Three-year deal signed for Essentia Health-SandstoneRepresentatives of Essentia Health and the North Pine Area Hospital District’s board signed a three-year lease agreement on Thursday. The lease is for the operation of Essentia Health-Sandstone, a 25-bed critical access hospital.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Representatives of Essentia Health and the North Pine Area Hospital District’s board signed a three-year lease agreement on Thursday. The lease is for the operation of Essentia Health-Sandstone, a 25-bed critical access hospital.
After nearly a year of sometimes acrimonious talks, both sides cheered the deal.
“Lots of kind words were shared,” said Dan McGinty, chief administrative officer for Essentia’s East Region. “I think we’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’ve really rebuilt a lot of trust and positive relationships there.”
Tim Schmutzer, who led negotiations for the district as chairman of its Transition Committee, echoed McGinty’s words.
“I think today really marked the new beginning of our relationship with Essentia and the new beginning of a path toward high-quality, second-to-none health services here,” Schmutzer said.
Like McGinty, Schmutzer said hard work remained to be done, but he said a positive foundation had been established.
The original lease, signed in 1997, was due to expire today.
Among other things, the agreement requires construction of a new Sandstone hospital to begin by Sept. 1, 2014.
Schmutzer, who in early July said his committee was “devastated and bewildered” by Essentia’s position on some issues, said on Thursday he thought the new lease would produce a strong relationship.
“There was an excitement and energy in the room today,” he said.