Health News Today – July 31, 2014

Health news headlines include:

  • 2015 legislation planned to require insurance coverage of contraceptives
  • Minnesota health care startups rank first for venture dollars raised so far in 2014
  • Scientist learn more about the battle in your belly


In Minnesota Legislature, contraceptives coverage bill to be proposed (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

Spurred by a recent Supreme Court ruling, DFLers in the state House say they will introduce legislation next year to require insurance coverage for contraceptives by certain employer health plans in Minnesota.

House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, says the legislation is needed because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld a challenge by crafts retailer Hobby Lobby to mandated contraceptive coverage in the federal Affordable Care Act.   Read More…


Med-tech report says midwest health care startups had best half-year in a decade (The Wall Street Journal)

Health-care technology startups in the Midwest are having a banner year so far in 2014, raising more funding rounds of higher dollar amounts than at any time since 2005, a report from Cleveland-based BioEnterprise said.

The top three Midwestern states in terms of health-technology investing this year are Minnesota, with $184 million worth of deals so far; Ohio, with $155 million, and Michigan, with $114 million, the report said.   Read More…


Scientists discover more about the battle in your belly (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Kathleen Pender knew her gut was trying to tell her something. She just wasn’t sure what it was.

The 23-year-old Minneapolis woman had recently returned from a stay in Ghana, where she took antibiotics to treat a bout of food poisoning. Back in Minnesota, she soon developed severe, chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain.   Read More…




Health News Today – July 29, 2014

In today’s health news:

  • MDH working with Liberian officials to solve Ebola outbreak
  • Nearly 9,000 residents get apology letter following MNCare gaffe
  • ZocDoc helps Minnesotans find doctors and book appointments online


Minnesota health officials address Ebola concerns (

The Minnesota Department of Health is working with leaders in the local Liberian community to address concerns about an Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Health officials are meeting with members of the West African community Monday.   Read More…


State issues apology for MNCare error (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The state of Minnesota is contacting nearly 9,000 recipients of MinnesotaCare health insurance to clarify a letter that incorrectly stated they would lose their subsidized coverage for at least four months if they didn’t re-enroll by July 31.

Minnesota used to make new or tardy MinnesotaCare enrollees wait four months for benefits, but that waiting period went away this year as part of federal health changes and the introduction of the MNsure online health insurance marketplace.   Read More…

ZocDoc comes to Minnesota, helping patients find doctors, book appointments (

ZocDoc, a free online service and app used by more than five million patients each month, arrives in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul areas today, delivering faster access to quality medical care. With ZocDoc, patients can search for nearby, in-network doctors, read verified reviews and health content, see doctors’ availability in real time, and instantly book appointments online. While the average wait to see a physician is over 18 days, the typical ZocDoc patient sees a doctor in under 24 hours.   Read More…

Health News Today – July 28, 2014

Today in health news:

  • MNsure should release cost-of-coverage info sooner, not later
  • State seeks medical marijuana manufacturers
  • Free dental clinic in Mankato once again a huge success


Editorial: A needed push for early release of MNsure rates (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Consumers buying health insurance on MNsure and the Affordable Care Act’s other new online marketplaces had six months to comparison shop and enroll for 2014 coverage.

But for 2015 coverage, that window is half as long, which is why it’s vital that Minnesota repeat the consumer-friendly, nation-leading move of releasing cost-of-coverage information as early as possible.   Read More…

Minnesota looks for manufacturers for medical pot program (

Dr. Marshall Brinton saw the headlines after Minnesota passed a medical marijuana law, looked around at the equipment in his old veterinary laboratory and thought: Yeah, I could do that.

A retired veterinarian in Willmar, Brinton hopes to convert the lab where he once made vaccines for animals into one of Minnesota’s two medical marijuana production facilities.   Read More…


Smiles all around at free dental clinic (

Tim Foskett is a well-educated teacher in Roseville. He’s also without dental insurance.

The lack of insurance brought him to Mankato on Friday for the Mission of Mercy free dental clinic at the Verizon Wireless Center. But the demand was so high he was turned away and had to return in the early morning hours Saturday to see a dentist.  Read More…


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…