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OSAGE — Mitchell County Regional Health Center welcomed new staff amid expansion and renovations — Benson Hargens, a family practitioner, and Erik Branstetter, a general surgeon.

The Hargens said the friendly atmosphere, safety and quality of life attracted them to Mitchell County.

“We always wanted to stay close to family and we loved the way we grew up in a small town,” Lora said, “and we wanted our kids to have the same. This will be a great place for them to grow up.”

Hargens graduated from Iowa State University, attended medical school at the University of Iowa and completed his residency at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa.

As a family practitioner, he covers the full scope of patient care for all ages.

The Mitchell County community is part of what drew Branstetter to the area.

Originally from a small farming town in southern Missouri, Branstetter used to work with CEO Shelly Russell in Wisconsin.

“She talked me into coming here,” Branstetter said. “Much of my decision was really based on her and the way she kept talking to me about MCRHC.”

As a general surgeon, Branstetter has completed a variety of procedures — hysterectomies, colon cancer and breast cancer. Carpel tunnel, hernia repair and colonoscopies will now be available in Mitchell County. A surgeon for 18 years, Branstetter graduated from the University of Health Sciences-College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, Mo., and completed his residency at UPMC Horizon Hospital in Ferrell, Pa.

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