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…


Health News Today – Aug. 13, 2014

Health news headlines today include:

  • State health plans cover 94% of employees health coverage
  • Dept. of Health links E.coli outbreak to traveling zoo


Minnesota State health plan among most generous (

Minnesota state employees get 94 percent of their health care costs covered by insurance, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

That’s higher than the national average for state workers of 92 percent. It’s richer than the average plans offered for sale under the federal health care law, roughly equivalent to platinum plans sold on the state’s health insurance exchange, MNsure. And it’s better than the plans most private employers provide, which are generally in the 80 percent range.   Read More…


Minnesota health officials link E.coli infections to traveling petting zoo (Brainerd Dispatch)

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has identified at least 13 people who have developed E. coli O157:H7 infections as part of an outbreak associated with Zerebko Zoo Tran traveling petting zoo. All of these cases have infections with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria that have the same DNA fingerprint. Two of these are secondary cases resulting from being exposed to one of the primary cases associated with the petting zoo.   Read More…

Health News Today – Aug. 12, 2014

Health in Minnesota remembers Robin Williams today.

Need help? Click here for Minnesota Mental Health Association Crisis Info. Call 1-800-273-TALK to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Robin Williams, an improv genius, forever present in the moment (The New York Times)

Source: Getty

Some years ago, at a party at the Cannes Film Festival, I was leaning against a rail watching a fireworks display when I heard a familiar voice behind me. Or rather, at least a dozen voices, punctuating the offshore explosions with jokes, non sequiturs and off-the-wall pop-cultural, sexual and political references.

There was no need to turn around: The voices were not talking directly to me and they could not have belonged to anyone other than Robin Williams, who was extemporizing a monologue at least as pyrotechnically amazing as what was unfolding against the Mediterranean sky. I’m unable to recall the details now, but you can probably imagine the rapid-fire succession of accents and pitches — macho basso, squeaky girly, French, Spanish, African-American, human, animal and alien — entangling with curlicues of self-conscious commentary about the sheer ridiculousness of anyone trying to narrate explosions of colored gunpowder in real time.  Read More…

Health News Today – Aug. 11, 2014

Health news headlines today include:

  • Le Sueur hospital gets designation as Acute Stroke Ready Hospital
  • $20,000 non-refundable fee for people interested in growing pot in Minnesota
  • Health and wellness programs a success at Brooklyn Center High School


Minnesota Valley Health Center in Le Sueur designated as ‘stroke ready’ (

Minnesota Valley Health Center has achieved Acute Stroke Ready Hospital designation from the Minnesota Department of Health.

This designation means that the hospital is up-to-date on current standards, guidelines, and best practices in caring for patients suffering from a stroke. The nursing staff had training to enhance their existing knowledge to quickly identify stroke symptoms, and administer the proper medications.   Read More…


Minnesota medical marijuana grower application feel: $20,000 (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

There’s a lot of interest in growing medical marijuana in Minnesota.

Whether that interest will translate into applications to become one of two state-registered growers is another question — particularly since there’s a $20,000 nonrefundable application fee.

On Friday, state officials tested the waters with a forum in St. Paul for potential applicants. More than 100 showed up, although some sounded skeptical about the state’s new program.   Read More…


Full-service community schools: Vision is important (

At Brooklyn Center High School, a couple of years ago, a small room was transformed into an optometrist’s examining room. On the first day it opened in January 2013, 18 students were seen, and 15 of them needed glasses. At last, those who needed eyewear had access to it.

The eye doctor who donates a few hours per month of his time to seeing patients, free of charge, at Brooklyn Center High School is part of that school’s full service approach to education. The eye doctor has his own space across the hall from a dental clinic, which shares space with a medical clinic, which extends out to a mental health clinic. This model of comprehensive wellness—designed to help boost the overall success of the school—embraces students, staff, and families.   Read More…




Health News Today – Aug. 8, 2014

In today’s health news:

  • U of M research helps ID gene that turns off cancer
  • Medical pot manufacturers to be selected by state
  • Minnesota Valley Health Center staff train and prepare for worst


U of M research helps solve cancer mystery (KARE11-TV)

Imagine if we had a way to stop cancer before it even started. A new discovery found at the University of Minnesota could someday make this a reality.

“We are very proud. It’s a nice study. The data are super clear,” said Dr. Eric Hendrickson, the lead researcher of the study.

For three years Hendrickson’s team at the University of Minnesota Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics has worked in partnership with Cardiff University in England researching cancer and how one tiny gene could completely shut it off.   Read More…


Interest lights up as state looks to select 1st medical pot manufacturers (KSTP-TV)

Medical marijuana is coming to Minnesota, and the question is, “Who’s going to manufacture it?”

Finding a manufacturer is no easy task.

Dr. Marshall Brinton is a licensed veterinarian who used to operate a veterinary vaccine company in Willmar. He retired after a wakeboarding accident left him disabled.   Read More…


Training helps Minnesota Valley Health Center staff prepare for emergencies (

In the case of an active shooter entering a work place, having staff trained to run an emergency procedure could be the difference, quite literally, between life and death.

In an effort to help ensure a safe environment, theMinnesota Valley Health Center are better educating themselves in the event of an emergency.  Read More… 

Health News Today – Aug. 4, 2014

In health news today:

  • Two clinics get ACA funding for mental health services
  • As we age health care strives to improve while lowering costs
  • Minn. family tries medical marijuana for son’s seizures


Minn. clinics get $500,000 for mental health services (

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $250,000 each to Open Door Health Center of Mankato and Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais. The funding comes from the Affordable Care Act.

Rita Plourde, executive director of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, says the family physicians at her clinic are treating a growing number of patients who need mental health services.   Read More…


Late-in-life health care: Initiatives aim to cut costs while increasing quality (

A medical bill is a shocker, even for those with insurance coverage. An emergency-room visit with multiple tests can cost as much as a car. Major surgery? Think mortgage-sized sums.

The sobering reality that Americans could collectively go broke paying such bills for an aging nation has ignited challenges to traditional ways of financing health care.   Read More…


Family tries marijuana treatment for baby Wyatt’s seizures (

The path that Jessica Hauser never expected to travel with her family is approaching a crossroads.

The journey for Hauser and her husband, Jeremy, began when their son, Wyatt, was diagnosed seven months into his young life with infantile spasms, a type of epilepsy that could cause about 200 seizures a day.   Read More…