FirstLight is awarded TopWorkplace designation for 2019

Star Tribune names FirstLight Health System a 2019 Top Workplace

Mora, MN – June 14, 2019—FirstLight Health System has been named one of the Top Workplaces in Minnesota by the Star Tribune. A complete list of those selected is available at and will also be published in the Star Tribune Top Workplaces special section on Sunday, June 16.

Produced by the same team that compiles the 28-year-old Star Tribune 100 report of the best-performing public companies in Minnesota, Top Workplaces recognizes the most progressive companies in Minnesota based on employee opinions measuring engagement, organizational health and satisfaction. The analysis included responses from over 140,000 employees at Minnesota public, private and nonprofit organizations.

The results of the Star Tribune Top Workplaces are based on survey information collected by Energage, an independent company specializing in employee engagement and retention.

“Earning this designation signifies FirstLight employees are engaged with the patients and families they care for every day.  The employees have created this culture of excellence and I thank them for that.  They are the difference makers in our patient’s health,” comments Randy Ulseth, CEO.

Star Tribune Publisher Michael J. Klingensmith said, “The companies in the Star Tribune Top Workplaces deserve high praise for creating the very best work environments in the state of Minnesota. My congratulations to each of these exceptional companies.”

Located in the heart of east central Minnesota, FirstLight is an accredited, rural hospital and clinic system amidst completing a $62M expansion project specifically addressing patient access, security, services and technology challenges.  FirstLight currently employs a staff of over 500 employees and has earned a Top Workplace designation for the past seven years.

To qualify for the Star Tribune Top Workplaces, a company must have more than 50 employees in Minnesota. Over 2,000 companies were invited to participate. Rankings were composite scores calculated purely because of employee responses.



Beginning Monday, June 17, all CT scans at the Mora campus will be performed in the mobile unit that will be parked on Clark Street. The current CT room will be remodeled. Work is expected to be complete on Tuesday, July 2nd.   Enter through the new MAIN entrance and register with imaging staff.

Also on Monday, June 17 until Friday June 21, the current surgery waiting area  will not be accessible as carpeting is being replaced.   Please enter at the new MAIN entrance and you will be directed where to the temporary waiting and registration areas.


Cuddle Cot Now Available to Grieving FirstLight Parents Who suffer Fetal Loss

Obstetrics Department receives grant from the Volunteer group for purchase

June 14, 2019 – Mora, MN – Delivering a stillborn baby or losing an infant within the first 28 days (fetal loss) is devastating to parents. Many parents wish to have time to hold and say goodbye to their infant in the comfort of their hospital room. The Cuddle Cot, a cooled bassinet that helps preserve the baby’s body after passing, allows grieving parents to spend precious time with their infant and start the healing process. Recently, FirstLight received funds to purchase a Cuddle Cot through a grant program funded by the FirstLight’s Healthcare Volunteer group.

According to the March of Dimes, stillbirth affects about one in 100 pregnancies each year in the United States, or about one percent of all pregnancies. With the number of births at FirstLight increasing by 50 percent over the past two years, they wanted to be prepared for all outcomes, including those experiencing fetal loss.

“From a clinical perspective, there are only a few hours available to parents after a baby passes, and for many parents that’s just not long enough” said Jamie Hendrix, RN, a FirstLight nurse supervisor, certified lactation consultant and prenatal educator. “The Cuddle Cot gives parents the gift of time, before the natural changes that occur in death become more apparent.”

In late 2018, Hendrix and other members of the obstetrics department formed a focus group to help parents who had suffered fetal loss to better understand how the hospital could support their needs. The group identified the Cuddle Cot, which is the size of a small humidifier disguised inside of a Moses basket, pram or bassinet. Research has proven that having a unit available to parents during their hospital stay encourages families to spend time with their baby.

“While the Cuddle Cot is an option that we never wanted to need, we are grateful to the Volunteer group for enabling us to purchase it,” said Hendrix. “Our OB department wants to support our patients in every way possible when they choose to deliver in or near to their hometown.”

Christina Stamper, founder of Madison’s Miracles and mother of a stillborn child, worked with FirstLight Health System to secure the Cuddle Cot and help parents begin their mourning and grieving journey. The Cuddle Cot was developed by Flexmort, the trading name of Roftek Ltd., a European company. For more information about the Cuddle Cot visit

FLHS Fetal Loss committee members: Hailey Hemmerich (MSW, LGSW), Tara Wren (RN), Tim Patenaude (RN, BSN), Lori Peterson (MSW, LGSW), missing: Dr. D. Bergman and Charity Felde (RN)

Phone Issues -June 5th, 2019

3:55 p.m., Wednesday, June 5, 2019 Update

It has been brought to our attention that our phones are now fully functional.  Thank you for your patience.

any questions can be directed to:

No additional updates will be issued.

2:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, 2019 Update

Unfortunately the issue has not been resolved at this time, please continue to:

Call 320-679-1212 or 320-679-1313 or try Pine City Clinic at 320-629-7505 so your call can be routed back to Mora.

If you are trying to send a fax, use: 320-629-2202.

This includes Mora and Pine City Community Pharmacies, and Rehabilitation Services.

Next update:  3:15 p.m.

12:00 p.m., Wednesday, June 5, 2019 Update

Unfortunately the issue has not been resolved at this time, please continue to:

Call 320-679-1212 or 320-679-1313 or try Pine City Clinic at 320-629-7505 so your call can be routed back to Mora.

If you are trying to send a fax, use: 320-629-2202.

This includes Mora and Pine City Community Pharmacies, and Rehabilitation Services.

Next update 2:00 p.m.

11:09 a.m., Wednesday, June 5, 2019

We are experiencing phone issues due to a fiber line cut in the area so unfortunately you may have longer than normal hold times or have trouble reaching our MORA campus.

Please continue to call 320-679-1212 or 320-679-1313 or try Pine City Clinic at 320-629-7505 so your call can be routed back to Mora.

If you are trying to send a fax, use: 320-629-2202.

This includes Mora and Pine City Community Pharmacies, and Rehabilitation Services.

Next update: Noon

To our valued Dr. Stillwell patients (letter) about what to do now: June 2019

June 3, 2019

To our valued Dr. Stillwell’s patients:

As you may have heard, Dr. Stillwell passed away unexpectedly on May 8, 2019. He had been providing outreach urology services at FirstLight for over twenty years. His kindness, knowledge and empathetic patient care impacted so many folks in our communities.

FirstLight has contacted Minnesota Urology (the organization that Dr. Stillwell worked for) and unfortunately, they are unable to provide urology outreach services to FirstLight and surrounding areas at this time. We encourage you to follow up with Minnesota Urology directly to schedule new appointments:
• Minnesota Urology at the Allina Cambridge clinic: 763-689-8700 – Dr. Sovell
There are also many additional locations in the metro area: 952-927-6501

You can also reach out to the healthcare facility listed below to schedule with one of their trusted urologists:
• Fairview Clinics -Wyoming: 651-982-7690

FirstLight does offer the following services that may be beneficial to you:
• Drs. Rachel and Michael Cady, OB/GYN offer appointments for female patients struggling with urinary frequency, urgency and incontinence.
Rehabilitation services in Mora, Pine City and Hinckley offer physical therapy services relating to urinary and fecal incontinence for both male and female prospective patients. Ask your Primary Care Provider (PCP) if this option an option for you. Both Sara Estenson (PT, MA), and Julie O’Connor (PT, DPT, CLT-LANA, CWS) work with patients with continence.

Please reach out to our referral specialists at 320-679-1313 for scheduling help.

Thank you for your understanding and please don’t hesitate to call us for help on how to best handle your unique situation.

Brian D. Niskanen, MD, CMO

Leave of Absence letter from Janet Wilkinson, NP June 2019

May 30, 2019


As many of you may have heard by now, I am writing this letter to inform you that I am taking an extended leave of absence from FirstLight Health System to complete my psychiatric training. My last day in clinic will be Friday, June 7, 2019.

While I am excited about the opportunity that currently awaits me, it is with true sadness that I say good-bye because I have cherished all the experiences we have shared together, including the friendships made along the way.

In my absence, please schedule an appointment with my FirstLight colleagues. They truly are the best team of healthcare providers in whom I trust with your care:

Danielle Bergman, MD (M)
Renee Coleman, PA (M)
Donald Dahlen, MD (H)
Pete Donner, MD (PC)
Barb Ennis, NP (M, H)
Ryan Gaalswyk, MD (M)
Ingrid Kaijage, MD (H, PC)
Katie Kroschel, MD (M)
Ryan Kroschel, MD (M, PC)
Joe Lind, MD (M, PC)
Amy McDaniel, PA (PC)
Sandy Moore, NP (PC)
Stephanie Piche, CNP (M, H)
Matt Schultz, MD (M, PC)

M: Mora PC: Pine City H: Hinckley

Each of you have allowed me to be part of your healthcare experience, bringing me an immense amount of joy. Although it may be good-bye for now, it is my hope that our paths will cross again in the future.

Sincerely and forever grateful,

Janet Lynn Wilkinson, NP


EXCITING NEWS!  Beginning Saturday, June 1, the new MAIN entrance will be open!

Who should use this MAIN entrance?

ALL clinic, Same Day, Imaging, Rehabilitation, Birthing center, Chemo, Infusion, Lab, Surgery and Hospital (inpatient) patients.

Who should use the EMERGENCY entrance?

ALL Emergency and community pharmacy patients

Thank you for your continued patience as we Build a Healthier Tomorrow!


It’s great to be able to finally post some ‘end’ dates for this project.

FLHS is currently on day 475 of the anticipated 521 project days and the end is in sight! The end does depend upon weather and a few other factors but as they say, there is a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’!

The final phases of this project include buttoning up: the main entrance, spiritual room, clinic expansion, clinic remodel, imaging remodel, administration updates, the new eye clinic  and the front corridor area.

Below are the highlights:

~June 1: main entrance will open, which was one of the project’s main goals enhancing building security.  The Highway 65 old ‘clinic’ entrance by the church will not longer be accessible and all traffic should enter the parking lots by the large digital sign or from Forest Street.

Overview of Mora campus
Main entry way drop off canopy
Main entrance sliding doors

A Spiritual room was created for those who need some quiet time and will be complete around ~June14th. The Spiritual room is located near the back of the Common’s area.

The clinic expansion is expected to be completed at the end of ~June, adding much needed exam and provider/nurse areas.

The clinic remodel part is to be finished about a month later, at end of ~July, so the two areas will tie together.  Demolition and remodeling are continuing as scheduled.  Both areas are having walls painted and flooring put in, after that is complete, a final clean, new furniture and equipment will need to be installed.

Demolition of old clinic registration area
New clinic exam room layout
New clinic hallway (exam and provider/nurse rooms)
New exam room layout

The administration area will receive a nice facelift, adding additional office spaces, workroom, storage and conference room areas.  Work to be completed after the ~July 4th holiday weekend.

Administration layout, level 2

The newly remodeled Imaging area will have a better layout and updated equipment opening the week of July 4th!  Pictures coming soon!

Behind the walls in the main registration area, construction crews are busy working on the new eye clinic. Internal planning has been begun for the final move, which is slated for July 29th. Dr. Mork and Dr. Mork expect to start seeing patients in the new area at the beginning of August. Perspective wise? The new eye clinic is actually the old hospital lab (if you can believe that?!)

demolition of old hospital lab for new eye clinic
new eye clinic curved hallway

Tying the main registration area to the curved wall heading to ED will be one of the biggest challenges of this project; as areas need to be barricaded off in sections allowing for new paint, flooring and other cosmetic work. Expect the last of re-routing and walking the perimeter of the building during this time with this work is slated to be complete the middle of ~July.

Stay tuned, more to come!

Honor Roll designation for FirstLight from MN Department of Health: 2019

FirstLight is proud to announce we received Honor Roll designation from the MN Department of Health for our part ensuring the 24-35 month old population has been properly vaccinated at the annual Got your Shots Immunization conference.
It was reported to the Minnesota Department of Health that 90% or more of FirstLight’s patients in the 24-35-month age group have received the recommended immunizations.

Help us congratulate our nurses for their efforts by educating parents and ensuring the kids in our communities have been properly vaccinated.

Remember to keep up to date on immunizations by scheduling your child’s annual wellness exam.

*All children associated with the clinic in MIIC between the ages of 24-35 months as of 7/1/2018. Immunization status as of 10/16/18.