Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at http://healthbeat.areavoices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.
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WILLMAR -- One month after the state government shutdown ended and a budget agreement was reached, Minnesota's hospitals are assessing the potential impact on their finances. Numbers are still being crunched for individual hospitals.
WILLMAR -- Every fall Karen Kaufenberg, the school nurse at Ridgewater College, used to visit campus classrooms to encourage students to donate blood. One of the best ways to catch their attention was to give a real-life example of someone whose life was saved because of donated blood. "When you tell things like that, that's pretty powerful," Kaufenberg said.
WILLMAR -- The former Washington Learning Center is about to undergo a remake into a maintenance and storage facility for the building's new owner, Affiliated Community Medical Centers. ACMC hasn't yet moved into the building, which adjoins the west side of the Willmar clinic's main site. Crews have been busy removing asbestos, which has been found mostly in pipe insulation in the walls and ceiling, as well as in some floor tiles, said Terry Tone, administrator of ACMC. "We're not totally complete yet," he said.
WILLMAR -- There's been little movement forward on a proposal to study future parking needs in downtown Willmar, but the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission remains supportive of the idea. The EDC also is prepared to consider sharing the cost if and when the study is approved.
WILLMAR -- The Minnesota Spay/Neuter Assistance Program is making its third visit to Willmar next month, offering low-cost spay-neuter surgery for pets whose owners meet income guidelines. The mobile service will be at Hawk Creek Animal Shelter on Sept. 13. Several of the appointment slots have already been filled but there's still room on the schedule for cats. This is the third time this year the mobile program, which includes a traveling vehicle and surgery team, has come to Willmar.
WILLMAR -- Formal charges were filed Monday against a Willmar woman who allegedly brought a 20-inch machete to the farmers market Saturday and threatened one of the vendors with the bladed weapon. Betty Denice Reveles, 50, was charged in Kandiyohi County District Court with second-degree assault and making terroristic threats, both of which are felonies, and disorderly co-nduct, a misdemeanor. A public def-ender will be appointed for her. Judge Donald Spilseth agreed Monday to release her on her own recognizance but stipulated several conditions.
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital has adopted a set of budget assumptions for 2012 that are optimistic yet cautious. Although the city-owned hospital is seeing solid patient volume and a positive financial performance this year, there's considerable uncertainty surrounding health care, say hospital officials. The state budget passed last month by the Minnesota Legislature contains a 10 percent reduction in reimbursement for Medicaid, the publicly funded health program for the poor. "We do know what's coming ahead," said Mike Schramm, chief executive of Rice Hospital.
WILLMAR -- It was a pivotal moment in local history when the nine physicians with the Lakeland Medical Center and the nine physicians with the Willmar Clinic gathered four decades ago to vote on a merger. Dr.
WILLMAR -- Backers of a study on long-term future parking needs in downtown Willmar say the analysis will help the downtown district stay ahead of anticipated development. It's an open question, however, whether the Willmar City Council will endorse the study -- or how the study will be paid for. "It's up for discussion," Willmar Mayor Frank Yanish said Monday night after information was shared with the City Council about the proposed study. The Willmar Design Center and the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission are recommending the analysis, saying it will he
WILLMAR -- When Rice Memorial Hospital adopted a policy last December asking patients to pay at least part of their bill up front, there were some worries. Would people object?