CMH FOUNDATION announces new scholarship program

The shortage of qualified healthcare professionals, particularly in rural communities, is a growing problem. One of the best ways to assure a steady, well-educated workforce is to encourage people to enter the healthcare field through our recently updated CMH Foundation Scholarship Program. By offering scholarships to students pursuing a healthcare education, the Foundation seeks to enhance the availability and qualifications of healthcare professionals, thereby promoting community access to quality healthcare.
In addition to our scholarship program for high school seniors, we are pleased to announce the addition of the CMH Foundation Scholarship for current employees and the Future Of Culbertson Scholarship for current college students. These two new scholarships will have a award minimum of $5,000, with the total scholarship amount being determined by the current need of the position at the hospital, the number of applicants, and available funding. Upon receiving the scholarship, the recipient will be required to sign an intent-to-work agreement with Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital.
For more information on all of the scholarships available through the CMH Foundation, please visit

Cindy Constable holding her award for the 2023 Employee of the First QuarterCindy Constable, Dietary Services,named 2023 Employee of the 1st Quarter


CMH FOundation SCholarships now available for high school seniors

The Culbertson Memorial Hospital (CMH) Foundation has announced applications are now available for three $1,000 scholarships from the Elmer Taylor Health Profession Scholarship Fund. These scholarships are open to area high school seniors who reside in the Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital service area of Schuyler, Cass, and South Fulton Counties who are entering a healthcare related field of study that is currently available at Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital.

The Culbertson Memorial Hospital (CMH) Foundation is also announcing they are accepting applications for a $1,000 scholarship from the Regina Ehrhardt Scholarship Fund. This scholarships will be awarded to any Rushville-Industry High School or Brown County High School senior who is attending nursing school.

Applications are available from the offices of career counselors in area high schools, or can be accessed online at For more information, please contact CMH Foundation Director, Molly Sorrell at 217/322-5269. Completed applications should be submitted to the Foundation office by April 07, 2023.

Infographic of Dr. Paul Conrad and the services he offers

Stephanie Carithers, 2022 Employee of the yearHeadshot of Stephanie Carithers


Stephanie is works in our Therapy Department as an Occupational Therapist and Physical Therapy Assistant. Stephanie has worked at Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital for 11 years.








DR. KErsten stitt JOINS Rushville family practice

Headshot photograph of Dr. Kerstin Stitt, DO 

Gregg Snyder, CEO is pleased to announce that Kerstin Stitt, DO has joined Rushville Family Practice and will be seeing patients on Monday, December 05.

"We are very excited to welcome Dr. Stitt to Culbertson Memorial Hospital and Culbertson Clinics," said Snyder. "She comes highly recommended from our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. William Dixon and provides a great blend of top-notch clinical education and knowledge with a strong passion for providing community-based care.”

Dr. Stitt received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville Missouri in 2019. She completed her residency at Southern Illinois University Family Medicine in Quincy, IL in 2022.  As an osteopathic medicine practitioner, she is trained in understanding how the mind, body, and spirit connect and impacts the body. "My approach is empathetic and non-judgmental. I see myself as an educator and a guide who empowers individuals to become active decision-makers in their own care," says Stitt.

Rushville Family Practice offers patients of all ages high quality, personalized health care. The providers have a wide range of clinical interests and understand the importance of getting to know patients personally, their medical history, their family and all of the factors that have an impact on their health. 

For more information on the practice or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kerstin Stitt, please call 217-322-2245. 

Dr. Carlos Urdininea Kirkwood Joins Elmer Hugh Taylor Clinic

Headshot photograph of Dr. Carlos Urdininea Kirkwood


Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital is proud to announce that Dr. Carlos Urdininea Kirkwood will be joining the staff at Elmer Hugh Taylor Clinic in Beardstown on January 5, 2023.

Trust is a foundational element of any doctor-patient relationship. While helping a patient understand why a treatment was ordered can offer knowledge and peace of mind, it can also establish the assurance that the provider is always working in the patient’s best interests. That’s why Dr. Carlos Urdininea Kirkwood stresses the importance of explaining everything to his patients in terms that are easy for anyone to understand. As an internist at the Elmer Hugh Taylor Clinic in Beardstown, Dr. Urdininea listens to his patients and clearly explains what the patient can expect from his treatment plan.

“I spend the time explaining my plans, treatments, or approaches to their diseases in a way they will understand. I’m not a doctor who will just throw all medical terms to them and expect them to just say, ‘Yes, doctor.’ At the end of the visit, my goal is to have those patients understand the importance of my treatment or what to expect from those results. The relationship I’d like to have with those patients is a relationship of trust and confidence.” — Dr. Carlos Urdininea Kirkwood

Dr. Urdininea earned his medical degree in 2006 from Universidad Nuestra Señora de La Paz in La Paz, Bolivia, before completing his specialty training in internal medicine at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. He completed a fellowship in nephrology at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL, and Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in Hines, IL. Since then, Dr. Urdininea has worked as an internist at Mason District Hospital in Havana. Like Culbertson, Mason District Hospital is a Critical Access Hospital serving a small, rural area that depends on the hospital for many of its healthcare needs. For Dr. Urdininea, this means providing specialized care that may not otherwise be available — especially for common conditions like hypertension and diabetes — in addition to primary care.

“Rural health is quite unique in the sense that access to medical care is difficult, but with passion and care, those gaps in healthcare can be filled for the benefit of the community,” he said. “Hypertension and diabetes are both everywhere. There are diseases that are highly preventable and highly treatable. Of course, patients with those diseases are very grateful to have specialty services I can provide to them.”

No two patients are the same — what works for one patient may not work for the next. Consequently, Dr. Urdininea said he takes time listen to each patient rather than try a one-size-fits-all treatment. “My patients are my priority. I don’t rush in, go in and out, say, ‘Hi, take this pill, see you later,’” Dr. Urdininea said. “My approach is more of a doctor who cares, a doctor my patients can rely on. I’ll do all I can do to help them feel better and stay healthy.

Board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Urdininea will see patients ages 18 and older. Additionally Dr. Urdininea is fluent in Spanish and English.

 Infographic of Shwetal Patel, DPM of Podiatry and the services he offers

Brittney Taylor to leave Rushville Family Practice

It is with a heavy heart I announce to you that effective December 16th, Brittney Taylor will be leaving Rushville Family Practice. After 9 years of providing excellent health care services to our community, Brittney has decided it was time to pursue her career elsewhere. This was a difficult decision for Brittney to make, and we wish her nothing but the best in her new practice. She will be sadly missed here at Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital.

Through this time of transition, we pledge to provide each of our patients with a smooth continuation of care as we look to fill this vacancy with a new Physician who will be as dedicated to their patients as Brittney was. As part of our unwavering dedication to quality care, we are working with our new Medical Director, Dr. William Dixon from the SIU School of Medicine, to install a highly qualified interim physician to serve our patients in Rushville during the search for a permanent provider.

Within the next few days, we will provide additional information on transferring your care to one of our other providers. Our promise is that you will continue to receive the same quality of care you have come to expect from Culbertson.

Gregg Snyder, CEO

Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital

Infographic of Dr. Ada Kagumba of Gynecology and the services she offers

 COVID 19 Update

Per the Illinois Department of Public Health and CDC Guidance, masks are no longer required in healthcare settings unless the Community Transmission Level is “high”. Because our service area's current transmission level is low, starting today staff, patients and visitors no longer need to wear a mask at Culbertson Memorial Hospital or at our Culbertson Clinic locations.
If you would like to continue to wear a mask at any of our facilities, they will be readily available for you. In addition, we ask that anyone who is currently experiencing respiratory symptoms to please wear a mask upon entry.

17th Annual Dr. Russell Dohner Memorial Golf Outing

The Dr. Russell Dohner Memorial Golf Outing brings together our employees, community members, business partners and volunteers to support Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital. This year will be no exception and we hope to see you at our 17th Annual Golf Outing on Friday, June 3.

"Culbertson Memorial Hospital is an institution we can all be proud of. Our employees have proven they are resilient, dedicated and have navigated the last two years with as much success as any larger hospital in our area. Our employees are working hard to make sure Culbertson Memorial Hospital is the choice hospital for patients in our area, and the Foundation wants to support that journey by making sure the staff have the resources and equipment they need," said Molly Sorrell, Director of Development, Marketing and Community Relations.

The proceeds from this year’s golf outing will help us provide funding for the purchase of dedicated pediatric therapy equipment and provide a sensory integration area that will help children develop to their fullest potential. If you are interested in participating or sponsoring this year's event, please click here for more information.

Infusion Center Now Seeing Patients

Culbertson Memorial Hospital is proud to provide cancer patients a more convenient way to receive the treatments they need close to home with the opening of our new Infusion Center. Featuring the same familiar faces in a friendly, caring atmosphere, the Infusion Center will provide a dedicated space to care for cancer patients.
photograph of nursing station at the infusion center photograph of the nursing station at the infusion center two infusion center nurses standing beside each other going over information from a paper

A headshot photograph of Courtnie Trone, a member of the laboratory services team


Courtnie Trone, a member of our laboratory services team voted as 2021 employee of the year

A headshot photograph of Rick Taylor of ER


A photograph of Mariah Callihan of Patient Access


Headshot photograph of Courtnie Trone of Laboratory Services


Headshot photograph of Jessica Hendricks of Patient Access



Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital Board Approves Master Facility Plan and Authorization to move forward with Phase I, $5.5 Million Dollar Renovation of the hospital’s West Wing.

The Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital Board of Directors voted Friday, November 20 with a 9 to 0 vote to approve a $15.4 million dollar Master Facility Plan to renovate the interior of the hospital and authorized administration to move forward with Phase I of the plan.

"The master facility plan represents a strategic investment in our hospital and our community, said Greg Snyder, Board President. The facility improvements established in this plan allow us to expand services to the community and help ensure the long term viability of Culbertson Memorial Hospital. The plan will be implemented in stages to provide flexibility of design and to maximize financial utilization. In the vastly changing world of healthcare this plan is a tremendous positive for the Rushville and the surrounding communities."

"This investment is about more than simply new facilities. Over the past several months, in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned where some of our vulnerabilities lie; and through this project, we can turn our vulnerabilities into opportunities to improve how healthcare is delivered in Schuyler County and the surrounding area,” said John E. Kessler, CEO. “This project will significantly improve the way we serve our patients, from how patients access our campus to how our clinicians can deliver care every day. Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital has been providing healthcare to our region for nearly 100 years, and as we approach our 100th Anniversary in February, this project is the next step in helping us care for you and your family over the next 100 years."

"Phase I was the logical starting place, as the Master Facility Plan showed our Outpatient Specialty Clinics were one of our greatest vulnerabilities. We currently have a lack of space to bring in the additional Specialty Care Providers the community needs,” said Kessler. “We will also be able to create negative pressure rooms which are vital to addressing airborne viruses. Additionally, Phase I will be completely funded by monies designated for renovations and pandemic response."

Specific plans include a significant expansion and renovation of the 42-year-old Emergency Department, centrally locating and expanding Laboratory Services, the creation of a Cancer Center, expansion of our Outpatient Specialty Clinics, privatization of our patient rooms and expansion of our Surgical Services.

The renovations will be broken into six phases, and construction is anticipated to begin July of 2021 and be completed in February of 2027. In addition to the phases listed below, the construction project will also help the hospital to become a 100% sprinkled facility for fire safety.

The 100th Anniversary Renovation Project includes:

Phase 1 West Wing Renovation

Phase 2 Laboratory Services, Main Entrance and Patient Access

Phase 3 Emergency Department Expansion

Phase 4 Imaging Centralization

Phase 5 Patient Wing

Phase 6 Surgical Services Expansion

"The healthcare needs of our community have changed over the last decade, as more and more services have been pushed to the outpatient environment. While we are decreasing the total inpatient beds to 12, we feel the other changes we are making are truly what this community needs from us going forward. We also believe that by decreasing our number of beds we have the opportunity to upgrade our Med-Surg patient rooms to allow for Private and Semi-Private patient rooms,” said Kessler. “These new patient rooms will be consistent with the accommodations you see in newer hospitals today and will be much more comfortable and create a healing environment for our patients."

Photograph of 100th Anniversary Renovation Project Waiting & Reception Photograph of 100th Anniversary Renovation Nurse Station Photograph of 100th Anniversary Renovation Project Patient Rooms

Headshot photograph of Bridgett Hamm, Administrative Assistant



Bridget Hamm, Administrative Assistant has been selected at Culbertson Memorial Hospital's Employee of the 4th.









Headshot photograph of Dr. Isidoros VardarosRushville FAmily Practice Welcomes Dr. Isidoros Vardaros

Dr. Isidoros Vardaros will begin seeing patients ages 21 and up on Tuesday, October 6 at Rushville Family Practice located at 233 South Congress Street in Rushville. Dr. Vardaros is a Primary Care physician who will see patients on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8am until 4pm.







Employee of the 3rd Quarter


Jessica Hendricks, Patient Access Coordinator has been selected at Culbertson Memorial Hospital's Employee of the 3rd Quarter.



Infographic of Eli Chbeir, MD now accepting new patients



Infographic of Matthew Knudson, MD now accepting new patients



Infographic of Peter D. Perll, MD, FACS now accepting new patients



Employee of the Second Quarter

Karen Huffman, Imaging is Culbertson Memorial Hospital's Employee of the Second Quarter. 



COVID-19 Hotline

If you have questions concerning COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus, please contact the Illinois Department of Public Health Hotline at 1-800-889-3931. They can also be reached by emailing DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV.

We can not emphasize enough, how important handwashing is in defense of not only the Coronavirus, but Influenza and many other contagious illnesses. If you are not feeling well, please do not expose others by going out in public. If you have respiratory symptoms and are concerned that you may have been exposed to the Coronavirus, or have traveled outside of the United States in the past 14 days, please contact your local Health Department or call the IDPH hotline above.



Culbertson Memorial Hospital Enters Into Agreement with HHS for Environmental Service

At the Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital Board of Directors meeting on Thursday, February 27, 2020, the Board of Directors voted to enter an agreement with HHS for Environmental Services (Housekeeping).

“Our current Housekeeping Director is leaving, and we have been looking for her replacement since December. Unfortunately, we have not had an applicant we feel had the experience to lead the department,” said John E. Kessler, CEO. “This juncture gave us the opportunity to partner with an organization that can bring resources and expertise than an organization our size often cannot afford on our own.”

For over 40 years HHS has been successful at serving their customers’ needs and developing forward-thinking solutions. With more than 500 partner organizations both domestically and internationally, HHS has built a highly focused team of operational experts who are specialized in their specific service area. Their environmental services experience, and detailed cleaning processes, will allow Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital to exceed CDC standards while reducing the risk of healthcare-associated infections and cultivating a hygienic, healing environment. As our partner, they will work seamlessly to become a part of our team for increased efficiency and ultimately, better cleanliness outcomes.

“We were seeking an environmental services partner who could quickly integrate themselves into our operations,” said Gregg Snyder, Board Chairman. “We have a tremendous commitment to excellent patient care and the thoroughness of our Housekeeping Department is a critical piece of that. With HHS, we know we’re in extremely capable hands.”

“We anticipate transitioning over to HHS in the next 30 to 60 days. All of our current housekeeping employees will be given the opportunity to continue working at Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital and Culbertson Clinics,” said Kessler.

Culbertson Memorial Hospital is not looking to contract with HHS for any other services.

Neurology Services Now Available

Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital is pleased to welcome Dr. Daniel Kimple, Neurology to our Outpatient Specialty Clinics. Dr. Kimple will begin seeing patients on February 18, 2020 and will be at Culbertson the 3rd Tuesday of every month.

Dr. Jason Rakita Announces His Departure

At the January 23, 2020 Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital Board of Directors meeting, John E. Kessler, CEO announced Dr. Jason Rakita will be leaving Rushville Family Practice to pursue a fellowship in Sleep Medicine. “We appreciate the years of service Dr. Rakita has provided to Culbertson Memorial Hospital and his patients at Rushville Family Practice. While we hate to see him go, we wish Dr. Rakita nothing but the best in his future endeavors” stated Kessler.

After providing three and a half years of service to our patients, Dr. Rakita will be moving to New Hampshire where he will begin his Fellowship in Sleep Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. It was a difficult decision for Dr. Rakita to leave his practice in Rushville and he wants his patients to know “I will greatly miss this community and all of my patients.”

Dr. Rakita will continue seeing his current patients at Rushville Family Practice through the month of June.


Board of Directors Vote To Accept Culbertson Gardens Bid

After evaluating all options, the Sarah D. Culbertson Memorial Hospital Board of Directors voted to accept a bid from Tim and Shiela Ward in the amount of $141,500 for the purchase of Culbertson Gardens.

“It was an extremely difficult decision for us to make, as we wanted not only what was best for the hospital financially, but for our current residents and this community,” said Board Chairman Gregg Snyder. “We appreciate that Tim and Shiela Ward see the value in keeping this facility open for our community.”

The hospital takes a financial hit every year from Medicare on the cost report for operating the Gardens and it has made a major impact on the hospital’s finances. While having Critical Access Hospital (CAH) status has helped the hospital remain financially solvent, the federal government’s method of paying for Medicare services causes Culbertson to lose over a hundred thousand dollars annually by operating Culbertson Gardens. Ultimately, the Board of Directors made the decision that their primary mission is to operate a hospital, and that they must do whatever is necessary to keep the hospital financially viable in the years to come.

Legal requirements stated that Culbertson Gardens must be sold through a sealed bid process. The sale of Culbertson Gardens was put out for sealed bid in November and was advertised not only locally, but throughout the state of Illinois and with a Senior Living brokerage firm.

“While we would have liked to have seen more bids, we are grateful to have received a bid from someone with vested interest in this community. If we didn’t accept the bid from Tim and Shiela Ward, we would be forced to start the bidding process over again and we didn’t feel that would be in the best interest of the hospital or the Culbertson Gardens residents,” stated John Kessler, CEO. “Tim and Shiela have a passion for working with senior citizens and many Culbertson Gardens residents had expressed to me and the Board their support for the Wards. We feel accepting this bid will continue a much needed service for this community for many years to come”

Temporary Visitor Restrictions

Due to the increased incidence of influenza-like illness, Culbertson Memorial Hospital is implementing temporary visitor restrictions.

The visiting restrictions are in compliance with the recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)

Employee of the Year


Nicole Franklin, Dietary Services was chosen by her peers as the 2019 Employee of the Year for Culbertson Memorial Hospital. Nicole has worked at the hospital for over 16 years and is known for being a dedicated and hard-worker, fun, friendly, and knowledgeable in her field of work. 


For more information on any of the press releases above, please contact Molly Sorrell, Director of Community Relations and Marketing at 217/322-5269 or