Health News Today – Sept. 11, 2014

In health news today:

  • Children’s hospitals see surge in respiratory illness cases
  • Seven tips to prevent enterovirus
  • Planned Parenthood launches new pilot program taking services to clients
  • Cummins Power charged with requesting too much medical info from employees


Minnesota hospitals seeing surge in respiratory illness (

Several children’s hospitals across the state are reporting a surge in respiratory illnesses as concern grows over enterovirus 68.

“A lot more kids are getting sick with the same symptoms all at the same time,” says Patsy Stinchfield, infectious disease director at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics. “We have increased our staffing. We have whole units that we’ve cleaned overnight and are preparing with more beds and more supplies.”   Read More…



Tips to prevent enterovirus D68 from Mayo Clinic Health System (

Mayo Clinic Health System is providing additional information about enterovirus D68 and asking the public’s help to reduce the spread of the virus.

There have been no confirmed cases of enterovirus D68 in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, but officials say it’s likely the virus will have a presence in Minnesota. Recent reports from hospitals in the region and across Minnesota indicate an increase in respiratory infections – many of those in children.   Read More…


Planned Parenthood offers birth control, STD services online (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Planned Parenthood is now making house calls.

The agency announced Wednesday that it has launched a pilot project in Minnesota and Washington state for clients to get birth control services online and soon will be adding counseling for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that includes a mail-order, do-it-yourself treatment kit for those who need it.   Read More…

Minn. company charged with requesting too much medical info (

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Tuesday charged a power generation equipment company with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by requiring an employee to submit overly broad medical release forms.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota, the agency charges that Shoreview, Minnesota-based Cummins Power Generation Inc. required an employee to sign various medical release forms that sought “irrelevant” information, and that it told the worker he had to sign a release before taking a fitness-for-duty exam.   Read More…



Health News Today – Sept. 10, 2014

Health news today includes:

  • GERD seminar highlights LINX Reflux Management System
  • U of M Masonic Cancer Center joins cancer trial
  • Nurse returns to Africa to fight Ebola


Reflux relief presentation is Sept. 23 (Brainerd Dispatch)

People suffering with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) are invited to “Reflux Relief,” a free presentation at 6 p.m. on Sept. 23, about a new, state-of-the-art minimally invasive treatment now available in the area. 

Surgeon Tim LeMieur, M.D., will speak about the LINX Reflux Management System, a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medical device, and other treatment options. He will speak at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center’s Baxter Medical Clinic, located at 13205 Isle Drive behind Wal-Mart.   Read More…


University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center joins CEL-SCI’s phase three head and neck cancer trial (News Release)

CEL-SCI Corporation today announced that the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center has becomes the 7th clinical site in the U.S. to join its Phase III head and neck cancer clinical trial of its investigational cancer immunotherapy treatment Multikine* (Leukocyte Interleukin, Injection).

CEL-SCI’s study is currently being conducted at about 60 active clinical centers on three continents and is expected to expand from 17 countries to a 20 countries with an estimated 880 patients to be enrolled by the end of 2015.   Read More…


Minn. nurse returns to Sierra Leone to fight Ebola outbreak (

A nurse from the Twin Cities just returned Monday night from Sierra Leone — one of the countries affected by the Ebola outbreak.

Carrie Jo Cain, of Fridley, Minn., spent a week and a half there training hospital workers, dealing with Ebola patients and teaching community leaders how to stop the spread of the disease.   Read More…




Health News Today – Sept. 9, 2014

In health news today:

  • Mayo Clinic to demo HealthKit integration at media event
  • It’s here: The Enterovirus makes its way into Minnesota
  • PrairieCare providing needed mental health services closer to home
  • Study fuels argument for ‘sham’ devices


Apple partner Mayo Clinic to reportedly demo HealthKit at media event (

Minnesota-based healthcare provider Mayo Clinic will be part of Apple’s special media event on Tuesday, one report says, suggesting medical systems solutions will play a major role in today’s product announcements. 

As reported by the Star Tribune, Mayo Clinic will be on hand to demonstrate the advantages of pairing a major healthcare provider with Apple’s HealthKit framework, specifically as it applies to iOS 8’s Health app.   Read More…


Minnesota health officials say virus has likely arrived (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

Health officials say it’s likely a severe respiratory illness that has sickened hundreds of children in more than 10 states has made its way to Minnesota.

But, there have been no confirmed cases as health care providers send samples to the lab for testing.

State epidemiologist Dr. Aaron DeVries says health officials have identified a handful of Enterovirus 68 cases in each of the past few years in Minnesota.   Read More…


PrairieCare blossoms in high demand mental-health market (

Working as a psychiatrist at Prairie St. John’s hospital in Fargo over a decade ago, Dr. Stephen Setterberg kept getting waves of children and teenagers from the Twin Cities in dire need of mental health treatment. The metro area’s limited number of hospital beds for young psychiatric patients contending with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, aggression, depression or suicidal thoughts were usually full, and desperate parents would drive their children wherever there were openings: Rochester, Duluth, Fargo, Sioux Falls.   Read More…


Study fuels argument for ‘sham’ devices (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

A debate is building in the medical device community over the idea of putting clinical trial participants under the knife for experimental procedures that will not directly benefit them.

Subsets of patients are routinely given fake pills during clinical trials of new drugs to test whether psychology, not physiology, is producing improvements in health. But placebo-blinded studies of medical devices are far less common because surgery always puts patients at some level of risk.   Read More…



Health News Today – Sept. 8, 2014

Today’s health news:

  • Rural Healthcare Program awards grants for CPR devices
  • Rural outreach to insure more Minnesotans gearing up
  • Mental health care deserves more state funding


CPR devices bound for rural Minnesota (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

More than 300 new automatic cardiopulmonary resuscitation devices will be distributed to emergency rooms and ambulances around the state through a $4 million grant, an initiative that could help save the lives of patients requiring extensive cardiac care, the Minnesota Department of Health said Friday.   Read More…


Minnesota gearing up for rural outreach on health insurance enrollment (

Americans living in rural areas will be a key target as states and nonprofit groups strategize how to enroll more people in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act this fall.

An examination of experiences in Minnesota and Virginia shows how state decisions continue to shape these efforts.

Though millions of people signed up for private insurance or Medicaid in the first year of the Affordable Care Act, millions of others did not. Many live in rural areas where people “face more barriers,” said Laurie Martin, a RAND Corp. senior policy researcher.   Read More…


Mental health care deserves more state funding (Mankato Free Press)

It was a gathering that stirred both feelings of pride and sadness.

One hundred or so professionals gathered at South Central College recently to discuss the state of mental health care being delivered in Minnesota and locally.

Over 220,000 people receive mental health care from the state, and the passion among those providers to do the best for the most fragile of our society was evident. They talked of the area’s strength when it comes to providing some aspects of mental health care. Specifically, there were accolades for the Mankato crisis center, especially for its ability to take patients without a referral.  Read More…



Health News Today – Sept. 4, 2014

Health news headlines today include:

  • MDH plans to release number of sports concussions
  • Dayton calls MNsure rollout a disappointment
  • Cambridge Act On Alzheimer’s is creating a dementia-friendly community
  • Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of MN says data integration standards are crucial


Health Department to reveal number of sports-related concussions (

Using better equipment is only part of how concussions can be prevented.

“It’s very hard for us to stop everything,” she said. “Football players, for example, learning the proper tackling techniques.”

Hager says new research gives trainers better understanding of the effects of concussions, and can lead to improved diagnostic tools to determine the severity of a head injury right after it happens.   Read More…


Dayton, appearing as candidate, apologizes for MNsure rollout but touts success (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Gov. Mark Dayton, making a relatively rare appearance as a candidate Wednesday, called the troubled roll-out of the MNsure health insurance exchange the single biggest disappointment of his first term but also offered a full-throated defense of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Dayton and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, his Republican opponent, appeared at a general session of the Association of Minnesota Counties, held at Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria. The candidates did not share a stage, but spoke in close succession before a crowd of about 200 county commissioners from around the state.    Read More…


Cambridge Act on Alzheimer’s: Our journey so far (Isanti County News)

In May 2013, key members of Cambridge came together and committed their support to become a dementia friendly community.

The ACT on Alzheimer’s is equipping and engaging communities to plan and develop “dementia friendly communities.” A dementia friendly community is informed, safe and respectful of individuals with dementia, their families and caregivers and provides supportive options that foster quality of life.   Read More…


Why is data integration essential to growing health systems (

For a healthcare organization growing through acquisitions, affiliations, and brand-new construction, integration is a continuous process requiring mechanisms for pushing and pulling patient data to numerous health IT systems and end-users with specific needs.

“Even though the clinic is sitting right next door, integration has gone worldwide,” says Joe Pinotti, Interface Engineer at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. “You have standards for data transformation, but companies in different parts of the world have different standards of integration.   Read More…

Health News Today – Sept. 2, 2014

Today’s health news headlines…

  • Majority of new healthcare jobs in Minnesota are in low-paying roles
  • MNsure struggles with ‘life event’ changes
  • New Inspire Therapy helps patients with sleep apnea


Health care adds jobs, at low pay (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The new low-wage job in Minnesota is in health care.

That traditionally high-paying sector has carried the state’s job recovery in recent years, but most of the new workers aren’t higher-paid doctors and nurses. The majority of health jobs created in Minnesota since the end of 2008 are in lower-paying roles like home health care or nursing home aides.

The typical pay for these positions: $20,000 a year or less.   Read More…


MNsure struggles to keep up with ‘life event’ changes (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

When a new baby arrives, parents want the infant quickly added to their health insurance.

But for 78 new moms in Dakota County this year, the process bogged down for months because of a change to Minnesota’s new MNsure health insurance exchange.

For five months, county workers said they couldn’t use the new system to add babies to their mom’s coverage in Medical Assistance, the state’s primary safety net health insurance program.   Read More…


New treatment helps patients sleep soundly (St. Cloud Times)

Ivy Abersoll’s Aitkin home is about a 40-minute drive from Brainerd. But for the longest time she wasn’t able to make the drive to the town she went to church and shopping in without stopping.

“Many, many times I would have to pull over and take a nap,” Abersoll said.

Abersoll suffers from severe sleep apnea. Her Continuous Positive Airway Pressure mask didn’t help much.   Read More…




Health News Today – Aug. 29, 2014

Today’s health news headlines:

  • MN DHS says it can’t meet OSHA deadlines at state security hospital
  • Blue Cross plans retail store in Edina
  • Women lack access to reproductive health care
  • Medtronic acquires Italian-based NGC Medical


State contests OSHA citation over staff safety issues at Minnesota Security Hospital (St. Peter Herald)

The Minnesota Department of Human Services says it needs time to correct problems related to staff safety at the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter.

In an Aug. 25 response to an Occupational Safety and Health Administration citation, Department of Human Service Director Lucinda Jesson says that while much progress has been made, its unable to implement improvements already in the works and can not meet the OSHA-imposed Sept. 1 deadline.   Read More…


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota to open retail store in Edina (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota will open a retail store in Edina, the first insurer in the state to make a direct play to consumers as health care becomes ever more competitive.

The store is scheduled to open this fall at Yorkdale Shoppes, a busy retail node near Southdale Center and Cub Foods, in space once occupied by specialty retailer Christopher & Banks. It will serve consumers shopping for individual plans and seniors eligible for Medicare.  Read More…

Too many women lack full access to affordable reproductive health care (

Vacationing in my Texas hometown last week, I helped my folks clean out a storage closet. We went through boxes of photos, old journals, markers of times gone by. Reading one of my journals, I revisited the most challenging period of my life: I was barely scraping by, working two jobs, in the grip of substance abuse, and in an unhealthy relationship. The worn blue notebook contained the story of my abortion in Dallas some 30 years ago. In a single visit to an independent clinic, I was able to get the care I needed, from courageous and compassionate staff, but only after running a gantlet of shouting protesters telling me that I was going to hell.   Read More…


Medtronic spends $350M on another European deal (

U.S. medical device maker Medtronic is building stronger ties to Europe, a couple months after announcing a $42.9 billion acquisition that involves moving its main executive offices across the Atlantic, where it can get a better tax deal.

The Minneapolis company said on Wednesday that it spent $350 million to buy a privately held Italian company, NGC Medical S.p.A., that manages cardiovascular suites, operating rooms and intensive care units for hospitals. Medtronic already held a 30 percent stake in the business, which works with hospitals in Italy but also is expanding in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.   Read More…


Health News Today – Aug. 27, 2014

Health headlines today include:

  • In-home health care workers vote to unionize with SEIU
  • Mayo Cologuard enables in-home colon cancer detection
  • study reveals state of nursing industry


Minnesota in-home health care workers say yes to unionizing (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Thousands of in-home health care providers in Minnesota voted to create their own union, the state announced Tuesday after tallying the results.

With the union now authorized, the Service Employees International Union, which organized the election, can negotiate with the state for wages and benefits for the estimated 27,000 eligible workers. About 60 percent of the roughly 5,800 voters who cast ballots approved unionization, the Bureau of Mediation Services said.   Read More…


Mayo Clinic to offer at-home test for colon cancer (

It’s called Cologuard and in the privacy of your bathroom at home, you can use it to collect a stool sample and mail it in for analysis.

“The most important advance and why this test is really revolutionary is that this will allow a larger percentage of the population that needs screening to undergo screening,” said Dr. Vijay Shah, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist.   Read More…


Survey says nurses are bullish on industry outlook; encourage people to enter the field ( News Release)

A survey from, the largest online networking and support site for nurses, reveals that the majority of nurses (74 percent) think the job outlook for the nursing industry is positive. Nearly three quarters of respondents (72 percent) would recommend that a person go into the nursing field, and the overwhelming majority (82 percent) believe that the nursing industry has a positive perception in society today.   Read More…



Health News Today – Aug. 25, 2014

Today’s headlines:

  • Farm-to-table in demand at Minnesota State Fair
  • Essentia provided 400k hours clinical education in 2013
  • Neighborhood Involvement Clinic shuts doors citing MNsure success


Minnesotans demanding farm-to-table cuisine, even at state fair (

A lot of folks decide where to grab dinner based on yelp ratings or cravings. But now there’s a growing group of Minnesotans who choose local restaurants based on if it’s “farm-to-table,” basically, the restaurant buys and cooks local food.

Before it’s seared, the pork belly T.J. Rawitzer is cooking was cured and braised, but before that, it was walking around four-days ago.   Read More…



Essentia Health invests 400,000 in medical students (Brainerd Dispatch)

Medical professionals at Essentia Health provided more than 400,000 hours of clinical education to students in the past year.

It’s part of Essentia’s commitment to the future and to ensuring students of today are educated properly for tomorrow’s health care needs.   Read More…


Health care success causes Minn. clinic to close (

A Minneapolis medical clinic is closing, largely because more people are obtaining health insurance through the Affordable Care Act and seeking care elsewhere.

Minnesota Public Radio News reports the Neighborhood Involvement Program provides medical care to thousands of uninsured and underinsured people.   Read More…

Health News Today – Aug. 21, 2014

Today’s health news headlines:

  • New vaccination requirements take effect Sept. 1
  • Mayo meets with Rice County Board of Commissioners
  • Medicare Advantage patients in limbo over payments


New vaccination requirements take effect in Minnesota schools Sept. 1 (

School is just around the corner for many Northland kids and teens.

And with new vaccination requirements taking effect in Minnesota on September 1st, students will need to be up to date on all their shots.   Read More…



Mayo economic development group talks growth with Rice County (

To help secure the Mayo Clinic as a destination medical center, all of southeastern Minnesota needs to contribute — and then can benefit economically.

That was the message a spokesman on behalf of a public/private economic development initiative delivered Tuesday to the Rice County Board of Commissioners.   Read More…



Medicare Advantage patients find themselves in regulatory limbo (

When Minnesota retiree Doug Morphew needed surgery last year, he expected his Humana Medicare Advantage plan to step up and pay the lion’s share of the bill.

Morphew said the health plan had told him over the phone he would owe just $450 for the two days he spent in a St. Paul hospital recovering from the operation to repair an aortic aneurysm.   Read More…