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DULUTH — Deb Krause has two words for the results of mental health care in Minnesota: “They’re horrible.” Krause is vice president of the Minnesota Health Action Group, which was formed by some of the state’s major employers to improve health care in the state and help their bottom lines. “It’s very practical because they spend millions of dollars on benefits,” Krause said. “They’re not satisfied with the status quo.”
DULUTH — When he was 13 months old, Keenan Oswald's mom gave him a taste of a new treat: peanut butter toast. "He stuck it on his tongue, spit it out, and then his head just swelled up with hives all over," said his mom, Alanna Oswald. A doctor told the Oswalds, who live in West Duluth, to keep their son away from peanut butter. A couple of years later Keenan was diagnosed with asthma and a severe peanut allergy.
DULUTH—Imagine going to your favorite restaurant, ordering a meal and then being asked to pay twice as much as your friend paid for the same meal. That might be unthinkable, but such price differences happen routinely with regard to surgical procedures at Minnesota hospitals, according to a report released on Thursday, Aug. 9, by the Minnesota Department of Health. Actually, it's more extreme than that. A patient undergoing one of four hospital procedures may pay between two to nearly seven times as much as another patient at the same hospital, according to the report.
DULUTH, Minn.—Minnesota falls short in adapting measures that would aid in the fight against cancer, an advocacy group contends in a report released Wednesday, Aug. 8. But that's not to say the situation is entirely bleak. "We do get a 'green' rating on our tobacco tax," said Sara Sahli, government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "We're really proud of our smoke-free air law that we passed 10 years ago this past July."
RICE LAKE, Minn. — Paisley Forsell used to enjoy hiking, cliff jumping and bodybuilding competitions. She loves riding roller coasters. "I like adrenaline, I guess you'd say," said the 21-year-old, who lives in the city of Rice Lake. But although she's looking forward to a trip to Valley Fair later this summer and now is going to the gym on good days, Forsell's activities have been sharply curtailed over the past year and a half.
DULUTH — Disparities in health outcomes between Minnesota's "haves" and "have-nots" takes a $2.26 billion yearly toll on the state's economy, contends a leading health insurer. Although the state prides itself in being one of the leaders in national health statistics, people of color and low-income residents are left behind, said Janelle Waldock of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, which commissioned "The Cost of Health Inequities in Minnesota."
DULUTH—Tyesha Nelson isn't down on medical marijuana, even though it didn't help her with her intractable pain. The 31-year Duluth woman "was placing all my bets on the medical marijuana" to relieve the pain from the rheumatoid arthritis with which she had been diagnosed at age 23, she said on Wednesday, Feb. 28. She had a dose in August 2016, soon after intractable pain was added as an approved condition for treatment with medical cannabis in Minnesota. Not only did it fail to relieve her pain, Nelson said, it "gave me the worst anxiety I ever experienced in my life."
DULUTH -- U.S. Rep Rick Nolan is retiring at the end of the current term, he announced Friday, Feb. 9. Minnesota's 8th District representative in Congress served three terms and had previously served from another district. "With deep appreciation and thanks for allowing me to represent you in the Congress of the United States, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for re-election, and will retire at the end of the current term," Nolan said in a statement.
Recovering opioid addicts will have greater access to a maintenance drug, especially in rural areas, under a measure announced on Tuesday, Jan. 23, by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, a Minnesota expert on addictions said. The new regulation gives nurse practitioners and physician assistants the ability to seek waivers giving them authority to prescribe and dispense buprenorphine, a drug used to help people quit or reduce use of opiates, such as heroin.
SANDSTONE, Minn. — A group of Pine County residents who successfully fought to change state law affecting Medicaid payments and their estates now is trying to do the same thing in Washington. "It needs to be removed at the federal level because it can come back to haunt us at any time, really," said Julie Gelle of Sandstone.