Health News Today – July 25, 2014

Today’s health news headlines:

  • Michelle Larson hired to oversee new medical marijuana program
  • How does the ACA impact public school system health care costs?
  • MN Hospital Association says physician shortage in state is happening now
  • Child well-being in state is ranked fifth in the US


State hired top medical pot official (

A health official who managed Minnesota’s efforts to reduce tobacco use and obesity will run the state’s new medical marijuana program.

The Minnesota Department of Health said Wednesday that Michelle Larson, a deputy director in the department’s Office of Statewide Health Improvement, would direct the new program.   Read More…


The Affordable Care Act and Faribault Public Schools (Faribault Daily News)

Turns out, President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act isn’t so affordable to every school district in the state of Minnesota.

Faribault Public School District administration can breathe easy, though, because ISD 656 isn’t going to make this list of struggling schools.   Read More…


Minn. doctors may be in short supply (

Primary care doctors may soon be in short supply, a Minnesota Hospital Association report showed Monday.

“Many of our hospitals, especially those in greater Minnesota, already have difficulty attracting physicians,” association President Lawrence J. Massa said. “I hope this new information will provide an impetus to policy makers to make the urgent decisions needed on both the state and federal levels to give our health professional students access to the clinical training and residency experience they need to become licensed to practice.”   Read More…


Minnesota child well-being ranks fifth in nation (

When it comes to a child’s well-being Minnesota ranks 5th overall in the nation. The 25th annual kids Count Data Book examined 16 indicators across four areas. They include economic well-being, education, health and family and community.

The report found a steep increase in children living in single-parent families and in high poverty neighborhoods. It also found high disparity rates for some children in the minority.  Read More…





Health News Today – July 22, 2014

In health news today:

  • Study shows people don’t know how to determine how good their doctor really is
  • Gout pill may also prevent diabetic kidney disease
  • Magnetic Resonance Elastography uses sound to diagnose disease


Poll finds few Americans don’t know how to check their doctors’ vitals (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Americans consider insurance and a good bedside manner in choosing a doctor, but will that doctor provide high-quality care? A new poll shows that people don’t know how to determine that.

Being licensed and likable doesn’t necessarily mean a doctor is up to date on best practices. But consumers aren’t sure how to uncover much more. Just 22 percent of those questioned are confident they can find information to compare the quality of local doctors, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.   Read More…


U doctors think a cheap pill for gout may delay onset of diabetic kidney disease (Minneapolis Star Tribune)


Paul Wild has been a reliable research volunteer at the University of Minnesota for 20 years, participating in two landmark studies that changed the standard of care for diabetes, a disease that afflicts more than 24 million Americans.

“Looking back, it was probably the best thing I ever did,” said the 61-year-old Mendota Heights dentist.

Now, Wild is among 480 patients being recruited for a $24 million, 3½-year test to see whether a medication that has been used routinely to prevent gout can delay the onset of potentially fatal kidney disease in patients with Type 1 diabetes.   Read More…


Marvels of the Med City: Resoundant uses sound waves to diagnose disease (KTTC-TV)

The use of sound waves in the medical field has a long history. But using them to “feel” the hardness of some of your most vital internal organs is brand new technology. It’s called Magnetic Resonance Elastography, or an MRE. It helps to diagnose hardening of the liver due to disease without a biopsy, by giving doctors a color-coded, detailed map of your organ’s tissue density.   Read More…

Health News Today – July 17, 2014

Health news headlines from around Minnesota today include:

  • New mental health transport system tested in MN
  • MNsure consultant, Deloitte, says website has horsepower
  • Med-tech startup investments grow 68% in Q2
  • launches online career resource center


Minnesota hospitals test mental health transport (Winona Daily News)

Minnesota hospitals are considering ways to transport mental health patients in unmarked vehicles instead of ambulances.

The Star Tribune reports hospitals and local officials across the state are experimenting with ways of responding to a psychiatric crisis if there’s no public safety risk. Changes could cut down on ambulance costs and the time police and fire departments spend transporting psychiatric patients. Medical experts also aim to reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems.   Read More…

MNsure board told system has enough horsepower (Washington Times)

An outside consultant told directors of Minnesota’s health insurance exchange on Wednesday that the troubled system has enough horsepower as the fall open enrollment period approaches, amid Republican calls to kill the online marketplace altogether.

Brian Keane of Deloitte Consulting LLP told the MNsure board that his team has identified 30 key functions that have to work properly by Nov. 15, including processing of renewals. He said they’re determining which functions must be automated and which can be manual systems if necessary.   Read More…


Two big deals help MN medical investments climb 68% (Twin Cities Business)

Investment in Minnesota-based medical startups is continuing to grow, according to newly released second-quarter statistics from the St. Louis Park-based LifeScience Alley.

The industry association tallied $110.5 million in investments for the second quarter of 2014, a strong 68 percent uptick compared to the second quarter of 2013.   Read More… debuts nursing jobs and career resource center (News Release), the largest peer-to-peer online networking and support site for nursing, has launched its new Career Resource Center, allnurses Jobs. The Career Center is designed to better connect today’s millions of nurses and nursing students with potential employers, and vice versa. The resource features advanced search and matching technology, and offers a wealth of additional benefits for both candidates and employers.   Read More…

Health News Today – July 16, 2014

In health news headlines:

  • We’re #1 – Mayo Clinic named top U.S. hospital
  • Many reasons Minnesota is a national leader in health care
  • Congress aims to fix veterans’ health care


Mayo Clinic ranked as top U.S. hospital by U.S. News (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The Mayo Clinic was named the nation’s No. 1 hospital by U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday, the first time the Minnesota medical giant has earned top honors in the magazine’s annual ranking of adult care across 16 medical specialties.

Mayo, based in Rochester, edged out Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for the top rung after Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore ended its 21-year reign and fell to third place.   Read More…


Minnesota: A national leader in health care (Grand Rapids Herald Review)

This week, Minnesota again demonstrated why our state is a national leader in health care. New Dayton Administration reforms launched in 2013 to provide better care at lower costs have saved more than $10.5 million in just one year. And today, Mayo Clinic was named the best hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

This news comes after Minnesota saw a more than 41 percent decline in our uninsured rate – giving our state the second-lowest uninsured rate in the nation. And last month, Minnesota ranked first in the nation on AARP’s long-term care scorecard, demonstrating our state’s commitment to providing high-quality care to disabled and older Minnesotans.   Read More…


Congress seeks to hammer out fix to veterans’ health care (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Outrage over the Department of Veterans Affairs health care scandal has been bipartisan, with Republicans and Democrats united in their disgust over long wait times, phony records and accusations of criminal activity at the agency.

Bills passed by the GOP-led House and Democratic-controlled Senate would allow millions of veterans to seek health care outside the government’s system if they are unable to get a timely appointment inside it.   Read More…


Health News Today – July 15, 2014

Today’s headlines:

  • Dept. of Health looks into E.coli infections at Applebee’s
  • State Medicaid reform saves MN more than $10 million
  • Medical marijuana doctor? Apply here.


Minnesota investigating 13 cases of E.coli (

Minnesota health officials are investigating an outbreak of E. coli infection, with some of the cases traced to eating at Applebee’s restaurants, the state Department of Health said Monday.

Thirteen cases of the foodborne illness have been reported, the health department said, with seven people who reported eating at Applebee’s restaurants…   Read More…


Minnesota’s Medicaid reform initiative delivers $10.5 million in savings (Coon Rapids Gazette)

Minnesota’s new, nation-leading approach to delivering quality health care more efficiently for low-income individuals and families is paying off.

In the first year of a program announced by the Department of Human Services and Governor Mark Dayton in 2013, six health care providers serving 100,000 Minnesotans spent $10.5 million less than projected – cost savings that will benefit Minnesota taxpayers.   Read More…


Minnesota looking for doctor to help oversee medical marijuana program (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The state is looking for a doctor who can provide medical and research expertise for Minnesota’s new medical marijuana program. The job will pay $116,719 to $205,605 a year.

The state previously posted a job for the program’s administrator, which attracted about 160 people by the June 20 application deadline.   Read More…

Health News Today – July 14, 2014

In health news from Minnesota today:

  • Will employees soon need two insurance cards?
  • ATS Labs acquires MicroTest Labs; now Accuratus Lab Services


Hobby Lobby case raises questions for some workers (St. Cloud Times)

Imagine a day when you’d carry two health insurance cards in your wallet.

You’d use one card at the pharmacy for medicine your boss has agreed to pay for as part of the company’s health plan.   Read More…


ATS Labs announces the acquisition of MicroTest Labs (News Release)

Today, ATS Labs, Inc. (ATS), majority owned by Ampersand Capital Partners, announced that it acquired the assets of MicroTest Labs, Inc. (MTL) of Agawam, MA.  The acquisition of MTL is the first step in the strategy of ATS to expand its microbiology and chemistry laboratory services platform to support the medical device and biopharmaceutical industries.  The combined companies will soon be known as Accuratus Lab Services, a name that personifies the quality and accuracy of testing results and scientific solutions that support the antimicrobial, consumer product, medical device, and biopharmaceutical industries.   Read More…

Health News Today – July 11, 2014

Health news headlines today include:

  • State mental health centers may have financial problems
  • Task force will study impact of marijuana law
  • Brainerd area hospital receives “stroke center” designation


Riverwood failure could be part of a larger Minnesota problem (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

The abrupt closure of a large mental health center in March points to systemic financial challenges for similar centers across the state, according to a new state report.

Braham-based Riverwood Centers closed for financial reasons, leaving a large hole in the network of mental health service providers in Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs and Pine counties. Essential services were quickly transferred to other providers, and medical records were secured, according to the June 30 report from the Minnesota Department of Human Services.   Read More…


Dayton names 16 to study impact of state’s marijuana law (

Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday appointed 16 members to a task force that will study the impact of the state’s new medical marijuana law.

The governor’s appointees to the Task Force on Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research range from law enforcement officials to people who treat substance abuse to potential patients and their parents.   Read More…


Essentia Health – St. Joseph’s Medical Center designated as an acute stroke ready hospital (Walker Pilot-Independent)

Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center has been accredited as an Acute Stroke Ready hospital.

The designation, by the Minnesota Department of Health, means Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center is equipped to evaluate, stabilize and provide emergency care to patients with acute stroke symptoms.   Read More…




Health News Today – July 10, 2014

In health headlines today:

  • HMO plan premiums through MNsure might increase
  • Regions Hospital to test Tranexamic Acid to stop brain bleeds
  • Predictive blood test could help Alzheimer’s prone patients


MNsure monthly premiums likely to increase (KSTP-TV)

The head of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans gave a hint of what might come soon to those who pay for health insurance coverage through MNsure, Minnesota’s health care exchange.

Julie Brunner is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, which is the professional association for the HMOs that offer health coverage through MNsure. Brunner recently told a University of Minnesota symposium that she would “not be surprised if the health plans increased their rates by 8, 10, or even 12 percent.”    Read More…


New brain injury medication to be tested in Minn. (

You may be surprised to know what’s the number one cause of death in people younger than 40.

It’s traumatic brain injury, and it can be caused by a car accident, a fall or a hit to the head.  But now a Minnesota hospital is trying out a new tool that could save lives.   Read  More…


Minn. family cheers step toward Alzheimer’s blood test (

Researchers at a British university have identified a set of 10 proteins that may predict the onset of Alzheimer’s, and they’re heralding the discovery as a big step toward creating a simple blood test that could forecast the likelihood of developing the disease. Now, a Minnesota family with several loved ones struggling with Alzheimer’s says they have hope that the research could help people prepare and lead to better treatment.   Read More…



Health News Today – July 9, 2014

Today’s health news headlines:

  • Uniphy platform launched to enhance physician collaboration, communication
  • American Indians in state struggle with high cancer risk
  • Fairview buys gynecology practice
  • Home health care workers push for higher wages and benefits


Healthcare Engagement Solutions launches Uniphy platform to enhance communication and collaboration (News Release)

Healthcare Engagement Solutions today announced the launch of Uniphy, a secure, cloud-based platform designed to help healthcare organizations and care providers communicate, collaborate and enhance patient care.

Uniphy combines the elements of social media, targeted content, performance metrics, and secure messaging that health systems and care providers rely on into a single platform that is mobile friendly.    Read More…


American Indians in Minn. struggle with higher cancer risk (

Inside the cavernous base camp facility at Fort Snelling in Minnesota, a long line of cancer survivors made a slow procession around the perimeter of the former cavalry drill hall where a century ago Army troops trained their horses. Their presence at a gathering of American Indians is solemn, supportive and startling.    Read More…


Fairview buys Edina gynecology practice (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)

Fairview Health Services has acquired Minnesota Gynecology and Surgery, an independent specialty practice in Edina.

Minneapolis-based Fairview didn’t disclose terms of the deal, which closed July 1.

Now called Minnesota Gynecology and Surgery–Fairview, the clinic provides gynecology services and surgeries such as laparoscopic hysterectomies.   Read More…

SEIU, Minnesota home health care workers file for union election (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Home health care workers took the first step in their push for higher wages and benefits Tuesday, seeking a union election for about 26,000 personal care attendants in Minnesota.

Union officials said it could be one of the largest organizing drives in state history.   Read More…


Health News Today – July 7, 2014

In health news today:

  • Scrubs camp helps students learn about health care
  • Project Care Free Clinic honored with the Rural Health Team award from the Minnesota Department of Health


Students learn hands-on health care at “scrubs” camp (

Josh Schmelzer held up a flexible orange nasal tube in front of a group of purple-scrubbed high-school students at Winona Health.

Schmelzer, an EMT with the Winona (Minn.) Area Ambulance Service, explained that the tube is used on unconscious patients to open an airway. He inserted it up the nose of a dummy as the students watched. While it’s not exactly comfortable, it can help save a life, he said.   Read More…


Project Care honored for filling the gaps (Hibbing Daily Tribune)

Not all super heros wear capes, nor do they seek attention. But most of them do have a care factor.

All three apply to the team at Project Care.

“I do not do my job to seek recognition and I know my Board of Directors does not support the mission and give their time and talent for an award,” said Carrie Estey-Dix, Project Care executive director. “When we are presented with an award of this nature, it makes me believe that other people in the community recognize the work that is being done to help enrich the lives of others who are not able to access healthcare on their own for reasons most times beyond their control.”   Read More…