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Mille Lacs Health System is having a party on Tuesday, July 16, at the Mille Lacs Health System Family Clinic in Isle to celebrate 25 years of care at the Isle clinic. Join staff members and others for a picnic on the lawn of the clinic from 4-6 p.m. Food, door prizes for both a TV and a rolling cooler of cool giveaways, and fun things for kids will round out the celebration.

The history of healthcare in the Mille Lacs area is a patchwork quilt of leaders and community members who have continued to build connections based on needs of the community, as well as build grass roots efforts to fund projects related to meeting those needs.

In 1990, the stockholders and boards of both the Mille Lacs Family Health Center and Mille Lacs Hospital and Home met separately and voted to approve a merger. The two standalone clinics (in Onamia and Isle) would join the hospital and nursing home. The merger would put clinics, hospital, nursing home, Isle Physical Therapy, and Mille Lacs Ambulance all under one organization. They were to be jointly managed by one board and one administrator, thereby giving greater flexibility to all involved and a wider network for patients to benefit from. The hospital stockholders voted on a new board of directors and the two health corporations became Mille Lacs Health System on July 1, 1990.

At that time, the medical care in Isle was located on the site where Isle Family Dentistry is now. The board chair at that time, Dave Oberfeld of Isle, remembers there was a realization amongst board members and medical providers alike that the space in Isle was inadequate.

“It was important to us all that we commit to keeping healthcare in Isle locally available but at the same time at the highest level of technology and care,” Oberfeld stated. “To have a new clinic in both Isle and Onamia became a clear priority.”

A fundraising effort followed, and in July of 1994, a grand opening for the new building on West Isle Street was held.

Twenty five years later, Mille Lacs Health System continues to grow to meet patients’ need for high quality healthcare without having to drive over an hour to get it. “Having this clinic here, with everything it offers, is a huge plus for the community,” Oberfeld said. “The fact that the community also helped to make that happen is amazing, and I’m glad local healthcare is still a commitment for MLHS.”

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