Shifting dental care to the ER

Budget cuts to state dental care programs proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty will be an expensive shift that will end up costing state taxpayers more, say Minnesota dentists.The governor has proposed eliminating dental care for adults receiving General Assistance, Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, and the Critical Access Provider Payment Program, and replacing it with an ER care program on Jan. 1, 2010. “Non-pregnant adults would continue to receive emergency dental care through hospital emergency departments for emergencies such as severe pain, trauma or infections,” states the budget proposal on page 102. There’s just one problem. Hospital emergency rooms aren’t set up as dentist’s offices. Continue Reading

Poverty, pregnancy and prescription costs on agenda for Minnesota health leaders

Trends in unintended pregnancies and health care for the elderly are topics Twin Cities community health leaders are closely following. Minnesota’s patchwork of government, and non and for-profit public health care providers must stay flexible if they hope to meet evolving needs in the communities, according to panelists taking part in an April 2 policy forum sponsored by Community Shares of Minnesota. Take teen pregnancy. According to a just-released report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen pregnancies are on the rise again in 26 states after a 15-year national decline. The National Center for Health Statistics said both the number of teens giving birth and the rate at which they are having births have increased. Continue Reading

Humor overcomes cancer in mime’s play

When the brother traveled to Italy to bolster his sister after she was hospitalized with a stroke, it seemed inconceivable that they’d soon both be battling cancer. But that’s exactly what happened to Mikael Rudolph. Physically active and outwardly healthy, Rudolph was diagnosed with rectal cancer in January 2008, just three months after his sister, Kristi, a yoga and dance teacher, fell ill with pancreatic cancer. The stroke was brought on by the cancer. Rudolph spent much of last year enduring surgery, radiation and along with his sister, chemotherapy. Continue Reading

What’s going on behind Memorial Blood Center’s doors?

Blood. It’s one of those things you take for granted until you or someone close to you needs some in a hurry. Jed Gorlin, MD, medical director of Memorial Blood Center, in front of a sign honoring donors. During a tour of Memorial Blood Centers in St. Paul, MBC Medical Director Jed Gorlin, MD, educated MTS Connections Academy charter school students and parents, and medical school students and pathology residents about the work of one of the state’s three largest blood donation centers. Continue Reading

Sick and nowhere to turn? The CSJs have your back

Know someone who is uninsured and doesn’t qualify for MinnesotaCare or Medical Assistance? St. Mary’s Health Clinics may be able to help. This network of nine neighborhood clinics throughout the Twin Cities offers free clinic hours weekly to those who have health care needs and nowhere else to go. Almost everything associated with the clinics is donated, from the space (mostly at schools and churches) to the professional services of doctors, nurses and others who donate their time to provide care. Continue Reading

Robins in winter — in Minnesota

Some of our robins decided not to migrate south this winter. I wonder if they’re having second thoughts. I was surprised to look out my window in mid-January and see a flock of six or seven robins on my steps.Why? Well, first, I’m not accustomed to seeing them in flocks. They’re usually alone, walking on the lawn, maybe stopping to pull on a worm. Continue Reading

Single-payer health care reform advances in Minnesota

As senators and business association spokeswomen debated the merits of Sen. John Marty’s proposed Minnesota Health Care Act (SF 118/HF 135) last week, more U.S. companies were announcing tens of thousands of lay-offs. Mounting job losses were claimed as a talking point by both supporters and opponents of the plan. The bill passed out of the Health, Housing and Family Security Committee, chaired by Marty, on an 8-5 vote. Its next hearing will be by the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection. The universal single-payer plan would require a major shift in the administration and budgeting of health care. Continue Reading

Celebrating Obama in the Twin Cities

On Tues., Jan. 20, Barack Obama takes the oath of office as the 44th President of the United States. The ceremonies begin at 10:30 a.m. CST, followed by President Obama’s inaugural address. There’s no reason to feel left out just because we’re 1,100 miles away from D.C. There’s plenty going on right here. The events below will give you a place to start. Continue Reading