Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital is one of six small-town hospitals — and the only one in northern Minnesota — chosen for a five-year project to improve its population’s health.
Only the state’s 78 critical-access hospitals — rural hospitals that meet certain criteria — were eligible for the Minnesota Path To Value Project, which is funded by the Minnesota Department of Health with part of a grant of more than $900,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Each of the hospitals will get support via webinars, peer calls and workshops from Rural Health Innovations, a subsidiary of the Duluth-based National Rural Health Resource Center.
Ely-Bloomenson submitted its application in January, said Jodi Martin, the hospital’s marketing and communications team leader. It was a natural fit, Martin said, because the hospital had recently completed its community needs assessment, and population health was high on its list.
The hospital is also trying to provide more services for an aging community, she said.
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“A main focus for us is to really keep people in Ely and not having to travel, especially in the wintertime,” Martin said. “Currently, 65% of our population is 65 or over. … So we are really trying to look at ways to allow them to get the services closer to home.”
So the hospital added orthopedics and then a urologist and is in the process of adding podiatry, she said. It’s looking at making pain management available. It’s interested in programming for people with diabetes.
Hospital administrators just got word that they’d been chosen for the project in late January, and haven’t yet had the chance to share the information with staff, Martin said. They’ll get a better idea of what to expect during a conference call with all the hospitals involved later in February.
Although in the “very, very infant stages,” Ely-Bloomenson leadership is excited about where the project will take them, Martin said.
“Any opportunity that we can take to connect with our community in another way is something that we’re all in on,” she said.
Source: Duluth News Tribune