2022 Annual Report
Altru is a community of nearly 3,500 employees and providers, and we’ve been committed to caring for our region for more than 130 years. Serving over 230,000 residents in northeast North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, we offer a wide array of services to meet the needs of community members of all ages and levels of health.
Improving Health, Enriching Life.
Deliver world-class healthcare to the residents of our region.
Our Patients: Meeting the needs and expectations of our patients is our highest priority.
Our Care: We provide quality care that is demonstrated to achieve the best results for patients.
Our Team: We work as a team and treat each other with honesty, loyalty and respect.
Our Communities: We are committed to improving the health of our communities.
A Message from Our CEO & President
In the fast-paced world of health care, Altru is committed to transforming care in our region. Our team continually evolves to best fulfill our mission, guide our culture of engagement and ensure our long-term success.
While change is constant, a few things never change - like our commitment to continuous, incremental improvement to ensure we deliver high-quality care for generations to come.
As we wrap up another year, it’s a time to be grateful for what we have and to reflect on the good things 2022 brought us.
We are proud of our accomplishments, confident in our strategy, and, frankly, inspired by our extraordinary employees. Our team is focused on providing the best care for all our friends, family and neighbors, 24-7, 365 days a year. Our patients remain at the center of every decision we make. We are all here for one purpose, and that is to take care of people.
The growth & improvement Altru is committed to, including our new hospital project, expanded regional care and a commitment to achieve a 5-star quality rating, means our patients can remain close to home for outstanding care.
- Todd Forkel, CEO & Dr. Josh Deere, President
New Hospital Update
Altru's new hospital under construction.Altru’s new hospital is an investment in our community’s healthcare and is an important component of Altru’s commitment as the region’s health system. It provides opportunities for more advanced care for our patients and a modern working environment for our teams. The investment in a new hospital means our patients can remain close to home for world-class care.
January 1, 2022 – 12% completed
January 31, 2022 – 45% completed
New hospital construction highlights:
- Resumed structural steel erection after the COVID-19 pandemic pause and completed the seven stories
- Mostly enclosed by the end of 2022
- Construction of interior framing was started
- Surpassed having 300 workers onsite on a given day
According to the American Hospital Association, each hospital job adds nearly two additional jobs in the community. Every dollar a hospital spends supports $2.30 of additional business activity.
New Hospital Economic Impact in 2022
Estimated values for the direct community impact of the Altru New Hospital project. A formal study was not completed.
- $104M worth of work completed on the new hospital during 2022
- $60M in revenue was generated for businesses in the greater Grand Forks area
- Over 280 individuals/families had direct income because of this project
Community Health Assessment
Altru has engaged multiple partners to conduct our Community Health Assessments, which provide information on health issues, status, and needs and identify areas for improvement. The purpose of the assessments has been to “Improve the overall health of the community by focusing on factors that promote health and wellness (versus treating disease).” The Community Health Assessment is a joint effort led by Altru Health System and the Grand Forks Public Health Department. Our two organizations have a history of collaboration to improve community health.
The Community Health Assessment is a joint effort led by Altru Health System and Grand Forks Public Health. Our two organizations have a history of collaboration to improve community health. Together, we engaged multiple partners to conduct the assessment, which provides information on health issues, status, and needs and identifies areas for improvement. Our assessment work provides the backbone for our Community Health Improvement Plan & Implementation Strategy Report.
Diversity Equity and Inclusion
Altru Health System strives to achieve and sustain high-quality, equitable, and culturally sensitive patient-centered care by creating a culture of inclusion focused on continuous improvement and accountability and engaging diverse leaders, employees, and learners.
Altru’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEI Committee) was founded in January 2021 after key Altru leaders were trained by our Mayo Clinic Care Network partners in December 2020.
In 2022, the DEI Committee shifted its focus to education in the areas of safe patient care and employee engagement. This prompted the establishment of two subcommittees: namely the Health Equity and LGBTQ+ Subcommittees.
Areas of Focus:
- Patient Experience and Safety
- Partnerships, Community Health and Engagement
Altru Health Foundation At-A-Glance
As we welcomed new leadership at the executive level, our community watched in awe as hospital construction accelerated and changed the skyline of our city for generations to come. This same energy and acceleration was felt and demonstrated through philanthropy. Over 5,400 donors generously came together to raise a record-breaking $4.1 million, impacting nearly every corner of Altru and our community. Here are just a few highlights:
- Funded in part by the generosity of Altru employees, a new guest services shuttle was added to our hospitality fleet.
- Twenty-five Altru employees received over $20,000 in continuing education scholarships.
- Blue Zones Project launched in Grand Forks and a corresponding Worksite Wellness Project is underway at Altru.
- A first of its kind, the Sensory Life Project was formed to support patients and families navigating sensory processing difficulties with assistance, tools, therapeutic interventions, and education.
- Tens of thousands of dollars were provided through patient assistance programs like Filling the Gap, Caring for Kids, Spin for Kids, prescription assistance and charitable care
2022 Accolades & Recognitions
- Altru Receives Top Technology in Healthcare Recognitions
- Altru the Only Hospital in North Dakota Awarded Newsweek’s Best Maternity Hospitals 2022 List
- Altru Among Nation’s Top Performing Hospitals for Treatment of Heart Attack Patients
- Altru Health System Receives Get with the Guidelines-Stroke GOLD PLUS Achievement Awards
- Altru Earns CHIME Digital Health Most Wired Awards for the Tenth Year in a Row
- Altru Named to Prairie Business 50 Best Places to Work
- Altru Health Foundation Receives $1 Million Commitment from Alerus to Support New Hospital
Innovations in Medicine
Altru is continually committed to innovations in medicine. We are always searching for innovative ways to deliver world-class care to our patients, and we are fortunate to have passionate providers who are always searching for cutting-edge technologies to provide their patients with the best outcomes. Here are Innovation in Medicine summaries from Drs. Seeger, Gardner and Go.
Innovation in Medicine: Altru Cancer Center
Altru Cancer Center has been on the cutting edge of cancer treatment for many years. In 2009, we revolutionized the way we treat tumors with radiation. Our TomoTherapy allowed us to send radiation to a tumor while protecting the surrounding healthy tissue.
In 2020, Altru made another investment in our cancer care with the installation of the Radixact X9 helical linear accelerator, allowing for even more exact treatment of tumors. We use artificial intelligence (AI) to track a tumor in patients with lung cancer, for example. The AI predicts and synchronizes the patient’s breathing and directs radiation to the tumor. A photon beam locks onto the tumor’s position and can deliver precise treatment, even if a patient moves. This treatment significantly spares normal lung tissue compared to traditional lung radiation treatments, leading to fewer post-radiation issues in patients. We are also using Radixact for stereotactic prostate cancer treatment.
Altru Cancer Center was the first in North Dakota to invest in this lifesaving technology. We will continue to lead the way in cancer care innovation.
Innovation in Medicine: Orthopedics & Sports Medicine
Since 2016, Altru Orthopedics & Sports Medicine has been performing robotic assisted hip and knee replacements, and we are still the only hospital in North Dakota to have this technology. We have performed over 3,000 robotic hip and knee replacements, which places us near the top of the list for the entire upper Midwest. This technology allows us to be very precise and fit the implant accurately to the patient’s anatomy, which improves early recovery and patient satisfaction with the entire joint replacement.
In early 2022, Dr. Reed Lambert joined our Orthopedics & Sports Medicine team, and he has been a great addition. In addition to performing robotic assisted joint replacement, Dr. Lambert also takes trauma call. He’s fully invested in the Grand Forks community where he will be a great asset to our community and region. I’m confident Dr. Lambert and his family will be here for many years. The most frequent complaint we hear about Orthopedics is the difficulty of getting an appointment in a timely fashion, so we’ve eliminated the need for appointments and started the Ortho Express Injury Clinic. We now have walk-in service Monday through Friday until 7:00 p.m. with no appointment necessary. It is set up so patients have an alternative route for acute injuries instead of going to the ER. Staffed by our experienced Nurse Practitioners, this clinic has been quite successful.
Innovation in Medicine: Heart & Vascular
In 2019, Altru Heart & Vascular Services launched the TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) program. This program allows us to treat patients with severe aortic stenosis, or narrowing of a heart valve, while they are fully awake and without the need for open heart surgery. This greatly improves our patients’ experience after the procedure. Formerly with open heart surgery, there was a five to seven-day hospital stay and up to six months before full recovery. With TAVR, our patients are experiencing a one to two-day hospital stay and back to full recovery after about one week.
Also in 2019, we started implanting Watchman in some of our patients. The Watchman is a permanent device placed during a one-time procedure; Watchman reduces the risk of stroke in patients who are unable to take blood thinner medications due to a high bleeding risk. The reduction in the risk for stroke from Watchman is comparable to taking blood thinner medications but without the risk of bleeding. Altru also has been doing PFO closures. This is a procedure done to close a “patent foramen ovale.” A PFO is a “hole in the heart” that is present at birth, which in some patients, can lead to a stroke. In this specific population, closing the PFO prevents further strokes. This procedure is also done with minimal sedation only.
More recently in October 2022, Altru Cardiology launched a Heart Failure Outpatient infusion clinic. This clinic allows us to provide intermediate care for patients with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure without a readmission to the hospital or a visit to the ER. Likewise, we also offer the CardioMEMS device, which is an implantable monitor that allows for real-time monitoring and optimizes diuretic therapy for patients with severe heart failure and whose kidney function may be sensitive to diuretic adjustments.
Altru Cardiology is also the first cardiac program in the state to offer CT-FFR, which is a state-of-the-art imaging tool that assesses coronary artery “blockage” without the need for an invasive angiogram.
Care. For One Another.
When you walk in the doors of Altru Health System, you are in the presence of people who care deeply about your well-being. It is our mission to improve health and enrich life. We want you to have the best experience possible every time you seek care from Altru.
You are why we’re here. You are what matters. You always come first.