Health News Today – June 16, 2014

Health news headlines today include:

  • Medtronic strikes deal to acquire Covidien
  • Shakopee VA Clinic celebrates grand opening
  • State slows transfer of public health coverage to MNsure
  • Affordable Care Act is working says U of M study


Medtronic pays $42.9 billion for Covidien (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Medtronic Inc. announced Sunday night that it will pay $42.9 billion to acquire the Irish surgical device maker Covidien. As a result of the deal, Medtronic will move its executive headquarters to ­Ireland to take advantage of substantial tax benefits.

The combined firm will be led by Medtronic Chairman and CEO Omar Ishrak and will maintain its operational headquarters in the Twin Cities, where 8,000 employees now work.   Read More…

New Shakopee VA clinic holds grand opening (

Monday marks the grand opening of the new Veterans Affairs clinic in Shakopee.

U.S. Rep. John Kline is slated to keynote the 9 a.m. program, which includes an open house and tours.   Read More…



Minnesota slows transfer of public health coverage to MNsure site (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

Minnesota officials have slowed a massive transition of public insurance beneficiaries to the new MNsure system, but say the health insurance exchange still will meet projections for 1.3 million enrollees by 2016.

As of May, the exchange had enrolled more than 200,000 in public and private health insurance — less than one-fifth of the long-term projection for coverage through MNsure.   Read More…


ACA is paying off with access for all (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The venomous politics dogging the Affordable Care Act and the flawed rollouts of its new health insurance marketplaces have too often overshadowed health reform’s noble goal: ensuring that more Americans have access to vital, potentially lifesaving medical coverage.

But on Wednesday, a groundbreaking analysis released by University of Minnesota researchers offered a powerful reminder of why it’s important to keep the big picture in mind as the challenges of implementing the landmark 2010 law continue.    Read More…



Health News Today – June 12, 2014

Health news headlines today:

  • 95% of Minnesotans insured following MNsure enrollment
  • Vets say state’s VA clinics are ‘ok’
  • Cardiovascular Systems plans new HQ in New Brighton
  • Steele Fitness/Snap Fitness announces plan to scale and compete with LifeTime


Minnesota’s uninsured rate dropped 41% after MNsure enrollment (Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal)

More than 180,000 Minnesotans without health insurance got it after the Affordable Care Act led to the state’s MNsureexchange.

Between the end of September 2013 (before MNsure open enrollment started) and the start of May (one month after it closed), the number of uninsured Minnesotans dropped by 40.6 percent to 264,5000.   Read More…

Despite audit’s red flags, vets give Minnesota’s VA clinics high marks (

While Minnesota Veterans Affairs officials anxiously seek an explanation why a federal audit identified the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and the Rochester VA clinic as trouble spots needing more review, many Minnesota veterans are praising the state’s VA medical facilities.

Rank-and-file vets and those employed by county Veterans Services offices throughout the state said they’ve received superb care from the Minneapolis VA hospital.   Read More…

Cardiovascular Systems announces plans for new corporate headquarters (News Release)

Cardiovascular Systems, Inc. (CSI) (NASDAQ: CSII), today announced plans to build a new corporate headquarters in New Brighton, Minn. The 125,000-square-foot, two-story building will have space for more than 500 employees and contain dedicated research and development, training and education, and manufacturing facilities.   Read More…

Steele aims to complete with LifeTime, double footprint (

Steele Fitness recently announced plans to double its footprint in the Twin Cities and is expanding its services to offer gym memberships, in addition to the personal training model that it is largely known for.

Steele Fitness, which was acquired by Chanhassen-based fitness chain Snap Fitness last year, currently operates five locations in Minnesota and expects to open between five to seven new gyms by the end of the year, bringing its total to between 10 to 12.   Read More…


Health News Today – May 2, 2014

Health news headlines include:

  • Minnesota No. 1 in Health Performance scorecard
  • New law helps mentally ill into treatment, out of jail
  • Winona nurse named care-giver of the year


Minnesota takes top ranking on new health performance scorecard (

Minnesota is ranked first among all 50 states and the District of Columbia on the 2014 edition of the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health Performance, which was released Wednesday.

The scorecard measured 42 health indicators, including insurance coverage, vaccination rates, preventable hospital visits, obesity, suicide rates, smoking rates and cancer deaths from 2007 to 2012 — just before the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began to be implemented.   Read More…


New Minn. law will get mentally ill out of jails, into treatment faster (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

A new law that will streamline the screening process for mentally ill jail inmates could drastically shrink the amount of time they spend in Minnesota jails without treatment.

Advocates say the move is a vitally important step in reforming how the state deals with its mentally ill, starting with those whose symptoms are so acute that they can result in arrest — or worse.   Read More…


Winona nurse named ‘Minnesota Care Giver of the Year’ (Rochester Post-Bulletin)

A Winona Health nurse was named Minnesota Caregiver of the Year last week at the Minnesota Hospital Association’s 30th annual awards ceremony.

Helen Bagshaw, a native of England who has worked in Winona for 10 years, was recognized April 25 based on excellence in the following criteria:   Read More…

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…