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Public meeting for Richardton hospital is set for Sunday

RICHARDTON -- Richardton Memorial Hospital and Health Center Administrator Jim Opdahl hopes a special community meeting is an opportunity to update the public on the present and future of the facility.

Opdahl and the hospital's board of directors are holding the meeting at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday in the St. Mary's Church social center. A freewill offering lunch is to be served from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. beforehand.

Opdahl said the pursuit of a critical access designation by Dickinson's St. Joseph's Hospital and Health Center prompted the board and him to have a public meeting at this time.

"We felt we needed to have one," Opdahl said Tuesday. "We believe we have a strategy that's a win-win strategy for the Richardton (hospital) to achieve its goals, as well as St. Joe's to achieve its goals by obtaining the critical access designation. That's the basis of it."

The critical access designation has been in discussion for several months, he added.

"The board and I haven't gone into it and we'll have to wait until the meeting (to discuss it further)," Opdahl said of the critical access designation issue. "I have no further comments on anything other than the purpose of the meeting.

The last public meeting was more than a year ago, he added.

"We want to have a meeting to give the community an update on the status of the organization, our vision for the future and strategy for the future," Opdahl said. "I'll be the primary presenter and others on the board will talk on things."

Opdahl is still looking at having other possible speakers, but could not say who Tuesday morning.

Officials are to address several topics at the meeting, including the organization today, important social and economic roles the hospital plays in the community, financial and critical issues it faces now and in the future and its capital campaign, a press release stated.