Andersen: Kimber Wraalstad is the new administrator at Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center. Monday was her first day on the job. Welcome!
Wraalstad: Thank you.
Andersen: Now, you come here from Roland, North Dakota where you headed the Presentation Medical Center for 16 years. Now, how is that facility the same or different from North Shore Hospital?
Wraalstad: Well, I think that facility is relatively similar in the fact that they’re both critical access hospitals. The one difference obviously is that that organization did not have an attached nursing home, which is an opportunity and a challenge for me.
Andersen: Let’s ask about that. So, as the population ages, how will the role of the Care Center be affected, do you think?
Wraalstad: Well, I think that nursing homes in general are changing a lot because people, one, are getting older, but they’re also wanting to stay as independent. I haven’t met many people who have always said, “Hey, when I get older I’d like to go to a nursing home.” But, you also, when medical situations become such that you can no longer stay at home, you want to have a very a good place to be. And, I have to say that as I’ve interacted with people from the state of Minnesota, both the Hospital and the Care Center here in Grand Marais have got very good reputations.
Andersen: So, what challenges and opportunities do you see for Cook County health care?
Wraalstad: Well, and I think for Cook County health care, the hospital, the nursing home, reimbursement is always a challenge. It’s going to continue to be a challenge, and we have to continue to look at being as effective and efficient as we possibly can so that we’re able to maintain services. One thing that I find very interesting—and I’m a Minnesota girl, I grew up in Moorhead, that’s where I graduated from high school—but I never had the opportunity to come to the North Shore. This is a beautiful area. It’s also relatively remote, which is one of the things that I like about the area, but it also really identifies that health care is so important in this area, because it’s a long way to the next closest hospital.
Andersen: Well, do you have any immediate or long-range goals for the Hospital and Care Center?
Wraalstad: The first goal really is working with the board and it’s something the board has wanted for a little while now, and that’s to work on a strategic plan to really identify those services, those goals, those things that need to be done and that we can focus on. I believe that we will be, they are giving me a little time to get started, but we’ll be working on that in November.
Andersen: Kimber Wraalstad is the new administrator at Cook County North Shore Hospital and Care Center. Thanks for joining us today.
Wraalstad: Thank you.