Health Notes: MNsure adds 50 service reps to clear backlogThe sometimes-overwhelmed MNsure call center is bulking up its staff.
By: John Lundy, Duluth News Tribune
The sometimes-overwhelmed MNsure call center is bulking up its staff.
Fifty additional customer service representatives began work on Wednesday, MNsure announced in a news release. That brings the total number of people answering the phone to 120.
Another 50 will be added on Feb. 26, the news release said.
MNsure, the state’s online health insurance marketplace, has been criticized for keeping callers on hold for 30 minutes or longer.
This week’s staff surge is timely, interim CEO Scott Leitz said, because Saturday is the deadline to enroll if coverage is to begin on March 1. The enrollment period ends on March 31.
Benefit for medical bills
A Saginaw woman who has breast cancer will get financial help from a benefit on Saturday.
The spaghetti dinner, silent auction and bake sale on behalf of Julie Anderson Peterson will take place from 3-7 p.m. at Mr. D’s Bar and Grill, 5622 Grand Ave., said event organizers Lynn and Dane Youngblom. The price for dinner is $10.
Peterson was diagnosed with breast cancer last fall, the Youngbloms said. Her medical bills for 2013 exceeded her insurance limit, leaving her with more than $100,000 in uncovered debt.
Donations also are being accepted at any Wells Fargo Bank to the Julie Peterson Benefit fund.
First aid for mental health
A mental health first aid training course will take place in Duluth in March.
The course, offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota, will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 25 at the St. Luke’s hospital Clinic Building, 1011 E. First St., in Room 329A.
The course provides basic first aid skills to help someone who is experiencing a mental health problem or crisis.
Registration is required. To register or for more detailed information, call Donna at (651) 645-2948, Ext. 101.
Seeing the doctor online
Essentia Health is encouraging its employees and patients to get some of their basic health care online.
The Duluth-based nonprofit health system is touting Virtuwell, which was launched by Twin Cities-based HealthPartners. On the Internet, patients can use Virtuwell to diagnose and treat more than 40 common health concerns, an Essentia news release said.
Cost of the service is $45.
Patients needing further services are referred to a list of local doctors’ offices, urgent care clinics and emergency room, beginning with Essentia facilities, the news release said.
The online service, virtuwell.com, established in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Dakota, has provided more than 85,000 treatment plans to patients with conditions such as sinus infections and pinkeye, the news release said.
Peer group for mental illness
The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Minnesota offers a weekly peer support group for adults recovering from mental illness weekly in Duluth.
Trained facilitators who also are in recovery lead the group, which meets at 7 p.m. Mondays at Peace United Church of Christ, 1111 N. 11th Ave. E.
For more information, call Jodi at (218) 576-4608.
Speaking about work stress
Apparently, some people experience stress on their jobs.
If that describes you, you might want to check out tonight’s edition of “Speak Your Mind” at 7:30 p.m. on PBS North, Channels 8.1 and 31.1. The subject of the half-hour local program is “Work Stress.”
It follows “Doctors on Call” at 7 p.m. This week’s program is on “Lung Problems.”