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Monument Health Custer adds new doctor

Other Custer providers take on new roles

CUSTER, S.D. (July 1, 2021) – Avery Sides, M.D., a Nebraska native who has been practicing family medicine in the Black Hills since 2014, has joined the medical staff at Monument Health Custer Hospital.

“I’m excited about being able to stay in the Black Hills,” said Dr. Sides, who has been with Fall River Health Services since moving to the Black Hills. “Monument Health Custer offers new opportunities and resources that allow me to continue working as a rural family doctor.”

During medical school and her residency in Omaha, Dr. Sides worked in underserved urban communities. However, her ultimate goal was to care for patients, families, and community in underserved rural areas. She enjoys personal contact with patients and their families. She also likes that she has access to the resources of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Monument Health has been a member of the network since early 2020.

“We’ve known of [Dr. Sides] and her high-quality clinical work for years,” said Dr. Lisa Brown of Monument Health Custer Hospital & Clinic. “We’re excited to have her join us!”

In addition, some physicians at Custer Hospital and Clinic are experiencing transitions in their roles. Dr. Brown has taken on additional local and system leadership service. Dr. Kelly Phommahaxay, a new mother, will be serving patients on an as-needed basis. Dr. Joy Falkenburg will be serving fewer hours so she can pursue other interests.

Dr. Brown, who has been with Custer Hospital since 2008, has expanded her role in recent years. Initially serving as local community medical director since 2016, her work with the health system has expanded. Since the fall of 2020 she has been serving as a physician advisor for Monument Health critical access hospitals. She also participates/leads system quality improvement projects representing primary care physicians/providers and the critical access hospitals in those efforts.

Dr. Brown said she loves her patients and direct patient care work. She also finds value in her work to improve processes that support best care given by other physicians, providers, and caregivers. She now has transitioned to two days a week in clinic and continues to cover the emergency room and hospital as needed.

Dr. Phommahaxay is from the San Diego, CA, area. Her family as well as her husband’s family are all in California. With the addition of Kota, their baby son, they are looking at moving back to be with family. So far Dr. Phommahaxay does not have a definite end date for her service in Custer. She will continue to care for patients in clinic, emergency and hospital.

Dr. Falkenburg, who has been working as a physician in Custer for 21 years, said she wants to spend more time being a mother, community member and mentor for the other Custer doctors. With her time transitioning to focus on these areas, she will be in clinic Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, for now.

“I am deeply connected to nature, and I believe that there is a seasonal change in life, too. I have built an extensive patient following, cared for hospital patients and covered overnight ER shifts,” she said.

She spent her professional springtime in college, medical school and residency. During her summer of life, she built a family, built a business and was a warrior for herself and those around her, she said.

“Now, I am entering a fall in my life,” Dr. Falkenburg said. “The relationships and the people I have nurtured fulfill me greatly. I am in love with my life, and I want to take some time to reap the benefits of a life lived well, and the seeds sown in the community – my family.”

Monument Health officials want to assure the community that access to care is available through a great team of nurses, physicians and other care providers through scheduled or walk-in visits. Patients are encouraged to develop relationships with physicians or providers they view as their primary care provider. Having a continuous trusting relationship with a physician or CNP or PA-C improves patient experience and health outcomes.

Monument Health Custer Hospital offers 24-hour coverage in the Emergency Department and the hospital inpatient care. Providers take turns staffing the emergency room and care for the patients admitted to the hospital in addition to their clinic schedules.

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