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

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Mercy Hospital chooses to partner with Essentia


October 31, 2019

The Mercy Hospital Board of Directors passed a motion to explore a partnership with Essentia Health at the meeting of the board on Monday, Oct. 28. The proposal from Essentia Health was the closest to what the board was looking for, said Board Member Sue Pederson, the author of the motion.

The board also passed a motion to retain Attorney Konrad Friedman for assistance with the exploration of the partnership. CEO Mike Youso, Board Chair Kelly Goeb, the attorney, and Board Members Jon Lund and Tim Zwickey were appointed to the sub-committee that will meet with representatives of Essentia Health during the exploration process.

The Mercy Hospital Board of Directors voted unanimously to request proposals to partner with a larger health care system on August 26.

Earlier in that meeting, Maureen Swan of Medtrend, Inc. of Minneapolis gave a presentation about the market trend in rural healthcare in Minnesota.

Swan said that some hospitals have had to close because of the high number of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and bad debt.

“Rural hospitals have been facing a slow-moving crisis in the last 10 years,” she said. “There have been four hospital closures, all in the rural area. Rural hospitals are the toughest to keep operating.”

Five proposals had been received and were discussed at a special closed meeting of the board on Oct. 21.

The meeting on Oct. 28 was also closed for approximately 40 minutes before it was re-opened and the motion was made about exploring the partnership with Essentia Health.

Anna Koski, Supervisor of the Diagnostic Imaging Department, gave a report earlier in the meeting about Breast Cancer Awareness Week. She explained the different types of diagnostic equipment that were used at Mercy Hospital over the years until the current 3D mammographic equipment was installed.

“Digital mammography equipment was installed in 2010,” she said. “It was much better equipment than we had used in the past. But, within seven years, it was no longer compliant. That’s when Mercy Hospital opted to purchase 3D mammographic equipment. We were the first in the area that had it.”

Koski explained that the new equipment is state-of-the-art and sees tissue in layers.

“Small nodules and calcification can be detected so much better that it is amazing,” she said. “Cancer can be detected 15 months earlier and finds 41 percent more invasive cancers. The five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent.”

Koski said that the average number of women that receive mammograms each month is 85. That adds up to 1,200 a year. Breast abnormalities in men can also be checked with the equipment, she added.

“If something is found, the new machine enables biopsies to be done without anesthesia,” she said.

There are four technicians on staff in the Diagnostic Imaging Department, with one more to be trained shortly, she added.

The next meeting of the board is Monday, Nov. 25, at 5:30 p.m. in the board room at Mercy Hospital.


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