Pine River clinic building proceeding as planned

Cancellations of elective surgeries and non-essential visits have had a significant financial impact on health care providers, but Pine River residents may rest assured that plans have not yet changed for a fall opening of the new Essentia Health clinic building.

"We are fully proceeding as planned," said Kathy Sell, marketing manager for Essentia Health. "We are looking at plans for the sign that will be at the end of the road there to direct people in. All plans proceeding. Even with the predictive modeling nobody really knows how the future would go, but we are fully prepared to proceed as planned and still open on time. At this point our plans haven't changed at all, but as months progress we will have to certainly re-evaluate to make sure it's still in alignment with what's appropriate for the time."

That being said, some changes in the opening could be possible as need arises.

In other news, necessity has actually caused Essentia Health to fast-track its virtual video visits.

"The one positive out of this is we have been working on doing virtual video visits with our patients and we were supposed to start to quietly launch, with a few patients doing video visits for a soft beta launch," Sell said. "We have done, in the Brainerd lakes area in the last few weeks, 4,000 video clinic appointments. To put it mildly, our IT team is a little tired."


Those who have illnesses that can be addressed remotely with video visits have likely benefited from the convenience of the service, but Sell said particularly high-risk patients who require in-person visits have benefited a great deal as well.

"We want people to stay home if at all possible and if we can care for them with video that's wonderful," Sell said. "We've had comments, like from chemo patients who have thanked us for doing this so that those who need to come in are at reduced risk."

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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