In The News – June 17, 2013

Today’s health news includes articles about how MNSure’s enrollment system is unfair to lower income Minnesotans; the Riverwood Healthcare Center reopens in Aitkin; smartphones could hold your personal medical records; and think palliative care instead of treating symptoms.


Advocates for poor say MNSure’s 2-tier enrollment system is unfair (Minnesota Public Radio)

The state’s new online health insurance marketplace, MNsure, is banking on community groups and other grass-roots organizations to help people sign up for health plans.

MNsure will pay consumer assistants to help Minnesotans apply for and enroll in coverage. But MNsure has a two-tier payment system that advocates for low-income people call unfair.  Read More…


Aitkin Healthcare Reopens (Brainerd Dispatch)

About 500 people turned out for the grand re-opening of Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin on June 6.

Following a two-year project with construction managed by Kraus-Anderson and design by HDR Architecture, the newly renovated Aitkin hospital now features 25 single-occupancy patient rooms, a brand new birthing center and a larger infusion center for chemotherapy. Several departments, including cardiopulmonary, lab, pharmacy, rehabilitation and surgery, were renovated and enlarged.  Read More…


Your smartphone might hold key to your medical records (Kaiser Health News)

It’s one of those unhappy holiday surprises — a visiting family member gets sick. That happened to Dr. Farzad Mostashari last Thanksgiving.

“My dad comes downstairs and he has acute pain in his eye where he had cataract surgery. And I said, ‘What’s the matter, what’s the story?'” recalled Mostashari, who lives in Bethesda, Md. “And he said, ‘Well, I think they put the wrong lens in my eye, I’d gone back to the doctor and…'” His father didn’t remember exactly what had happened at his last doctor’s appointment and the office was closed anyway.   Read More…


Don’t treat symptoms, treat the whole person (

Minnesota is a national leader in the burgeoning field of palliative care, a holistic approach to medicine, and should seize its current momentum to strive toward further improvements.

Palliative care is a multidisciplinary field, incorporating traditional medical practices along with spiritual and social support, aimed at minimizing patient discomfort during treatment for serious or chronic conditions.   Read More…

In The News – Jan. 11, 2013

The flu continues to dominate news coverage in Minnesota today as the recent outbreak is now responsible for 27 deaths in the state. Other health news — Delta Dental hopes to improve dental health grade; UnitedHealth Group offers a health-tech prize; and local health organizations partner to form Hennepin Health – an Accountable Care Organization pilot program.

Enjoy your weekend!

27 flu-related deaths prompt state to redefine outbreak (Minnesota Public Radio)

A big surge in flu cases and deaths has redefined how health officials are describing the current flu outbreak. The Minnesota Department of Health is now declaring that Minnesota is in the midst of a severe flu season.

The agency reports that 401 people were admitted to hospitals last week for laboratory-confirmed flu. The death toll from flu has jumped to 27 people.   Read More…

Delta Dental Foundation leading effort to improve “B” grade from Pew Study (News Release) 

The grades are in! Minnesota gets a “B” on children’s dental health, according to the report card from Pew Center on the States, whose report was issued earlier this morning. The grades from Pew’s 50-state report focuses on children’s dental health, prevention, and states’ efforts to improve access to dental sealants for kids living in low-income circumstances. Minnesota received 8 out of a possible 11 points.

The Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation is seeking to improve the state’s grade to an A, which was achieved by only five states in the Pew report. The grades of Minnesota’s neighbors varied widely. Wisconsin and North Dakota received A’s, Iowa earned a C, and South Dakota’s grade was a D.   Read More…

UnitedHealth Group launches health-tech contest, offers $60,000 prize (Twin Cities Business)

In addition to displaying dozens of products and services at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, UnitedHealth Group, Inc., is using the 2013 event as an opportunity to launch a crowdsourcing contest through which it’s offering a $60,000 prize.

Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth’s “Breakthrough Health Challenge” seeks ideas about how common consumer technologies or devices, including video game systems and mobile phones, can be used in new ways to help people address chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.   Read More…

New approach to health care uses holistic model focusing on wellness and prevention (

NorthPoint Health and Wellness, Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health, Hennepin County Medical Center and Metropolitan Health Plan are partners in Hennepin Health, a local accountable care organization (ACO) pilot program that began last January. ACOs are alternate healthcare models, where groups of partners such as hospitals, clinics and physicians voluntary join together to serve a specific population. Its ultimate goal is to improve health care and reduce costs.

The Hennepin Health model serves low-income single adults ages 21-64 without dependents living with them, with incomes at or below 75 percent of poverty. It started with 4,884 enrollees: Nearly 70 percent are people of color, and 60 percent either have some level of chemical dependency, mental health needs, chronic pain or unstable housing.   Read More…