Health Notes: Woman with Northland ties develops Vail DietKristina Sampson knew about healthy eating as a child growing up in the Twin Ports.
By: Compiled by John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
Kristina Sampson knew about healthy eating as a child growing up in the Twin Ports.
“My parents were quintessential 1970s health-food nuts, doing all this stuff before it was fashionable,” the Edwards, Colo., woman said during a Christmas visit to family in Duluth and Superior.
Sampson, 48, has taken the good eating habits of her youth and developed them into what she calls the Vail Diet, named after the region where she and her husband, John Hall, have settled. The diet sounds like it comes out of the Upper Midwest: It stresses moderation, not going overboard and eating a variety of food.
The home page of her website, thevaildiet.com, features the phrase “extreme moderation.”
“I don’t mean go to McDonald’s three times a week,” Sampson said. “But I don’t agree with diets that eliminate entire groups of foods.”
The common-sense approach attracted the interest of Prevention magazine. The magazine, which boasts a circulation of 2.8 million, profiles Sampson’s diet in its March 2014 edition. It sent a photographer, a stylist and a makeup artist to her home to shoot pictures to go with the article, she said.
Sampson is educated as a certified public accountant. But she said being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 led her to change her focus. “I decided then that life was too short to keep doing a career that I wasn’t that interested in,” she said.
Sampson, who finished treatment for cancer in 2008, is in the midst of online coursework that will lead to her certification as a health coach early next year.
She started the website in May but officially launched it in October. Sampson is working on what will be her first product via the website, a guide to 50 breast-cancer prevention tips.
The MNsure crunch
The good news for people still wishing to have health insurance coverage on Jan. 1 via the MNsure exchange was the deadline extension from Dec. 23 to Dec. 31.
The bad news: long wait times for people calling for help with the process.
To help with some of the common questions, MNsure announced a list of tips on its site. However, they don’t call attention to themselves as clearly as you might think. To get there, log on to the home page, MNsure.org. Then click on the little word “Tips” in green toward the lower right side of the page. Then, under the heading “consumer helpful tips,” click on “MNsure general helpful tips.”
One of the key tips: “Make sure you are not using an outdated Internet browser.” If you have an older computer, that might be a problem.
During the stretch drive, application and enrollment functions are available between 6 a.m. and midnight daily at MNsure.org. The MNsure Contact Center at (855) 366-7873 is open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The number is toll-free.
In the Duluth area, help is available by calling the United Way help line at 211.
Although coverage will begin on Jan. 1 for those enrolled by Dec. 31, individuals won’t have identification cards and enrollment materials at first, the MNsure news release said. It also reminded consumers that the first premium payment has to be made by Jan. 10.
St. Luke’s heart program makes list
The heart program at St. Luke’s hospital has been recognized as one of the nation’s best.
Becker’s Hospital Review, in an article published Dec. 13, included St. Luke’s in its list of “100 Hospitals With Great Heart Programs,” the hospital announced in a news release.
St. Luke’s was one of three in Minnesota to make the elite list, along with Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
“Consistently, all of our providers are committed to deliver the most state-of-the-art care that we can provide to our patients,” St. Luke’s cardiologist Dr. Scott Mikesell said in the news release. “Not only are we always striving to be the best at what we do, but we are always striving to expand our capabilities and add services to our cardiac program.”
Becker’s Hospital Review is aimed at high-level hospital leaders.
Stockings for babies
Here’s a Christmas leftover we couldn’t resist: Babies born during the Christmas season at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center were greeted with Christmas stockings knitted by a member of the hospital’s staff.
Julie Noel Kubala — a Christmas Eve baby herself — knitted 32 of the stockings this year and eight last year, an Essentia news release said.
Kubala, an admitting representative at St. Mary’s, revived the tradition that welcomed her into the world in 1967, when a Benedictine nun presented her parents with an oversized Christmas stocking at the same hospital.
More praise 4 TXT4LIFE
Carlton County’s TXT4LIFE program continues to win statewide accolades.
The texting program allows people to text “life” to 839863 and be connected with a counselor at a computer. They work at the same place that answers the suicide hot line calls in Minnesota.
By accepting text messages, the program has increased the number of contacts from youth and young adults to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by 12 times, a news release from Carlton County Public Health and Human Services said.
The program won the County Achievement Award presented by the Association of Minnesota Counties. It also recently earned an award from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. The latter included a $10,000 grant from the Bush Foundation.
TXT4LIFE, though based in Carlton County, serves seven counties and four tribal nations in Northeastern Minnesota.
More information is available at TXT4LIFE.org.
More health care homes in Duluth
Three Duluth facilities have been certified as health care homes by the Minnesota Department of Health.
Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic Lakeside, Essentia Health-Duluth Clinic Virginia and Essentia Health-Lakewalk Clinic are among 14 newly named as health care homes, the health department announced.
Health care homes are being developed as part of health reform legislation passed in Minnesota in 2008. Patients with chronic illnesses or disabilities are cared for in innovative ways, including contacting patients via phone and/or e-mail between appointments. The idea is to address patients’ problems early before they require more expensive care.
So far, 318 health care homes have been certified by the Minnesota agency.