Congratulations to the employees of Raiter Clinic and Community Memorial Hospital on the merger of the two health providers. As Essentia Health has thoughtfully expanded its health system to provide high-quality health care in rural communities, our employees have felt a similar pride. We also recognize that the benefits integration can offer to patients are excellent, such as coordinated care and electronic medical records.

That’s why it was so disappointing to see in the story published in both the Cloquet Pine Journal and Duluth News Tribune ("Cloquet health facilities to merge," Sept. 23) about the merger, hospital CEO Rick Breuer using the announcement to attack Essentia Health.

We, along with many of our Essentia colleagues who enjoy living and working in northern Minnesota, were thrilled to announce that Essentia Health is opening a clinic in Cloquet in May 2020. And we and the Cloquet community have very good reason to be excited.

People who live in Cloquet are now choosing to drive to the Twin Ports to receive care at Essentia Health. Data show that patients from Cloquet see primary-care health care providers at our five Twin Ports-area clinics as many as 16,000 times per year. Patients also are seeking specialty care at Essentia, like OB/GYN, orthopedics, ophthalmology, cardiology and others.

Surveys indicate Cloquet community members prefer Essentia for care related to heart problems and orthopedic surgery over other choices. We’re thrilled to bring this care closer to home where it’s more convenient. Essentia Health is the area’s leading choice for primary care and specialty care.

Minnesota Community Measurement, a nonprofit that focuses on improving health care costs and quality, has rated Essentia as one of the state’s top-quality performers. Essentia Health was the leading outstate health system and ranked third in the state overall (behind Park Nicollet Health Services and HealthPartners Clinics).

The report showed we are significantly above state averages on at least 50% of the 23 measures, which are grouped into categories: preventative health, chronic conditions and depression.

Our colleagues work hard every day to provide a coordinated-care experience that is built on the needs of the patients we are privileged to serve. Across our network of 70-plus clinics and 15 hospitals, we strive to bring the primary care and specialty care our patients need to their local community for the greatest possible convenience.

Our integrated-care model offers our patients online access to their health records anytime, anywhere — and confidence that no matter what Essentia Health clinic or hospital you visit, your providers will have all your health history at their fingertips, allowing us to provide the safest care possible.

The model also means access to specialists from more than 40 areas of expertise when you need them. This includes exceptional heart and vascular care that has been validated by the four-star award for STEMI heart attack care from the American College of Cardiology and Joint Commission certification for advanced thrombectomy-capable stroke certification to provide state-of-the-art care for those who experience a stroke that saves lives and ability to function. It also means access to specialists in local communities through outreach or telehealth services.

We are thrilled to be opening the Essentia Health-Cloquet Clinic in May and look forward to providing high-quality health care close to home. We feel privileged to serve the community of Cloquet.

Dr. Jon L. Pryor is president of the East Market for Essentia Health. Bradley J. Beard is chief operating officer of the East Market for Essentia Health. They both work from Duluth, and they wrote this for the News Tribune and Pine Journal.

Brad Beard
Brad Beard


Jon Pryor
Jon Pryor