New law allows Ridgeview to add 20 inpatient hospital beds to the Waconia hospital

On May 22, 2019, Governor Tim Walz signed into law an act allowing Ridgeview to expand its inpatient program in its Waconia hospital by 20 additional beds. Governor Walz’s signature followed unanimous approval of the bill SF 328 – amending a 2003 Minnesota Statute restricting use of hospital beds – by both the Minnesota Senate and Minnesota House of Representatives during the 2019 legislative session.

According to Ridgeview President and CEO Mike Phelps, Ridgeview had previously been allocated the use of the 20 licensed beds by the legislature in 2003, but “regulatory restrictions prevented an ‘existing hospital’ – Ridgeview – from adding any more hospital beds for medical or surgical use.”

With growing demand and community need for additional inpatient beds, Ridgeview approached its local legislators – Senator Scott Jensen (R), District 47 and Representative Jim Nash (R), District 47A – to author bills for the Minnesota Senate and House to amend the 2003 statute. This new legislation does not create a new hospital license for Ridgeview, though it allows Ridgeview to add up to 20 more hospital beds at any time.

As the southwest metro region continues to grow, Ridgeview “wanted this additional capacity to ensure Ridgeview can continue to meet the needs of the many patients and communities we now serve in a seven-county area,” Phelps said. “We will now continue our assessment to identify the specific purposes for these beds and a timeline for potential expansion.”

Senator Jensen said “the impact and community benefit of Ridgeview Medical Center should be apparent to anyone who lives within 100 miles of this hospital system. For me, to help Ridgeview advance its mission and its services to the patients and communities it serves is a privilege. I am pleased that Governor Walz has signed the bill to allow Ridgeview to utilize 20 additional beds in whatever manner it chooses.”

“This is great news for our community and Ridgeview Medical Center. It will result in more patients from the southwest metro and the immediate area can be treated at this fantastic facility,” said Representative Nash. “It will also create new nursing jobs, support jobs and facility jobs for our community. Bills like this are proof we can work together to get things done for communities across our state.”

“We greatly appreciate the work by Senator Jensen and Representative Nash, as well as the co-authors of the bill in both the Senate and the House – Senator Eric Pratt (R), District 55; Senator Matt Klein (DFL), District 52; Representative Kelly Morrison (DFL), District 33B; Representative Glenn Gruenhagen (R), District 18B; Representative Patty Acomb (DFL), District 44B; and Representative Laurie Halverson (DFL), District 51B – to move this through for approval,” Phelps added. “It’s not often a bill has unanimous bi-partisan support. Our bills passed the House with a 126-0 vote and the Senate with a 66-0 vote, which is a testament to the support and confidence our elected officials have in Ridgeview as a community health system.”