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Kristen Fischer, DOTmed News | July 28, 2011
From the July 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Exploring new avenues of funding and savings
At RiverView Health, a 25-bed critical access hospital, outpatient recovery center and long-term care facility based in Crookston, Minn., establishing a strong relationship with donors through its foundation has been key to secure funding and maintenance of a high-level of patient care.

“It’s always a challenge for us to have enough capital to meet all of our needs,” says Vicky Korynta, the hospital’s vice president of patient services and chief nursing officer.

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But donations have helped a lot says Kent Bruun, the hospital’s foundation director. In fact, for the last six years in a row the facility has relied on grants to purchase much-needed equipment. “We are a dollar-for-dollar organization,” Bruun says.

For instance, recently, the hospital wanted to upgrade to a 64-slice CT to replace the older 32-slice machine, and the foundation came through with $200,000 towards the purchase. The contribution included grant money from the Otto Bremer Foundation.

The key to getting generous foundation support is to let donors know that their dollars are being well-spent. Making financial reporting transparent and communicating with donors keeps them involved in the facility’s operation. When they see the value of what’s being done, they continue to contribute.

“Donors will step up to the plate so long as they know we’re efficient,” Bruun says, adding that he realizes donors trust the hospital with their hard-earned money.

“For this hospital here, the need for private support from donors will need to increase…that’s just the reality of it,” Bruun adds.

But when donor dollars don’t stretch far enough, other ideas are considered. For example, RiverView Health has used refurbished equipment to cut costs in the past. Recently, the hospital replaced inpatient beds with refurbished models. The savings meant funds raised by the facility’s foundation could be used to outfit them with new mattresses.

“Going the refurbished route was a great option for us,” says Korynta.

Even employees are pitching in to help the facility. All the windows at the inpatient unit were recently replaced, but the work proceeded one window at a time as money was available from employee donations. “The employees have been involved in a lot of projects and it shows,” Bruun says.

Expanding service offerings
Another way to secure funding and make up for dollars lost (all while forging community involvement) is to diversify services and offer outpatient offerings at facilities. Korynta says that smaller services, such as an outpatient orthopedics team, have been a useful complement to services offered at RiverView Hospital.

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