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WILLMAR -- The first shovelful of dirt will be turned late this fall for a long-awaited $5.5 million expansion at the Rice Care Center. Over the next four years, the skilled nursing facility will be enlarged and renovated to enhance its ability to provide sub-acute and long-term care to an aging population. Rice officials said the project is one that's needed in the community. "We're trying to prioritize," said Mike Schramm, chief executive of Rice Memorial Hospital.
WILLMAR -- Dave Baker is hoping for big things from the newest improvement at The Oaks at Eagle Creek -- a 1,000-square-foot deck that expands dining and parties to an outdoor setting. "We're hoping the deck brings a whole different clientele out here. We want to appeal to more of a cross-section," said Baker, the owner of The Oaks. Construction will be completed in mid-June.
WILLMAR -- The need for Rice trust fund grants to help eligible patients pay their hospital bills continues to outstrip the amount of money available. Last year the 78-year-old fund issued $88,000 worth of grants on behalf of 106 individual applicants. So far during 2010, the Rice trust fund has paid $23,000 in grants that benefited 57 patients. "We have applicants far exceeding the level of money we can give right now," said Carol Hruby, vice president of Bremer Investment Management and Trust, which oversees the Cushman A.
WILLMAR -- Rice Hospital officials are closely watching expenses as the city-owned hospital struggles with a deepening operational deficit. Although outpatient volume is strong, inpatient numbers continue to decline and revenue has declined along with them, officials said Friday. "This is where we're really seeing some huge negative tr-ends," said Bill Fen-ske, chief financial officer. As of April 30, Rice had accumulated an operating loss of more than $660,000 on $27.1 million in total operating revenue. The loss is cushioned by income derived from the hospital's joint ventures and by the
WILLMAR -- Tempted to pick up that free couch left on the curb by college students departing for the summer? Think again. Bedbugs are here, and one of the main ways they're spread is through the exchange of bug-infested furniture. Up until a couple of years ago, their presence was minimal. Then last year Chris Wenisch, an environmental health specialist with Kandiyohi County Public Health, began hearing complaints about bedbugs. "This year I've been getting a lot more phone calls about them," he said. Bedbugs commonly live near areas where people sleep.
WILLMAR -- The Rice Memorial Hospital board awarded $109,270 in construction bids Thursday, clearing the way to turn part of the rescue squad building into living quarters for on-call ambulance crews. The vote came at a special meeting of the board, which was followed by a closed session for strategic discussion about Rice Care Center, the hospital-owned long-term care facility. Bill Fenske, chief financial officer for Rice Hospital, said the living quarters will provide a place for paramedics and emergency medical technicians to stay while they're on call. It will also give them immediate
Bodies turn and arms unfold in slow, fluid movements as Karen Fischer leads a class at the Willmar Community Center through the disciplined steps of tai chi. "Step to the right. Arms out. Palms out," Fischer intones. "Turn. Leg in. Turn. Leg out." Her students concentrate silently on each of the ritual moves. Fischer isn't training a roomful of aspiring warriors.
At least once a month, staff at the Rice Rehabilitation Center must deliver the bad news to an older driver: You've just failed your simulated driving exam.
WILLMAR -- Local officials see anxiety, uncertainty and confusion surrounding the restructuring of Minnesota's General Assistance Medical Care program. Where should these clients go for medical care? Who's going to pay the bill? "We're fielding phone calls," Mike Schramm, chief executive of Rice Memorial Hospital, said last week. "There are more questions than answers." Rice Hospital has formally opted out of a coordinated care delivery system that's being crafted to oversee medical care for GAMC enrollees.
WILLMAR -- Federal money is soon arriving in Kandiyohi County to help enhance the availability and use of broadband, especially for rural and underserved populations. The Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission recently learned the county was chosen as one of 11 demonstration communities to receive funding. The $100,000 "Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities" grant is for two years and is being funneled through the Minnesota Department of Commerce.