A recent survey showed residents in the Upsala area are in favor of bringing health care closer to home.

    Robert Harris III, community and business specialist with the Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA), presented the findings of the health care assessment that was completed in December 2019 to the Upsala City Council, Monday.

    Harris said that in 2018, a community survey had identified that the development of an assisted living facility in Upsala as a priority for the community.

    While several builders have committed to building the facility, including a medical clinic, Mayor Rollie Johnson said none are willing to move forward unless the city secures a medical provider who is willing to lease, operate and staff the medical clinic.

    Johnson said the results of the health care assessments may help persuade medical providers to provide a service in the city.

    Harris said nearly 500 surveys were mailed to residents within and outside city limits to get a good representative sample of what people in the community want. Addresses were obtained through the Upsala School District’s mailing list and additional surveys were distributed at community events and church services. Residents also had the opportunity to pick up the survey at City Hall.

    “Nearly 200 of those surveys were returned, which is a fantastic response rate. National average is 13-15%,” Harris said.

    While 91.8% of Upsala residents said they were interested in bringing health care services to Upsala, 8.2% said they were not.

    Of those who responded, 53.3% were residents of Upsala and 46.7% lived outside the city limits. The majority, 40.6%, had a household size of two, 18.9% a household size of four and 16.1% a household size of one. The remaining were categorized into other household sizes, which had a percentage of less than 10.

    A large number of people, 78.7%, predominantly listed CentraCare as their current provider with 5.5% using Health Partners. Other health care providers residents said they used were the VA (2.7%), CHI St. Gabriel’s Health (3.8%), Family Medical Center — FMC (4.4%), Essentia Health (2.7%) and Sanford Health (1.1%).

    Those who said yes to wanting to bring health care to Upsala were asked what type of health care services they would support.

    Of those who responded, 84.1% said they wanted primary care and 76.4% supported urgent care. Following were eye exams (48.4%), dentist and orthodontist (47.3%), hearing checks (39.6%), blood pressure monitoring (45.6%), podiatry (22%), chiropractic care (30.8%), physical therapy (1.6%) and midwifery, flu shot clinic and mental health at 0.5%.

    More than half the residents were willing to switch providers if health care was provided in Upsala (52.3%); 23.9% said “no” and 23.9% said “maybe.”

    Of different health care providers they wanted to be located in Upsala, 90.1% said they want CentraCare, 13.2% Health Partners, 9.9% Essentia Health, 13.2% Health Partners, 5.3% Sanford Health, 3.9% CHI St. Gabriel’s Health and South Country, Family Medical Center and Williams integracare at 0.7%.

    When asked what guided residents in their choice of a health provider, 94.8% answered because of convenience, 34.5% based their choice on insurance coverage, 48.3% on quality care and 0.6% on natural homeopathic care and having a friendly doctor.

    “I think it was very helpful to know the needs and where the community stands when it comes to bringing health care to town,” Johnson said.

    The next step is to find a provider who willing to commit to staffing the medical clinic, Johnson said.

Upsala City Council Briefs

    In other business Monday, the Upsala City Council:

    •    Approved a $2,000 grant from the Minnesota Power Foundation for City Park improvements;

    •    Was informed by Robert Harris, community and business specialist with the Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA), that the city of Upsala, Ontario, Canada, has reached out to Upsala, Minn. for the two cities to establish a sister city relationship. The Council will consider the suggestion;

    •    Heard from Harris that CEDA worked with the University of Minnesota to complete a GAP calculator, an assessment that compares the profile of businesses in Upsala trade area and compares it to statewide and national profiles. The assessment illuminated some opportunities and Harris will compile the data into a more user-friendly form and publicize it for the community;

    •    Was informed by Harris that CEDA was able to set up a free booth registration for Upsala to the Central Minnesota Builders Home and Garden Show;

    •    Learned CEDA will, on behalf of the city, submit a grant application to the Department of Natural Resources for park updates. The deadline to submit the grant is March 25;

    •    Learned that CEDA is looking to identify a project that would qualify for an up to $10,000 Laura Jane Musser grant. The deadline to submit an application is March 25;

    •    Rescheduled the city short-term and long-term planning meeting from Jan. 20 to Feb. 11, at 6:30 p.m.;

    •    Accepted a $9,918 grant the Upsala Fire Department received from the Minnesota Department of Safety to purchase and install a new washing machine for turnout gear; The city will pay the remaining $1,102;

    •    Approved the Upsala Fire Department to hire a grant writer to apply for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to purchase new turnout gear — something the firefighters are in dire need of as the current turnout gear is old. Fire Chief Jay Baggenstoss said that only five departments in Minnesota received FEMA grant money last year;

    •    Approved the following officers for the Upsala Fire Department — Jay Baggenstoss as fire chief, Nick Johnson as assistant chief and Steve Hansen, Brian Lange and Mike Kremers as captains, Joe Trettel as training officer, Lange as secretary and Hansen as safety officer;

    •    Approved the following officers for the First Response Team — Andrea Douvier as president, Garrett Doucette as vice president, Andrew Wensmann as secretary; Danielle Haus as training officer and Seth Strassburg as safety officer.

    •    Heard from Maintenance man Mike Tschida that parked cars and trailers on the streets remain a problem when plowing snow. Mayor Rollie Johnson said he will contact Sheriff Shawn Larsen to help work on ticketing the vehicles that are in violation of the city ordinance;

    •    Approved City Clerk Michelle Stevens to extend her hours at City Hall from 32 hours per week to 36 hours per week, when necessary;

    •    Approved distributing the city newsletter as an insert in the Morrison County Record, since it was cheaper than for the city to mail it out to residents. The insert will be distributed to 1,100 residents in the Upsala area, compared mailings to 240 residents within city limits;

    •    Approved renewing the one-year lease of city premises with Toning Plus for $200 per month;

    •    Designated the Morrison County Record as the city’s official publisher of legal items;

    •    Adopted a resolution to allow handwritten and computer generated checks;

    •    Set the Local Board of Appeals meeting to Wednesday, April 22, at 11 a.m. at City Hall;

    •    Approved a temporary on-sale liquor license to St. Mary’s Catholic Church for Feb. 15, a gambling permit with no waiting period for bingo, Feb. 16, and a gambling permit for a raffle, April 3;

    •    Thanked John and Jodi Morrison for offering their space to store books from the Great River Regional Library in Upsala while new carpeting was installed in the Sytek building;

    •    Thanked 2018 Holiday Lights Contest winners Brady Burggraff, Scott Wensmann and Scott Taylor for judging the 2019 Holiday Lights Contest; and

    •    Congratulated 2019 Holiday Lights Contest winners (residential) Julie and Dan Burggraff, Lana and Larry Bartells, Melanie and Mark Gilles, (business) Upsala Community Center, Schultz Auctioneers and Landmark Realty and Nelson Insurance.

    The Upsala City Council next meets Monday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. at City Hall.



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