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RiverView Sees Positive 2021 Margin; Workforce is a Priority

Hospital news | Thursday, January 27, 2022

RiverView Healthcare Association members heard the ups and downs of 2021 virtually Monday, Jan. 24 during the Association’s 124th Annual Meeting.

According to Chief Financial Officer Betty Arvidson, financially, RiverView Health saw a healthy operating margin of 6.2% in Fiscal Year 2021, on the heels of a positive 3.6% in 2020.

While financials were positive, RiverView President/CEO Carrie Michalski said there are growing concerns for the region’s supply of qualified health professionals to staff future workforce needs. “Our region’s census is stable with little in-migration and our population is aging. Each year more retirees leave the workforce than new graduates enter. With no influx of new working age individuals, the competition for available workers is high. Wages are rising faster than operating income and now more than ever we need to retain our status as a Best Place to Work. Our employees are our greatest asset and health care can only be delivered when an adequate number of professional exist.’’

In her eighth year in the lead position, Michalski urged a call to action to support the RiverView Board of Directors in executing strategic workforce solutions going forward. “We know there’s going to be some things that we need to do to conquer and be really successful in the midst of a scarce workforce. We’re going to need to be a better place to work than any other health organization in the region…We must be able to effectively inspire our children, friends, and neighbors to seek healthcare as a rewarding profession.

“The hospital building – in particular our brand new beautiful hospital – provides a meeting place, a safe environment that allows the provision of care...Without the people, it is a pretty building at best. What really drives the care in our community are the highly trained health care professionals and our ability to be strategic and continue to recruit those best providers to meet our community’s needs and be successful.”

Highlight Reel

There were many people to celebrate, programs for which to be thankful, and events to enjoy in 2021, including

  • A team of 365 health professionals delivering care to patients in need every day.
  • Seven healthcare scholarships funded through the RiverView Foundation to help students access training.
  • Making the list of the Best Places to Work in Healthcare for the fifth year, thanks to employee testimonies.
  • The opening of RiverView Rehab Services – Fertile.
  • The addition of new providers,
    • Jude Ochiobi, Internal Medicine, and
    • Lauren Rose, Family Medicine with OB.
  • Danelle Trandem, RiverView Memory Care activities assistant, named the 2021 Employee of the Year.
  • The Care and Share receiving the Reaching Out to Serve Award.
  • Nancy Capistran honored with the Alta Hermodson Heart and Soul Award.

Board of Directors

Andy Oman chaired his final meeting as he wrapped up nine years on the Board of Directors. Michelle Cote also attended her last meeting as a Board member, serving the maximum three three-year terms. Garrett Borowicz, Crookston, and Reed Engelstad, Red Lake Falls, were elected to the Board.

Borowicz is a native of Stephen with a Bachelor's Degree in Land Surveying from St. Cloud State University. He is a vice president for Widseth. Borowicz is a member of the Crookston Lions Club, Crookston Youth Basketball Association, Minnesota Society of Professional Surveyors, and the National Society of Professional Surveyors.

"I view RiverView Health as one of the greatest assets to the community of Crookston and the surrounding area," Borowicz said. "RiverView and its employees are involved in our community through partnerships and volunteer organizations, which impacts our community in a positive way. It is my pleasure to serve on this Board."

Engelstad is originally from Grygla. He serves as the Dakota Heritage Bank branch president. Engelstad holds a Bachelor's Degree in Finance from Moorhead State University. He is a member of Bethany Lutheran Church, Pathfinders Snowmobile Club, and served on the Red Lake Falls School Board for 20 years.

"I am interested in being on the RiverView Health Board because I feel quality, accessible healthcare is one of the most important things needed in our small communities," shared Engelstad. "It is very important that we have a strong and supported medical facility to see that through."

Dr. Erik Kanten and Kari Koenig were re-elected to serve their second, three-year terms on the Board. Other members of the Board are Grant Gunderson, Stephanie Harbott, Lori Keller, Tim Brinkman, and Dr. Brett Vibeto.

2021 Proves Busy for the Auxiliary

The RiverView Auxiliary has 290 members working to improve and enhance the patient experience at RiverView Health. The group is working to increase membership to 340, shared Community Relations Specialist Carrie Bergquist.

Twenty-two Auxiliary volunteers donate their time to the Limited Addition Gift Shop. Due to COVID restrictions and the building project, the shop could not open in its new location until June 1, 2021. Despite challenges posed by COVID, shipping delays, and multiple back-orders, Bergquist reported that the gift shop turned a profit in 2021.

In 2021, the Auxiliary focused on newborn gifts, pediatric activity bags, and clothing for patients. The Auxiliary also gifted $5,000 to the Foundation for projects and fulfilled its building project pledge of an additional $5,000. The focus for 2022 is a patient transfer scale for the Emergency Department. The scale allows staff to get a quick and accurate weight of patients who cannot bear their weight, Bergquist reported.

The sewing club restarted in September with a committed group of six volunteers who work on newborn blankets and Santa stockings. Four additional volunteers bring in handmade knit hats for newborns. Volunteers also keep the Auxiliary's new vending machines stocked.

Auxiliary Board members are Marlys Mjoen, Judy Luettjohann, Deb Normandin, Jacqueline Cournia, Nancy Capistran, Gloria Watro, Judie Kanten, Deb Sylvester, and Nissa Brekken.

If you are interested in joining the Auxiliary, contact Bergquist at or call 281.9535.

Foundation Gears Up for Giving Hearts Day 2022

Foundation Director Randy Schoenborn reported that 784 gifts were given through the Foundation in Fiscal Year 2021 for a total of $516,270. The annual Golf Classic brought in an additional $20,000.

Departing Foundation Board members Sue Westrom, Christian Kiel, and Maggie Bryn were thanked for their years of service. The Board now consists of Marcia Schoenborn, Jerry Lindsay, Marilyn Wentzel, Jodi Clauson, Kari Koenig, and Taylor Sannes.

Schoenborn and the Board's current focus is the Feb. 10 Giving Hearts Day event, a 24-hour online give-a-thon for nonprofits.

Undesignated funds from the event will go toward the following two equipment needs in RiverView's Emergency Room, with an estimated cost of $125,000:

  • An automated medication dispensing system that safely stores and quickly releases medication with proper physician orders. This system will provide necessary medications to treat patients in the Emergency Room 24 hours a day, regardless of the physical presence of a pharmacist.
  • A portable ultrasound machine specific to the rapid assessment of heart and abdominal injury of trauma patients. Called a FAST (Fast Assessment Sonography for Trauma) exam, Emergency Room physicians perform this screening exam on admission without the delay of calling in an ultrasound technician.

On Feb. 10, the Dakota Medical Foundation and other generous donors will match donations given to the Foundation up to $50,000. An online link to donate will be available that day at and

Contact Schoenborn for more information on Giving Hearts Day at or call 281-9249.