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New Cardiology and OB/GYN Specialists at RVMC

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

by Debra McNeill


Ruby Valley Medical Center is pleased to announce that Dr. Hannah Raasch, MD, FACC, and Dr. Mark Garnaas, MD, will be joining the team of visiting specialists at the Ruby Valley Medical Clinic in Sheridan. Dr. Raasch will be providing comprehensive cardiology healthcare. Dr. Garnaas specializes in obstetric and gynecology healthcare.


Dr. Hannah Raasch

When a patient is unwell with shortness of breath or fatigue, the source of the problem is often not apparent just from asking questions in the clinic. The variety and quality of information for resolving heart problems, plus the process of interpreting the data were important factors that drew Dr. Raasch to specialize in cardiology. “In reading monitors, echos, and other information sources, we have a higher degree of control over the analysis and interpretation of heart problems which support the decisions about care,” said Dr. Raasch. She also noted that there is a great deal of information integration that is needed to determine what is pertinent to a cardiac problem and what might be due to other organ systems.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Whether a patient has an emerging heart problem or is seeking preventive care, Dr. Raasch believes that anyone over 65 has a good reason to see a cardiologist. “Some cardiac care is emergent and unavoidable,” said Raasch. “However, some cardiac concerns can be well-managed through preventive care.” Managing high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and determining better medications for cholesterol are an essential aspect of helping many of Dr. Raasch’s patients avoid their first heart attack. Risk assessments are also an important component of the care she provides.

With regard to upcoming developments in cardiac care, Dr. Raasch is interested in the new therapies for heart failure that have shown efficacy over the past five years. She is also monitoring a drug that will lower cholesterol with a single annual injection and the Watchman device that can be used as an alternative to blood thinners.

Raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Dr. Raasch completed her medical degree at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. She attended the University of Arizona’s Internal Medicine Residency Program and earned her fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Cardiovascular Disease Residency Program.

Prior to moving to Montana, Dr. Raasch provided cardiology healthcare services in the Salt Lake City area for over eight years. In 2021, Dr. Raasch, her husband, who is also a doctor, and their family moved to Bozeman after she accepted an offer from Billings Clinic. “After previously directing a smaller scale cardiology practice for four years, it was a great opportunity to start a cardiology program from the ground up for Billings Clinic in Bozeman,” said Raasch. When she’s not seeing patients, Dr. Raasch focuses on raising her three young children. She enjoys hiking, skiing, skating and has earned a black belt in Tae Kwon-Do. Dr. Raasch speaks fluent Spanish.

Dr. Raasch will be seeing patients at the Ruby Valley Medical Clinic on September 28th and November 30th. Please call (406) 898-1200 to make an appointment.

 

Dr. Mark Garnaas

It has been decades since women regularly gave birth at the Ruby Valley Hospital. Until very recently, pregnant women in the Ruby Valley have had to drive 30 to 90 minutes each way, at least once a month to see their obstetrician. Although there are definitely no plans to resume delivering babies at Ruby Valley Medical Center, thanks to a program with St. James Healthcare and the Ruby Valley Medical Clinics, Dr. Mark Garnaas will provide comprehensive women’s healthcare, including obstetric services, on the first Tuesday of every month in Sheridan.

Dr. Garnaas was born and raised in Missoula and completed his medical education and residency at the University of Washington School of Medicine. During medical school, he became very interested in the science of reproduction. He was also attracted to the OB/GYN field because the specialty provides long-term care. “It’s a process of building care over a lifetime,” said Dr. Garnaas. “I can support a woman’s healthcare needs through her early adulthood, growing a family and through menopause. I really love the continuity of care.” He was also attracted to the surgical aspects of the specialty. “If medical options don’t resolve the problem, there are often surgical options available. It’s very satisfying to have a variety of solutions, both medical and surgical.”

After medical school, Dr. Garnaas returned to Missoula and spent 30 years building a successful OB/GYN practice. He retired three years ago and planned to spend his early retirement doing locum tenens work. (Locum tenens is when a physician works temporarily in another practice.) He worked in OB/GYN practices in Oregon, Maine and Rhode Island but missed Montana and wanted to be closer to his family. The timing was perfect when Dr. Garnaas received an offer to join the OB/GYN team at St. James Healthcare. “There is a big opportunity to grow and attract people to St. James,” said Garnaas. “Many women from Butte and Anaconda have been going to Missoula for reproductive healthcare.” St. James has made a significant investment in their women’s healthcare services and recently purchased the latest version of the Da Vinci Surgical system which Dr. Garnaas used in his Missoula practice.

Looking toward the future of women’s healthcare, Dr. Garnaas is encouraged that there are more options for evidence-based medical management of health problems. If surgery is required, there are more minimally invasive and less intrusive surgeries that enhance a woman’s quality of life. Dr. Garnaas has also found that not every problem has to have the same answer. His goal is to work with each patient individually to help them make a decision that fits their values and quality of life while still being an evidence-based safe plan.

Dr. Garnaas will be providing women's healthcare at RVMC on the first Tuesday of every month. Please call (406) 723-2922 for an appointment.


 



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