Legislation required to increase bed capacity at North Shore Health faces steep road
A bill that could expand the licensed bed capacity at North Shore Health in Grand Marais and potentially lead to a tax reduction for property owners in Cook County faces a difficult journey forward in the 2022 legislative session, according to elected officials and local healthcare administrators.
“So many of our colleagues don’t realize what we have to do in rural areas,” District 3A Rep. Rob Ecklund said during a recent WTIP interview about legislation he proposed that could increase the licensed bed capacity at North Shore Health.
North Shore Health is hoping to increase its licensed bed capacity from 16 to 25 in the years ahead as a means of bringing more revenue to the healthcare facility in Grand Marais. The means of doing this is through the state Legislature. Ecklund introduced a bill in January that could make the expansion a reality. However, both Ecklund and North Shore Health Hospital Administrator Kimber Wraalstad acknowledge the legislation faces a difficult path forward.
Ecklund specifically referenced his colleague in the Minnesota House of Representatives, DFLer Tina Liebling from the Rochester area, as someone who could prevent the bill from advancing in the 2022 session. If approved, the legislation could impact ten Minnesota Critical Access Hospitals across the state, according to officials at North Shore Health.
Wraalstad remains adamant that increasing the licensed bed capacity at North Shore Health and the legislation required to make it happen are both essential and possible moving forward. She spoke with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs about this topic and more local healthcare news in the audio shared below.