News - Rapid City Medical Center

What Pregnant Women Need to Know About COVID-19

Heather Moline, MD
Heather Moline, MD

Expecting mothers across the nation want to know what the COVID-19 outbreak will mean for their pregnancy. Heather Moline, MD, who specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology, has some advice for women who are pregnant or expecting to become pregnant during this time.

There is limited literature available at this time on pregnant women contracting COVID-19, the available information does indicate that due to low immunity in general, pregnant women tend to fall into the a more susceptible category.

“COVID-19 doesn’t appear to target pregnant women compared to other respiratory illnesses such as influenza and SARS, and we don’t believe the outcomes will be necessarily worse when we look at the outcomes from China and so far what has come out of Italy.” said Dr. Moline.

The same type of precautionary measures being recommended to the general public are also being recommended to pregnant women. Dr. Moline advises that mothers-to-be avoid contact with anyone who is currently sick and socially isolate themselves, practice excellent hand hygiene, and avoid any non-essential travel.

The few cases that have been reported on pregnant women have been primarily in the second and third trimester. Mothers who demonstrated positive COVID-19 with symptoms at the time of arriving at the hospital have had an increased risk of pre-term birth or low birth weight, however this data set is small and the majority of patients underwent delivery via cesarean section to expedite delivery of the baby and improve recovery time for the mother.

Currently, there are not enough cases of women contracting COVID-19 in the first trimester to have a firm grasp on the potential long term consequences of the virus on a developing fetus. Regardless of your stage in pregnancy, Dr. Moline suggests the same thing for patients experiencing high fever and significant symptoms of a viral respiratory illness: increase oral fluids and control the fever. “Depleted fluids and high fever can lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes at all stages of pregnancy,” said Dr. Moline.

For those concerned about transmission of the virus to the child, “It appears that if a mother is to become sick with COVID-19 during her pregnancy that there is, right now, very limited data to suggest that there is transmission to the fetus,” said Moline, “While there may be positive cases as we move into the future, it seems that the current infants that have been born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 have tested negative for the virus. In addition, there currently does not appear to be any transmission of the virus into breast milk.” Dr. Moline added, “As long as the mother is not too sick to breastfeed, there are still many significant benefits to breastfeeding”

Pregnant mothers and other non-pregnant patients may be apprehensive about entering a hospital due to the increased risk of contracting the virus. In this case, Rapid City Medical Center is offering telehealth appointments, where patients can phone-in for their regular appointments. While this does not allow for neonatal assessments, Dr. Moline still urges regular visits via telehealth or in-person for the continued monitoring of mother and baby. Patients should discuss their pregnancy with their OB/GYN so that they can work on a strategy to be seen regularly and limit their visits to hospitals.

Limiting exposure, practicing good hand hygiene and social distancing is vital to keeping everyone healthy. Dr. Moline suggests that pregnant women especially avoid unnecessary visits to the hospital which includes taking family members to regular appointments as well as visiting family or friends who are admitted for extended hospital stays, for any reason.

Amid all the anxiety about the current situation, Dr. Heather Moline wants her pregnant patients to know that they will be taken care of. “The whole medical system in the United States and everywhere in the world right now is trying to keep patients safe and healthy and we’re working together to do everything we can to keep people as healthy as possible. It is a very worrisome time and the best thing patients can do is just to protect themselves from potential sick contacts and practice social distancing.”



COVID-19 Update

We are protecting our community in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic by offering virtual visits to patients in their homes.  Just like the seasonal flu, limiting contact with those who are experiencing acute symptoms is key to reducing the spread of this virus. As of Monday, March 16, 2020,

80% of all coronavirus patients indicate the symptoms are mild and most relatively healthy individuals will beat this while staying at home.

for any patient over the age of 60 and who has chronic conditions or for those experiencing acute respiratory symptoms, RCMC physicians are encouraging you to call to see if this tool is right for you. It is easy to use with a smart-phone or computer equipped with a camera.

In addition, Rapid City Medical Center has implemented best practices to focus patients with respiratory illnesses to certain waiting rooms and exam areas in their locations, allowing the majority of each clinic’s physical space for routine physician visits. “Rapid City Medical Center’s physicians continue to be the leaders in providing healthcare to our communities. We have been working diligently over the past several weeks and have fluid plans to meet and beat this virus,” says Heather Bindel, Chief Operations Officer at Rapid City Medical Center. “We will update our patients every Wednesday on our website as our plan evolves. Using telehealth ‘virtual visits’ and directing patients to specific clinic-areas based on their requested treatments are just two of the ways we are managing this concern. However, patients are encouraged to join us in remaining calm and working as a team to continue all types of healthcare. 80% of all coronavirus patients indicate the symptoms are mild and most relatively healthy individuals will beat this while staying at home. We continue to encourage hand-washing and not touching your face.”

If you wish to request a virtual visit, please call our direct line at 342-3280.  All of our board-certified physicians are able to utilize this platform and they will determine with you if it is the best way to serve your needs.


Click here for more information about COVID-19

Now Offering Trifocal Replacement Lens for Cataract Patients

Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye that can cause changes in vision. Symptoms include cloudy or fuzzy vision and sensitivity to glare. For people with cataracts, seeing is similar to looking through fogged glasses. This obstruction can make it more challenging to read, drive a car, especially at night, or even see facial expressions.

Cataracts form gradually as your eyes get older. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology by age 75, approximately half of all Americans have cataracts. The good news is that cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective procedures performed today.

In addition to traditional cataract surgery, Dr. Gail Bernard and Dr. Rebecca Linquist are allowing their patients to enhance their vision with the PanOptix Trifocal Lens at the time of cataract surgery. While monofocial lens can help you see far away, the PanOptix lens gives you a full range of vision, allowing you to rely less on glasses. Clinical studies have reported patients experiencing an exceptional combination of near, intermediate and distance vision while reducing the need for glasses after surgery.

Linquist PanOptix Lens
Dr. Linquist preforming first PanOptix trifocal surgery.
Linquist PanOptix
Dr. Linquist and team post-surgery.
Dr. Bernard and team post-surgery.
Bernard PanOptix
Dr. Bernard performing first PanOptix trifocal surgery.

Join us in welcoming Dr. Heather Moline

Heather Moline, MD
Heather Moline, MD

Dr. Heather Moline is the newest provider to join the obstetrics and gynecology team at Rapid City Medical Center. Born and raised in Rapid City Moline returned home after completing her residency training at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She enjoys all aspects of obstetrics and gynecology including infertility, incontinence, low and high-risk obstetrics, well-women and adolescent gynecology as well as minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.

“There is no greater privilege than taking care of women before, during and after pregnancy. Women’s healthcare is essential in all phases of life, including adolescence and post-menopause. I care for my patients in clinic, in surgical facilities and at the hospital and empower them to be advocates for their health.” -Dr. Moline

In her free time, she enjoys time with her husband and their baby, exploring all the beautiful BlackHills have to offer. She also enjoys gardening, canning and preserving food, beekeeping, skiing, brewing kombucha and hunting with her German Wirehaired Pointer, Greta.

Dr. Moline is now scheduling by calling 605-342-3280 or online by clicking here. She is accepting patients with most insurances and title 19.

Family Medicine is proud to present Erika Toyoda

Erika Toyoda, MD
Erika Toyoda, MD

Erika Toyoda exudes a thoughtful kindness, the type a patient wants from her physician. Dr. Toyoda’s dark brown eyes and genuine smile hint at a fascinating history; one where her humility requires pulling and prodding to get the story. Her story reflects the untarnished ‘American Dream’ –where “difference” is valued, and coupled with hard work, fosters personal discovery and success.

Toyoda was born in Osaka, Japan. Her mother, who is of Korean descent, was a Korean-Japanese translator when she met Erika’s Japanese father. Working to advance her education, Erika’s mother entered into an exchange program with National American University (NAU). At the time, Osaka Japan was the “sister” city to Rapid City. Erika was seven years old when she first came to the Black Hills.

Dr. Toyoda fondly recalls living in student housing at the downtown NAU campus, feeling “belonging” from her college-student “family”. She remembers playing between the housing “stacks” and traces her thirst for education to the relationships made in those dormitories. Her mother earned her Bachelor’s degree in business and began a career in commercial sales, oftentimes working multiple jobs.

Erika attended Knollwood and Meadowbrook Elementary schools, Southwest Middle School and Steven’s High School. She excelled in school and balanced her “book smarts” with violin, drawing and jewelry making.

She recalls one mentor, Stevens’ High School Orchestra Director, Dr. Evans, as one of many who took an interest in her talents, which in turn helped her have the courage to try new things. An animal-lover, Erika initially thought she would pursue a career as a veterinarian and upon high school graduation, enrolled at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

Erika took a job at Lowe’s without any “home repair” experience because she knew she had to pay for college and it had extended hours. She got the job because of her friendliness. Eager to learn, she quickly moved out of customer service to all areas of the store. She worked there for five years and it was this job that ultimately led her to practice family medicine. “Interacting with a wide variety of people, with different needs, communication skills and baseline knowledge of what they wanted, I thoroughly enjoyed trying to solve their problems,” said Dr. Toyoda. “Once I decided on a medical career, I thought family medicine would allow a similar dynamic.”

Graduating Summa Cum Laude from SDSM&T, Erika began at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. She received her first “B” during medical school and said, “I was devastated!” Dr. Toyoda just finished her specialty training in family medicine in a program affiliated with the University of Iowa. This past year, she was ‘chief resident’, teaching other young doctors how to care for patients.

Unlike most residents who accept jobs after their first year of residency, Dr. Toyoda purposely delayed her search. She felt the distraction would take away from her commitment to learning about human medicine and a breach of her oath to “do all she could” to help patients.

Upon her first interview, I instantly knew she was someone our patients deserved. She is smart, engaging and deeply cares about her patients.

Dr. Toyoda had multiple offers across the country, but chose Rapid City Medical Center because it was the “right fit.” She says, “The doctors at Medical Arts were the ones who cared for my mom and me as I grew up. I remember their genuineness and concern. Now, I want to be that doctor for others.”

In typical “small world” fashion, Erika met her husband, William, after he returned from a Japanese exchange program. Despite living less than two miles apart as they grew up in Rapid City, they did not meet until adults.

Rapid City Medical Center is proud to present Erika Toyoda, MD to our community as a family medicine physician. Her richness of character, medical talent and friendliness are at home with our family of providers. “Life happens here.”

Thanking a Founding Father

Gary Bochna, MD
Gary Bochna, MD

May 31, 2019, marks the last day that Gary Bochna, MD will practice medicine with the Rapid City Medical Center Gastroenterology Department. As CEO, I wish to thank him for 32 years of service to patients in our community and to this physician group practice.

Dr. Bochna began with the Rapid City Medical Center in July of 1987 when the practice was located at 728 Columbus Street in downtown Rapid City. He was recruited out of fellowship at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, by Ken Voegle, MD. Dr. Voegle knew the program director at Nebraska and Dr.

Bochna was considered a “shining star.” Bochna recalls that time was one of limited job opportunities. He contemplated moving home to Wisconsin to practice but at his program director’s urging, he and his wife, Sue, traveled to Rapid City to meet with Dr. Voegle. The Bochnas were “impressed with the area,” especially the geography and the Rapid City Medical Center opportunity- and the rest he says, ” is history!” Dr. Bochna felt then and believes today that the best care possible occurs when physicians lead the effort.

Over his 32 year career at the Rapid City Medical Center, Dr. Bochna was inspired by collegiality with other physicians and staff. He appreciated Dr. Voegle’s mentoring and vision, finding that oftentimes new physicians do not have someone willing to take the time to teach both the medical and business side of the practice of medicine. Drs. Bachwich, McGuire, and Tillotson joined the group in the late 90’s which Bochna recalls had an immediate positive impact for GI patients in our community.

When asked to share the highlight of his career, Dr. Bochna indicated without hesitation that it is his relationships with patients. He feels the people in the Black Hill s community are genuine, full of integrity and engaged in their care. He enjoyed collaborating outside of GI with other RCMC specialists. While electronic medical record requirements have been the most difficult burden, Dr. Bochna feels honored for his time spent with patients and cannot think of a better profession to which one devotes his life. He cautions physicians from relying on tests ” right out of the blocks,” rather urges to spend time speaking with patients as they often hold the keys to the answer. Patients know their own bodies, and it is a physician’s job to listen and analyze what is said then apply it to the medical issue at hand.

Dr. Bochna has seen an increase in “fatty liver disease” over his career, which is a concern. He attributes this to the change in Americans’ diet and sedentary lifestyle. The best medical advancement has been the use of “screening colonoscopies,” resulting in a vast decrease in colorectal cancer deaths.

In his retirement, Dr. Bochna hopes to travel, garden, and be engaged in the “music scene” again, playing the trombone, which has been a past joy for him. His eyes twinkle when he thinks of potential future grandchildren. On behalf of the Rapid City Medical Center, physicians and staff, we wish Dr. Bochna well. He will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Kind regards,
Jennifer Trucano

May is About Skin Protection

For over 30 years, the American Academy of Dermatology’s free skin cancer screening program has been one of the most successful public health programs. Since 1985 Rapid City Medical Center dermatologists have supported this program along with other dermatologists in the area. Approximately 9,500 people in the US are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. This year Dr. Briana Hill, Dr. Jason Noble and Lyndsi Slusarski volunteered at this years screening at Community Health of the Black Hills.

This year Dr. Briana Hill, Dr. Jason Noble and Lyndsi Slusarski volunteered at this years screening at Community Health of the Black Hills.

“Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. At least one in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime. Each year, the first Monday in May is designated as Melanoma Monday, officially kicking off Skin Cancer Awareness Month. This is an opportunity to raise awareness of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and to encourage everyone to take action to detect skin cancer in its early, most treatable stage,” said Dr. Noble.

Melanoma Monday promotes early detection of suspicious spots through self-exams and free skin cancer screenings to the underprivileged and others who may not have access to a board certified dermatologist.

Melanoma is the most severe form of skin cancer, but unlike other cancers, it can often be detected by dermatologists during a visual skin exam. This form of skin cancer is characterized by uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells and can appear suddenly without warning. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, melanoma rates continue to rise in the United States.

Cosmetic Procedure Trends to Watch for in 2019

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, minimally invasive cosmetic procedures have grown 200 percent since 2000. Rapid City Medical Center is dedicated to staying on top of these advancements in technology and research to meet the needs of our patients. Here our team of board-certified plastic surgeons and dermatologists weigh in on the procedures they feel will be most popular in 2019.

Continue reading “Cosmetic Procedure Trends to Watch for in 2019”

Urgent Care Welcomes Dr. Eric Thompson

Eric Thompson, MD
Eric Thompson, MD

We are excited to welcome Eric Thompson, MD to our Urgent Care team. Dr. Thompson joins us from Sanford Health in Bismarck, North Dakota. He is passionate about bringing patients better options to achieve optimal health with a focus on lifestyle modification.

“Life is to be enjoyed, not endured. Rapid decline is not an inevitable part of aging. With appropriate dietary modifications and regular activity, I believe one can achieve a quality lifestyle, without being dependent on medications. As you age, the more you move, the more you can.”

Dr. Thompson is board-certified in Family Medicine. He earned his medical degree from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences in 1999. He continued his training at the University of California, Davis’s residency program in Redding, California. After residency, he spent 4 years in Utah before returning to North Dakota to practice in the Bismarck area.

He will join Drs. Michael Rafferty and Gary Welsh in the Urgent Care clinic at Rapid City Medical Center’s Mt. Rushmore Road location.

Outside of his practice, Dr. Thompson enjoys hiking, biking, camping, rock climbing, half marathons, obstacle racing, travel, art, and archeology. HIs daily running streak is now past 5 years. He also is an Advanced Wilderness Life Support instructor teaching in Big Sur, CA and Lake Tahoe, NV on a regular basis. He is excited to take advantage of all the Black Hills have to offer.

Platelet Rich Plasma is the Natural Answer for Facial and Vaginal Rejuvenation.

As part of our continued effort to offer ground-breaking health treatments to women of South Dakota, we are now offer Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments for both facial and vaginal rejuvenation. This simple but clinically effective in-office procedure uses components of patient's own blood to naturally promote the production of collagen and growth factors to the treated area. 

Continue reading “Platelet Rich Plasma is the Natural Answer for Facial and Vaginal Rejuvenation.”