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WRH board considers YMCA plan

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Regional Hospital Board of Trustees is forming a committee to study a request broached Monday on behalf of the Worthington Area YMCA.

At Monday's WRH board meeting, Greg DeGroot, co-chairman of the YMCA capital campaign, formally asked the board to be part of the YMCA's building project. A fund-raising campaign with a goal of $2.975 million is currently under way to construct a new YMCA facility on the Worthington campus of Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

In an advance letter addressed to WRH Board Chairman Gary Hoffmann, DeGroot explained, "It is my hope as we move forward that Worthington Regional Hospital (who has had such a longstanding partnership with the YMCA) will want to be part of this initiative, so that this partnership, along with many others, can be greatly enhanced well into the future. What I am proposing is WRH secure the naming rights on the Wellness Center in the new facility. The cost of this investment opportunity is $300,000. At this time, because the naming rights have become very popular, I have asked Andy Johnson, the executive director/CEO of the YMCA, to pull the Wellness Center naming rights off the availability list until WRH has had an opportunity to evaluate this proposal."

"Nothing has been decided," WRH Administrator Mel Platt reported Tuesday. "The board put together a committee to study the request, and then we'll get back with the YMCA board at that time."

According to Platt, there are two impediments to proceeding with the YMCA request.

First, there are legal issues, since WRH is a city-owned facility, and legal counsel will have to study whether or not the board can enter into such an obligation. Secondly, WRH currently has major resources devoted to its own building project.

"We have to figure out if we can work it into the budget given our commitment to build a radiation oncology center," Platt said. "We're certainly going to try to do whatever we can. We've been in a partnership with YMCA for so many years, through the Wellness Center, and we use the Y for different things, like the aqua aerobics program for cardiac rehab. We've enjoyed the relationship, want to continue that relationship and want to see what format it can take down the road.

"We have visited with the Y on a number of occasions during their plans to build a new facility regarding our interest in perhaps leasing some space, so maybe this will be the answer to that," Platt added.

In other business, the board authorized two change orders for the radiation oncology facility that amounted to a cost increase of about $28,000. The changes were due to modifications mandated by state regulations. Platt also noted that one candidate has been interviewed for the radiation oncologist position, and interviews with two other candidates are scheduled.

The hospital's financial statement from August showed that inpatient revenue was under budget by $200,352. On a positive note, however, the swing bed, behavioral health and outpatient volumes were all over budget, and operating expenses were below budget for the month.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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