Health News Today – Dec. 9, 2015

In health news from around the state today:

  • St. Joseph, Minn., company gets birth control exemption
  • State Rep. Joe Atkins says health care workers must be trained to protect themselves
  • Mayo Clinic sees big data as crucial to remain an elite medical institution
  • Medical center looks to improve chronic disease care
  • Recovery center might replace jail for mentally ill offenders


MN business gets OK to exclude birth control from health plans (Minnesota Public Radio)

A central Minnesota business has won state court approval to exclude birth control from its employees’ health insurance plans.

American Mfg Co., which makes mud pumps and pump parts, sought a religious exemption from the Affordable Care Act mandate, which requires contraceptive coverage in employers’ health plans. The St. Joseph-based company won a preliminary injunction in 2013.   Read More…


Lawmaker seeks to lower violence against health care workers (

A Minnesota lawmaker is proposing much tougher state penalties for violence against health care workers.

The move comes after a high profile attack at St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood by a patient who beat four nurses with a metal bar he removed from a bed.   Read More…


Mayo seeks to dominate with data (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The patients arrive at the Mayo Clinic from all over the world, thousands a day, each presenting a different medical challenge.

Some have illnesses so rare that even medical journals don’t offer a time-tested treatment plan. Others bring a complicated combination of ailments — diabetes with heart failure and kidney disease — that offer conflicting treatment options.   Read More…


New Ulm looks to improve chronic disease care; cut hospital costs (Mankato Free Press)

The New Ulm Medical Center will hire two registered nurses and a social worker to focus on connecting with patients who have chronic diseases, a move the center hopes will reduce emergency-department visits and ultimately save money.

The registered nurses and social worker will work closely with the center’s primary-care teams to identify patients who are not at optimal care and who may not be seen on a regular enough basis to address the issues.   Read More…


Recovery center could replace jail for mentally ill offenders (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Troubled by years of horrific and costly incidents at the Hennepin County jail, officials are proposing a sweeping overhaul of the way mentally ill adults are treated after being arrested, detained and funneled into the criminal justice system.

Offenders with psychiatric disorders — many of whom are arrested repeatedly for minor nuisance offenses — would be diverted to a one-stop “recovery center” in south Minneapolis instead of winding up in jail.   Read More…


Health News Today – Oct. 3, 2014

Friday’s health news headlines include:

  • Drug OD deaths exceed traffic fatalities in Minn.
  • MNsure 2015 health exchange premiums increase, on average, 4.5%
  • Post ACA study from U of M shows ER psychiatric visits for young adults declined
  • Are marathons bad for you?
  • Ecumen and MnSCU team to train nurses for growing senior population


Drug overdose deaths in Minnesota exceed traffic fatalities for first time (

Traffic accidents are so 2013. The Strib’s Kevin Giles says, “Overdose deaths in Minnesota from prescription painkillers and heroin have soared to a level that now exceeds deaths from motor vehicle accidents, new numbers from the state Department of Health show. … In 2013, the Health Department reported, 507 Minnesotans died of all types of drug overdoses including 329 in the 11-county metro area. Deaths from prescribed pain relievers — and illegal heroin, a close cousin in the opiate family — accounted for many of them. By comparison, 374 Minnesotans died in motor vehicle accidents.”    Read More…


4.5% average hike in 2014 MNsure health plan rates (

Costs for health plans offered through MNsure are expected to rise an average 4.5 percent for 2015, officials with the health exchange said Wednesday.

Premiums will be the lowest of any in the nation and there will be more choices when the new enrollment period launches Nov. 15, the Commerce Department said.   Read More…



University of Minnesota Study: After Affordable Care Act, inpatient psychiatric care rose and emergency psychiatric care dropped for young adults (

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded health care coverage to several million previously uninsured young adults. Research out today from the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota finds that the ACA’s young adult insurance expansion coincided with modest increases to inpatient mental health and inpatient substance abuse care utilization, while emergency department use for these disorders declined. Young adults were also less likely to be uninsured when they did use these hospital-based services.

The findings were published online today in the American Journal of Psychiatry.   Read More…



Good Question: Are marathons bad for your health? (

This coming Monday, you might see a few of your co-workers limping around the office after almost 12,000 people lace up for this Sunday’s Twin Cities Marathon — 26.2 miles that circle around Minneapolis and St. Paul.

As one marathoner who’s competed in the past put it, “My muscles, my legs, my calves … felt like crap.”   Read More…


Ecumen, MnSCU launch workforce development initiative (Mankato Free Press)

A local senior services organization hopes to become “ground zero” for senior health care by launching a new workforce development initiative that would address a looming shortage in the number of nurses trained to serve the state’s rapidly aging population.

Ecumen, which operates in several rural Minnesota communities, is teaming up with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities to implement the new program, to be called Ecumen Scholars.   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 – 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. 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…




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 – 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…