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New addition to Red Lake Indian Health Service Hospital opens

Gary Wabaunsee, CEO of Red Lake Indian Health Service Hospital, left, and Oran Beaulieu, director or Red Lake Comprehensive Health Services, snip the ribbon to open the new 18,500-square-feet hospital addition Wednesday morning. Pioneer Photo/Molly Miron

RED LAKE -- Red Lake Indian Health Service Hospital cut the ribbon Wednesday morning on an 18,500-square-foot addition to the facility.

The new section, which brings complex up to 93,500 square feet, houses dental, optometry, community health nursing, behavioral health and medical records. The $7 million addition and renovation was funded without direct federal money, said Red Lake IHS CEO Gary Wabaunsee.

"This is all funded from the collections," he said. "It's revenue generated from services we provide."

However, some services are paid for by Medicare and Medicaid, he added.

Wabaunsee congratulated the business office staff for their financial care, as well as Red Lake Builders who, he said, "did an outstanding job of putting this thing together and making it work."

Spiritual Leader Eugene Stillday opened the celebration with a blessing followed by Wabaunsee's welcome, ribbon cutting and tours of the new addition.

Wabaunsee said he has worked in Indian Health Service all around the country since 1975, and he appreciates the positive atmosphere at Red Lake.

"This facility has the best working relationship with the tribe of any I've worked with," he said. "It's been a pleasure working in that environment."

Commander Kenneth Ramondo, hospital facilities manager, said the construction began Nov. 9, 2009. Three more phases of renovations and additions are scheduled for the next three years, he said.

Wabaunsee said the hospital also added staff to better serve patients and cut waiting times for service.