Park Rapids Enterprise

By: Anna Erickson, Park Rapids Enterprise

July 3, 2009

Sen. Amy Klobuchar visited Park Rapids Wednesday to tour the newly renovated hospital and clinic and discuss rural health care needs.

During a tour of St. Joseph’s Area Health Services and Innovis Health clinic, she spoke with officials, doctors, nurses and other staff about rural health care.

“Rural health care is actually more cost-effective than a lot of other operations,” Klobuchar said.

The senator is working to ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health care.

Minnesota is already taking those steps, she said.

“President Obama keeps talking about Minnesota as a beacon for cost-effective health care,” she said.

Rural health care has unique needs, several doctors explained during the tour. A poster in the emergency department keeps a tally of how many fish hook injuries have come in to the ER so far this year. It also shows where the hook injuries are located.

The ER generally sees between 90 and 100 fish hook injuries each year.

The connected clinic and hospital in Park Rapids provides efficiencies in services for patients, said Ben Koppelman, St. Joseph’s President/CEO. Doctors are just down the hallway and available for patients in a timely manner. This is one of the ways to keep health care cost-efficient as well.

Klobuchar said she was gathering information from her tour in rural Minnesota and will use that information to work on health care legislation in Washington, D.C.

She continued her tour Thursday and Friday and planned to participate in Independence Day events.