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State Seeks Public Input on Minnesota Made Health Insurance Exchange

Posted on December 05, 2011 at 2:59 PM
Categories: Commerce, Health

Today the Department of Commerce invited Minnesotans to offer input on potential information technology components for a Minnesota-Made Health Insurance Exchange. At noon today, sample modules – a series of websites simulating what an Exchange might look like – went live for public evaluation.

According to the release:

“We are committed to developing a user-friendly environment built by Minnesotans, for Minnesotans,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “Ultimately, consumers and small businesses would use this tool to choose the coverage that best suits their needs. We want to gather input from as many Minnesotans as possible, including consumers, small businesses, insurers, health care providers, navigators, agents and brokers. I strongly encourage all Minnesotans to check out these website simulations, and provide their honest and complete feedback.”
A Minnesota-made Health Insurance Exchange would provide consumers with a simple way to find, compare, choose, and purchase health care coverage. The Department of Commerce is working on analytical, operational, and technical infrastructure planning for an Exchange, in partnership with the Minnesota Departments of Human Services and Health, and with the advice of the Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Task Force.


Governor Dayton proclaims World AIDS Day in Minnesota

Posted on December 01, 2011 at 8:27 AM
Categories: Health

Governor Dayton has proclaimed December 1, 2011, as World AIDS Day in Minnesota, calling attention to the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic and the impact that HIV/AIDS has had in the state and around the world.

In commemoration, a variety of HIV testing and public awareness events are scheduled in Minnesota for the day and through the month of December. This is the 24th time Minnesota has taken part in World AIDS Day. 

"World AIDS Day remains a critical observance for us and the world," said Peter Carr, director of the STD and HIV Section, Minnesota Department of Health.

The proclamation notes that "Minnesotans are encouraged to educate themselves about the risks of HIV, know their HIV status through testing, get care if infected, and demonstrate compassion for those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS."


Governor Dayton proclaims Adoption Awareness Month in Minnesota

Posted on November 23, 2011 at 9:03 AM
Categories: Health

Governor Dayton has proclaimed November 2011 as Adoption Awareness Month in Minnesota, encouraging citizens to be aware of the many children in foster care still waiting to be adopted into nurturing homes, and express great appreciation for adoptive families who have opened their hearts and homes to children in need.

One of the greatest gifts a person can give is opening their heart and home to adopt a child or sibling group from the foster care system. There are thousands of children in foster care in Minnesota, waiting to be adopted by families who can provide safe, permanent homes.

Adopted children have a positive impact on families and bring great happiness and all children deserve to grow up in a nurturing environment where they feel loved, safe, and stable.


Spotlight on Reform: Helping Infants with Hearing Loss at the Department of Health

Posted on November 17, 2011 at 2:43 PM
Categories: Health

Today, Governor Dayton announced his first Better Government for a Better Minnesota award winners.  This is part of a series highlighting those winners and their work to make state government work better, more efficiently and more effectively for Minnesotans. 

Hearing loss is the most commonly diagnosed condition in newborn children. In all 50 states, including Minnesota, hearing screening programs exist to ensure hearing loss in infants is identified shortly after birth. This is crucial because children develop the most basic language and communication skills in the first 6 months of life. If a child with hearing impairments goes undiagnosed until later, even at one or two years of age, they may suffer permanent impairments to speech, language and cognitive ability.

Last year, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) re-evaluated its existing screening program and ultimately improved follow-up services for infants with hearing loss. The Newborn Screening Long Term Follow-up Unit at MDH developed standard operating procedures, clarified staff roles and responsibilities, reduced duplication of effort, and increased the accuracy and completeness of data collected during screening. This helped the team ensure critical follow-up services were provided to impacted children and their families in a timely fashion.

So far, the overall wait time for families in need of follow-up services has been reduced on average from 74 days to 33 days, and the improved process has ensured families are connected with the targeted services that they need. In the first days of a child’s life, that time and attention to detail are of the utmost importance.


Governor Dayton proclaims Rural Health Day in Minnesota

Posted on November 17, 2011 at 8:34 AM
Categories: Health

Governor Dayton has proclaimed today, November 17, 2011, as Rural Health Day in Minnesota, encouraging citizens to recognize the unique health care needs and opportunities that exist in rural communities.

Health care is a core economic foundation of many rural communities and regions. Meeting the unique health care needs of Minnesota's rural citizens requires innovation and resourcefulness that reaches beyond geographic boundaries or demographic challenges.

Today, Minnesota's rural health care provides are recognized for meeting those challenges and offering comprehensive, compassionate, patient-centered, and holistic care to patients.

To read the proclamation, click here.


Minnesota families waiting for health care funds

Posted on November 08, 2011 at 2:37 PM
Categories: Health

Today, Governor Mark Dayton spoke to the media about Sen. David Hann's decision to block the use of nearly $25 million of federal funds to help thousands of sick, disabled, and elderly people throughout our state.

The grants to the Sate Departments of Health and Human Services would provide funding to connect 5,000 cancer-afflicted Minnesota children and their parents to potentially life-saving research and offer lower cost care alternatives to 17,000 Minnesotans with Alzheimer's disease.

Forum Communications highlighted some of the other impacts of Sen. Hann's decision:

Dayton and his commissioners said thousands of Minnesota could lose health assistance in the next five years, including:

– Those who could benefit from $18 million in aid to people with chronic diseases.

– Children who could receive cancer diagnosis quicker.

– More than a million Minnesotans who use private wells for drinking water; a federal program provides money to manage the wells.


Governor Dayton proclaims Diabetes Month in Minnesota

Posted on November 07, 2011 at 3:18 PM
Categories: Health

Governor Dayton has proclaimed November, 2011 as Diabetes Month, encouraging Minnesotans to join the American Diabetes Association's Stop Diabetes movement to confront, fight, and most importantly, change the future of the deadly disease.

Diabetes is a serious disease with life-threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputation.

In the United States, nearly 26 million people have diabetes and an additional 79 million people are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Recent estimates project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes in 2050 if current trends continue.

An increase in community awareness is necessary to fight and put a stop to this trend.

To view the proclamation, click here.


November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month in Minnesota

Posted on November 02, 2011 at 1:13 PM
Categories: Health

In 2010, lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer death in Minnesota, the United States and the world. Among men, 90 percent of these lung cancer deaths are attributed to smoking. Among women, that number is 80 percent. However, because lung cancer can be caused by secondhand smoke, in addition to smoking, those diagnosed often are not smokers themselves.

Increased awareness of these facts plays a critical role in preventing, diagnosing and treating further lung cancer cases. In that spirit, Governor Dayton has proclaimed the month of November to be Lung Cancer Awareness Month in the state of Minnesota.


Governor Dayton announces effort to bring better healthcare to Minnesota

Posted on October 31, 2011 at 2:12 PM
Categories: Health, Commerce

Governor Dayton signed an executive order today establishing a Vision for Health Care Reform in Minnesota. To achieve that vision, the Governor charged a Task Force made up of state leaders in health care to begin developing an action plan outlining how to deliver Minnesotans better health care at a lower cost. As seen in the news release, Governor Dayton said:
“Minnesota historically has led the nation and the world in the quality of our health care systems and the healthiness of our residents.  Minnesota also has been a leader in reforms that have expanded access to quality health care for all Minnesotans.  We must continue to innovate, and there is real urgency to our mission.  Health care costs are rising at unsustainable rate, undermining the budgets of Minnesota families, businesses, and our state and federal government budgets.  The status quo is not good enough; we need to find new ways to delivering better quality health care at a lower price.  The mission of this task force is to provide recommendations about how we best can accomplish this." 


Governor Dayton Receives 2011 Public Official Award at MNA Convention

Posted on October 17, 2011 at 11:57 AM
Categories: Health

Today Governor Dayton received the 2011 Public Official Award at the 2011 Minnesota Nurses Association Convention.

Governor Dayton was chosen as this year's recipient for his leadership on asking the wealthiest Minnesotans to pay their fair share, Medicaid expansion, and protection of workers’ rights.

At this morning's convention, Governor Dayton said:

"I thank you and I thank those of you not here today, your colleagues — please tell them how respectful I am of the dedication and commitment and the importance of what it is that you do — to save lives, improve lives and preserve the quality of health care here in Minnesota. That's why I'm so proud to receive this award and stand with you."

"The hospitals, the nursing homes, the clinics — are not only essential to the quality of life and to people's health care, but they are also the major employers, the major economic engines throughout Minnesota and especially Greater Minnesota."


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