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

Cost control success at Mercy


Mike Delfs, CEO of Mercy Hospital, spoke to the hospital board about an agreement with Blue Cross/Blue Shield regarding its payment for coverage at Mercy Hospital at the Board of Directors meeting April 27. Blue Cross/Blue Shield has agreed to provide coverage at 2014 rates for a period of time. This agreement will restore $208,000 of revenue to the hospital bottom line. It will extend for a full 12 months. Delfs stated at month nine or 10 of this agreement, he will attempt to renegotiate with Blue Cross.

Insurance plans and Medicare are paying less for hospitalization coverage than previously. This factor is very significant for rural hospitals as it negatively affects their bottom line. There are new formulas for determining what insurance plans are paying, as many changes are taking place with the Affordable Care Act.

Keith Carlson, director of Support Services, gave an update on the construction. He states, “Construction is going swimmingly, without difficulty and with great success.” Carlson accompanied the hospital board of directors on a tour of the new hospital prior to the scheduled board meeting. Currently the old patient care area is being renovated to become the rehabilitation department. The old lab area demolition is complete and the X-ray area is being “gutted out.”

Carlson discussed attending the April 28 Moose Lake Planning Commission meeting regarding the monument stone structure and hospital signage that will be erected at the Highway 61 entrance to the hospital complex. Both the sign itself and the stone structure do not meet Moose Lake city ordinance.

(Carlson did attend the Planning Commission meeting, where he asked for building variances for the planned signage. Pat Oman, city administrator, informed the Star Gazette reporter the variances were approved by the Planning Commission.)

Sen. Al Frankin’s visit to the hospital was discussed. Much of the discussion centered on rural hospitals and financial stability for their operation. Dr. P. J. Noss, chief of staff, expressed the idea that there needs to be more talk with physicians. It is important to get physician input regarding rural practice.

Delfs reported Mercy Hospital has satisfied the requirements for the compliance certificate with AgStar regarding the USDA loan for the hospital. The document was signed on April 27.

The presenters for Senior Recognition/Award Night are: Chris Theissen for Moose Lake High School; and Thea Erickson, Barnum High School. The hospital board offers scholarships to Moose Lake, Barnum, Willow River and Cromwell to any seniors who are entering the health field.

The next meeting of the Mercy Hospital Board of Directors is 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 25 in the conference room.


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