WALKER - Opening a new clinic at Hackensack has not lessened the need for a critical access hospital and clinic at Ah-Gwah-Ching, according to Michael Hedrix, vice-president for Essential Community Hospitals and Clinics, hospital lead provider.
Brainerd Medical Center, an Essentia affiliate, provided a partnership to open the Hackensack clinic. Essentia now is working with additional area health care providers such as Innovis Health of Fargo, N.D., to develop partnerships for health services and funding for the proposed hospital and clinic, Hedrix said.
Essentia expects to present to the county board by the end of this year a detailed plan for the project at Ah-Gwah-Ching.
The plan will outline an organizational structure, potential capital partners and organizational and investment capital needed to finance the current estimate of $35 million for the new hospital and clinic, Hedrix said.
Essentia's vision for Ah-Gwah-Ching includes not only the hospital, but also possibly dental services and bringing the Walker and Longville ambulance services into a central organization from the hospital, he said.
Essentia has contacted the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to look at reservation health services as an important part of any future plans.
"Right now, our focus is on securing additional partners who wish to invest in this great opportunity to meet the health care needs of a growing region," Hedrix said.
After presenting the plan, Essentia will work with the Critical Access Hospital Task Force to continue toward building the hospital, he said.
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