Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

Hospital board OKs purchase of former clinic building


Purchase of the Gateway Professional Services building, the former Gateway clinic, was authorized by the Mercy Hospital Board of Directors at the meeting on Monday, November 26.

The property, including the parking lot and two lots across the street, will be purchased from the current owners, Dan and Sue Benzie, for $1,247,500. The former clinic is attached to Mercy Hospital and will be integrated into the plans for the expansion and addition project at Mercy, explained Keith Carlson, Director of Support Services.

In a telephone interview, Carlson said that the former clinic is expected to be used for materials management and support services, including dietary services. The plans have not been finalized.

Construction of a garage for the ambulances and support vehicles is planned on one lot across the street from the former clinic, and the Walters House, used as a housing facility for temporary staff, will be moved to the other lot. Both are currently located to the rear of the hospital building. Trees will be left as a buffer between those facilities and the residential area.

Carlson said that residents on Jon Brown Drive can be assured that the ambulance will take a direct route out to Highway 61 and will not be using the drive as a route to Highway 73.

CEO Jason Douglas explained that the purchase of the former clinic will save $980,000 in construction costs.

“Purchase of the property will complete our campus,” said Carlson. “It was like owning a house with someone else owning the front door. It will facilitate the flow of the ambulance traffic and keep it separated from the public traffic.”

In his report to the board, Carlson said that the design work is underway for the addition and expansion project. Eight construction companies have expressed interest in the project and will submit proposals. It is expected that the board will select a contractor at the December meeting.

Community meetings will be held in January, with drawings on display, for the public to view.

From information in the Strategic and Facility Plan, BWBR Architects of St. Paul was selected to lead the campus master planning team.

“The proposed plan features a two-story addition that will relocate the main hospital entrance,” it was stated in the plan.

“By rearranging some department locations, the new floor plan will create a smooth and efficient flow of services for both patients and staff, enhancing patient care, privacy and safety.

“Diagnostic services will be located adjacent to Emergency Services, with private ER patient bays, and private inpatient rooms will be located on the second floor away from major walkways.”

Construction is expected to begin in the spring.

Chief Financial Officer Gregg Chartrand said in his report to the board that Mercy Hospital has been awarded $50,000 through the Rural Hospital Transition and Planning Grant Program to prepare the property for a hospital addition.

“It is good to have this grant,” said Chartrand. “It will help fund pre-planning work and invoices from BWBR.”

Dr. Dania Kamp met with the board in her new role as Chief of Staff.

“I’m excited,” said Dr. Kamp. “It will be a lot of work but I plan to be more active. I have been working with the By-laws and Peer Review Committee. It’s nice to see things on the table.”

Trina Lower, Director of Health Information Services, reported about the work of the By-laws and Peer Review Committee, and said that a plan could possibly be presented to the board in December for approval.

Donita Korpela, Director of Patient Care Services, presented a report about the “Partnership for Patients” Series.

Mercy is partnering with other health care organizations and working through the process to improve communication and safety for the care of patients.

“Thousands of hospitals across the nation are participating in this,” she said. “We are going to try and keep patients from being readmitted. Discharge advocates will follow up with the patients for 30 to 90 days. We will get the patient and family involved in the patient’s care at home.”

It is the goal to educate the patient about his or her own care, and to work together as a team, she added.

A letter had been received from the Arrowhead Leader, the hospital’s legal newspaper, stating that publication has ceased.

Another letter had been received from Tim Franklin, the owner of the Star Gazette, stating that the newspaper could provide for Mercy’s legal publishing needs.

The board approved naming the Star Gazette as the hospital’s legal newspaper.

The next meeting of the Mercy Hospital Board was changed to Thursday, December 20, due to the regular meeting date falling on Christmas Eve.


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