Quality Local Health Care
Hospital Districts Created to Provide Access to Health Care in Rural Communities
The Minnesota legislature created special taxing districts in 1966, recognizing that many rural areas struggle to ensure access to quality health care. There are currently 38 hospital taxing authorities in Minnesota, which include hospital districts, cities and counties. Additionally there are 10 hospitals that are sponsored by faith-based organizations. Hospital districts are a political subdivision of the state and have ‘perpetual succession’ status.
A hospital district is authorized in Minnesota statute to acquire, improve, and run hospitals and nursing homes that the hospital district board decides are necessary to meet the health care needs of the community.
Hospital District Health Care Benefits
There are several key benefits to having a hospital district that include:
Supporting our health care providers to improve care by financing the updating and replacement of health care facilities and equipment. This includes:
Construction of the new Pine Healthcare Campus that has enabled Essentia Health to broaden it's services and provide a central, convenient location for the hospital, clinic and pharmacy.
Construct the new administrative and ambulance building.
Purchase several, life saving pieces of medical equipment.
Helping Hospital District residents by providing health care information in the newsletter, creating and publishing the Directory of Area Health Care Providers, supporting food shelves, grants to first responders, and providing education loans for those wanting to enter or expand on their health care education. Several new services will soon be introduced
Community oversight and input into the local health care services being provided.
The hospital district has unique access to federal and state grants and other funding.
Non-governmental entities such as Essentia Health do not have access to these special funds.
The hospital district can also qualify for special reimbursement for nursing home care.
Hospital District Responsibilities
Managing the business of the Hospital District requires careful oversight of fiscal and legal obligations for the new Pine Healthcare Campus. This Board is also very active in promoting the health and wellbeing of area residents. The following is a partial list of responsibilities.
The History of Our Hospital
1956 - Today
Hospital services in Sandstone has a long history of ownership that has evolved from a Pine County owned facility, to a non-profit and finally to the current Hospital District owned and operated facility.
Pine County has only one hospital, located in Sandstone, MN. The original hospital was built in 1956. By the mid-1980’s it was clear that the hospital could not survive without additional funding. The North Pine Area Hospital District was established in 1989 to save the hospital. The Hospital District replaced the original building in 2017.
1956 - 1977
1977 - 1984
The original Sandstone Hospital was established in 1956 as a county hospital and operated as such until 1977. The original hospital was a 27-bed facility. They increased their beds to 30 because of growing demand for acute care beds. The county also owned and operated a 46-bed nursing home was built in 1962 and was located across the street from the Hospital.
The Sandstone Area Hospital and Nursing Home, Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit Hospital Corporation. The emergency room, intensive care unit, nursery and birthing rooms were remodeled in 1984. Another 40 nursing home beds were added in 1983, increasing the total nursing home beds to 86.
The Hospital Corporation acquired the Sandstone Clinic, which was established in 1964 and operated by a private physician from 1968 – 1977.
The Hospital Corporation transferred the Clinic to Sandstone Medical Group, Inc., a Minnesota non-profit corporation incorporated in 1987.
The North Pine Area Hospital District was established with the assets and liabilities of the Hospital Corporation being transferred to the Hospital District.
The North Pine Area Hospital District opened the Pine Healthcare Campus to replace the old hospital, which was sold to the nursing home operation, Sandstone Health Care Campus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Same Tax Levy Since 1999
The Pine Healthcare Campus is financed with revenue bonds paid from the health provider lease payments to the Hospital District and the tax levy. The Hospital District is accountable for this debt ensuring that this responsibility does not fall on member communities.
Minnesota law provides taxing authority to Hospital Districts, to ensure adequate funding to support quality health care services and facilities in rural areas. The tax averages 2 - 3% of property owners’ taxes.
This assessment has not changed since 1999.
Community Jobs & Economic Benefits
Research indicates that typically 10 -15 % of jobs in a rural community are from health care services.
The Pine Healthcare Campus kept the hospital here and generated new jobs and economic benefit with the addition of the Golden Horizons assisted living facility. Additionally, the Hospital District was able to attract a nursing home, Sandstone Health Care Center, to the old hospital facility, keeping these jobs and preventing the possible demolition of the facility.