The stress test team

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As COVID-19 swept the nation, many retreated to their homes to wait for when it would blow over. Unfortunately, things are taking a bit longer than expected with healthcare workers dealing with the pandemic’s brunt. They need our help and volunteers have been stepping up to give them much-needed assistance. Tri-County Health Care’s medical staff have been in a tug of war match with this virus for nearly two years. Volunteers help them by taking over some of the support tasks so healthcare workers can focus on saving lives. This support is very apparent in the cardiac rehab department. For years, a team of dedicated volunteers has given up their personal time to assist providers and nurses stress test patients. This team is an essential component of cardiac rehab, where the heart is monitored during various exercises.

Chris Olson

Chris Olsen helps patients during a stress test.

Since her retirement, Chris has been a volunteer at Tri-County for 15 years. She has the delicate job of ensuring each patient is safe and taken to their appointment area. Much of the job is sitting with them and making them comfortable. Several patients coming for a stress test are scared, so her favorite part of the job is putting them at ease.

The test is broken up into three parts. In-between the second and third portions of the test, she prepares a small snack for the patient. This snack usually consists of toast and coffee, which helps enhance the last part of the test. Before the pandemic, volunteers would take the patient down to the cafeteria, but that is no longer possible.

“I truly love being there.” – Chris Olsen

Carol is a member of the stress test volunteer team.Carol Melcher

Carol has been helping behind the scenes for the better part of 13 years. Before being a volunteer in the cardiology department, she worked at Tri-County Health Care for 30 years. She started as a ward secretary and then moved on to records later in her career. Carol knows a thing or two about the hospital environment. She understands the value of good help and encourages others to explore volunteer opportunities at Tri-County Health Care.

“You get whatever you want to put into it.” – Carol Melcher

Darlene helps nurses and doctors stress test patients.

Darlene Matthes

Darlene has been volunteering for 16 years and was initially introduced to the volunteer program by her cousin, Lois Miller, the cardiac rehab manager. She has assisted in other areas but is especially fond of helping the stress test team. Darlene enjoys volunteering and knows the nursing staff really appreciates the extra help.

“Fun to know your helping out.” -Darlene Matthes


“Our volunteers help make stress tests less stressful for our patients and they make a big difference in our day. The entire process runs more smoothly because of these wonderful, caring ladies,” said Lois Miller. Appreciation for the team reverberates throughout the facility. It is clear the stress test volunteers have a genuine love for helping others.

TCHC has expanded its cardiology partnership

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Cardiology expansion

The heart is the engine of the human body. Just like any engine, it needs to be maintained. Tri-County Health Care has expanded its cardiology partnership with CentraCare to bring heart health closer to home. This expansion streamlines the services CentraCare provides weekly.

Dr. Wade Schmidt, a cardiologist at CentraCare expanded its cardiology partnership

“Working with Tri-County Health Care has been an excellent opportunity to bring our services to people that really need them. I look forward to the continued growth of this partnership as we add new procedures to our already robust cardiac services in the region,” said Wade Schmidt, M.D.

CentraCare is one of the leading providers of heart and vascular care in the nation. In an annual ranking, which evaluates nearly 5,000 hospitals, U.S. News & World Report ranked the hospital in the country’s Top-50 for cardiology and heart surgery. The rankings are based on outcomes, experience, nurse staffing, patient services and more.

“We are excited to team up with the top-ranked staff at CentraCare’s Heart & Vascular Center,” said Jose Alba, Chief Ambulatory Officer at Tri-County. “This expands access to service and provides heart health close to home for all of the communities Tri-County Health Care serves.”

Helping hearts

expanded its cardiology partnership This expansion will allow for a wider array of cardiology services CentraCare cardiology heart health cardiac care tri-county health care wadena wadena county hospital todd county otter tail county

This expansion introduces new cardiac services in Wadena. The cardiology department will offer diagnostic testing like EKGs, Holter monitoring and vascular ultrasounds. Providers can also answer questions about complex heart-related procedures and provide consultation.

“The partnership between Tri-County Health Care and the CentraCare Heart and Vascular Center will elevate the level of cardiac care provided to the people of Northwest Minnesota. This collaboration will bring access to advanced cardiac care with seamless follow up close to home,” said Executive Director Phil Martin of CentraCare Heart and Vascular Center.

You should consult a cardiologist if you’re experiencing chest pain, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, palpitations, dizziness or have diabetes. Seeing a cardiologist can also be beneficial if you have a history of smoking, high cholesterol, or plan to start an exercise routine.

Tri-County Health Care expanded its cardiology partnership to help you! To schedule an appointment with the cardiologists in Wadena, call 218-631-7579.