Health News Today – Sept. 19, 2014

Today’s health news headlines include:

  • Enterovirus confirmed in Minnesota
  • New hospital/clinic about to open in Thief River Falls
  • What contagious diseases are the deadliest


Lab tests confirm D68 enterovirus in Minnesota (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

An unusually harsh strain of enterovirus has been detected in Minnesota and linked to a buildup of children suffering breathing problems and clogging pediatric hospitals, the state health department reported Wednesday.

Lab tests confirmed that enterovirus D68 had infected at least one Minnesota child, who received hospital care for respiratory illness and is now recovering at home. The state is among at least 13 where the virus has spread. More than 130 illnesses, all involving children in the United States, have been linked to the virus, which is an unusual strain that is typically associated with summer colds.   Read More…


Sanford hospital, clinic nears opening in Thief River Falls (

A new $60 million, 136-square-foot hospital and clinic is close to opening in Thief River Falls.

The Sanford Thief River Falls Medical Center, located along Minnesota Highway 32 on the south end of this Pennington County city of 8,600, includes a 25-bed critical access hospital, a clinic with more than 30 specialties, an emergency department/urgent care center, pharmacies, a rehabilitation department and more.   Read More…


Which contagious diseases are the deadliest (

No one knows what the death toll in the Ebola epidemic will be. As of Tuesday, nearly 2,500 people have died and nearly 5,000 have caught the virus, the World Health Organization says.

So how does this epidemic compare with the toll taken by other contagious diseases?   Read More…



Health News Today – Sept. 17, 2014

In today’s health news headlines:

  • Low-rate insurer PreferredOne waves goodbye to MNsure
  • Adrian Peterson has advocated for childrens’ health and well-being
  • CentraCare cuts ties with Humana citing claim denial practices
  • Minn. Medical Association hosts annual meeting at Gull Lake resort


PreferredOne pulls out of MNsure (Minnesota Public Radio)

The insurer with the lowest rates and most customers on Minnesota’s health care exchange is pulling out.

Golden Valley-based PreferredOne this morning confirmed its exit from MNsure. It comes as a major blow to the exchange — the next open enrollment period starts Nov. 15 and runs through Feb. 15.   Read More…


Adrian Peterson was a ‘champion’ of kids health last year (USA Today)

Adrian Peterson, facing an indictment after whipping his 4-year-old son with a tree branch, was raising money and awareness in the fight against child abuse a year ago.

Peterson’s The All Day Foundation advocates for the health and well-being of kids and partnered with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota for a fundraiser last fall.   Read More...


CentraCare cuts ties with Humana Medicare Advantage (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)

CentraCare Health System will end its participation in Humana’s Medicare Advantage plan effective Jan. 1.

The St. Cloud-based health provider made the change because it shares many of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson’s concerns about Humana’s practices, a CentraCare spokeswoman said.  Read More…


MMA conference is Friday, Saturday at Madden’s (Brainerd Dispatch)

The Minnesota Medical Association’s annual conference is expected to draw more than 150 doctors-in-training, doctors and national experts to discuss a variety of topics Friday and Saturday at Madden’s on Gull Lake.

Topics will be addressed include delivering health care services via technology, the future of Minnesota’s health care workforce, digital innovations in medicine and preventing burnout in health care professionals.   Read More…





Health News Today – Sept. 15, 2014

Today in health news in Minnesota:

  • Dept. of health educates community about Ebola virus
  • Physicians get early look at new $160M University of Minnesota health clinic/surgery center
  • Learn to live well, one minute at a time
  • Mental health law pushes system to crisis point


Minnesota health official educate community about Ebola (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The Ebola virus ravaging West Africa remains unlikely to appear in Minnesota, home to more than 30,000 people of Liberian descent.

Local health officials Sunday repeated earlier assurances that Twin Cities residents are not at risk of contracting the disease from recent immigrants or imported foods and merchandise.   Read More…

A first glimpse for physicians of University’s new med care center (

With a little more than a year until its grand opening, the site of the University of Minnesota’s upcoming ambulatory care center looks like a skeleton of its future self.

Hard hats, caged lights and dangling wires dot the concrete floors and empty steel frames that will eventually be home to a training, research and health care facility.   Read More…


Living a well-balanced day, one minute at a time (

As our minutes of daylight decrease each day as we approach the new season, it is an opportune time to reflect on how valuable minutes are and how, used wisely, they can contribute to your daily life.

If you feel that your days couldn’t proceed any better than they already are, that’s wonderful! But there can be days (that may turn into weeks, months and even years) when you may feel unorganized and constantly trying to catch up with yourself.   Read More…


New Minnesota law pushes mental health system to crisis point (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Hundreds of people with severe mental illnesses are languishing for weeks or even months without proper medical treatment, in part because of a law that requires state psychiatric facilities to admit some jail inmates ahead of hospital patients, regardless of clinical need or cost.

The longer waits for mental health beds are an unintended consequence of 2013 legislation that was designed to shrink the swelling population of mentally ill people housed in county jails. The law, known as the “48-hour rule,” required inmates to be transferred to a state psychiatric facility within 48 hours after being committed by a state judge.   Read More…




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…