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

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Government shutdown impacts contractors including Mercy Hospital


February 14, 2019

The government shutdown may affect Mercy Hospital, CEO Mike Delfs told the Board of Directors at its meeting on Monday, Jan. 28. This was Delfs’ last board meeting. He is taking a position in Jamestown, North Dakota, in February.

Delfs explained that Mercy Hospital was a contractor for the federal government because it had been awarded the bid for treating offenders from the federal prison in Sandstone. Although federal employees would get back pay when the shutdown ended, contractors would not be paid, he explained.

The facilities at Mercy Hospital include holding rooms for the offenders where they can wait for treatment.

“Prior to that, we had people show up in shackles and sit in the waiting room,” he told the board. “That made everyone uncomfortable.”

Delfs estimated that the prison pays $8,000 a week for the care of the inmates.

“That’s $24,000 in three weeks,” he said. “We are going to take a hit on the government side.”

Delfs said that more solid numbers would be presented to the board at the February meeting.

During the reorganizational portion of the meeting, Kelly Goeb was elected the chair once again, Gail Langhorst was elected the vice-chair, Joanne Collier was elected treasurer and Anna Lattu was elected the clerk.

The new board members, Cindy Grimm, representing the City of Barnum, and Sue Pederson, representing Silver Township, introduced themselves.

Pederson stated her opposition to a motion passed at the December meeting to give scholarships to students in Willow River and Cromwell because those communities were not in the hospital district. Scholarships are also given to students in the Moose Lake and Barnum schools. Both are in the hospital district.

“You have taken the taxpayer’s money and given it somewhere else,” she said. “You should be bringing more people into the hospital district. We are the smallest hospital district.”

Board Chair Kelly Goeb replied that, in the past, it was felt that people from those areas came to Mercy Hospital for their care.

“We have chosen to support our community for the four schools whether they are part of the hospital district or not,” she said. “The motion was passed last month. When the topic comes up next time, we can discuss it.”

The next meeting of the board will be Monday, Feb. 25, at 5:30 p.m.


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