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ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Health has identified a cluster of influenza cases in a long-term care facility in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. State health officials said today that it's unclear whether this cluster represents sporadic influenza activity that can occur outside the usual influenza season or whether it signals the start of the influenza season in Minnesota. They said, however, that it's a reminder that flu season is just around the corner and it's not too early to get vaccinated.
WILLMAR -- When organizers with the Women's Fund of the Willmar Area Community Foundation were looking at how to allot grant money this past year, one program that caught their attention was Kitchen Kamp, an initiative by the Heartland Community Action Agency to help teenaged mothers gain basic knowledge about nutrition and budgeting. The Women's Fund ended up awarding a grant to the program.
WILLMAR -- When Sen.
WILLMAR -- An increase in the number of surgeries helped Rice Memorial Hospital end the month of July with a profit, as well as reduce some of the net losses the city-owned hospital has been accumulating since the beginning of the year. Final figures for August won't be ready until next week, but it appears that August was another financially strong month, said Bill Fenske, chief financial officer at Rice. "We're optimistic," he said Wednesday. The hospital's financial performance was reviewed Wednesday by the board of directors. One of the brightest spots in the report: the hospital's sur
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission will continue pursuing leads to bring new businesses into Kandiyohi County. But look for a slight shift that puts greater emphasis on supporting and strengthening the businesses that are already here. "I feel that our trend in the next five years is our best opportunities or best bets are going to come from local business," said Duane Hultgren, chairman of the EDC's joint operations board. Members of the operating board met Thursday to talk about the agency's five-year plan.
WILLMAR -- Financial constraints have forced the closing of the School of Radiologic Technology at Rice Memorial Hospital. Hospital officials announced Tuesday that the training program will come to an end in July 2012, when the final class of six students graduates. Michael Schramm, chief executive of Rice Hospital, said the elimination of the program was "one of those decisions we felt we needed to make." The city-owned hospital's budget is under significant pressure, making it critical to look for ways to be as streamlined and efficient as possible without compromising patient care, he s
WILLMAR -- A long-standing program at Rice Memorial Hospital to train radiologic technologists is being discontinued. The hospital made the announcement today. The last class will graduate in 2012, said Michael Schramm, chief executive at Rice Hospital. "We're going to finish out the students that have signed on to the program," he said. But the application process for the two-year education program has ended, he said.
WILLMAR -- Group purchasing through a regional initiative helped Rice Memorial Hospital save almost $40,000 last year on supplies ranging from paper towels to surgical equipment. This year the city-owned hospital will likely save as much as $150,000 as a result of belonging to VHA Upper Midwest's Consolidated Service Center, says Chuck Roelofs, director of materials management at Rice Hospital. "I believe there's some real value there and will continue to be a value," he said. Roelofs outlined the hospital's group purchasing initiatives to the hospital board's finance committee on Friday.
Look for flu shots to start becoming available this month. Local medical providers are gearing up to offer the 2010-11 version of the annual influenza vaccine to their patients. Family Practice Medical Center has already received its first shipment of vaccine, and more will be arriving in the weeks ahead, said Stacey Zondervan, director of patient services. "We've started giving it at appointments," she said this week.
WILLMAR -- Her hands clad in blue gloves, Robin Spencer, a medical technologist in the Rice Memorial Hospital laboratory, rinses a set of used glass vials, then places them in a recycling container next to the sink. A few steps away stands a shredder for shredding and collecting paper for recycling. And tucked into a corner of the laboratory is the room where alcohol is distilled and recaptured for reuse. Of all industries, hospitals generate some of the most complex waste there is: paper, plastic, cardboard boxes, packaging, cleaning supplies, IV bags, pharmaceutical containers, surgical g