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Commentary: Hospital moves on future are good steps

Rice Memorial Hospital is taking a positive step of strategic planning for the hospital's services offered, reviewing its facilities development and consulting with the two medical clinics in the city.

These strategic planning efforts will be crucial to the future development and success of both the hospital and the clinics.

The hospital adopted a strategic plan in December, which outlines the hospital's future direction as a regional hospital.

Now the hospital is developing a plan, scheduled for an April presentation, which will identify sectors for growth.

Next the hospital will develop a facility plan, which will address "needs and issues" within the current buildings.

In addition, the hospital along with the two clinics -- Affiliated Community Medical Centers and Family Practice Medical Centers -- plan to meet in March as a medical planning group. The goal is to identify potential growth areas and service needs within the hospital.

This is a significant development as it is the first time ACMC and Family Practice have been closely involved in the hospital's strategic planning process.

These are all positive steps within the Willmar medical community.

The hospital is not resting on its laurels, but is looking to continue working on improvements. In addition, the hospital is consulting with the two medical clinics.

These positive steps can only help strengthen the medical sector of our community. This is important for both Willmar and west central Minnesota.