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HSHS Sacred Heart CEO no longer with hospital

HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire has parted ways with its CEO, Julie Manas, Sacred Heart communications specialist Shannon Portell said Tuesday.

“HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is moving in a new direction. As a result, Julie Manas, president and CEO of HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, is no longer with the organization,” a Tuesday press release said.

Mary Starmann-Harrison, HSHS President, will serve as the interim HSHS Sacred Heart CEO until a new leader is selected, the press release said. Starmann-Harrison was appointed leader of the HSHS system in 2011. Hospital administration intend to “quickly appoint” a new CEO to succeed Manas.

“Bringing about change requires perseverance in a dynamic environment. We have an expert team, and we are positioned to continue doing what we do best, which is taking care of our patients,” said Starmann-Harrison.

Manas has spent almost six years with the hospital system, having been appointed CEO of HSHS Sacred Heart in February 2012 and overseeing the HSHS Western Wisconsin division, which includes HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls.

Previously, Manas worked in administration at hospital systems in Iowa and Illinois, according to the hospital’s website.

Throughout her tenure in the Chippewa Valley, Manas has worked with the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley and other health initiatives. In 2013, she was named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of “130 Women Hospital and Health System Leaders to Know,” recognizing female leaders of hospitals and health systems in the U.S.

In November, Manas announced that the L.E. Phillips Libertas treatment center — an affiliate of HSHS St. Joseph’s — would partner with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, a nationally renowned addiction treatment network.

“Leadership from Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) and the Board of Directors of HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals appreciate Manas’ service to HSHS during the past six years and wish her well as she begins this new chapter in her career,” the press release said.

There have been recent leadership changes at HSHS St. Joseph’s in Chippewa Falls as well. In October the hospital hired a new CEO, former Rusk County Memorial Hospital CEO Charisse Oland, replacing Joan Coffman.

Trump faces presidential fitness test amid raised concerns

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is getting his first medical checkup since taking office, a head-to-toe exam as questions swirl about the health and fitness of the oldest person ever elected to the nation’s highest office. In advance, the 71-year-old president has pushed back vigorously against suggestions he’s mentally unfit, declaring himself “a very stable genius.”

Trump raised concern last month when he slurred some words on national TV. When asked about it, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said questions about Trump’s health were “frankly, pretty ridiculous” and blamed his slurred speech on a dry throat, “nothing more than that.”

More questions have been raised in the weeks since, given the tone of some of his tweets and the reported comments of some of the people who deal with him day to day. Some were recently published in a new book about his first year, which Sanders denounced as “complete fantasy” for its portrayal of Trump as undisciplined, child-like and in over his head.

Trump was 70 when he was inaugurated a year ago to handle the 24/7 demands of being president. Ronald Reagan, who served two terms, was a year younger when he took office in 1981.

Trump took the unusual step of threatening legal action to try to suppress publication of “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” by Michael Wolff. He then drew even more attention to the book and the debate about his fitness with weekend tweets stating that his two greatest assets in life “have been mental stability and being, like, really smart.” Trump noted his success in business, reality TV and presidential politics, saying: “I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius ... and a very stable genius at that!”

The president is to fly by helicopter Friday afternoon to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington in Bethesda, Maryland, for the exam.

There is no requirement for a president to have a physical, but modern officeholders undergo them regularly and release a doctor’s report stating that they are “fit to serve.”

Trump will not undergo a psychiatric exam, the White House said. Officials did not address a different type of screening, assessments of cognitive status that examine neurologic functions including memory. Cognitive assessments aren’t routine in standard physicals, although they recently became covered in Medicare’s annual wellness visits for seniors.

Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, a Navy rear admiral who is the president’s official physician and director of the White House Medical Unit, is coordinating the exam. Jackson provided care for President Barack Obama, conducting and supervising the last of three physicals Obama had during his eight years in office.

How much of Trump’s health information the public gets to see is up to him, but Sanders said she expects him to release the same kind of details as past presidents.

In September 2016, during the presidential campaign, Trump released a five-paragraph letter from Dr. Harold Bornstein, his longtime physician, in which the gastroenterologist concluded that Trump “is in excellent physical health.” A year earlier, Bornstein said in a December 2015 letter: “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

The 2016 letter put Trump’s blood pressure and cholesterol measurements in the healthy range, but he does use a cholesterol-lowering statin medication. His EKG, chest X-ray, echocardiogram and blood sugar were normal. The 6-foot-3 Trump weighed 236 pounds, and his body mass index, or BMI, of 29.5 put him in the category of being overweight for his height.

Trump takes Crestor for his cholesterol, a low-dose aspirin for heart attack prevention, Propecia to treat male-pattern baldness and antibiotics for rosacea. The one-page letter stated Trump’s testosterone level, 441.6, was in the normal range, as were his PSA reading for prostate abnormalities and tests of his liver and thyroid.

Trump leads a largely sedentary lifestyle compared to his most recent predecessors, who ran, rode mountain bikes, played basketball or used exercise machines and lifted weights, and were significantly younger than him when they took office. Trump has said he gets most of his exercise from playing golf, which he does most weekends, driving a cart instead of walking from hole to hole.

Federal health guidelines urge people over age 65 who have no health conditions that would limit exercise to get about 2½ hours a week of moderate activity, such as brisk walking, and to do some muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.

As for his diet, Trump enjoys fast food, steaks well-done and with ketchup, chocolate cake and double scoops of vanilla ice cream, and reportedly downs 12 Diet Cokes a day. In a series of interviews last year, Trump showed journalists how he summons a butler to bring him a soda by pressing a red button on his Oval Office desk. In a recent book, “Let Trump Be Trump,” former top campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie described the four major food groups on Trump’s campaign plane as “McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke.”

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland introduced a bill in April to create a commission that would study whether the president was mentally or physically unable to perform his duties. Democrat Zoe Lofgren of California followed in August with a resolution urging the vice president and Cabinet to have Trump undergo exams to assess his competence. Neither measure has advanced in Congress.

White House officials pushed back Monday against a report by the Axios news website that Trump has been starting his official days later and holding fewer meetings than earlier in his presidency. Spokesman Hogan Gidley said Trump “exhibits yeoman-like work every day in this job, whether it be up before dawn and up into the wee hours of the morning every day.”

On Tuesday, the White House made a point of opening Trump’s lengthy immigration meeting with lawmakers to reporters and TV cameras, a rare public look lasting nearly an hour at the president conducting a policy gathering.

Trump friend Chris Ruddy, head of the conservative news site NewsMax, says he does not know the details of Trump’s schedule but “the idea that he’s some sort of absentee president is ludicrous.”

Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, said, “There’s a long history in the presidency of presidents hiding their medical infirmities, both as candidates and as presidents.”

Grover Cleveland secretly had part of a cancerous jaw removed aboard a yacht in 1893 when he was said to be on a fishing trip. During the 1960 election, John F. Kennedy concealed that he suffered from a variety of conditions, including Addison’s disease, which he controlled with steroids and other drugs. Woodrow Wilson had a secret stroke.

Perry said, “In the nuclear age, our lives are in the hands of our presidents. I think the American people should know everything there is to know about a president’s mental and physical health.”


President Donald Trump smiles as he meets with members of the U.S. Coast Guard, whom he invited to play golf, on Dec. 29, 2017, at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. Trump is getting his first medical checkup since taking office, a head-to-toe exam as questions swirl about the health and fitness of the oldest person ever elected to the nation’s highest office.

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Scholz appointed county administrator, succeeding Pascarella

The Chippewa County Board concluded its search for a county administrator with the Tuesday appointment of Randy B. Scholz to the position.

The board voted 13-2 Tuesday to appoint the former Lincoln County administrative coordinator to succeed Frank Pascarella, whose nearly eight-year tenure with the county ended on Dec. 31. Supervisors Chuck Hull and Larry Willkom voted against appointing Scholz.

Pascarella, who has been the administrator since 2012, earlier this year declined to extend his contract, which expires Dec. 31. The County Board voted against extending Pascarella’s contract until February.

Supervisor Hull expressed concern about the transparency of the hiring process ending with Scholz’s appointment, saying many county employees had met with Scholz, but the board had not had adequate opportunity to get to know him. “The (county) board should have the chance to talk with the candidate and express any concerns,” Hull said.

Supervisor Tom Thornton also expressed concern that the board had not seen Scholz’s background check information. Chippewa County Human Resources director Toni Hohlfelder confirmed a background check had been completed.

“I really look forward to working with the board ... and bringing the vision of this county to the people of Chippewa County. You guys have done a lot of great things already,” Scholz said after his appointment was confirmed.

“I think we got it right this time. I think we’re poised to do some great things,” Supervisor Annette Hunt said.

Scholz will take up the post Monday, Feb. 12, and will serve a two-year term with a $120,000 annual salary.

In other county news:

  • Four Chippewa County emergency fire wardens were appointed for 2018. Ken Chantelois of Cornell will serve the towns of Estella, Cleveland and Colburn; Amy Durch of New Auburn will serve the towns of Sampson and Bloomer; Jo Gebert of Holcombe will serve Birch Creek, Lake Holcombe and Ruby, and Laurie Hebert of Chippewa Falls will serve Eagle Point, Anson and Arthur.
  • The board approved an ordinance that would add a new ATV route in the town of Cleveland, an 0.8-mile stretch on County Highway E beginning at 245th Avenue.