In The News – Jan. 30, 2013

Health news headlines in Minnesota today include:

  • State health coverage marketplace launches web site
  • Online flu vaccine forum made available to care providers
  • Dentists team up to “Give Kids a Smile”
  • Should doctors admit their medical mistakes?


MN health coverage marketplace launches web site (Associated Press)

Minnesota’s health insurance exchange has launched a new web site ( to connect with more than 1 million Minnesotans who are expected to use the new marketplace to get coverage.

The exchange is a key part of Minnesota’s effort to implement the federal health care overhaul. It will be a central place where individuals, families and small employers sign up for health insurance and receive help paying for it. About 300,000 previously uninsured Minnesotans and 200,000 small-business employees will gain coverage through the exchange.   Read More…


Minnesota health officials launch online forum for flu vaccines (

Health officials in Minnesota recently set up an online forum that clinics can use to exchange information about the availability of the flu vaccine.

Viral illness is still widespread in Minnesota, but some clinics have run out of the vaccine. Demand for the protective immunization remains high, Minnesota Public Radio reports.   Read More…


Volunteer dentists to offer free care through “Give Kids a Smile (

The Minnesota Dental Association is offering free dental services through its charitable program Give Kids a Smile on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, and a few other days in the upcoming weeks.

The program provides services to low-income children in need who face barriers to receive proper dental care.   Read More…


Why doctors should own up to their medical mistakes (Minnesota Public Radio)

Doctors make mistakes but are reluctant to own up to their errors, says Dr. Brian Goldman, a veteran ER physician. Goldman says doctors’ reluctance to discuss mistakes leads to more errors that harm patients and damages the culture of medicine in the U.S.

In a 1999 report The Institute of Medicine said almost 100,000 people die each year in the U.S. from preventable medical mistakes; a 2009 report from the Heart Corporation puts the number at 200,000. Would talking about mistakes bring that number down?   Read More…

In The News – Jan. 28, 2013

Today’s health news includes a timeline on Minnesota’s state health insurance marketplace; Gov. Dayton’s new budget would fund school-based mental health; and a U of M professor gets significant money for her HIV research.

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What’s next for the health insurance exchange? (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

About 930,000 Minnesotans who don’t get health coverage at the workplace are expected to use the exchange in 2014. That includes uninsured Minnesotans, currently about 9 percent of the state, as well as those with low and moderate incomes who qualify for public programs. The exchange also is aimed at individuals and families who buy health coverage directly from private insurers, and businesses with fewer than 50 workers.


March 31: Deadline for legislators to pass a bill establishing a state health exchange and figuring out such key details as what kind of ruling body will oversee it.

May 17: Health plans submit their plan designs and premium rates for review to the Department of Commerce.   Read More…


Dayton budget would boost school-based mental health funding (Minnesota Public Radio)

State lawmakers will begin debate on DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s budget this week.

Among the many proposals: The governor wants to double state funding for mental health programs in schools. The new money would pay for independent mental health professionals to support existing school programs.

Schools cannot do everything for students, and they should not have to, said Sue Abderholden of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.   Read More…


U prof. gets $3.7 million for HIV research (Minnesota Daily)

A University researcher is a few years away from potentially improving treatments and vaccines for HIV.

The National Institutes of Health awarded associate professor Pam Skinner and her collaborator a five-year, $3.7 million grant for HIV research.

Skinner, along with University of Colorado Denver professor Elizabeth Connick, will spend the next five years researching why virus-killing cells can’t find and kill HIV-infected cells.   Read More… 

In The News – Nov. 16, 2012

In today’s health news, it’s National Nurse Practitioner Week; see the breakdown of uninsured Americans in Minnesota and the U.S. in our “photo of the week” feature; yet another person’s health is impacted by a tainted steroid shot; and Minnesota is ready for the first health exchange deadline.

Join us on Monday for more health news from around Minnesota.

NP Week through Nov. 17 (Brainerd Dispatch)

National Nurse Practitioner (NP) Week is Nov. 11-17. There are 155,000 NP’s practicing in the US with 3,240 in Minnesota alone. In celebration of NP Week please consider the value and function of an NP along with an MD or Physician Assistant (PA). With the current shortage of healthcare providers the demand for NP services continues to grow.   Read More…

Health Care Photo of the Week

This map shows the number of uninsured Americans in rural and exurban areas throughout the U.S. (Image from Minnesota Public Radio.)

13th steroid illness in Minnesota (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

A young woman who developed a bone infection, rather than meningitis, is the 13th Minnesotan to fall ill from contaminated steroid injections produced by a Massachusetts pharmacy, state health officials reported Thursday.

The woman, who is in her 20s, had tested negative for meningitis several weeks ago, said Dr. Aaron DeVries of the Minnesota Department of Health.    Read More…

Minnesota Ready for Deadline on Health Marketplace (KTTC-TV)

Minnesota is ahead of many other states facing a federal deadline Friday to declare whether they will set up a health care marketplace to help people and small businesses get private insurance.

Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton began pushing to develop a state-tailored health insurance exchange shortly after taking office in early 2011.   Read More…


In The News – Sept. 12, 2012

In Minnesota health news today, the state’s uninsured numbers rose to 9.5% (which remains below the national average); high blood pressure among Minnesotans is reported as “out of control;” and in an informal survey of Gophers (students that is) the economy and health care top the list of the most important issues surrounding the 2012 election.

Health. Read it. Right here. And on Twitter @HealthInMinn

Minnesota’s uninsured rose to 9.5 percent, below national average (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

The share of Minnesotans lacking health insurance grew to 9.5 percent during the two-year period that ended last year with declines in employer-sponsored coverage apparently outpacing gains in government-backed insurance.

The rate increased by 1.3 percentage points over the state’s uninsured rate during 2008-2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual report on income, poverty and health insurance, released Wednesday, Sept. 12.   Read More…

High blood pressure out of control, says Minnesota Department of Health (Park Rapids Enterprise)

High blood pressure is a nationwide concern and a costly health problem, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Almost 67 million American adults have high blood pressure, and half of them do not have it under control. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the U.S. and Minnesota.  Read More…

Economy, health care matter most to students (Minnesota Daily)

As students prepare to elect a national leader this November — many voting for the first time — the economy and health care are determining their decisions.

In an informal survey of 100 University of Minnesota students, they spoke mostly about issues that resonate personally: job prospects; education and loans; health care; and social issues like gay marriage, birth control and abortion.

The majority of students aligned with President Barack Obama, mirroring youth polls nationwide, but students who listed the economy as a top priority were split more tightly between the president and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.   Read More…