In The News – April 7, 2014

Today’s health news headlines:

  • Legislative commission will decide if MNsure gets audit
  • Patients in safety net insurance pool find other health plans
  • Statewide sepsis awareness project hopes to improve patient outcomes
  • Sometimes people must be prodded to make health changes


Lawmakers to decide if MNsure gets major audit (Minnesota Public Radio)

A state legislative commission decides this week whether the state’s new online health insurance marketplace, MNsure, should get a major, top to bottom audit.

MNsure has received more than $150 million in federal grants and external reviews found poor management and serious software failures. While a change in leadership in December improved MNsure’s operations many questions remain about the reasons for the site’s troubled operations.   Read More…


Many in Minnesota’s high-risk health insurance pool find new plans (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Almost 62 percent of Minnesotans who had relied on the state’s safety net insurance pool have found better health care coverage on MNsure or the individual market, far exceeding goals, officials at the organization said Friday.

The high-risk pool is winding down operations and will close for good at the end of the year. Under the Affordable Care Act, such pools are less necessary because insurers now are required to provide coverage even to those who are already sick.   Read More…


As sepsis takes its toll, St. Cloud hospital makes its move (St. Cloud Times)

St. Cloud Hospital kicked off a statewide campaign last week against a serious medical condition caused by an overwhelming immune response to infection.

“This is the first time there has been a statewide project to improve outcomes of patients with severe sepsis/septic shock,” said Roberta Basol, care center director of the intensive care/surgical care and clinical practice.  Read More…


Check-in calls improve health of patients at risk for heart disease (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

For people trying to eat right and get more exercise, some gentle nagging can go a long way. Just ask Pat Rolloff of New Ulm, Minn. After her mom died last May, Rolloff’s doctor recommended that she try a program called HeartBeat Connections, which would hook her up with a health coach to help her reduce her cholesterol and lose the 30 pounds she had gained from grief and stress.   Read More…

In The News – Dec. 5, 2013

Today in health news, MNsure applicants grow in number and the Faribault Senior Center recaps senior health programs in 2013.


MNsure applicants in last stage double in November (Minnesota Public Radio)

The number of people who are in the final stages of applying for health insurance through the state’s new online insurance marketplace, has more than doubled since the beginning of November according to figures released today by MNsure.

Roughly 24,600 people are in the process of paying for a plan. That’s up from nearly 11,000 in early November.  Read More…



Healthy aging — the year that was in Faribault (

As we wrap up the Senior Center’s yearlong theme of Healthy Aging, let’s take a look back at some of the subjects that were covered both in newspaper articles in this column and in programs at the Senior Center that related to our special theme for this year.   Read More…

In The News – Dec. 4, 2013

In health news this morning, residents enrolled through MNsure may not have coverage after all.

Follow Health In Minnesota on Twitter @HealthInMinn


Some MNsure enrollees might not be covered as plans start up (Minnesota Public Radio)

Insurance purchased through MNsure, the state’s new online insurance marketplace is set to take effect the first of the year if Minnesota consumers sign up by Dec. 23.

But insurance company representatives say the enrollment information they’re receiving from MNsure isn’t always accurate.  Read More…

In The News – Dec. 3, 2013

Health news headlines today include a MNsure tax credit story and a news release from Children’s Hospitals and Clinics.


MNsure sends 7,500 tax credit notices (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

About 7,500 users of MNsure, the state’s new health insurance exchange, are being mailed notices about their eligibility for federal tax credits that might discount premiums, a state official said Monday.

Minnesota launched the MNsure website Oct. 1 to implement the federal Affordable Care Act. Consumers use the website to determine eligibility for free or subsidized coverage through a public health insurance program and for tax credits that discount the cost of commercial insurance policies.   Read More…


Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota awarded LeapFrog Top Children’s Hospital distinction (news release)

The St. Paul campus of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota has once again been named to The Leapfrog Group’s annual list of Top Children’s Hospitals. Children’s was one of only 13 pediatric hospitals in the country to be recognized by Leapfrog and the only pediatric hospital in Minnesota. This is the fifth year in a row that Children’s has been recognized, and the seventh time since 2006.   Read More…

In The News – Nov. 21, 2013

In health news today, Gov. Dayton says “no” to health plan extension; an explanation about why people must pay for unwanted health coverage; and a MN delegation continues the medical device tax debate.


Minnesota goes against Obamacare fix; will not grant 1-year extension (

Gov. Mark Dayton announced Monday that Minnesotans will not be able to keep existing insurance coverage under the federal health care law, despite saying last week that he supported President Barack Obama’s plan to allow it.

Dayton’s decision not to grant the one-year extension on existing plans followed harsh criticism of the proposal by major Minnesota insurance companies.   Read More…


Why are people required to pay for unwanted health coverage? (

Under the new Affordable Care Act, the health plans of almost 140,000 Minnesotans don’t comply with the new law. That’s because many lower-premium plans don’t include benefits like maternity, mental health coverage or prescription drugs that will now be required.

Across the country, that means millions of people’s policies will be cancelled while others might have to pay higher premiums.   Read More…


Minnesota delegation continues fight against medical device tax (Minnesota Public Radio)

There aren’t many issues that unite the Minnesota congressional delegation, but the effort to get the medical device tax repealed is one of them.

The tax, part of the Affordable Care Act, went into effect in January. Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen and Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken say the 2.3 percent tax on companies like Medtronic and St. Jude Medical will cost jobs and stifle innovation.   Read More…

In The News – Nov. 13, 2013

Today’s health news includes articles about health care subsidies; Gov. Mark Dayton speaks out on existing health plan coverage; doctors voice concerns about physician shortage; and Northfield’s hospital gets a special award.


$0 credit subsidy confuses MNsure consumers (Minnesota Public Radio)

Yvonne Araiza, of St Louis Park, is eager for health insurance. Currently uninsured because she can’t afford the premiums, she jumped on MNsure’s website on day one in search of an affordable plan.

“I was very excited to see what there was to offer,” Araiza said of the state’s online insurance marketplace. “And the fact that the pre-existing conditions…wasn’t going to be a consideration on how much you would have to pay.”   Read More…


Dayton: Americans should be able to keep insurance (

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday he believes all Americans should be able to keep existing insurance plans under the new federal health care law, another prominent Democrat adding pressure to the White House as it tries to manage criticism of its federal health care law.

Dayton stressed that he has little influence as governor over the decision.   Read More…


Minnesota doctors search for cure to looming physician shortage (

Dozens of Minnesota doctors are hoping to cure a problem that will impact all of us: a shortage of physicians. About 80 Minnesota M.D.s met in Minneapolis Tuesday evening to talk about solutions for the coming shortage.

The Minnesota Medical Association hosted the Primary Care Physician Workforce Summit after organizing a special task force to address the issue.   Read More…


Northfield hospital earns patient safety award (

Northfield Hospital was recently recognized by Minnesota Hospital Association for superior performance on improving patient safety.

The hospital received a “Partnership for Patients Excellence Award” from the MHA Hospital Engagement Network, a consortium of healthcare facilities dedicated to reducing preventable hospital acquired conditions and preventable hospital re-admissions.   Read More…

In The News – Oct. 28, 2013

Health news headlines include:

  • Rochester, MN, faced with highest health care costs in the state
  • Ground breaking held for new wellness center in Wadena
  • Doctors say don’t rush back to school after concussion


In Rochester, squeezed by health costs despite the overhaul (Minnesota Public Radio)

When insurance companies decide where to sell health plans, they look closely at what it will cost them. And in Rochester, health care is more expensive than anywhere else in Minnesota because the Mayo Clinic sets the region’s prices.

That’s the reality facing southeast Minnesota. Despite the federal Affordable Care Act and the new MNsure health coverage marketplace, Rochester stands as the one part of the state where prices are high and options are few.   Read More…


Groundbreaking ceremony marks start of wellness center in Wadena (Brainerd Dispatch)

Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 22 at the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center in Wadena.

The $12.4 million dollar project the construction site, located just north of the Wadena-Deer Creek Middle/High School, gave a new vision and view of a progressive and connected community…   Read More…


Pediatric doctors: Don’t rush to return to class after concussion (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Heightened concern about youth concussions spurred legislation in Minnesota and national guidelines governing when injured athletes can safely return to sports, but many parents and educators remain confused about when students’ brains have healed enough that they can safely return to class.

The American Academy of Pediatrics weighed in on Sunday, with new guidance called “Returning to Learning,” in an effort to keep concussed kids from being rushed back to class in ways that could prolong their brain injuries and cause their grades to plummet.   Read More…

In The News – Oct. 23, 2013

Today’s health news headlines:

  • Versant Ventures seeks to create $250 million VC fund for med tech industry
  • Hospitals prepare for newly insured rush for health care
  • Minnesota remains a pioneer in healthcare
  • Politicians clash over success of MNsure so far


Med-tech VC firm raising $250 million fund (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)

Versant Ventures, a venture capital firm that’s invested millions in Minnesota companies, is seeking $250 million for its fifth fund.

The West Coast firm opened a Twin Cities office last year, with Managing Director Kirk Nielsen saying the move would put Versant closer to its Minnesota portfolio companies and make scouting for Twin Cities deals easier.   Read More…


Minn. hospitals and clinics prepare ahead of Affordable Care Act (

The Affordable Care Act will send millions of new patients into America’s health care system. Faced with that challenge, Minnesota’s hospitals and clinics say they are preparing now.

For the final part of our 5 EYEWITNESS News series “ER Emergency,” we explored the local plans to keep our state’s health care system in tact.   Read More…


Pioneering healthcare in Minnesota (

Despite the threat of Congress further changing the rules of our healthcare system and a 16-day shutdown of the federal government, leaders across Minnesota and the Midwest have been working to increase the accessibility to insurance while improving patient care and reducing costs. So, instead of focusing on the political bloviating in Washington, let’s turn our attention to the opportunities being developed right here in Minnesota, where improvements have already changed the way patients receive new healthcare benefits. Daniel McLaughlin, M.H.A, Director of the University of St. Thomas (UST) Center for Health and Medical Affairs, shared his insight into the progressive nature of our evolving local healthcare models.   Read More…


Minn. politicians clash on MNsure’s performance so far (

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton says he’s pleased with the progress of Minnesota’s health care exchange so far.  The comments come after the federal rollout of Obamacare, which has been plagued with problems.

Minnesota’s health exchange went online Oct. 1 and has not had the widespread problems other states have experienced.   Read More…

In The News – Oct. 18, 2013

Today’s health headlines:

  • MNsure reports 3,700 Minnesotans are signed up for insurance
  • Controversy still surrounds health insurance exchange
  • New health care firm hired for inmate care
  • ACA continues to present challenges and opportunities

Health news headlines from around the state to keep you informed. Follow us on Twitter @HealthInMinn


MNsure signs up 3,700 so far for health insurance (

Minnesota’s health insurance exchange on Wednesday released its first data on enrollment, showing that two weeks into its launch more than 3,700 people have signed up for health insurance coverage.

It’s a relatively slow start to the state’s delivery system for increasing insurance coverage rates under the federal health overhaul. MNsure officials said 3,769 people have either finalized enrollment or are waiting for payments to be processed…   Read More…


National, local controversy greets opening of new state health exchange (Twin Cities Daily Planet)

MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange program, debuted the signup process on October 1. Officials during an October 4 conference call with reporters, including the MSR, estimated that 5,000 accounts were opened during the first week.

“We think it’s been going very well,” remarked MNsure Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov. She added that many people did “anonymous shopping” but did not disclose specific numbers.   Read More…


New medical provider chosen for Minnesota prisons (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The Minnesota Department of Corrections has hired a new firm to oversee medical care in state prisons, severing a 15-year relationship with a corporation that became the target of lawsuits and staff complaints alleging substandard care.   Read More…


Affordable Care Act: changes, challenges and opportunities (Brainerd Dispatch)

On the insurance side of health care changes, insurance agents report confusion with changes, frustration in getting certified and an opportunity to insure people who previously were turned away.

Beginning with the new year, the Affordable Care Act requires all U.S. citizens and legal residents to obtain health insurance. States were able to create their own options and Minnesota created MNsure (   Read More…

In The News – Oct. 1, 2013

Today is the day. MNsure officially becomes available to the public interested in purchasing health insurance plans. The topic dominates health news headlines around the state.


MNSure. Who is for? Not everyone. (Minnesota Public Radio)

As health insurance marketplaces go online in every state today as part of the Affordable Care Act, surveys indicate that confusion abounds over how the so-called exchanges will work and who should use them. The president’s health care overhaul relies heavily on the exchanges, like MNsure in Minnesota, to expand access to insurance. But MNsure isn’t for everyone.   Read More…


Minnesota’s homegrown health insurance exchange pays off (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Less than a year ago, we Minnesota leaders had a critical decision to make. We could either have a health insurance exchange imposed upon us by the federal government on Oct. 1, 2013 — as Gov. Scott Walker opted for in Wisconsin — or we could create our own exchange.

We chose to do it ourselves.

MNsure is Minnesota’s new online marketplace for health insurance, a place where people can comparison-shop and pick the insurance that’s right for them at affordable prices.   Read More…


MNsure won’t be ready to go Tuesday morning (The Republic)

Officials with Minnesota’s state-run health insurance exchange say they expect to know later in the morning when consumers can start using the system to shop for health care.

MNsure officials said Monday they want to make sure the system connects properly with federal computer systems and that it’s secure.   Read More…


Ramsey couple donate $1 million to local hospitals (Coon Rapids Herald)

The Mercy and Unity Hospitals Foundation got a big boost in its three-year “Legacy of Caring” capital campaign to raise $8.4 million for various projects thanks to a $1 million donation from a Ramsey couple.

The $1 million donation from Jim and Pam Deal that kicked off a capital campaign that runs through 2015 is the largest gift ever made to the foundation and it will help in its quest to improve care for cardiovascular and cancer patients, and women giving birth at the Allina Health facilities, according to an Allina Health press release.   Read More…