievement, PLHS held a "Slice Above the Rest" employee celebration in the main lobby that included pizza and new pizza cutters for all employees, volunteers, and board members. Photos from this event are added below. 

The NRHA has announced the 20 highest-ranked prospective payment system hospitals in the country based on an evaluation by the Chartis Center for Rural Health. The hospitals are identified using the Chartis Rural Hospital Performance INDEX, the most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural PPS hospital performance. Prairie Lakes Healthcare System will be recognized May 18 during NRHA’s Rural Hospital Innovation Summit in San Diego, CA.

The determining factors for the top 20 rural and community hospitals are based on eight indices: inpatient market share, outpatient market share, quality, outcomes, patient perspective, cost, charge, and finance.

“Prairie Lakes Healthcare System is proud of the dedication and exceptional care provided every day by staff, physicians, and volunteers who contribute to our healthcare system achieving this recognition,” says Paul Macek, Interim CEO. “Three of the twenty hospitals in the nation that received this designation are from South Dakota and that speaks volumes to the care and services that our rural population has access to. Our recognition as a top health care provider means our community can count on us to deliver the services they need now and in the future.”

About Prairie Lakes Healthcare System

Prairie Lakes Healthcare System serves a ten-county region in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota. Prairie Lakes provides care at its hospital in Watertown as well as Prairie Lakes Cancer Center, Prairie Lakes Mallard Pointe Surgical Center, dialysis units in Sisseton, SD, Watertown, SD and Ortonville, MN, rehabilitation services, and specialty services. Specialty services are a focus of PLHS to bring needed care to the region. These specialties include Cardiology, Dermatology, Ear, Nose & Throat, General Surgery, Hospice, Home Care, Nephrology, Orthopedics, Pulmonology, Urology, and Wound Care. For more information, visit

About NRHA
NRHA is a nonprofit organization working to improve the health and well-being of rural Americans and provide leadership on rural health issues through advocacy, communications, education, and research. NRHA’s membership consists of diverse individuals and organizations, all of whom share the common bond of an interest in rural health.

About the Chartis Group
Chartis is a comprehensive health care advisory firm dedicated to helping clients build a healthier world. Work is facilitated across the health care continuum with more than 600 clients annually, including providers, payers, health services organizations, technology and retail companies, and investors. Through times of change, challenge, and opportunity, Chartis advises the industry on how to navigate disruption, pursue growth, achieve financial sustainability, unleash technology, improve care models and operations, enhance clinical quality and safety, and advance health equity. Teams convened bring deep industry expertise and industry leading innovation, enabling clients to achieve transformational results and create positive societal impact.  For more information, visit

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Keeping Score of Heart Disease

Target Heart2023Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America and throughout the world.  Each year, one in three deaths in America is related to heart disease.  Many of these deaths are preventable and, just like colon cancer and breast cancer, heart disease has an inexpensive and easy to administer screening test that many people don’t know about. 

This test is called the Coronary Artery Calcium Score (CACS) or simply “calcium score.”  This simple, painless test consists of a quick X Ray, known as a CT scan, which images through the chest and does not even require an IV.  The scan looks at the coronary arteries to see if there is any evidence of plaque buildup, evidenced by calcium depositions, in the arteries.  While the test does not specifically assess the severity of blocked arteries, it does demonstrate whether a person has plaque buildup, and quantifies it, comparing the individual against others their age in the general population.  A score of “0” is ideal, meaning there is no build up.  So, this is one of the few tests on which we hope to receive a zero score! 

While some tests show extremely high scores and these patients go on to require coronary stents or bypass surgery, most people benefit from knowing whether they have the beginning of plaque buildup, thus allowing them to concentrate on risk factor modification to slow or reduce further plaque buildup, hopefully avoiding heart attacks, coronary stents, and coronary artery bypass surgery in the future.  This test can motivate people to stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more, control their blood pressure, and take cholesterol lowering medications, all important interventions to slow the progression of heart disease. 

The ideal patient is 40 years old or above with some risk factors for heart disease.  While your health care provider can order this test for you and it may be covered by insurance, most communities offer this inexpensive screening test without a prescription.  Prairie Lakes Healthcare System offers a Coronary Artery Calcium Score we call “Target Heart” for $45, making this test accessible for almost everyone.  You can learn more about it by clicking here or by calling 605.882.7000.  So, if you are over 40 and have some risk factors for heart disease, see what your score is and discuss the findings with your primary care provider.  It may save your life. 

Howard MD Richard online2









Learn More About Richard Howard, MD

Prairie Lakes Healthcare System is pleased to announce the new Director of Human Resources (HR), Sarah Bruning. She replaces Alison Gilbertson who was recently appointed to the Vice President of Human Resources at Prairie Lakes. 

Bruning holds a master’s degree in Business Administration that she earned from the University of South Dakota. She has been with Prairie Lakes for the past six years serving as an accountant for three years and most recently as the Payroll and Benefits Specialist within the HR Department. Bruning worked as the Clinic Administrator at Prairie Eye Clinic in Vermillion, SD for 17 years prior to coming to Prairie Lakes.

Bruning grew up in Watertown and after 23 years of residing in Vermillion, returned to Watertown with her husband, Scott and their family.  She enjoys spending time with her daughters, Lexie and Miley, and filling her camper with things Scott doesn’t think they need.

“I look forward to leading the HR team to provide exceptional support, resources, and benefits to the employees and future employees of Prairie Lakes,” said Bruning. “It is my goal to improve internal processes, recruit and retain a valuable workforce, cultivate a positive working environment, and make Prairie Lakes the healthcare employer of choice in the area.”

To view the list of current job openings at Prairie Lakes, please visit,

Casey and Erica Kneebone of Watertown, SD welcomed their new baby boy at 5:23pm on January 2, 2023. Clyde Russell Kneebone is 18.5” inches long and 5 pounds 15.4 ounces. He is the first baby born at Prairie Lakes Healthcare System in 2023. Proud older siblings include Calvin Kneebone, Natalee Blauer, and Dalton Blauer. Grandparents of Clyde are Bill and Joni Peyton of Watertown and Russell and Barb Kneebone of Flandreau, SD.

Prairie Lakes Obstetrics delivered a total of 637 babies in 2022. To learn more about birth/new parent classes and other free education and resources, please visit our Obstetrics page.

Prairie Lakes Obstetric Services

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Blackwell, Kirsten

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Schlueter, Katelyn

On or about October 18, 2022, Prairie Lakes Healthcare System (“PLHS”) was notified that its business associate and collections vendor, AAA Collections, Inc. dba Advanced Asset Alliance (“AAA”), experienced a data incident which may have resulted in the inadvertent exposure of personal and medical information of current and former PLHS and former Glacial Lakes Orthopaedics patients. Although this incident did not occur within PLHS data systems, PLHS has worked diligently with AAA to determine exactly what happened and what information was involved as a result of this incident.

AAA commenced a third-party forensic investigation and determined the incident occurred between September 5, 2022 and September 7, 2022. The potentially compromised data of current and former PLHS and former Glacial Lakes Orthopaedics patients may have contained personal and medical information including, but potentially not limited to: names; addresses; dates of birth; medical record numbers; provider or facility name; conditions, diagnosis and/or treatment information; payment information; and date of service. As of this writing, there there have been no reports of related misuse, identity theft or fraud since the date of the incident.

AAA mailed notification letters to affected PLHS current and former patients along with Glacial Lakes Orthopaedics patients on December 15, 2022. The letters included additional information about what occurred, outlined the specific personal information that could have been exposed for that individual, and provided a toll-free number that individuals can call to learn more about the incident. The call center can be reached at 1-833-896-5845 and is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Eastern time.

PLHS is committed to ensuring the security and protection of patient information within its control and is working with AAA to prevent a similar event from occurring in the future. PLHS understands the inconvenience or concern that this matter may cause and encourages affected individuals to remain vigilant, monitor accounts, and immediately report any suspicious activity or suspected misuse of personal information.

View Press Release Here

Due to inclement and impending weather, the Prairie Lakes Specialty Clinic, Cancer Center, ENT Clinic at Mallard Pointe, Cardiac Rehab, and Wound Clinic will be closing today, December 15th at 4:00pm and will be opening at 10:00am tomorrow, December 16th.

Home Care and Hospice Services will be provided where deemed safe.

We encourage you to stay indoors and keep off the roads if possible.

Tips to stay safe indoors during winter storms


Due to inclement weather, the Prairie Lakes Specialty Clinic, Cancer Center, ENT Clinic at Mallard Pointe, Cardiac Rehab, and Wound Clinic will be closing today, December 13th at noon and will be closed tomorrow, December 14th. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911.

Home Care and Hospice Services will be provided where deemed safe.

We encourage you to stay indoors and keep off the roads if possible.

Tips to stay safe indoors during winter storms


Page 1 of 4