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Sawtooth Mountain Clinic looks forward, reflects on pandemic after challenging year

Looking ahead through the rest of 2021, the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Board of Directors and leadership team will remain largely the same as it did last year and through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to CEO Kate Surbaugh.

The annual meeting for the clinic board of directors took place June 28 in a mostly virtual format. Resuming the title of clinic president (chair) is Cook County resident and local business owner Clare Shirley.

Shirley, along with her husband, Dan, own and operate Sawbill Canoe Outfitters on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Shirley has a long history of family connection to the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Board. Her grandfather, Frank, served a key role in making what is today a highly regarded healthcare facility in Grand Marais.

Also discussed during the annual meeting was the financial situation at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic (SMC) as healthcare facilities across the country start to emerge from the worst of the pandemic. During a live interview on WTIP June 29, Surbaugh told News Director Joe Friedrichs that SMC, as a federally qualified healthcare facility, remains economically viable.

Other topics discussed during the WTIP interview include local COVID-19 vaccinations planned for the summer of 2021 in Cook County, the current status and future of telehealth at SMC and Surbaugh’s thoughts on society emerging out of the pandemic. The audio below is the full interview from June 29.