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WILLMAR -- The drug inventory at the Willmar Regional Cancer Center only takes up a couple of shelves. But if you added up what it's worth, the figure would be substantial. "They're very costly," said Nathan Olander, a pharmacist with the cancer center and Rice Memorial Hospital. Drug shortages at U.S. hospitals are worsening, and officials say the impact isn't limited only to patient care. The shortages also have been expensive for hospitals.
WILLMAR -- When Dr. Paul Schulz meets each year with first-year students at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, he tells them: You've chosen a good career path; now how will you pay for your training? "It has to be that idealistic spark that brings them there," said Schulz, a clinical associate professor at the School of Dentistry and director of the outreach program and mobile dental unit. But students in the health professions also will be graduating with thousands of dollars' worth of debt, he said.
WILLMAR -- Rice Home Medical will become more sales-driven and market-focused under a new strategic plan endorsed Wednesday by the Rice Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. Rice officials say it will help position the durable medical equipment operation for increased growth. "This is a three-years-plus plan," said Bill Fenske, Rice's chief financial officer.
For patients undergoing dialysis at Rice Memorial Hospital, the hours spent in a chair, tethered to a machine that filters their blood of the toxins their kidneys can no longer handle, can be long, uncomfortable and dull. Money raised this weekend by the Rice Health Foundation at its annual gala will be spent on improving the experience of the hospital's dialysis patients. The gala, whose theme this year is "Rockstar Ball," annually raises $65,000 to $75,000 for hospital services and is the nonprofit Rice Health Foundation's main fundraising event.
WILLMAR -- A contest to help launch the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission's newly retooled website at www.kandiyohi.com has turned up some little-known facts about the local economy. For instance, 100 patents in agriculture and the biosciences have been filed since 2006 by companies located in Kandiyohi County.
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital is proposing a 2012 budget described by hospital officials as both conservative and realistic. It calls for patient volume to remain essentially flat next year and to end the year with a relatively modest 2 percent operating margin. Members of the finance committee of the city-owned hospital reviewed the budget proposal Friday and voted to recommend forwarding it to the full hospital board, which meets next week. "We feel comfortable with this budget and where it's at," said Mike Schramm, Rice's chief executive.
These days, manufacturing is often seen as a cumbersome, ailing relic of the Rust Belt. Organizers of a new local event hope to knock down the negative stereotypes this week by shining a spotlight on a manufacturing industry that's both vital and innovative. The "Discover Manufacturing Innovation Showcase" will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WILLMAR -- Lynn Slagter had long been bothered with pain across her lower back. Nothing really relieved it until she started using the underwater treadmill at the Club Bethesda therapy pool last month. The exercise in the warm, 90-degree water of the pool made a big difference. "I can't say enough good about it," said Slagter as she worked out on the treadmill on a recent morning.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission will open a branch office at the MinnWest Technology Campus for its agriculture and renewable energy specialist. The move was approved by the EDC joint operations board on Thursday. The arrangement is for a trial period of six months, after which it will be evaluated to decide whether to continue. It comes at the cost of $450 more a month in rent for the office space. There's little room in the EDC budget for another expense, acknowledged Steve Renquist, executive director of the Economic Development Commis
Minnesota has recorded its first case of influenza for the 2011-12 season in a 26-year-old woman from Olmsted County, the state Department of Health announced today. The Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory confirmed the woman's illness was caused by the A (H3) strain of the virus, which appears to be covered by this year's flu vaccine. The woman, who had no underlying health conditions and was not hospitalized, had not yet been vaccinated this season, state health officials said. While there have been scattered reports of influenza cases around the state already this yea