Hospital Connection

At Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital, our business is caring for people. EBCH wants to make sure everyone in our community has the most up-to-date information about the hospital, its history and our services. That’s why we’re featuring common questions about the hospital each week – questions answered by our own staff! We will provide exciting information about EBCH, our newest services and how we are a partner in the communities we serve.

Week of February 19, 2024 - Financial Wellness

Q: What is the Price Transparency Act?

A: The Hospital Price Transparency Act put in place regulations by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that require hospitals to make information about their standard charges available to the public. In doing so, patients have a better foundation for patient-driven healthcare, allowing them to see the costs associated with care before scheduling their appointments.

Q: Does EBCH offer Financial Assistance?

A: Yes, EBCH understands the burden of medical bills and how they can affect your family’s budget. We offer a variety of opportunities to ease the burden of medical expenses, including a Financial Assistance Program (FAP), payment plans, prompt pay discounts, and AblePay Health services. More information about these programs is available by visiting our Billing & Insurance page.

Q: Navigating healthcare billing is difficult; who can help me?

A: Ely-Bloomenson understands how difficult it can be to navigate your healthcare insurance and billing information. We have a wide variety of professionals who can help you understand your billing and payment options, including a fully staffed Business Office Team, a Patient Access Team Leader, and a Social Worker. Call us at 218-365-3271 during regular business hours, and our receptionist can direct your call to the appropriate support staff to get you the help and understanding you deserve.

Week of February 12, 2024 - Outpatient Services

Q: What are Outpatient Services?

A: Outpatient care is a type of healthcare service that does not require an overnight stay at a hospital and is usually scheduled by appointment. These services are typically separate from your routine primary care visit. They can include procedures, treatments, and consultations such as lab work, radiology services, physical and occupational therapy, or a diagnostic colonoscopy in the Surgery Department.

For instance, suppose you visit a Clinic for your annual physical, and your provider orders a follow-up test for your bone density. In that case, you can schedule an appointment as an outpatient with the Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital (EBCH) Radiology Department. Separate entities are working together to care for you.

Q: Does EBCH offer Outpatient Services?

A: Yes, EBCH offers a wide variety of Outpatient Services. Some services include mammography, infusion therapy, chemotherapy, cardiopulmonary rehab, physical and occupational therapy services, and surgical procedures. For a complete list of what each EBCH department offers, visit ebch.org/services or call us at 218-365-3271. We have knowledgeable Receptionists who answer the phones during regular business hours and can answer your questions or direct your call.

Q: Do you need a referral for Outpatient Services?

A: You will need a provider referral for most procedures, such as colonoscopies or diagnostic imaging procedures. However, it is a patient’s choice where they would like their referrals to be sent. You can have an open conversation with your provider and let them know if you would prefer to have your services close to home. Let your provider know if you have barriers such as transportation or taking time off of work so they can help make the best decisions about where to get your care and always check with your insurance company to ensure coverage.

Week of February 5, 2024 - Statewide Topics Affecting Healthcare

Q: What will happen in the upcoming legislative session that affects healthcare?

A: Our current legislative session in Minnesota is set to convene on February 12, 2024. There was much talk in last year’s session about the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act. This was a bill that would have imposed statewide staffing mandates for Hospitals. We anticipate these potential staffing mandates to be a topic again this year as the MN Nurses Association (MNA) is currently meeting with legislative leaders.

Q: What won’t we see during this session?

A: This session is not a budgeting session, so we most likely won’t see much happening regarding bonding or funds distribution throughout the State. Although we know many healthcare entities, including Hospitals and Emergency Medical Services statewide, ended last year with negative margins, we most likely will not see much funding during this session.

Q: Do hospitals need funding from the government?

A: According to a Press Release issued by the MN Hospital Association (MHA) on January 31, 2024, patient discharge delays cost Minnesota hospitals nearly half a billion dollars in 2023. A new comprehensive survey of patient care in Minnesota hospitals has found persistent, ongoing delays in discharges from emergency departments and inpatient care, resulting in tens of thousands of days of unnecessary hospital-level patient care and staggering financial losses. “Minnesota hospitals have gone from being a safety net, to being a catch-all for patient care,” said MN Hospital Association CEO and president Dr. Rahul Koranne. “This is a function they were never intended for, can’t afford, and isn’t good for patients. This gridlock is preventing Minnesotans from getting care that their lives depend on. Policy makers must act.” EBCH is not immune to these delays in getting patients to another level of care. It is currently challenging to find a facility for a patient who needs mental health or substance use disorder care, and they often wind up staying at EBCH for an extended time. If you would like a complete copy of the recent MHA Press Release, please contact jmartin@ebch.org.

Week of January 29, 2024 - Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare

Q: How will Artificial Intelligence (AI) impact healthcare in the future?

A: AI is all around us. We hear about it almost daily on the news. While it is unclear how AI will affect healthcare, we know it will likely impact how healthcare is delivered. We can only project that AI might allow for greater access to healthcare for patients, reduce human error, or assist medical professionals through advanced technology. EBCH is always working on strategic planning and looking at the future of healthcare. What will EBCH look like in 2030? We are excited to see!

Q: Can AI be used in scams?

A: Yes. We recently had an incident where the Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital CEO Patti Banks "seemingly" left voicemails on some of our patients' phones. That was not the case. These are typically scams perpetrated by using AI and cloning an individual's phone number or, in some cases, even their voice. We want to remind you to be cautious when confronted with a potential scam; never give out your personal information or pay money to them over the phone.

Q: How can I find out more information?

A: Call us at 218-365-3271. During regular business hours, a receptionist typically answers our phones and directs our calls. We pride ourselves on making as many personal connections with our patients as possible. If something seems wrong, trust your gut and call us. You can also visit our website at www.ebch.org for a full range of information about EBCH. We generally post urgent announcements on our Facebook page and share them with the "What's Up, Ely, MN" and "What's Up, Babbitt, MN" pages.

Week of January 22, 2024 - Specialty Clinic

Q: Which Specialty Clinic Providers can I currently see at EBCH?

A: There are currently three Specialty Providers seeing patients monthly at EBCH. Dr. Harms and his staff from Orthopaedics Associates see patients twice monthly for all of their Orthopaedic needs. Podiatrist Dr. Katie Evans is on campus typically twice per month to see patients. She provides a full range of services to men, women and children for their feet and ankles. EBCH is also grateful to partner with Dr. John Bollins of Advances Surgical Associates of Northern Minnesota to supply expert surgical services using our da Vinci surgical robot. Dr. Bollins is typically on campus four days per month for consultations, performing surgery, and seeing our patients for their follow-up.

Q: Do I need a referral?

A: It depends, some of our visiting providers can see you without a referral: however, you may want to be sure your insurance will cover the visit if you make the appointment on your own. We highly recommend that you talk with your Primary Care Provider and your insurance company if you would like to make an appointment with one of our Specialty Providers.

Q: How can I find out more information?

A: Call us at 218-365-8793 and our knowledgeable Specialty Clinic Team will answer your questions and get you started in the right direct. You can also visit our website at http://www.ebch.org for a full range of information on all the services offered here at Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital.

Week of January 15, 2024 - Ely Community Pharmacy

Q: Who owns Ely Community Pharmacy?

A: Although Ely Community Pharmacy (ECP) is located next to the Essentia Health – Ely Clinic waiting area, ECP is owned and operated by Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital. ECP is a full-service retail pharmacy that offers easy prescription refills and transfers, vaccinations, and diabetic testing supplies.

Q: Is it too late to get my vaccinations?

A: It is not too late to get your vaccinations. Currently, Ely Community Pharmacy has vaccinations available on a walk-in basis every Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm. Influenza, RSV, Shingles, Pneumonia, and Tetanus (Boostrix) vaccinations and the latest COVID-19 boosters are fully stocked and waiting for you!

Q: How can I refill my prescription?

A: You can refill your prescription at Ely Community Pharmacy in various ways.

  • Stop in and request a refill at the counter during regular business hours.
    • Monday – Friday: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
    • Saturday: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
  • Call us at 218-365-8788 and follow our automated prompts.
  • Use our convenient mobile app, RxLocal.
    • Download for free from your phone’s app store.