Press Release: MNA RNs fight to keep Willmar Intensive Rehabilitation Treatment Facility open

3 Apr

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: John Nemo, MNA, 651-414-2863 or john.nemo@mnnurses.org

WILLMAR, Minnesota (April 3, 2012) – In an effort to clear up confusion surrounding the status of the Willmar Intensive Rehabilitation Treatment facility, the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) announced today that a pair of legislative bills it helped introduce appear likely to extend the closure date of the facility by another year.

MNA, which represents more than 20,000 nurses in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota, including RNs at the Willmar facility, has been working closely with AFSCME Council 5, the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) and local legislators Rep. Bruce Vogel and Sen. Joe Gimse on the proposed legislation.

The Willmar site was first opened as a Community Behavioral Health Hospital (CBHH) in August of 2008 after the Department of Human Services (DHS) was unsuccessful in an attempt to get the area’s local hospital, Rice Memorial, to take over the responsibility of health inpatient services previously supplied by Willmar Regional Treatment Center. Over the past four years, the Willmar site has undergone numerous changes with both its staff and the services it provides, and recommendations were made to close the facility by April 1, 2012.

However, MNA, AFSCME Council 5 and MAPE have worked closely with Rep. Vogel and Sen. Gimse to bring forth legislation that would keep the Willmar site open for another year while the DHS has an opportunity to do a full review of the State Operated Services division.

Rep. Vogel and Senator Gimse both introduced bills (SF2544/HF2503) during the current legislative session to extend the closure date of the facility, and the language was included in the House HHS Omnibus bill. MNA feels that because it has been working so closely with DHS officials and Gov. Mark Dayton’s office to find the best possible solution for the situation in Willmar, the legislation is likely to pass.

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