Riverwood Healthcare held its annual meeting virtually on May 19, re-electing Chad Gross, Lowell Larson and Steve Wilson to new three-year terms on the board of directors.

The annual meeting, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saw a variety of administrators speak during the hour-plus meeting. Voting was done virtually as well.

CEO Todd Sandberg stressed how the health care staff at Riverwood has “come together.”

“Together is what we do,” Sandberg said. “It’s how we work behind the scenes and how we deliver care to patients every day.”

Sandberg, in providing the year in review, said that nurses, doctors and the rest of the staff – as well as Riverwood’s Auxiliary and Foundation – all are working together toward the common goal of best patient care.

He stressed the “ICURE” values of Riverwood – integrity, customer service, unity, respect and compassion, and excellence.

“One of our taglines here is that we are ‘better together’,” Sandberg added.

Sandberg then handed off to Foundation Director Katie Nelson, who provided an update on the Auxiliary and Foundation.

“Year after year, this group does outstanding work,” Nelson said, explaining the volunteers with the auxiliary work to provide not only quality services to Riverwood and those it serves, but also raising funds for the hos¡pital. Nelson said that more than 100 cancer patients received a “comfort bag” with hand-picked gifts from the auxiliary.

She also praised the community for its support over time, and at the past year’s gala, held at the Aitkin County Fairgrounds. She said the foundation is currently exploring options for the 2020 event, and plans for 2020 golf charity event will be coming soon.

The foundation disbursed $320,780 to  Riverwood Healthcare Center in 2019, including through scholarships, the Zachary Johnson Fund, the food service department and donations to pediatric care.

Pharmacy Director Spencer Page then updated the community on the new pharmacy at Paulbeck’s. The goal is to open around the beginning of July.

“The construction is nearly complete, with the drive-through lane to be finished soon,” Page said. He said Riverwood is working on insurance contracting and tying up loose ends.  The pharmacy will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Dr. David Taylor then provided an update on COVID-19, saying that the pandemic has impacted every facet of operations at the hospital and clinics. He talked about the social distancing measures as well as Minnesota’s “Stay at Home” order.

“I think we have not seen a peak in Aitkin County, thanks to those measures,” Taylor said, adding that the hospital is working to prepare for any surge in cases. He did say that the virus is in the community, but not widespread.

CFO Casey Johnson talked about the previous fiscal year, which was solid. He did say, however, that the COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on revenues in the coming months, estimating a loss of between $7 and $10 million.

However, “We’re in as stable a cash position as we can be as a rural hospital,” Johnson said, adding that federal CARES Act dollars have helped.

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