There’s Thriving Growth In Health Care In Duluth

There’s Thriving Growth In Health Care In Duluth

Essentia Health and St. Luke's are leading Duluth employers.

Health care represents nearly a quarter of the jobs in Duluth, a regional center for medical services. The leading employers in this sector are the city’s two major hospital and clinic systems, Essentia Health and St. Luke’s. Both have expanded and renovated in recent years their downtown locations to accommodate industry changes and growing demand.

St. Luke’s recently completed $27 million building is part of an effort “to gear our facilities more towards what the changes in medicine are—which, as you can imagine, are amazing,” St. Luke’s CEO John Strange says. “We’re also trying to align our organization with the changes in the [Affordable Care Act], which are vast, to our business.” The 175,000-square-foot building features an open design, which will allow it to add new services needed in the future. St. Luke’s now has 2,592 employees across its system, includingmore than 215 physicians, physician assistants, and nurse-practitioners.

St. Luke’s system’s service area includes Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and western Wisconsin, and its Level 2 trauma center takes patients from a 17-county area. Strange also notes that Duluth’s tourists are a significant source of business—visitors often suffer injuries while engaging in vigorous outdoor activities.

Essentia Health also has a broad service area and has been working on an $80 million expansion of its Fargo facilities. In February, Essentia Health became one of the first of six health systems in the country to be accredited as an “accountable care organization,” an approach to care designed to emphasize a holistic quality of care over the traditional fee-for-service model.

The Duluth region’s local colleges provide a variety of education and training programs for health care staff. The University of Minnesota Medical School Duluth has a particular focus on rural and small-city practice, as well as health issues in the American Indian community.