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Strategic plan at Rice will be unveiled next week when board meets

WILLMAR -- A final draft of Rice Memorial Hospital's new proposed strategic plan will be unveiled at a meeting Monday of the hospital board of directors and the strategic planning steering committee.

Hospital leaders have been working since September to craft the plan, which will help chart the future direction of the city-owned hospital.

Mike Schramm, chief executive of Rice Hospital, said next week's meeting is "the culmination" of the process.

"We've put a lot of work into it," he said. "I think everything's where we need it to be."

Schramm reviewed the process and the timetable with the hospital board of directors at a meeting Wednesday.

The hospital board likely will vote Monday on whether to adopt the new strategic plan. The board also will be presented with an action plan, outlining specific goals for 2010 as well as priorities for 2011 through 2013.

"There will be a lot of work that comes with it. There are a number of things we want to get done in the next year," Schramm said.

The steering committee and hospital leaders looked at priorities in five key areas: quality of care, financial performance, growth, human resources and service excellence.

Among the issues that will receive particular focus are new services Rice Hospital might add, and the recruitment of physicians.

As the plan was developed over the past three months, there was significant involvement by physicians, the hospital executive team and the board.

"It's been a comprehensive process," Schramm said.

Two groups of community stakeholders also were brought in near the beginning of the planning process.

"One hundred percent of those invited came," Schramm said.

Rice Hospital already has made strides this year to strengthen its position. An integrated cancer center has been developed, combining radiation oncology services at Rice with the medical oncology program at Affiliated Community Medical Centers and putting them for the first time under one roof. The new cancer center, housed at Rice, will begin providing the full range of cancer services on Monday. A new cardiologist with CentraCare in St. Cloud also began practicing full time in Willmar last month.

And on the financial front, Rice turned in a solid performance during October, the most recent month for which figures are available. As of Oct. 31, the hospital has exceeded its budget projections, earning a profit of more than $900,000.

Anne Polta

Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.

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