Weather Forecast


Seminary Home, St. Brigid's to merge

Seminary Home and St. Brigid's at Hi-Park are one step closer to consolidating as part of a plan to create a new model for senior care in Red Wing.

The boards for Fairview Red Wing Health Services and the Benedictine Health System of Duluth, Minn., signed off on the concept this week. They said several steps must still be completed, but indicated the deal should be final before June 30.

Tuesday's news came on the heels of Thursday's announcement that Fairview Red Wing will become part of Mayo Clinic Health System.

The plan calls for Benedictine Health System to acquire Seminary Home's operations and license effective July 1. That's also the date Mayo is scheduled to take over Fairview Red Wing's medical campus, clinics and other services.

Fairview Red Wing -- and eventually Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing -- will retain ownership of the Seminary Home building at 906 College Ave. and lease it to Benedictine Health System.

This sets the stage for constructing a facility designed to make senior care more cost effective and better address residents' needs, Fairview Red Wing CEO Scott Wordelman said.

"At the core of this is really the dream we've had a for a long time: To significantly enhance the quality of life for those people who require help -- medical care, social services and more -- in a state-of-the-art facility," Wordelman said. "And our primary goal is to provide as much care as possible in the home setting."

Seminary Home and St. Brigid's at Hi-Park will become Benedictine Living Center of Red Wing. The new organization could begin building an 80-bed facility later this year or in early 2013.

The facility will incorporate transitional care, rehabilitative care and long-term care. A major plus, Wordelman said, is that it will be on the medical center campus. This will allow better access to health care providers and improve the continuum of care.

He noted that as people stay longer in their homes, the type of care they need at long-term facilities changes.

Goering leads operations

Jacob Goering has been selected as the new administrator/CEO of Benedictine Living Center of Red Wing. He will facilitate the design, development and construction of the facility and, once constructed, oversee its day-to-day operations.

He has more than 20 years' experience in long-term care. Goering most recently was CEO of a nursing facility in Grand Rapids, Minn.

"Jacob brings a passion for building partnerships, creating strong relationships and enhancing quality to his new position. We look forward to having him share his knowledge and expertise while bringing the new vision for the Red Wing community to life," said Chris Boldt of Red Wing, Benedictine Health System's vice president of operations.

Until the new facility is built, Mary Jo Hill will continue to lead Seminary Home and Mike Schultz will lead St. Brigid's. They anticipate employees of both nursing homes will become employees of Benedictine Living Center of Red Wing and continue in their current positions and locations.

While St. Brigid's skilled nursing services will move to the new facility, the assisted living and memory care facilities will remain where they are, officials said.

Discussions for this project began several years ago. The Legislature failed to approve it in 2009, but in 2010 advanced the plan to bring the long-term care services into one facility. The project needed permission to bypass a state moratorium on building skilled nursing facilities.

"I'm just very excited that it's finally going through," said Rep. Tim Kelly, who carried the legislation. "This is setting the way long-term care will be viewed in the future. In talking with Scott about the Mayo acquisition and transition, I'm glad that they're committed to that type of project and atmosphere."

After lawmakers agreed, Fairview Red Wing and Benedictine Health System worked on the concept for another 18 months after, then signed a letter of intent in December 2011.

Wordelman said he envisions the facility as a one-stop location for senior medical care, with skilled nursing services, informational resources and other tools. Beyond the new facility, he has said throughout discussions, the new Red Wing model could provide senior care in innovative ways through such technologies such as Skype that allow medical professionals to provide home-based medical care.

"It's another big step in aligning and delivering care in Red Wing over 14 years or so," he said. "This is another jewel on that crown."

Anne Jacobson

Anne Jacobson has been editor of the Republican Eagle since December 2003. 

(651) 301-7870