COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update Learn More

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Jeff's Story

Stroke Care
“Jeff tells how his young daughters saved his life — and his brain — following a stroke.”

Quick help saves brain

Jeff Birch of Melrose was fortunate that his daughters Avery, 9, and Kyja, 12 at the time, realized he needed help when he had stroke at their home in February 2016 at the age of 45.

Jeff was diagnosed at CentraCare Health – Melrose by a neurologist via telestroke. CentraCare Neurosciences Stroke Center provides telestroke services in the region to help patients experiencing a stroke receive treatment as quickly as possible and reduce the effects of stroke.

A stroke is a stop in blood flow to the brain. It could be caused by a blocked blood vessel or bleeding in the brain.

Jeff was flown to St. Cloud Hospital, where Interventional Neurologist Fareed M. Suri, MBBS, performed surgery to remove a blockage of a blood vessel in the brain. Dr. Suri said Jeff was lucky because he got to the operating room well within the timeframe where the treatment is effective. This is why it is important for people of all ages to know the signs and symptoms of stroke.

Today, Jeff enjoys golfing, fishing and spending time with family, including their dogs.

Learn more about Jeff's story.

Common Stroke Symptoms

  • Sudden face, arm or leg weakness — especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Sudden headache with no known cause.
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sudden walking or balance problems