Health News Today – Sept. 17, 2014

In today’s health news headlines:

  • Low-rate insurer PreferredOne waves goodbye to MNsure
  • Adrian Peterson has advocated for childrens’ health and well-being
  • CentraCare cuts ties with Humana citing claim denial practices
  • Minn. Medical Association hosts annual meeting at Gull Lake resort


PreferredOne pulls out of MNsure (Minnesota Public Radio)

The insurer with the lowest rates and most customers on Minnesota’s health care exchange is pulling out.

Golden Valley-based PreferredOne this morning confirmed its exit from MNsure. It comes as a major blow to the exchange — the next open enrollment period starts Nov. 15 and runs through Feb. 15.   Read More…


Adrian Peterson was a ‘champion’ of kids health last year (USA Today)

Adrian Peterson, facing an indictment after whipping his 4-year-old son with a tree branch, was raising money and awareness in the fight against child abuse a year ago.

Peterson’s The All Day Foundation advocates for the health and well-being of kids and partnered with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota for a fundraiser last fall.   Read More...


CentraCare cuts ties with Humana Medicare Advantage (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)

CentraCare Health System will end its participation in Humana’s Medicare Advantage plan effective Jan. 1.

The St. Cloud-based health provider made the change because it shares many of Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson’s concerns about Humana’s practices, a CentraCare spokeswoman said.  Read More…


MMA conference is Friday, Saturday at Madden’s (Brainerd Dispatch)

The Minnesota Medical Association’s annual conference is expected to draw more than 150 doctors-in-training, doctors and national experts to discuss a variety of topics Friday and Saturday at Madden’s on Gull Lake.

Topics will be addressed include delivering health care services via technology, the future of Minnesota’s health care workforce, digital innovations in medicine and preventing burnout in health care professionals.   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 – Sept. 2, 2014

Today’s health news headlines…

  • Majority of new healthcare jobs in Minnesota are in low-paying roles
  • MNsure struggles with ‘life event’ changes
  • New Inspire Therapy helps patients with sleep apnea


Health care adds jobs, at low pay (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The new low-wage job in Minnesota is in health care.

That traditionally high-paying sector has carried the state’s job recovery in recent years, but most of the new workers aren’t higher-paid doctors and nurses. The majority of health jobs created in Minnesota since the end of 2008 are in lower-paying roles like home health care or nursing home aides.

The typical pay for these positions: $20,000 a year or less.   Read More…


MNsure struggles to keep up with ‘life event’ changes (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

When a new baby arrives, parents want the infant quickly added to their health insurance.

But for 78 new moms in Dakota County this year, the process bogged down for months because of a change to Minnesota’s new MNsure health insurance exchange.

For five months, county workers said they couldn’t use the new system to add babies to their mom’s coverage in Medical Assistance, the state’s primary safety net health insurance program.   Read More…


New treatment helps patients sleep soundly (St. Cloud Times)

Ivy Abersoll’s Aitkin home is about a 40-minute drive from Brainerd. But for the longest time she wasn’t able to make the drive to the town she went to church and shopping in without stopping.

“Many, many times I would have to pull over and take a nap,” Abersoll said.

Abersoll suffers from severe sleep apnea. Her Continuous Positive Airway Pressure mask didn’t help much.   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. 13, 2014

Health news headlines today include:

  • State health plans cover 94% of employees health coverage
  • Dept. of Health links E.coli outbreak to traveling zoo


Minnesota State health plan among most generous (

Minnesota state employees get 94 percent of their health care costs covered by insurance, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

That’s higher than the national average for state workers of 92 percent. It’s richer than the average plans offered for sale under the federal health care law, roughly equivalent to platinum plans sold on the state’s health insurance exchange, MNsure. And it’s better than the plans most private employers provide, which are generally in the 80 percent range.   Read More…


Minnesota health officials link E.coli infections to traveling petting zoo (Brainerd Dispatch)

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has identified at least 13 people who have developed E. coli O157:H7 infections as part of an outbreak associated with Zerebko Zoo Tran traveling petting zoo. All of these cases have infections with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria that have the same DNA fingerprint. Two of these are secondary cases resulting from being exposed to one of the primary cases associated with the petting zoo.   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 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 10, 2014

In health headlines today:

  • HMO plan premiums through MNsure might increase
  • Regions Hospital to test Tranexamic Acid to stop brain bleeds
  • Predictive blood test could help Alzheimer’s prone patients


MNsure monthly premiums likely to increase (KSTP-TV)

The head of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans gave a hint of what might come soon to those who pay for health insurance coverage through MNsure, Minnesota’s health care exchange.

Julie Brunner is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans, which is the professional association for the HMOs that offer health coverage through MNsure. Brunner recently told a University of Minnesota symposium that she would “not be surprised if the health plans increased their rates by 8, 10, or even 12 percent.”    Read More…


New brain injury medication to be tested in Minn. (

You may be surprised to know what’s the number one cause of death in people younger than 40.

It’s traumatic brain injury, and it can be caused by a car accident, a fall or a hit to the head.  But now a Minnesota hospital is trying out a new tool that could save lives.   Read  More…


Minn. family cheers step toward Alzheimer’s blood test (

Researchers at a British university have identified a set of 10 proteins that may predict the onset of Alzheimer’s, and they’re heralding the discovery as a big step toward creating a simple blood test that could forecast the likelihood of developing the disease. Now, a Minnesota family with several loved ones struggling with Alzheimer’s says they have hope that the research could help people prepare and lead to better treatment.   Read More…