Fight the flu!

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Necessary prevention

“I never get the flu shot.” How many times have you heard that? Avoiding this crucial vaccination seems to be a point of pride for some people. It shouldn’t be a proud choice to leave yourself vulnerable to illness during a pandemic. This year, help yourself, your family, and the ailing healthcare systems across the nation. Join us and fight the flu!

Every year the flu does immense damage to the population, resulting in many hospitalizations. Over the years, the flu has become another obstacle we deal with, but we can’t take the risk this year. With beds filling rapidly, hospitals and clinics may not have the resources to stave off the flu effectively. Help them fight back and get the jab.

Do it for you too!

There are many reasons to get the flu shot aside from lending a hand to nurses, doctors and other medical staff. Here are our top three:

  1. Healthy holidays

Getting sick on Christmas or Thanksgiving is pretty crumby. We’ve all experienced that woeful Thanksgiving where the rest of the family enjoys a delicious dinner while you struggle to keep down warm soup. Do yourself a favor and don’t let the flu stifle your plans to enjoy the holidays.

  1. Preserve time off

Wouldn’t you like to enjoy a day off doing something you love? Having to use up all of your vacation days battling the flu is no fun. Don’t let the flu dictate your days off, miss work for something fun and fight the flu.

  1. Do it for the immunocompromised

Fight the flu! Don't let the flu stifle our COVID-19 treatments.Some people can’t get the vaccine due to medical complications and allergies. We can help them by reducing the amount of illness in the population. Remember them when offered the flu shot at your next appointment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released updated information regarding this year’s flu season. Visit their website for more details.

Upcoming flu shot clinics

Tri-County Health Care will be hosting several flu shot clinics during September and October. Clinics will be available in Wadena, Bertha, Henning, Ottertail and Sebeka.

Wadena              218-631-3510

Saturday              Oct. 2                   7-12 p.m.            all ages

Saturday              Oct. 16                 7-12 p.m.            all ages

Bertha                  218-924-2250

Wednesday         Sept. 29               7-4:15 p.m.        65+ day

Wednesday         Oct. 13                 7-4:15 p.m.         all ages

Henning              218-583-2953

Wednesday         Oct. 20                 8-4:15 p.m.         all ages

Ottertail               218-367-6262

Tuesday               Oct. 26                 8-4:15 p.m.         all ages

Sebeka                 218-837-5333

Wednesday         Oct. 6                   8-4:15 p.m.         all ages

Tri-County Health Care offers a significant discount for individuals paying at the time of the flu shot clinic. Medicare Advantage Plans, Humana, Medicare, Medicaid and many other commercial insurances are accepted. Please confirm with your insurance company before the clinic. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged, but walk-in appointments are available.

Chiropractic care: Q&A with Dr. Mitchell

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Tri-County Health Care now offers chiropractic and Carissa Mitchell, DC, is leading the way to a future with less back pain and more fun! This week, Dr. Mitchell discussed her work in detail and explained how she can adjust you to a new way of life.

Q: What drew you to chiropractic medicine?

A: I was drawn to chiropractic medicine at a young age. There’s a quote from Thomas Edison that states, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” That still resonates with me today.

Adjustments and patient education are a large portion of chiropractic services at Tri-County.

Q: How long have you been working in the field?

A: Six years as of right now. I graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 2015, worked for two different clinics in Michigan before I decided it was time to come back home in 2017. My husband and I bought a practice in Perham and have been there since.

Q: What do you like most about being a chiropractor?

A: I really like seeing a person’s face light up when they’re able to do something that they couldn’t do before. Sometimes it’s a sport or hobby that pain has been preventing them from doing. Sometimes it’s a simple task such as laundry. I think we tend to take a lot for granted until we are limited, so making sure that my patients can enjoy and live their lives the way they want is my favorite aspect.

Q: What is the most challenging thing about your work?

A: The most challenging but most rewarding is working with skeptics. I’ve had many skeptical patients throughout my career, which is good. I like a healthy dose of skepticism. Often these become some of my favorite success stories.

Q: What are some general tips for maintaining good musculoskeletal health?

A: Walk, move, stretch, strengthen, drink your water, and get adjusted. Doing these things every day can greatly improve overall health.

Q: What should patients know before they meet you for the first time?

A: I’m going to try my hardest to put a smile on your face. I like to maintain an atmosphere of comfort and openness. Meeting with me is not a sterile, boring slog. Some people are nervous at first but once I’ve cracked a few jokes and thoroughly explained what will happen, they tend to loosen up. The massage gun helps too.

Q: Could you give me a breakdown of a typical appointment? What should a patient expect when they meet you for the first time?

A: During a typical appointment, patients start by lying face down on the table. I will assess joint motion and muscle tension in the area of complaint and either use my massage gun or hands to help reduce muscle tension before adjusting. Adjustment types vary based on each patient but I have a wide variety of techniques to accommodate each individual. I use mostly manual adjustment techniques but I also know instrument and low force adjusting styles too. So, depending on which techniques we are using, patients may be face down, face up or sitting. During an initial visit, I will also perform orthopedic tests, range of motion, and a chiropractic exam to determine the best treatment.

Q: In your experience, what demographic of people most often meet with you? Is it mostly older people or younger people?

A: My youngest patient has been just hours old and my oldest is in their 90s. I tend to see a lot of pregnant mothers because it is my favorite demographic. The majority of my patients are in their 30s to 50s. Chiropractic care is for everyone!

Q: When should a person seek out chiropractic care? 

A: “I should have gone yesterday” or “I wish I’d done this sooner” is what people tell me daily. Most people seek out chiropractic care when they have pain that has become annoying or is interfering with their daily life. You can get adjusted at any time for wellness and mobility in general, not just pain.

Carissa Mitchell, DC, starts seeing patients on June 15.

Carissa Mitchell, DC

Q: What specific techniques/services will you offer at Tri-County Health Care?

A: HVLA (High-Velocity Low Amplitude) or manual adjusting techniques that I use are Gonstead and Diversified. Low to No force adjusting techniques I use are Thompson (drop table), Webster, activator, SOT, sustained contact (infants). I also do extremity adjusting (shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, ankles, etc.)

Dr. Mitchell officially started on June 15 and is accepting patients. She will be working in the Wadena and Sebeka clinic locations. Please call 218-631-3510 to schedule an appointment. To learn more, visit and follow Tri-County Health Care on social media for regular updates.

Top tips to planning a balanced diet

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We’ve spent the last year inside and unfortunately eating habits have suffered and trips to the gym have been replaced with Netflix binging. The snow is melting and the cold of winter is quickly being replaced with spring fever. Now is the perfect time to start rethinking the foods we put into our bodies. So, drop that donut and use these tips to build a balanced diet that can easily be the platform for overall better living.

The great restock

Every fitness guru out there usually starts a new diet and exercise routine by clearing out the kitchen. Grab a donation box and fill it with soda, candy, and various other junk food classics. You don’t need them anymore, instead replace them with eggs, canned beans, frozen vegetables, rice, and oats. Packing your cupboards and fridge with healthy choices is the first step to healthier living. Another great tip is to vary your produce. Buy produce that lasts longer like carrots and potatoes. Then supplement these staples items with faster-spoiling items bananas and grapes. This cuts down on waste and gives you a range of choices for snack time.

Before you run out the door to buy a plethora of greens and grapes, take the time to make a list. The list should be composed of primarily healthy items. The aimless exploring of the grocery store is how cookies and ice cream find their way into your cart.

Having a varied diet is a great way of maintaining body weight.

Respect the food groups!

Just like we learned in elementary school. The food pyramid is an excellent guide for developing a balanced diet. Make sure to have a generous portion of whole-grain starches along with fruits and vegetables. Make sure your diet has a lot of color! Low-fat dairy and lean proteins come next. These vital food groups build your muscles and bones so don’t forget them. Don’t worry, the occasional bit of sugar isn’t that end of the world but remember to enjoy it in moderation. is an excellent resource for choosing healthy food and understanding portion sizes.

Processed carbohydrates

Refined sugar has been the downfall of many diets and meal plans. A life without pizza and candy sounds terrifying to some so we don’t want you to give up all your surgery treats but societally we need to eat less processed carbohydrates. Sugary beverages like soda and energy drinks are especially harmful and are a contributing factor to rising obesity numbers. Water should always be your main choice of hydration.

Tri-County Health Care Registered Dietitian Shelby Hunke. recommends having carbohydrate-based snacks rarely, around one to two times a week.

Registered Dietitian Tri-County Health Care Balanced Diet

Shelby Hunke, Tri-County Health Care Registered Dietitian

It’s a lifestyle change

The very idea of a diet chills some to the bone. Don’t look at it as an arbitrary set of eating rules but instead a lifestyle change. Go on the adventure of better living and find healthy foods you enjoy eating; they do exist. Then get support from family and friends. You don’t have to go it alone and finding someone to try that new kale smoothie with can help a great deal. If you need further assistance consider setting up an appointment with a dietitian. They have the professional expertise to get you started right.

Tri-County Health Care hosts a diabetes prevention class and in the most recent meeting, participants lost a total of 125 pounds. The nine participants lost this massive amount of weight over the course of 16 classes. These classes work on strategies to eat better while increasing physical activity.

Try something new

Get your new balanced diet kicked off right! Try this garlic parmesan asparagus recipe hand-picked by Shelby! Use the link below for step-by-step instructions:

Garlic Parmesan Asparagus Recipe: How to Make It | Taste of Home

Don’t give up!

People get burned out on a new diet and expect immediate success. It’s the journey, not necessarily the destination. Crash dieting is often the pitfall people fall into. Set attainable goals and cut back rather than going cold turkey. Cut down to one energy drink a week instead of cutting them out completely. Take it slow and steady to avoid intense cravings and binging. Set mini-goals, meet them, then set new goals.

Use March to revaluate your lifestyle and eating habits. If you need help, please schedule an appointment with a dietitian at Tri-County Health Care by calling 218-632-7115

2021: A new year, a new you!

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2021 is a new year for growth and reflection. 2020 is drawing to a close and many are looking back on how much our society has changed in just one year. 2020 was a time of division and turmoil while a pandemic ravaged the world. We have to look forward and continue to live our lives but maybe 2021 can be a little safer. Let’s use the struggles of the previous year as a catalyst of change.

The vaccine is here

After months of Netflix binging and Zoom calls, we have a glimmer of hope. Just before the end of 2020, a vaccine arrived. Some people are scared of the vaccine; some are indifferent and some are fighting to be first in line. The medical community is in agreement; the best way out of the pandemic is the vaccine. Taking the vaccine is a personal choice but statistically and scientifically, a vaccine is the best way to safeguard yourself from COVID-19. As the vaccine becomes available to the general public, please educate yourself and make the best decision, but remember your choice could affect countless others.

Ring in the new year with a healthier routine

Cleanliness and caring

Months ago, the lady wiping her shopping cart with alcohol wipes may have seemed a bit odd. Still, now it’s routine to spray them with an antibacterial solution before carefully toweling them down. Things have changed, and it might seem like we’re living in a bizarre alternate dimension dominated by hand sanitizer and colorful cloth masks, but perhaps some changes are for the best. Disease is no joke. Germs are everywhere and no amount of cleaning supplies will ever change that.

However, taking a stronger stance on reducing virus transmission could help society and the health care industry. When the day comes that COVID-19 has been defeated, we shouldn’t go back to openly coughing on each other. We should use this opportunity to educate ourselves and keep some COVID era changes, like washing our hands regularly. Something as simple as washing your hands could stop the spread of an infectious disease. 2021 should be a new year of cleanliness and kindness.

Embracing technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we communicate. The last several months have shown the world that technology is a gift that shouldn’t be taken for granted. During past pandemics, people didn’t have a smartphone loaded with instant messaging software and video chat. They were left alone, isolated from others. We live in an unprecedented time where a person can speak to a small crowd without ever leaving the comfort of their living room. Every day we are surrounded by smart TVs, smartphones, computers and the internet. We often take these things for granted. Let’s appreciate the technology that has enhanced our life and use it to its fullest extent. When this pandemic is done and over, remember that our friends and family are only a few button presses away.

New year health goals

It isn’t uncommon to hear others exclaim how this will be the year they drop that pesky 20 pounds. Unfortunately, that doesn’t tend to happen. Many start strong, going to the gym, eating fruit smoothies and running in the morning, but it never sticks. This year, try setting attainable goals. Attainable goals are devised with reasonable expectations. They set you up for success instead of disappointment. Grand goals often seem too big and intimidating. They are so insurmountable that it discourages even attempting to meet them. This year, try not placing numeric values on weight loss or going to the gym. Set bite-sized goals and try to meet them in a reasonable time frame. When you meet those goals, make more. Instead of losing 20 pounds in a year, challenge yourself to go for a walk every other day. Minor lifestyle changes can lead to massive improvements in time.

Use the new year of 2021 as a launchpad of success. Reflect, learn and grow. Tri-County Health Care is dedicated to your health and wellbeing. For more information about COVID-19, please visit our information page.

Managing COPD during a pandemic

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Managing COPD during the pandemic COVID-19 Tri-County Health Care Respiratory breathingIn November 2018, the Tri-Living Well blog featured Doug Stromberg, IT Supervisor at Tri-County Health Care. Doug suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease that causes difficulty breathing. Managing COPD during a pandemic is challenging and shedding light on his experience could help others.

Doug has dealt with respiratory problems for years. He started smoking as a teenager and kept smoking until he was in his thirties. In 2017, things took an intense turn. After a bout of breathing issues, Doug was diagnosed with COPD and had to use a nebulizer.

After problems mounted and Doug’s quality of life dropped, he decided to meet with Bobbi Adams, M.D. Doug was given stronger medication which vastly improved his living situation. The nebulizer is now retired and he was able to return to a relatively normal life.

Where is he now?

Doug still works at Tri-County in the IT department, although his office looks a little different these days. Since the COVID-19 pandemic kicked off, Doug has taken refuge in his office bunker at home. People with COPD are considered immune-compromised and Doug takes his health very seriously. He has limited his exposure to others and receives supplies by delivery only. He utilizes masks, face shields, gloves and does everything he can to keep COVID-19 at bay.

“COPD can’t get better; it will only worsen over time. My goal at this point is to do everything I can to slow the progression of the disease. And there are certain strategies for doing just that,” said Doug about the status of his condition. Protecting his respiratory system is paramount during these times. Contracting COVID-19 could easily kill him. Doug continues to use an inhaled steroid twice a day. He still has an inhaler but seldom needs it. This treatment provided by Dr. Adams and the Tri-County staff is still working great.

Advice for others

Doug urges others that suffer from COPD to make lifestyle changes. Stop smoking is his main advice. Working with a health care provider is also important. The provider will prescribe medication and develop a plan for managing the disease. Doug found Dr. Adams at Tri-County Health Care and it changed his life for the better.

Managing COPD during a pandemic causes unique problems. COVID-19 directly affects the lungs and can be fatal if combined with COPD. If you suffer from COPD and need a consultation, please contact Tri-County Health Care at 218-631-3510.

Doug is the IT Supervisor at Tri-County Health Care Managing COPD during a pandemic Respiratory breathing

 About Doug: Doug Stromberg works in the IT department at Tri-County Health Care. He is a longtime Wadena resident and a graduate of Wadena-Deer Creek schools. Doug has worked in technology for over 40 years. His background includes work in the telephone industry, cable television, radio broadcast engineering and many years as an instructor at Wadena Technical College (now M State). Prior to coming to work at TCHC, Doug operated a technical services company in partnership with his son, Mike. Doug is married to Jeannie and has two sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. His interests include his lake cabin and following Minnesota sports.

COVID-19 vaccine: Everything you need to know

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The announcement of a COVID-19 vaccine has many breathing a sigh of relief. Several months of staying home, social distancing, and wearing masks has led to a major change in everyday life. People are in a hurry to return to the way things were and a vaccine seems like the only way out. Others are more hesitant; they may believe the vaccine has not passed through proper testing.

This article is designed to be a fact sheet about the upcoming vaccines. It is a condensed and simplified record of information gathered from sources like the Minnesota Department of Health, the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Operation Warp Speed

Operation Warp Speed (OWS) combines scientific testing and government quality control. Essentially, OWS removes several administrative hurdles during the production of an effective vaccine. The methodology associated with OWS uses processes that would normally take years and compresses them down. This change is done by running the various steps simultaneously rather than one at a time.

Medical workers and seniors will be among the first to get the vaccine.

The breakdown

Creating an effective vaccine requires multiple steps and extensive testing. Generally, the process includes:

  • Methodology and lab research
  • FDA approval for clinical trials
  • Volunteer testing
  • Safety and efficacy testing in a large group
  • Large population testing with control groups
  • Final FDA approval
  • Distribution

The facts

  1. There is currently no approved vaccine available in the United States. Testing is underway, and a vaccine is expected before 2021.
  2. You will not contract COVID-19 by receiving the vaccine. The vaccines do not use a live virus. It will be similar to other widely used vaccines. It may cause symptoms like fatigue or muscle pain. These symptoms mean the vaccine is working.
  3. COVID-19 vaccination will not make you test positive for COVID-19. You may test positive for antibodies. This positive antibody test suggests either a previous infection or that the vaccine successfully created antibodies.
  4. People who were previously infected with COVID-19 should still consider being vaccinated. Studies suggest that reinfection is possible, and antibodies may last just a few months.
  5. Testing shows that receiving the vaccine does provide antibodies in around 90 percent of people. Receiving the vaccine could be the best option for fighting COVID-19.
  6. The vaccine was not rushed. Instead, administrative red tape was removed. The development and testing trials are still extensive.
  7. Once distribution begins, the first rounds of the vaccine will most likely go to health care workers and people with compromised immune systems.
  8. The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory.
  9. The COVID-19 vaccine will be available at no cost. However, providers of the vaccination will be able to charge an office visit fee.
  10. An mRNA vaccine will not harm your DNA. mRNA, which stands for messenger ribonucleic acid, makes protein. It does not interact with DNA at any point.

The problem with herd immunity

Herd immunity is a common talking point but is likely impossible to achieve. This form of immunity implies that a large enough section of the population has contracted the virus and is resistant. Herd immunity is not a reliable strategy for combating COVID-19. It is due to a lack of important data about transmission frequency after infection. We do not know how long it takes from initial infection for a person to be vulnerable again.

The race for a vaccine

At this time, five vaccines are being tested. These vaccines are being tested by:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Janssen
  • Moderna
  • Novavax
  • Pfizer

AHA, AMA, ANA seeks safe COVID-19 vaccine

Recently, the American Health Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Nurses Association addressed the American people about the status of the COVID-19 vaccine. They have given their full support to the creation of a safe vaccine. All three groups consider it to be the best option for safeguarding communities around the world. They cited the importance of scientific testing, safe distribution and total transparency about the vaccine within the address. They collectively want people to know the benefits and risks associated with the vaccine.

Become informed

The rate of vaccine production might seem like a cause for concern, but it is not. The same level of quality control used in the past is present with the manufacturing of these vaccines. The creation of these vaccines is the combination of good science and a unified need for relief.

For more information about how Tri-County Health Care and how it has been combating COVID-19, visit

Direct Scheduling is available on MyChart

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Tri-County Health Care offers direct scheduling

Need to schedule an appointment? No problem! Direct Scheduling is available on MyChart. Once you’re connected with a Tri-County Health Care provider, you can select the option to schedule an appointment entirely online. This option makes receiving care that much easier.

If you’re interested in signing up for MyChart, simply ask a staff member during your next appointment. You can also go to and click the blue “Sign Up Now” button. The MyChart app can be downloaded from any major app store.

After signing up, scheduling an appointment is easy. If you met with the provider in the last three years, the option to schedule is available. After answering a few questions, you can schedule the appointment.

Direct Scheduling is available on MyChart Tri-County Health Care online provider

Once you have a MyChart account, you will have access to all the features of the app. You can:

  • View and download visit summaries from previous visits
  • View, schedule, request or cancel appointments.
  • Review health topics and discharge instructions
  • View and pay your bill
  • Sign up for e-statements
  • Communicate with your provider or nurse
  • View medications
  • Track and view your lab results and imaging tests
  • Review your immunizations, allergies and medical history
  • Track conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and COPD
  • Share your medical record with outside providers
  • Record daily health readings such as weight and blood pressure


With MyChart, you can take advantage of telemedicine. This form of care requires a working webcam, microphone, and internet connection. With telemedicine and MyChart, you can receive care entirely online with no face-to-face contact. This is a great option for people staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Direct scheduling is available for MyChart and makes your health care speedy and easy. For other questions, you can email (please include your name and date of birth) or call 218-631-5220.

Grow Strong with Pediatric Rehab

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Parenthood comes with challenges, big and small. Nothing is more anxiety-inducing than noticing your son or daughter isn’t developing as they should. New parents will have a whirlwind of questions and concerns. The Pediatric Rehab Team at Tri-County Health Care is here to help so your kids can grow up strong!

Pediatric Rehab offers speech therapy

Free screening

Have you noticed that your baby has a difficult time crawling? Is it taking longer for your child to speak their first words? Concerns like this may indicate developmental issues that can be detected with screening. No parent should have to go it alone, so Tri-County’s pediatric rehab team is hosting a free screening event on Nov. 17. The screening will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Wadena Rehabilitation Clinic.

This is the first time Pediatric Rehab has offered free screenings. Each step of the process allows for the efficient flow of patients. “One goal is to offer parents more access to services. It’s a way to talk to each discipline about concerns,” said Meghan Current-Cary, Tri-County’s Speech-Language Pathologist.

COVID-19 precautions will be in place during the screening. To participate, parents will need to call and reserve a 20-minute time slot. After checking in, the child will have 10 minutes with physical and occupational therapy, then 10 minutes with speech. After the screening, the parent will receive feedback on their next-steps. If follow-up carry is necessary, your child will receive personalized care best suited to meet their needs.

Grow strong with pediatric rehab and reserve an appointment by calling 218-631-7475. Time slots are limited, so act quickly to reserve your spot.

For more information about Pediatric Rehab, click here.

New additions to the team

Pediatric Rehab is growing. They recently welcomed Kathryn Boutiette, OTR-L to the department. She will be assisting with occupational therapy.

Occupational Therapist Kathryn Boutiette works in the Pediatric Rehab Department

Kathryn Boutiette, OTR-L

A new way to pay

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By Jessica Sly

It’s impossible to predict when things are going to go wrong, especially when it comes to your health. This past summer, I started experiencing numbness and tingling in my face, so I went in to see my provider at Tri-County Health Care to get it checked out.

Smiling young woman doing paperwork holding letter of advice bill reading paper checking post mail at home, female customer receiving notification statement receipt from bank satisfied with good newsBecause we were dealing with my head (and that can be serious stuff), we did some tests and took blood work to make sure there wasn’t an underlying issue. Don’t worry, everything turned out okay, and the issue went away! But after all was said and done, I was left with a larger bill that I couldn’t quite pay for all in one go. So now what?

Then I remembered I had heard about a new payment option that was in the works.

I visited the billing department and sat with one of the expert staff members. She introduced me to ClearBalance, a user-friendly repayment option that allows you to set up a convenient payment plan. Just the thing I needed!

She pulled up my file and entered some information, and then it was done. That’s it. Super simple! She told me I’d get a statement in the mail from ClearBalance prompting me to make the first payment. Sure enough, a couple weeks later, it arrived.

I was impressed by how easy it was to make payments. ClearBalance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and there are so many convenient ways to pay. There’s the traditional snail mail option, but I like to save my stamps for personal letters, so I chose to go with the phone call. You can also sign in to your ClearBalance account online, and you can pay with a check, debit or credit card.

When I called ClearBalance, it walked me through an easy-to-understand menu that told me my remaining balance, what my next payment was and when it was due. And you have the option to make a payment at any time in any amount. In fact, it let me pay my balance in full even though I had several months left of the payment plan. Talk about convenient!Piggy bank savings finance check review

For people who have multiple bills or have bills for their spouse or dependents, ClearBalance can roll them into one monthly statement to make it easy for you to keep track of.

Here are other neat features that make ClearBalance so convenient:

  • Low monthly payment
  • Zero interest
  • No annual fees or prepayment penalties
  • Doesn’t impact your credit

ClearBalance eased my worries when it came to paying my bill so that I could focus on getting better.

If you have questions or would like to sign up for ClearBalance, please call one of TCHC’s billing experts at 218-631-7498. You can also visit them in person at the Wadena location. They would love to help! Click here for more information.

It’s not a DIET! Top 5 Tips for Changing Your Lifestyle

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By: Shelby Hunke, Registered Dietician

1.Energize your liferunning


Your greatest wealth is your health. Having an attitude for gratitude and focusing on the positive things in life is the resiliency you need for when things get tough. Try writing down a few things you are thankful for in your life, and use those as motivators for improving your health and changing your lifestyle.

Whether you are a mother, father, daughter, son, grandma or grandpa – you are a role model to someone in your life. Be a positive one and show others around you that eating healthy and being physically active is part of life – an energized life!


bike2. Get moving


Physical activity is a key component to a healthy lifestyle. Remember its physical activity, not exercise. You don’t need a gym membership or equipment at home either. Start with a goal of at least 10 minutes of physical activity a day and gradually build up to 150 minutes per week. Brisk walking is an ideal choice for many because it’s relatively easy and can be done almost anywhere!

Benefits of physical activity:

  • It will help you feel and look better by: helping you lose weight and keep it off, improve your self-esteem, help you sleep better and reduce stress and give you more energy.
  • It will improve your physical fitness by: improving muscle tone and reducing body fat, making your joints more flexible, strengthening your heart, lungs and bones.
  • It will improve your health by: lowering your risk of heart disease and some kinds of cancer, raise your HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), and lower blood pressure.

3. Lose weightfruit


Did you know that only a 7% weight loss will show a drastic improvement in your health? For example, a 200 pound individual would need to lose only 14 pounds to see benefits in their overall health. Recommended safe, healthy and long term weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week.

Ways to help you get started on your weight loss goals is to begin making healthy choices. Start by keeping track of everything you eat and drink to see:

-What food you are eating?

-How much you are eating?

-What time of day you are eating?

-What types of beverages you are consuming?

Keeping track of what you are eating and drinking is the first step in learning how to change your behavior and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Some important tips to remember:

  • Don’t skip meals
  • Don’t drink sugary beverages (soda, juice or flavored milk)
  • Don’t binge eat
  • Do eat slowly and enjoy your food
  • Do allow wiggle room for special occasions to splurge (birthdays, etc.) without feeling guilty
  • Do be mindful of what, when and how you are eating

4. Cut your risk for developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart diseasemeasuringtape


Chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease can be prevented or delayed in at risk populations. Granted there are uncontrollable risk factors in these diseases that we cannot prevent, such as our age, race, gender and genetics. But you can control your lifestyle choices (eating habits, physical activity) – which research has shown will drastically cut your risk of these diseases.

Almost 26 million Americans have type 2 diabetes and according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) almost 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes. Prevention is key, so catching those Americans with pre-diabetes and having them change their lifestyle can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

5. Improve problem solving and coping skills


weightsProblem solving is a process. Do not give up when you cannot come up with a solution immediately. Do not give up when your first plan to solve the problem does not work. It often takes many tries to find a solution. Problems are inevitable, but most problems related to eating less and being more active can be solved.

Follow this problem solving process:

-Describe the problem (“I am busy at work, skip lunch then come home and eat a whole box of cookies”)

-Brainstorm your options for solving the problem

-Keep healthy snacks in my office or car

-Don’t buy cookies to have at home

-Keep fresh fruit accessible at home

-Quit my job

-Go for a walk when getting home

-Pick one option to try

-Don’t buy cookies to have at home

-Make a positive action plan to put the chose option into effect

-Instead of buying cookies I will have fresh bananas and apples at home

-When feeling stressed will go for a 10 minute walk to unwind

-Keep a box of healthy granola bars in my car to have a snack on the drive home

Just try it!

icanpreventdiabetesThese lifestyle tips and so many others will be part of our next I CAN Prevent Diabetes class. This 16-session program begins on Tuesday, October 11 and will meet from 5 – 6 p.m. at the TCHC Wadena Clinic. This class that I’ll be teaching is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program. It’s a community-based, lifestyle change program that offers diabetes prevention education and support for people with pre-diabetes and those at a high risk for pre-diabetes. There is no cost to participants. People who’ve done this program have cut their risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent!

You can register by calling 218-632-7115, or e-mailing me at


Shelby with her family after she finished the 5K Sunnybrook Stomp!

Shelby with her family after she finished the 5K Sunnybrook Stomp!

About the Author: Shelby Hunke is a Registered Dietitian working at Tri-County Health Care in the hospital and clinic. She has a degree in Exercise Science and a passion for helping patients live a healthy lifestyle. She lives in Wadena with her husband Paul and two kids, Madison and Jackson. In her spare time she enjoys family time, running with her dog Bela and cooking!