RLMC

From the left are Mike Hanson, co-chairperson of North Star Electric Cooperative; Betsy Loop, RLMC RN; Robb Pastor, RLMC CEO; and Josh Compton, general manager and CEO of North Star Electric Cooperative.

Rainy Lake Medical Center officials last week received a $15,000 donation that will be used to purchase new vital machines for a department serving some of its most critical patients.

Through the Sharing Success Program, North Star Electric Cooperative has partnered with CoBank, each donating $7,500 to RLMC’s chemotherapy and infusion department.

Mike Hanson, vice chairperson of North Star Electric, knows first-hand the importance of the local chemotherapy and infusion department. In 2019, he was diagnosed with rectal cancer and was able to receive treatments at RLMC, only 40 miles from his home in Birchdale.

In an effort to raise funds for the chemotherapy and infusion department, Hanson approached North Star Electric’s board with the request. For about eight years, he said the organization has funded fire departments, EMT needs, helped cover costs for the helipad in Kabetogama and more.

“Everyone (on the board) knew I was a (cancer) survivor,” the former Koochiching County commissioner said. “I gave my little pitch for it and there were other groups at the meeting that were going to request funding, too. When I got done speaking, others withdrew their request. They wanted the money to go to (RLMC).”

CoBank recognizes that its customers often know best where funding can most effectively be provided to benefit their communities. Since Sharing Success was established in 2012, CoBank and its customers have together contributed tens of millions of dollars to a variety of different groups and organizations.

While presenting the $15,000 check to RLMC officials this week, Josh Compton, general manager and CEO of North Star Electric, recognized how important it is for smaller, rural communities to have a center like the one at RLMC. In dire situations, having a chemotherapy and infusion center close to home relieves stress associated with travel.

“Receiving care at Rainy Lake Medical Center made a huge, huge difference in my life,” Hanson said. “The center in the Falls is terrific.”

The new vital machines will not only save nursing staff time, it’ll cut down on the potential for infection and it works with RLMC’s new medical records system, EPIC.

“This donation will make it possible for the purchase of new, state of the art vital sign machines that will automatically send the patients vital signs -blood pressure, pulse and O2 stats — that will be directly uploaded into the new computer system,” said Betsy Loop, RLMC RN. “This will save nurses time away from the computer to spend more time with the patients.”

About RLMC

RLMC offers urgent care, emergency care, surgery, cardiology rehab and diagnostics, chemo and infusion therapy, family medicine clinics, radiology, obstetrics and gynecology, therapy services, hosts sleep studies, laboratory services, orthopedics, swing bed care — both acute and skilled nursing.