In early August, Altru Health System announced it would be closing its Fertile location on September 30. RiverView Health CEO Carrie Michalski said RiverView wants to reassure residents in the Fertile area that they will continue to provide services.

“First and foremost, we want to assure the community and surrounding area around Fertile that RiverView isn’t going anywhere,” said Michalski. “In a smaller community having that access to providers and a clinic is just an amazing amenity and asset. And so important to the community’s health and vibrancy. We’ve been here since 1898, and we were founded by 13 regional communities. Those included Fertile, Gary, and Ada, all communities that utilize our services in Fertile. That’s the first thing to make sure they understand RiverView will be there to stay on Main Street in Fertile.”

Not only is RiverView around to stay, but Michalski said RiverView would expand from a half-day on Friday to a full day of clinic services. “We have four providers that spend time at the Fertile Clinic every week, and we’re open Monday through Friday,” said Michalski. “One thing that we’re doing is we’ve had a half-day of the clinic on Fridays. We’ll be going to full-days of clinic Monday through Friday to make sure we have enough accessibility for our patients to get in and be seen without any delays.”

Michalski said lab test processing would also be added to the Fertile Clinic to get patients results faster. “Like all Main Street businesses and local communities, we have enjoyed excellent support from our patients from that Fertile, Beltrami, Gary, Erskine, Ada, that support that clinic,” said Michalski. “The more we use local and stay local in the community, the greater our ability to support expansions and additional services. Another example of an investment we are making with COVID, cold and flu season, and the symptoms being similar. So, one of the things we will be doing to enhance the services at the Fertile Clinic will be to bring more lab testing to Fertile. We could always do influenza testing, strep testing, but those were transported to Crookston for processing. We are working to get equipment situated so we’ll be able to take that right in Fertile and get those answers to patients faster.”

RiverView will also host a community appreciation event at the Fertile Clinic on Monday, August 31.  Michalski said RiverView would provide a free loaded brisket potato to everyone from Erickson’s Smokehouse. “It’s hard for us to have events, and we’ve had a lot fewer events during COVID, but food trucks with social distancing have been something people have continued to enjoy,” said Michalski. “We’ve got the great food of Erickson’s Smokehouse, another Fertile business. We’ve asked them to come, and we will be providing a free meal on Monday from 4-6 p.m. It’s a community appreciation, so our current patients or prospective patients and their families are most welcome to join us. I believe we have loaded brisket potatoes on the menu. So, if there are folks that don’t eat brisket, and kids that would prefer just a plain loaded potato that’s an option as well, but I think there are very few people that don’t enjoy getting ahold of some Erickson’s Smokehouse brisket.”