Health Notes: Essentia Health comes to VirginiaThe new year brought a new era in health care to Virginia, as the old Virginia Regional Medical Center officially became part of Duluth-based Essentia Health.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
The new year brought a new era in health care to Virginia, as the old Virginia Regional Medical Center officially became part of Duluth-based Essentia Health.
Signs started to go up on Wednesday with the hospital’s new name: Essentia Health-Virginia, an Essentia Health news release said. Essentia administrators were in Virginia on Wednesday morning to welcome employees to the organization.
On a 5-2 vote, the Virginia City Council approved the hospital’s affiliation with Essentia on Sept. 4, culminating a lengthy and sometimes contentious process. Then-Mayor Steve Peterson voted against the deal, along with City Councilor Nevada Littlewolf. Opponents said they were concerned about loss of local control of the 76-year-old, municipally owned hospital. But proponents said the hospital needed Essentia’s financial resources to survive.
Essentia offered a $7 million up-front commitment for infrastructure repairs as part of the deal.
The news release said one of Essentia’s first priorities in Virginia is recruiting additional emergency room physicians.
Dan Milbridge is serving as interim administrator for the hospital and adjacent Essentia Health-Virginia Clinic, and Dr. Michelle Oman is medical director, the news release said. A board of directors, made up of community and Essentia representatives, will have its first meeting this month.