Wilderness Health News Archive

Wilderness Care Coordinator Press Release For News@grhr.net Fall 2021

Wilderness Health IHP News Release Feb 2015

Wilderness Health Formed to Improve  Patient Quality and Outcomes


Members to Remain Independent

Duluth, Minn.-Wilderness Health, comprised of nine regional health care providers, announced its formation today at a press conference in Duluth. While the member health care providers will remain independent, they will be working together to improve patient quality and outcomes.

Members of Wilderness Health are:

  • Bigfork Valley Hospital, Bigfork
  • Community Memorial Hospital, Cloquet
  • Cook County Hospital, Grand Marais
  • Cook Hospital, Cook
  • Fairview Range, Hibbing
  • Lake View, Two Harbors
  • Mercy Hospital, Moose Lake
  • Rainy Lake Medical Center, International Falls
  • St. Luke’s, Duluth

Wilderness Health values rural health care providers but also understands the challenges that can arise providing care in small communities, especially when there are limited resources available. “The nine members of Wilderness Health will be working collaboratively to share best practices and coordinate patient care, which is not always feasible working alone,” said Cassandra Beardsley, executive director of Wilderness Health. “By working together we can help ensure patients that their care will continue to be in their local community, just like it always has been,” explained Beardsley.

There is incredible value in working together and planning for patient care is an active and continuous process that includes an integrated system of settings, services and providers. Dr. David Spoelhof, medical director of Wilderness Health and chair of the quality committee, said, “It is our goal to collaborate throughout the patient’s continuum of care and identify areas for improvement with care coordination.” Opportunities for areas of improvement include chronic disease management and critical care transfers.

One of Wilderness Health’s first initiatives will be to use data to enhance patient care coordination. We’ll be able to identify those patients who have missed preventive screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. Michael Delfs, CEO of Mercy Hospital in Moose Lake and vice chair of Wilderness Health, said, “By using data, we can identify which patients are at high risk for hospitalizations and work towards preventing that.” Expertise will be shared among members while keeping patients in their local communities to receive care.

Some of these enhanced technological health care tools are beyond reach for individual health care providers and Wilderness Health works to create bridges among these rural health care providers. “Wilderness Health’s goal is to bring together rural, independent health care providers to share information, resources and best practices to improve health care for patients,” says John Strange, CEO of St. Luke’s and chair of Wilderness Health. “Wilderness Health respects the autonomy of our members, understands that independence creates flexibility and values the expertise of our members. We are not looking to change that but rather build upon it,” explained Strange.

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About Wilderness Health

Wilderness Health was legally incorporated on December 12, 2013. To learn more about Wilderness Health and its initiatives, please visit www.wildernesshealthmn.org/about and additional information is found at www.facebook.com/wildernesshealthmn and www.twitter.com/WH_Minnesota.

Minnesota Department of Health e-health awards news release


Minnesota’s State Innovation Model initiative awarded $3.8 million in grants to help 12 community collaboratives use e-health to promote health and improve care coordination. These grants will enable providers across different health care settings to have access to the information they need to coordinate care and keep people healthy and out of the hospital.

These awards were made possible through Minnesota’s $45 million State Innovation Model (SIM) testing grant. The Minnesota Department of Health and the Department of Human Services (DHS) jointly received this federal grant in 2013 and are using the funds to help implement the Minnesota Accountable Health Model.

Wilderness Health received a Development Grant of $75,000 to develop a work plan to implement an analytical system that will interface with multiple electronic health records and claims systems, reference labs, pharmacy benefit managers, and other stakeholders. The goal will be for the system to provide population health analytics, patient engagement and care planning tools, care coordination between providers, predictive analytics based on patient data, risk stratification and quality reporting and benchmarking for providers in the network.

Minnesota’s Wilderness Health Selects eClinicalWorks for Population Health


Wilderness Health chose eClinicalWorks CCMR to assist with its clinical and analytical goals. eClinicalWorks CCMR will assist Wilderness Health in coordinating care across the continuum, including nine health systems, as well as evaluating population health and quality improvement activities.


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