Clara Barton welcomes additions to therapy department


HOISINGTON – Clara Barton Medical Center recently added two full-time speech therapists, Betsy Snell, MA, CCC – SLP, and Halle Knigge, MS, CF – SLP, and a full-time occupational therapist, Benton Hrabe, OTD OTR/L. clt.

Betsy Snell is from Ellinwood. She attended the University of Kansas, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Speech-Audiology and a Master of Arts in Speech-Speech Pathology. She is also certified in LSVT LOUD (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment), an effective voice treatment approach specifically for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, and the McNeil Dysphagia Therapy Program – a systematic, exercise-based approach to swallowing therapy. Snell specializes in neurorehabilitation in children and adults (stroke patients, traumatic brain injuries).

Halle Knigge grew up in Fairbury, Neb., and attended Kansas State University for her Bachelor of Science in Family Studies and Social Affairs. She continued her education at Fort Hays State University, where she earned a Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology and was named a 2021 Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders Most Outstanding Graduate Student. Knigge is also certified in LSVT (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment). Ultimately, her goal is to specialize in swallowing and dysphagia to better serve her patients.

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Speech therapists work with people in a variety of ways to improve their speech, language, social, and cognitive skills. A person’s communication skills are vital at every stage of life: for young children as a strong foundation of language and literacy; for school-age children as a prerequisite for academic and social success; and for adults as a crucial part of their professional and personal relationships.

What many don’t realize is that speech therapists also play a role in helping people swallow and eat safely. Again, problems in these areas can occur across the age range, but at any stage, safe swallowing and eating are essential to a person’s health and quality of life.

“We are very excited to have two full-time speech therapists on board,” said Natalie Bieberle, director of Therapy Services. “This greatly benefits our patients and community due to the many services Speech Therapy offers and I am pleased to see the program growing in several areas. Betsy and Halle both bring great knowledge and passion for their patients and their profession.”

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In addition to the new speech therapists, Clara Barton is also pleased to welcome occupational therapist Benton Hrabe to her team of qualified therapy experts. Hrabe is originally from Kensington. He attended Kansas State University and received a dual bachelor’s degree in human development and family science and gerontology. He then continued his education and earned his PhD in Occupational Therapy from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

“Benton is another great addition to Clara Barton and complements our team with certifications in multiple areas that add diversity to our occupational therapy services,” said Bieberle. “He is passionate about his patients and his profession, and I look forward to him sharing his profound knowledge with our patients and the community.”

In addition to Occupational Therapy, Hrabe is also a Certified Lymphedema Therapist with a focus on Breast Cancer/Radiation Lymphedema and has received Stepping On Leader/Facilitator Certification – a community falls reduction course for older adults.

Occupational therapy is needed for a variety of reasons and can help people who have had an injury, illness, disability, or pain that makes it difficult to work, go to school, take care of themselves, do chores, or get around take part in activities. This form of treatment teaches patients of all ages, from premature babies to young children, midlife adults and seniors, how to customize and use tools to complete any type of task at school, work or home. Set goals are tailored to a person’s needs, disabilities, or limitations. Then they can work on adjusting movements, improving motor skills or hand-eye coordination, or doing tasks in new ways.

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“Betsy, Halle and Benton join an experienced and passionate therapy services team, and I look forward to helping advance the advancement of the treatments and services offered at Clara Barton Medical Center,” said Bieberle. All therapy services are available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Clara Barton Medical Center.

To qualify for these benefits through insurance, a referral is required. For more information or a free 15 minute speech therapy session, contact Snell or Knigge at 620-653-5065.



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