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Like most things during the COVID-19 pandemic, Riverview Healthcare Association’s 123rd Annual Meeting looked different this year. Participants attended the January 25 meeting via Zoom to hear the good news of the completion of RiverView 2020, the hospital and clinic building project, and the effects the pandemic has had on the organization.

Carrie Michalski, president/CEO, used a roller coaster analogy to describe the past year, “It has been thrilling and scary, sometimes moving so fast you felt like you could easily leave the tracks, and on the climbs, it sometimes was difficult to see around the next bend.’’

COVID Relief Funds Help Bottom Line
After ending Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 with a margin loss of 4.2 percent, mostly due to surgical provider retirements and start-ups, FY 2020 was looking up. By the end of February, RiverView was on pace for a $4.5 million year over year improvement to the bottom line. Then came COVID-19.  “Overnight we saw our revenue stream reduced by $750,000 of net revenue per week, and we went into our emergency management plan,’’ Michalski shared of the time when all non-emergent procedures and surgeries were halted.

Fortunately, with the aid of several Federal COVID relief funds, most notable the Payroll Protection Program and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Provider Relief Funds, RiverView wrapped up FY 2020 with a 3.9 percent positive margin. Another important fact: all staff was retained.

Reasons to Celebrate
Amid the pandemic, there were many things to celebrate at RiverView in 2020. Most notably, the opening of the new 80,000 square foot hospital and clinic. The project stayed

on time and budget, something Michalski refers to as “a silver lining during the darks days of the pandemic.’’

Other reasons to celebrate include:

  • For the fourth consecutive year, RiverView was named one of the Best Places to Work in Healthcare, thanks to the testimony of employees on the RiverView Team.
  • Several departments received accreditation by some of the country’s leading health care evaluation organizations, including:
  • The Joint Commission for the Hospital, Clinics, Home Care, and RiverView Recovery Center
  • American Academy of Sleep Medicine for the Sleep Medicine Program
  • Certified Health Care Home for the management of chronic disease
  • College of American Pathologists for Laboratory and Pathology Services
  • American Academy of Cardiopulmonary Rehab for services through Cardiopulmonary Rehab
  • New providers joining RiverView in 2020: Dr. Huy Nguyen, general surgeon; Dr. Todd Sekundiak and the return of Dr. David Schall, both orthopaedic surgeons; Dr. David Gutman, gastroenterology; and Forrest LaPorte, CNP.
  • In September, Dr. Lauren Rose will join the OB Team of Drs. Erik Kanten and Kari Wessman.

COVID Care Close to Home
Although the pandemic has thrown hurdle after hurdle, RiverView is proud of the care it has provided during these trying times. Over 4,500 COVID tests have been administered through the drive-thru testing site in Crookston alone. RiverView has also offered COVID-19 treatments and drugs that were once only available at large facilities, like Mayo Clinic, allowing patients to be treated closer to home. And, finally, vaccinations are happening.

“We made it to vaccination day,’’ Michaslski shared with emotion in her voice. “With our doctors leading the way, taking the first shots, and providing education to the team, over 70 percent of our health care workers said yes to the vaccine.’’

Directors Re-elected to Board
Tim Brinkman and Dr. Brett Vibeto were re-elected to serve their second, three-year terms on the Board of Directors. Lori Keller was appointed in 2020 to complete Dr. Steven Schultz’s three-year term and was elected Monday night to continue her service to the Board.
Other members of the Board are Michelle Cote, Grant Gunderson, Stephanie Harbott, Dr. Erik Kanten, and Kari Koenig.

Foundation Gears Up for Giving Hearts Day 2021
Randy Schoenborn gave his first annual meeting report as the director of the RiverView Foundation.
Schoenborn reminded everyone to donate on Giving Hearts Day, Feb. 11, during the 24-hour online give-a-thon for nonprofits. More than $180,000 has been secured as a match to donations given that day. Giving Hearts Day will mark the end of the Foundation’s two-year Capital Campaign for the building project. “Even with the challenges (COVID-19), donors continued to support the Capital Campaign with gifts of over $196,000 since March of 2020,’’ Schoenborn reported. “The reason the Capital Campaign has been such a huge success is because it means keeping quality healthcare close to home, people believe in the project and want to help, they took ownership of the project, led others to support, and they are proud of what we have accomplished together.’’

The Foundation Board committed to raising up to $3 million for the building project to be used on the meditation room, Inpatient Unit patient rooms, labor and delivery rooms, and family suites. Thus far, $2,044,000 in cash and pledges has been raised.

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