The Latest News


FHN Offering Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

October 20, 2021 – FHN has opened online self-scheduling for a limited number of Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot clinics.

At this time, persons over age 65 and those aged 16 - 64 with medical conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 along with healthcare workers, first responders, employees and residents at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission are eligible for boosters.

Only persons who have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for this booster vaccination. It is recommended that the booster be administered at least 6 months after receiving the second Pfizer vaccine.

Registration is required for these clinics, which will be held from 8 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. on multiple dates (below) at 1763 S. Dirck Drive in Freeport.

Thursday, Oct. 21
Friday, Oct. 22
Monday, Oct. 25
Tuesday, Oct. 26
Friday, Oct. 29
Monday, Nov. 1
Tuesday, Nov. 2
Friday, Nov. 5


Appointments for this vaccination clinic are available at www.fhn.org/booster-registration. Recipients must bring their COVID-19 immunization card with them to their appointment and plan to stay for 15 minutes after receiving the vaccination (30 minutes for persons who have had immediate reactions to vaccinations such as flu shots, or regularly need to carry an EpiPen). There is no cost for a COVID-19 booster shot.

Those unable to use the online scheduling page can call 815-599-7183 or 815-599-7184 for assistance. (Phone assistance is available on the days that clinics are held. If someone does not answer, please leave a message and we will return your call.)

Quota Club of Freeport, FHN Offer Special Gift for Hearing Aid Users

October 18, 2021 – The “Small, but Mighty!” Quota Club of Freeport has donated 200 key chains with hearing aid battery storage to the FHN Audiology team. FHN Audiologist Anneliese Hartman, AuD, will distribute them to patients while supplies last.

Originally chartered as a local club of Quota Club International, the Freeport club has been serving the area since 1955. When the International Club dissolved in 2020 (after 100 years of existence), the Freeport Quota Club continued as an independent entity. It is a 501c3 not-for-profit club and continues to raise funds to support local service projects.

The Quota Club worked with Dr. Hartman to identify a need that many of her patients with hearing aids have: Hearing aid batteries can drain anytime or anywhere, and patients don't always have spare batteries handy.

“Just about any time someone leaves their house, they have keys,” Hartman said. “These handy key chains will likely be with them, so they'll have spare batteries with them.”

“We have maintained our mission of serving women, children, and persons who have hearing or speech disabilities,” club member Carol Johnson said. “We have helped hundreds of individuals purchase hearing aids or other assistive listening devices when they were not able to afford the devices on their own, and we're proud to be able to donate these handy, useful key chains to FHN Audiology patients.”

The Freeport Quota Club meets once a month and continues to raise funds to assist with local and area service projects. Members will sell WFRL airtime for Radio Days, the Club's largest fundraiser, in October and November, and the Club sells Teri Lynn nuts and candles online. For more information on the Quota Club, find us on Facebook or email us at quotacluboffreeport@gmail.com.

FHN Gala Galactic Promises Out-of-this-World Fun Nov. 19

October 15, 2021 – This year's FHN Gala Galactic will again be virtual, with an evening full of out-of-this-world entertainment from the comfort (and safety) of home.

FHN's Gala Galactic will kick off the organization's slate of Festival of Trees events from 7-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19 with delicious food, treats, silent auction shopping, and other surprises. This year's Gala is raising funds to help FHN refurbish infrastructure at FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport.

Tickets are $75 per person, which include a link to the live celebration along with a refreshment box filled with delicious appetizers, treats, and other surprises ready for pickup before the Gala begins. In keeping with this year's theme, attendees will enjoy great space-themed beer and champagne or non-alcoholic beverages.

Ticketholders who purchase their tickets by Friday, Oct. 29 will get an extra chance to win the drawing for the Gala Galactic Grand Prize!

Ticketholders also will have early access to silent auction packages, beginning Saturday, Nov. 13. The auction will be opened to the public on Saturday, Nov. 20 for any packages that did not receive the minimum bid during the Gala.

Registration is open through Wednesday, Nov. 10 at www.fhn.org/Gala2021.

Information about FHN's other Festival of Trees events, including the Community Festival of Trees and FHN Letters to Santa, is available at https://www.fhn.org/festivaloftrees.

FHN Offering Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

October 8, 2021 – FHN has opened online self-scheduling for a limited number of Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot clinics.

At this time, healthcare workers, first responders, persons over age 65 and persons aged 16 - 64 with medical conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 are eligible for boosters. Only persons who have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for this booster vaccination. It is recommended that the booster be administered at least 6 months after receiving the second Pfizer vaccine.

Registration is required for these clinics, which will be held from 8 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18, Thursday, Oct. 21 and Friday, Oct. 22 at 1763 S. Dirck Drive in Freeport.

Appointments for this vaccination clinic are available at www.fhn.org/booster-registration.asp. Recipients must bring their COVID-19 immunization card with them to their appointment and plan to stay for 15 minutes after receiving the vaccination (30 minutes for persons who have had immediate reactions to vaccinations such as flu shots, or regularly need to carry an EpiPen). There is no cost for a COVID-19 booster shot.

Those unable to use the online scheduling page can call 815-599-7183 or 815-599-7184 for assistance. (Phone assistance is available 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. on Monday October 18, Thursday October 21 and Friday October 22. If someone does not answer, please leave a message and we will return your call.)

FHN Removing Community Holiday Tree Oct. 11

October 8, 2021 – FHN Facilities team members will remove the tall blue spruce on the north side of FHN Memorial Hospital on Monday, Oct. 11. The tree, planted in 1976, has served as the community's holiday tree since 2003.

The tree has been infected by a fatal fungal disease that has no cure. “It's basically a type of untreatable ‘tree cancer,'” said FHN Director of Facilities Mike Kuropas. “Take a look around town next time you're out and about and you'll see that many other blue spruces have been similarly infected.”

FHN Physician and former President and CEO Dr. Michael Perry and his wife, Sue, have funded the purchase of another large tree to take the blue spruce's place. The Perrys are longtime supporters of FHN and the FHN Festival of Trees. The new tree will be in place in time to serve as this year's community holiday tree.

“We look forward to continuing to host holiday tree lightings long into the future,” said FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley. “Of all the Festival of Trees activities, the annual tree lighting is my favorite. It signals the beginning of the holiday season, and the opportunity to celebrate a sense of community in sharing songs and treats and then counting down in unison to the lighting of the tree is a special part of FHN's history that I really love.”

This year's FHN Festival of Trees Holiday Tree Lighting is scheduled for dusk Sunday, Nov. 21. Plans are in place to hold the event in-person, depending on current COVID-19 health and safety restrictions. Updates will be shared on fhn.org and through traditional and social media. More information and photos of the tree over the years can be found at www.fhn.org/communitytree.

Family Medicine Physician Drew Johnson, MD Joins FHN

September 29, 2021 – FHN is pleased to welcome board-certified Family Medicine physician Drew Johnson, MD to our Family Medicine team. He is welcoming new patients of all ages at the FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills in Freeport.

Dr. Johnson earned his medical degree from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in Lubbock, Texas. As part of the school's Family Medicine Accelerated Track, he completed his degree in three years.

He served his residency at Texas Tech Physicians in Lubbock, where he was named Chief Resident and “Resident of the Year” in his final year of the program.

Before medical school, he earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. Dr. Johnson grew up in Winnebago, and is excited to be back home in northwest Illinois.

As a family medicine physician, Dr. Johnson can care for patients of any age, from infancy to old age. To make an appointment with Dr. Johnson, call the FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills at 815-599-7170.

FHN Welcomes Sarah Beaves, MD

September 28, 2021 – Board-certified pediatrician Sarah Beaves, MD has joined the healthcare team at the FHN Family Healthcare Center “ Burchard Hills in Freeport. She is welcoming new patients.

Dr. Beaves holds a medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City, Iowa. She served her pediatric residency there at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

She has been caring for children as a pediatrician with Rockford Health System/Mercyhealth in Rockford since 1999. Dr. Beaves also has served as a board member of the Spectrum Progressive School of Rockford and the Charles N. Gorham Memorial Fund, and as a Cub Scout leader.

After graduating cum laude from Loras College in Dubuque with a bachelor's degree in biology, she spent a year as a nanny in France before beginning medical school. While in medical school, she volunteered as a cuddler in the hospital's NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).

Dr. Beaves cares for patients from infancy to age 18. To make an appointment with Dr. Beaves, call the FHN Family Healthcare Center “ Burchard Hills at 815-599-7755.

Learn more about Dr. Beaves and FHN's healthcare services at www.fhn.org.

FHN Offering Exploring™ Healthcare Program

September 27, 2021 – FHN is part of the nationally recognized Exploring™ program for students interested in examining a career in healthcare. Interested individuals can learn more at an upcoming meeting.

The free event will be held from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6 at FHN Memorial Hospital, 1045 W. Stephenson in Freeport. Each meeting is held in a different location, depending on what the group is shadowing. Contact the Center of Innovative Learning at coil@fhn.org for more information and the location of the meeting. No registration is necessary. Masks must be worn and social distancing measures will be in place.

Exploring is a unique worksite-based career exploration program for young men and women ages 14 - 20. The program provides students with an opportunity to learn about a wide variety of career fields in healthcare and network with professionals already working in those professions. Explorers get hands-on experience to determine whether or not a particular career is right for them. Explorers develop valuable networking contacts with professionals working in a variety of fields, and get to know other youth with the same interests and aspirations. Exploring is the first step in identifying healthcare career possibilities while having fun in an exciting and informal environment.

Explorers benefit from unique real-world career experiences, leadership skills training, networking, and adding Exploring to college, job, and scholarship applications. There is no charge to attend this introductory meeting, but there is a $33 annual fee to become an Explorer Post member.

For more information regarding the Exploring program, visit www.exploring.org. To find out more about the FHN Exploring Healthcare meeting, call FHN's Center of Innovative Learning office at 815-599-6707 or email coil@fhn.org.

FHN Celebrates IRHA Lifetime Service Honoree Shokry Tawfik, MD

September 22, 2021 – FHN honored its first Rural Physician Lifetime of Service Award recipient, retired family medicine physician Shokry Tawfik MD, with a special celebration Sept. 21. The Illinois Rural Health Association (IRHA) recognizes physicians who exhibit an extraordinary commitment to providing healthcare to Illinois' rural residents.

"One of the biggest healthcare challenges across our nation is the shortage of physicians who practice in rural settings. IRHA feels it is important to recognize those who have accepted this calling and gone out of their way to make an impact, particularly those who devoted their entire careers to rural practice," said IRHA Executive Director Margaret Vaughn.

Dr. Tawfik provided care for FHN patients since 1984 before retiring in August. He had been the primary care provider at the Lena office since 1985, becoming well-known in the community for his care and compassion.

Dr. Tawfik garnered statewide recognition when he was named a Rural Physician of Excellence by the IRHA in 2006. He received his medical degree from Cairo University in Egypt and completed his residency at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Rockford. He is a Fellow and member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Associates, and member of the American Medical Association. In January of 2017, he received the Citizen of the Year Award from the Lena Lions Club.

Dr. Tawfik's efforts were recognized with an Illinois House of Representatives resolution, introduced at the celebration by Rep. Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport), and with an Illinois State Senate congratulatory certificate presented by Sen. Brian Stewart (R-Freeport).

"We're extremely proud of Dr. Tawfik and his dedication to the health of the people in our communities in northwest Illinois," said FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley. "He is one of the finest physicians I have ever known. He has worked to improve FHN and his patients' health over the years, and he richly deserves this recognition."

For more information on FHN's other Family Medicine providers, visit www.fhn.org.

FHN Offering Seasonal Flu Shot Clinics

September 16, 2021 – FHN is offering a number of safe, convenient drive-through and walk-in seasonal flu shot clinics this fall throughout northwest Illinois.

“As the pandemic continues, it's more important than ever to get a flu shot,” said FHN Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CIC. “Whether you have been vaccinated for COVID-19 or not, it's important to have your annual flu shot. If your last flu shot was before June 1, 2021, you need a new one for the coming season.”

This year's public drive-through flu shot clinics are:
Sept. 24, 3 - 6 p.m. FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills, 1010 W. Fairway Drive, Freeport
Sept. 30, 3 - 6 p.m. FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills
Oct. 2, 9 a.m. - noon Terrapin Park, 350 West Street, Elizabeth (next to the Elizabeth Grand Antique Mall)
Oct. 7, 3 - 6 p.m. FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills
Oct. 9, 9 a.m. - noon FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills

At this year's public flu shot clinics, adults under 65 years of age will get a quadrivalent vaccine that protects against four strains of influenza for $31.

Persons over 65 will receive a high-dose version of the four-strain vaccine ($67).

Children cannot receive their flu shot at any of the drive-through clinics, but FHN provider offices will have appropriate dosages for pediatric patients as well as for adults.

Drive-through immunizations may be paid for by cash, credit card, or check payable to FHN. Receipts will be available to submit to individuals' healthcare insurance provider for reimbursement.

There will be no out-of-pocket expense if you are covered by Medicare Part B (please present Medicare card) or a Medicare HMO accepted by FHN (list available at each location - covered persons MUST present the Medicare HMO card instead of the Medicare card for the billing process).

A number of walk-in events are scheduled for senior centers and other locations:
Oct. 5, 1 - 3 p.m. Mest Manor, 525 Third Street, Savanna
Oct. 6, 10 a.m. - noon Bethel United Methodist Church, 217 S. Hickory St., Shannon
Oct. 7, 9 a.m. - noon Carroll County Senior Center, 17612 E. Benton St., Mount Carroll (a free blood pressure screening also will be available)
Oct. 10, 10 a.m. - noon First Lutheran Church, 301 S. Clay Street, Mount Carroll
Oct. 11, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 118 E. Mason St., Lena
Oct. 14, 1:30 - 3 p.m. Sullivan's Foods, 201 Dodds Drive, Lena
Oct. 14, 4 - 6 p.m. Sullivan's Foods, 103 W. North Avenue, Stockton
Oct. 15, 9 a.m. - noon Golden Meals, 524 W. Stephenson Street (rear entrance, lower level), Freeport (a free blood pressure screening also will be available)

These walk-in events will follow all current pandemic precautions and are subject to change. For the most updated information, visit www.fhn.org/flu2021 for a complete list of dates, times, and locations.

Please note that these prices are only available at these flu shot clinics; other rates may apply in FHN offices.

Because of federal guidelines to prevent identity theft, everyone must present a photo ID to receive an immunization. Participants are asked to wear a shirt or top that makes their upper arm easily accessible. All persons in vehicles attending a drive-thru clinic must arrive wearing a face covering; those receiving a shot will be given a 2-ply reusable fabric FHN mask, while supplies last, after their shot for future use.

Persons with allergy to eggs or the flu vaccine, those with an illness accompanied by a fever or depressed immune system should not receive the flu immunization at these locations. For more information, call FHN Community Services at 815-599-7437.

For more information on FHN's flu shot clinics and how you can avoid the flu, visit www.fhn.org/flu2021.

Eight Area Schools Win FHN Miles And Minutes Cash

September 14, 2021 – Eight area schools will receive checks from FHN this fall, thanks to their dedicated fans who counted their exercise minutes through the summer with FHN's Miles And Minutes program. Together, exercisers logged enough activity (for the contest, miles were normalized to help ensure a more level playing field for schools of all sizes - this final count is actual miles) to equate to 66,545 miles - a little over two times around the world!

FHN's Miles And Minutes encouraged participants to be active and log various types of physical activity to win prize money for the school of their choice.

Miles And Minutes winners were chosen in two main categories -miles per school system (normalized based on the number of students in each school system to help ensure that all schools had an equal chance to win, no matter their size or how many participants they enlist) and average miles per participant. The winners are:

Miles per School System:
Tri-County Christian - 105,330 normalized miles ($2,000)
Aquin Catholic Schools - 51,245 normalized miles ($1,000)
Immanuel Lutheran School - 23,990 normalized miles ($500)


Average Miles per Participant:
Dakota - 227.3 ($2,000)
West Carroll - 200.5 ($1,000)
Tri-County Christian - 196.87 ($500)


Schools that did not win a prize in the two main categories are eligible for Sweepstakes prizes. Miles And Minutes participants took part in contests throughout the summer to win points for their school, and this year's winners are:

Warren School District - $500
Eastland School District - $400
Freeport School District - $300


The free program had 454 participants who logged a total of 2,072,550 minutes of exercise from June 3 through August 30. (All together, that's about 2 years and 3 weeks of exercise!)

FHN Wound Center Recognized for Patient Satisfaction

August 25, 2021 – The Center for Wound Healing at FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport has earned RestorixHealth's Excellence in Patient Satisfaction Award.

The award is presented to RestorixHealth wound center partners that demonstrate exceptional success by meeting or exceeding a national patient satisfaction benchmark of 96 percent.

The Center for Wound Healing at FHN Memorial Hospital celebrated 10 years of patient successes in April 2021, with more than 55,000 patient visits and more than 10,000 different “dives” treating a patient using one of the Center's two hyperbaric oxygen chambers.

The Center's caring team includes Medical Director Rafael Castro, MD; Administrative Director Roland Tolliver, DPM; Podiatrist Richard Bell, DPM; and Nurse Practitioner Carrie Wright, FNP-BC. The Center has a 97 percent healing rate, and the average time it takes to heal a wound in the care of its experts is 32 days, which is lower than the national average.

For more information on the Center for Wound Healing at FHN and the services available there, visit www.fhn.org or call the Center at 815-599-7410.

FHN Experts Discuss Delta Variant, Back-to-School Preparation

August 18, 2021 – “We want face-to-face instruction in our schools this year,” says FHN Infection Preventionist Margie Kochsmier MSN, RN, CMSRN, CIC in the latest FHN COVID-19 update video. “Protective measures like getting a vaccination if you're able and wearing masks when necessary can make this happen.”

FHN President and CEO Mark Gridley, MBA, FACHE and Kochsmier talk about the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus and the importance of slowing down the spread of infection in the latest FHN COVID-19 update video available at www.fhn.org/coronavirus.

Gridley confirms that state laboratories have identified cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant in northwest Illinois, and that local case numbers and hospitalizations are rising.

“We are doubling down on precautions to help stop the spread of the virus,” Gridley said, noting that the vast majority of FHN team members and providers are vaccinated and that masks must be worn at all FHN facilities. “We are using all of our tools, the most important of which is vaccinations, to protect the health and safety of our patients and communities.”

Vaccines are the key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 “ and the way we can stop the virus from mutating into more transmissible strains like the Delta variant, Kochsmier explained.

“The more opportunity we give a virus to spread, the more it will mutate and become stronger,” she said. “When most people have been vaccinated, the virus has nowhere to go.”

Though vaccinated people can catch a “breakthrough” case of COVID-19, their bodies are better prepared to fight off the virus, Kochsmier said. “The vaccination has been very successful in preventing more severe illness and death.” Breakthrough cases are rare, she said, and usually not as severe as in those who haven't been vaccinated.

“Right now, the best thing we can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones “ especially children younger than 12, who can't yet get the vaccine, is to get vaccinated and take the proper precautions when needed,” Kochsmier said. “Wear a mask, have good hand hygiene, stay away from crowds and if you spend time inside, like children in a classroom, have a window open to increase airflow throughout the room.”

Learn more about how FHN is working to help stop the spread of COVID-19 at fhn.org/coronavirus.

FHN Women's Health Team Moving to Burchard Hills

August 9, 2021 – FHN's Women's Health Team is moving across town to make families' medical appointments a little easier.

Beginning August 16, FHN Ob/Gyn specialists Keith Martin, MD, FACOG and Lee Sesslar, MD, FACOG, and Women's Health Nurse Practitioners Danielle Siedschlag, WHNP-BC and Sara Smith, WHNP-BC will see patients on the second floor of FHN Family Healthcare Center - Burchard Hills, located at 1010 W. Fairway Drive in Freeport.

“We believe this move will make it easier for our patients by bringing our care for women at all stages of life to the same place where they might see their primary care provider or family pediatrician,” said Dr. Martin, who also serves as FHN chief medical officer.

The move will give the women's health team more space to educate patients and collaborate with specialists as well as updated exam rooms equipped with the latest technology. It will be seamless for patients - the office phone number (815-599-7750 or toll free 877-538-0958) will not change.

“If you're due for a checkup or need to establish with a provider, now is a good time to come in and see us at our new location,” Dr. Sesslar said. The team is welcoming new patients.

Learn more about FHN's Women's Health Team providers and services at www.fhn.org.

FHN Celebrates Its Own with Special Events

August 9, 2021 – FHN is celebrating its team members this week with a series of “thank you” events held at FHN locations throughout the region.

Earlier this week, Freeport Mayor Jodi Miller officially proclaimed Tuesday, August 3 as FHN Day in the City of Freeport as local team members were treated to a lunch featuring treats from several local food trucks. (Team members working on different shifts or at locations other than Freeport enjoyed lunch and some special treats, as well.)

The proclamation detailed:
Whereas: FHN is a vital part of the Freeport community; and Whereas; FHN leadership and staff strives to keep Freeport and the surrounding area healthy by providing state of the art medical facilities and care; and
Whereas, FHN is the largest employer in Freeport and Stephenson County, not only providing high quality care and caring and compassionate staff but also with that employment bringing an economic boost to the area; and
Whereas, in 2020 FHN spent $4.8 million on enhancements and upgrades to facilities and major medical equipment that in turn benefit the health and well-being of all who receive medical care with FHN; and
Whereas, FHN spends more than $68 million each year on goods and services it needs to provide healthcare such as medical supplies, utilities for their facilities and food for hospital needs; and
Whereas, FHN provides many innovative and preventative services and programs to serve the community such as, Connect the D.O.T.S. (Doors of Team Support) and the Mobile Rx Pantry Program. They also support civic and cultural programs and make space available to community groups; and
Whereas, during Covid-19, FHN was a critical part of the weekly Covid Team meetings to provide up to date news and direction to the area; and whereas, as your mayor I would like to thank FHN for all you do to support Freeport and the surrounding communities and for your hard work and dedication to promote healthy choices to our citizens.

In a message to all those employed by FHN, President and CEO Mark Gridley said: “I believe that you all deserve so much more than a day or two to celebrate the difference that you make throughout our community every day.”

“So many of our staff work all hours and days of the week throughout a large geographic area,” Gridley said. “No matter what change and challenge we face with the passage of time, it is the skill and compassion of our FHN family that always gets us through by working together and caring for one another.”

FHN is the largest employer in Freeport and Stephenson County, and its team of nearly 1,200 people care for patients throughout northwest Illinois and southwest Wisconsin. For more information on FHN, visit www.fhn.org/docs/2020FHNQuickFacts.pdf.