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Boreal Community Media

North Shore Health awarded grant to purchase a new ambulance

May 26, 2017 08:52AM ● By Editor
By Brian Larsen from the Cook County News Herald - May 25, 2017
North Shore Health was recently awarded a $125,000 Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant to help with the purchase of a new ambulance.  Hospital Director Kimber Wraalstad made the announcement at the hospital board’s May 18 meeting.

North Shore Health will be required to pay at least 20 percent in matching funds for the ambulance, which will cost in the neighborhood of $185,000.

Wraalstad congratulated and thanked Vera Schumann and Steve Duchien for their hard work in preparing and submitting the grant application. “This was a highly competitive grant process and their efforts resulted in a successful grant award,” said Wraalstad. 

Bids have been received to install a point-to-point circuit for eEmergency services with Avera e-Emergency and North Shore Health. When installed, the dedicated circuit will run from Sioux Falls to North Shore Health.

When the telemedicine system is up and running, Avera doctors will be able to offer advice to assist local health providers with patients who need immediate medical attention.

Avera Health is based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and provides emergency room service to more than 300 small or remote medical facilities in more than 100 communities in South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Minnesota, Vermont, New Hampshire and more. Avera has offered virtual care since 1993 and has developed into the largest and most robust telehealth service in the world.

Wraalstad said Avera doctors and nurses pull shifts in medical centers to retain their knowledge and skills, but when they are working to provide eCare, that is all they do for that shift. They connect to hospitals like Cook County North Shore Health using interactive video and technology, and provide guidance and expertise for emergency room cases that doctors and nurses at a remote facility might not have encountered before.

Wraalstad said an agreement between Avera and the hospital is already in place and equipment has been ordered to provide the service. Weekly calls between North Shore Health and Avera will continue until the system is in place and goes live, which should happen sometime in July.

“The Helmsley grant paid for the Avera equipment and installation of the line,” said Wraalstad. “Over the next three years the Helmsley grant will pay 75 percent of the cost to provide the service the first year, 50 percent the second year and 25 percent the third year. By then we will be able to work the cost of the service into our budget.”

A new system for mass notification is in place, with the system parameters being tested and refined, said Wraalstad. The Everbridge System will send mass notifications to individuals, and in a situation of multiple trauma, Everbridge will send a combination of text messages, phone calls and emails to alert needed people to provide assistance.

Joe Gafft, an EMS consultant, spent two days assisting the North Shore Health ambulance service in developing needs assessments and action items. Gafft was the emergency medical services manager for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities- Office of the Chancellor and is currently on the board of directors of the National Association of EMS educators. Graft will provide support to North Shore Health EMS for the next six months. 

Construction update

Josh Christiansen, Shelly Peterson, and Josh Kostiuk from Boldt Construction and John Geissler from DSGW were present to provide a construction update for the two-year $24.5 million renovation of the hospital and Care Center.

The ambulance drive through is coming along, and Phase Two of the Care Center will be complete after the work passes inspections by the state engineer, the state fire marshal and state surveyors, who must all sign off on the project. That will only leave Stage Three remaining to finish the Care Center.

Footings for the household kitchen are complete as part of Phase 3. The business office walls are now torn down and demolition continues. The area of the former business office will eventually house the radiology department. 

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