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 -- 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
WILLMAR -- A new initiative by the United Way of West Central Minnesota hopes to harness the volunteer power of an important demographic -- younger adults who are emerging leaders in their communities. The project, known as Advance, will officially be launched Aug.
WILLMAR -- Offer clinical experiences for students in the health professions and maybe you'll end up with a future employee. This is part of the thinking behind Rice Memorial Hospital's student program, which hosted 431 participants last year. Not only does it contribute to the education of future health care professionals but it also exposes them to what it might be like to work at Rice, said Joyce Elkjer, human resources director at the hospital. These student experiences are key in helping shape career decisions, she said.
WILLMAR -- Slightly more than halfway through the year, Rice Memorial Hospital leaders have moved significantly forward on a new strategic plan to boost hospital services, quality of care and overall performance. "We're making a lot of progress with a lot of things," Mike Schramm, chief executive of the city-owned hospital, told the hospital board Wednesday during a review of the plan. The five-year plan was adopted last December.
An unidentified man from Yellow Medicine County is Minnesota's first confirmed West Nile virus case of the year. The Minnesota Department of Health said Tuesday that the patient was hospitalized in late July with West Nile encephalitis. Dave Neitzel, a Health Department epidemiologist specializing in diseases carried by mosquitoes and ticks, said Minnesota has entered the period of highest risk for West Nile virus in humans. "We've had a bumper crop of pest mosquitoes this summer, but the species that carry West Nile virus are most abundant in late summer," he said. Although West Nile viru
WILLMAR -- An Atwater man involved in an armed standoff in June faces a jury trial next month on six counts, including assault, terroristic threats and the use of deadly force against a peace officer. James Hinman, 46, had been scheduled to appear Thursday in Kandiyohi County District Court for an om-nibus hearing. After he failed to show up, a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was taken into custody on Sunday. During an appearance Monday before Judge Donald Spilseth, Hinman was ordered to be held on $70,000 bail. He later posted bond, allowing him to be released.
An unidentified man from Yellow Medicine County is Minnesota's first confirmed West Nile virus case of the year. The Minnesota Department of Health said today that the patient was hospitalized in late July with West Nile encephalitis. State health officials said Minnesota has entered the peak season for West Nile virus, which is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes.