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

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Hospital celebrates with ribbon cutting


Lois E. Johnson

Dr. Kelly Goeb, Mercy board chair, cuts the ribbon to open the new Mercy Hospital October 9. From left are: Keith Carlson, director of Support Services; Patricia Probst and Joanne Collier of the Mercy Hospital Board; Aaron Knewtson, AgStar Financial Services; Colleen Landkamer, USDA Rural Capital Network; Mercy CEO Mike Delfs; Goeb; Shelly Peterson, Boldt Construction; Brad Krump, BWBR Architects; Eric Nielsen, Gateway Family Health Clinic administrator; Dr. Kathy Brandli, president, Gateway Family Health Clinic; and Dennis Arnold, The Mercy Foundation board chair.

The ribbon was cut to open the main entrance to the new Mercy Hospital at ceremonies on Friday, October 9.

"This project has taken 27 months," said CEO Mike Delfs during the preliminary program before the ribbon cutting. "This is a great day for us."

Delfs went on to say, with the changes in technology and health care, delivery of health care could not continue the way the hospital had been. The new facility is state of the art, he added.

"Now we have the way to care for patients in a way that is meaningful for the community," he said. "This new hospital is really due to the efforts of a lot of different people. The space was designed the way it should be.

"I am very proud of the hospital and the employees are very proud, too. Gateway Clinic has been a terrific partner for us as well. This is a group effort."

Dr. Kelly Goeb, Mercy board chair, spoke about the new role for the hospital.

"The hospital has been expanded tremendously," she said. "The community recognized the values of quality medical services and responded to health care needs. This is a patient-focused project, and the impact will be felt long into the future."

She read a letter from Dr. Ray Christensen.

"Today starts a new journey," he wrote. "Call it Mercy, the second, of which you can be immensely proud. I will be with you in spirit as Moose Lake continues to grow."

Dr. Maggie Neudecker of Gateway Family Health Clinic and The Mercy Foundation described the private rooms, with couches that can be made into beds for families of patients, and said the new rooms on the quiet second floor promote healing.

She added expectant mothers can stay in the same room for labor, delivery and postpartum care.

"There is more space in the room and we are able to move equipment and staff into the room in the event of an emergency," she said.

State Sen. Tony Lourey, a health care advocate, spoke about his personal experiences of coming to the emergency room after accidents on his farm near Kerrick.

"Health care is of vital benefit and a community resource," he said. "We all need legislative recognition to support health care. I hope to continue my strong support.

"This is a lucky community. You tried to get legislative funding for a new school. That was successful, and now you have broken ground. That and the hospital is what young families are looking for when they are considering moving to a community. Moose Lake is in a great position to attract new families. We are glad that we can help in any way that we can."

Although Sen. Al Franken, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Rick Nolan were unable to attend, they sent representatives with messages of congratulations.

All expressed their desire to tour the new hospital when in the area.

Colleen Landkamer, the state director for USDA Rural Development, and Aaron Knewtson, Rural Capital Network, AgStar Financial Services, both spoke about their partnership in providing funding for the new hospital.

"This is a big undertaking for the area," said Landkamer. "You can't do it without strong leadership.

"This project was accomplished with a $30 million direct loan from the USDA and an $8 million guaranteed loan from AgStar and other partners. Now you have a state-of-the-art facility that will serve you long into the future."

"Congratulations to everyone at Mercy," added Knewtson. "Our firm focuses on rural America. We recognize how important these projects are, such as with telemedicine."

After the ribbon cutting, people went on tours of the new hospital.


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