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WILLMAR -- With poker chips and handheld instant polling devices, the participants at a forum Wednesday night on health care reform worked their way through a series of questions. What does it mean to be healthy? How can health care costs be reduced?
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital is investing more than ever in workforce preparation, training and education, to the tune of thousands of hours annually, according to the hospital's latest human resources report. The report, which was shared Wednesday with the hospital board of directors, documents workforce statistics and what Rice is doing to recruit, retain and train its employees. When it comes to quality care and good outcomes for patients, one of the key driving forces is the staff, said Joyce Elkjer, director of human resources. "I think you can take pride in our employees," she to
WILLMAR -- The operating board of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission voted Thursday to invest in software to develop and maintain a client database. The move will give the EDC several capabilities it hasn't had before, staff members told the board. The software was developed by Synchronist and is tailored to economic development functions such as tracking and reporting business statistics and keeping track of business retention and expansion among the 2,100 businesses in Kandiyohi County. It will help provide "the best information we've ever had," said
WILLMAR -- Three months into a new fiscal year, Rice Memorial Hospital is struggling with a deficit driven largely by a drop in patient volume. The red ink follows a strong financial performance in 2011 and underscores one of the critical challenges faced by hospitals: the cyclical and often unpredictable nature of how many patients they see and the extent to which it affects the bottom line. "We've seen these cycles before.
WILLMAR -- Transparency is Rice Memorial Hospital's guideline for collecting payment from patients for the care they receive, hospital officials says. It's a message they reiterated this week in the wake of allegations that Accretive Health Inc., a medical consulting firm from Illinois, used high-pressure tactics to collect from patients at some Twin Cities hospitals. The Minnesota Attorney General's office has filed a lawsuit against Accretive, and Fairview Health Systems severed its ties last week with the company.
WILLMAR -- According to statewide figures, Minnesota is well-supplied with engineers. But for many local employers, the reality is otherwise. Nova-Tech Engineering, which designs and produces specialized technology for the poultry industry, has been trying to recruit a software engineer for at least a year, says Jim Sieben, vice president and general manager. "We've had a difficult time finding software engineers," he said. "We've had a difficult time finding electrical engineers.
WILLMAR -- During the first year the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office operated a drop box for unused and unneeded prescription and over-the-counter drugs, nearly 1,000 pounds of drugs were collected. Officials say that's 1,000 pounds of medications that might otherwise have gone into the environment -- or into the hands of children and adults for potential misuse. "This is such a good thing for our community," said Laura Daak, coordinator of the Kandiyohi County Drug-Free Communities Coalition, which worked with the Sheriff's Office to implement the "Take it to the Box" program. "Overall i