Skip to main content

RiverView Health Holds 122nd Annual Meeting, Looks Forward to Building Project Completion

Community news | Wednesday, January 29, 2020

RiverView Healthcare Association celebrated its 122nd Annual Meeting and Membership Banquet Jan. 27th at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. Jason Toso, project manager with Mortenson Construction, gave the keynote address regarding RiverView’s hospital and clinic replacement project, RiverView 2020: Our Vision is Clear.

The two-story, 80,000 square foot building is on schedule with a fall completion anticipated. Toso reported that 85 people work onsite daily, many of them from the region. He estimated 12,638 craft hours were spent on the project through December; of those, employees within a 60-mile radius of Crookston completed 7,970 hours.

Toso highlighted special amenities going into the build; including a roof garden, an 80-seat conference center, meditation space, improved Memory Care garden, a new gift shop, and a snowmelt system for sidewalks. He also shared information on state-of-the-art security systems; including electronic locks throughout the facility, an infant security system on the labor and delivery unit, secured elevators, and auto operators scattered throughout the building for ease of patient and staff access.

The $51 million project will house the Inpatient Unit on the upper level with 18 universal patient rooms, three labor and delivery rooms, and four family suites. Every room will have a private bathroom and a large floor plan to allow caregivers adequate space to provide exceptional patient care and room to ensure family and friends are comfortable. The ground level will be home to all three of RiverView’s current Crookston clinics consolidated into one large clinic. The new clinic will have 48 exam rooms, four procedure rooms, and four consultation rooms.

A Tough 2019, Better Days Ahead in 2020

RiverView experienced a -4.2 percent margin in 2019, much of it attributed to surgeon turnover with several long-time providers retiring in 2018, reported RiverView President/CEO Carrie Michalski during the organization update. Net revenue dipped to $58.8 million in 2019 from $64.5 million in 2018. Nevertheless, a turnaround is taking form. By the end of RiverView's first quarter for Fiscal Year 2020, Dec. 31, 2019, the organization was on pace for a positive 7.8 percent margin, she shared.

The turnaround is attributed to increasing volumes of recently recruited physicians and a 2020 goal of targeting changes in all departments to save on expenditures and generate revenue. That implementation generated $560,000 in improvements in the first quarter, Michalski said. The target by the year-end in September is $2 million in margin improvements.

“Change is not always fun,’’ Michalski said. “The process of change can be painful…Some changes are six-digit changes and some are $6 changes. We count them all…All changes are valuable no matter what the dollar impact is.

“Our team is off to a tremendous start…What is really important is what we do going forward.’’

Grant Gunderson, Stephanie Harbott, and Dr. Steven Schultz were all re-elected to the Board of Directors to serve their second three-year terms. Dr. Brett Vibeto was elected to fill the vacancy left by Shannon Stassen. Dr. Vibeto is a general surgeon practicing in Crookston and East Grand Forks. He will complete Stassen’s second term, which expires in January 2021. Other members of the Board are Tim Brinkman, Michelle Cote, Dr. Erik Kanten, Kari Koenig, Andy Oman, and Michelle Snyder.

Celebrating Employees, Services, Community

Michalski shared some of the highlights of 2019, including:

  • A third straight year of receiving Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work honor. RiverView received its highest ranking in 2019 when it ranked 16th.
  • Celebrating the retirement of dedicated employees, including Lynette (Pud) Joseph, 48 years; Les Palmer, 46 years; Mary Beth Parnow, 45 years; Ruth Knutson, 44 years; Pam Sorenson, 43 years; Denise Kaiser, 40 years; Pat Bratrud, 26 years; and Michelle Johanneck, 16 years.
  • Dr. Kari Wessman beginning full-time employment with RiverView, offering obstetrics services to go along with her gynecology services.
  • Twins! Dr. Wessman and Dr. Erik Kanten delivered three sets of twins in 2019.
  • One of Japan’s top neurosurgeons, Dr. Phyo Kim, visiting to observe Dr. Hamid Abbasi conduct a specialized minimally invasive spine surgery. Dr. Kim plans to begin offering the same procedure in Japan in the next few years.
  • General Surgeon Dr. Lorant Divald offering a minimally invasive procedure to help those who suffer from heartburn/GERD.
  • RiverView directly supporting 316 community events in 2019 promoting health, wellness, and the development of health care workers.

Auxiliary Continues to Fund Improvements

Judy Luettjohann, secretary of the RiverView Auxiliary, shared the group’s goal to fund six projects for a total of just under $10,500 in 2020 to improve and enhance the patient experience at RiverView. Projects to be funded are for the Care Center, Rehab Services, Clinics, and the Inpatient Unit.

Throughout the year, the Auxiliary raises funds through book and gift fairs, the Cookie Walk, Valentine Kiss Sale, the vending program at RiverView, and through sales in the Limited Addition Gift Shop.

Once again, the Auxiliary presented the RiverView Foundation with a check for $10,000 from vending profits to be used for the Foundation’s Donor Match Program. The Auxiliary has donated $110,000 to the Foundation in the past ten years; in turn, this has created $401,521.86 worth of projects for RiverView Health.

In addition to Luettjohann, other Auxiliary Board members are Kathie Barnes, JoElle Boucher, Nancy Capistran, Diane Erickson, Marlys Mjoen, Ann Riedlinger, Deb Sylvester, and Gloria Watro.

Foundation Gears Up for Giving Hearts Day 2020

RiverView Foundation Director Kent Bruun gave his final Foundation report after serving in the position for the past 16 years. Bruun will retire in February.

Bruun’s presentation focused on the Foundation’s Capital Campaign to raise $2 million for the new meditation room, Inpatient Unit patient rooms, labor and delivery rooms, and family suites. The Campaign kicked-off on Giving Hearts Day Feb. 14, 2019. The completion date for the Campaign will be Giving Hearts Day Feb. 11, 2021.

According to Bruun, fundraising is ahead of schedule.

“What we will accomplish in the next year will be transformational,’’ he shared. “It will strengthen our mission and change lives. This is a historic time in our history.’’

Bruun reminded the audience to donate to the Foundation on Giving Hearts Day, Feb. 13, during the 24-hour online give-a-thon for nonprofits. This is the 13th year for the event; the Foundation has participated since the beginning. Over the years, Bruun reported, 2,859 donations have been given for a total of $1,377,320 going to RiverView Health projects and programs. Money raised this year will once again go toward the building project.

On Giving Hearts Day 2019, the Foundation raised $369,000 with 403 donations, according to Bruun. The goal for 2020 is to increase donations and donors by 20 percent. Go to Feb. 13th to donate.

Departing Foundation Board members Ingrid Remick, Kurt Heldstab and Amy Ellingson were recognized for their years of service. Jodi Clauson and Taylor Sannes are new members of the Board. Other Board members are Marcia Schoenborn, Christian Kiel, Marilyn Wentzel, Michelle Snyder, Sue Westrom, Margaret (Maggie) Bryn, and Jerry Lindsay.

Bruun also thanked RiverView employees for giving to the Foundation’s Friends for Life program to the tune of $10,000 to be used to match grants given to the Foundation. He reported that 88 percent of RiverView employees give back to programs and services at RiverView through the Foundation.

Pictured above: Jason Toso, project manager with Mortenson Construction