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Programs that help provide health care for children, pregnant women and the poor in the Northland and elsewhere are threatened by congressional inaction, advocates say. Specifically, Congress has yet to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, which fills a gap for children, infants and pregnant women at certain income levels, and for community health centers, which provide a safety net for lower-income individuals who can't afford care elsewhere.
An eye exam for a new patient in Essentia Health's East Region facilities costs more, on average, than anywhere else in Minnesota, according to an annual cost comparison report released today. The report, issued by the nonprofit MN Community Measurement, shows that the cost of medical care overall rose 3.4 percent from 2015 to 2016 in Minnesota — a slower growth rate than the 5.6 percent of the year before. It also showed, as it has in previous years, that the cost of medical care tends to run higher in the Northland than it does in the state as a whole.
A nonprofit agency that serves scores of family caregivers on the Iron Range is closing its doors. Virginia-based Range Respite, founded in 1993, will cease operations on Thursday, acting executive director Linda Kolocek announced on Tuesday. The agency, which trains and supports caregivers, coordinates volunteers to provide respite for caregivers and offers support groups in Virginia, Hibbing, Chisholm and Aurora, has been experiencing financial and staffing issues for months, Kolocek said in an email.
Penny Kutasevich remembers the phone call like it was yesterday. But it was 1999, and her 16-year-old daughter Jamie Kutasevich was calling her from the Planned Parenthood clinic in Duluth, telling her she needed to come right away. "I said, 'What's wrong?' And then she started crying," Penny recalled recently. "And I'm like, 'What's wrong? Tell me what's going on.' And she says, 'I have HIV.' And I remember standing up, and I said, 'What?' "
Platinum for organ donations St. Luke's hospital has received recognition for its success in promoting organ, eye and tissue donation. The hospital took part in a national campaign to promote enrollment in state organ donor registries, according to a St. Luke's news release. The campaign, sponsored by a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, resulted in more than 400,000 new donor enrollments nationally.
Despite facing legal challenges from three unions, Essentia Health is claiming success for its new flu shot requirement. "What we really want to celebrate is that commitment to safety (of) a large majority of our colleagues who took action to protect our patients and community," Miranda Anderson, an Essentia spokeswoman, said on Tuesday.
The union that represents registered nurses at Essentia Health announced on Monday it will file a grievance on behalf of every member fired for failing to comply with the health system's mandatory flu shot policy. But as of late Monday, the day employees who had neither been vaccinated nor applied for an exemption were to have been fired, it wasn't clear how many grievances that would be.
For more than 50 years, Sue Nilsson's smoke of choice was Kool. "There's nothing like Kools," the Duluth woman said of the menthol cigarette. "I could feel them go down. Nothing else was the same."
With less than a week remaining until Essentia Health's flu shot requirement takes effect, a judge has denied a union's motion to block it. U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright, in an order dated Nov. 9, said the United Steelworkers had failed to establish that a preliminary injunction was needed to "prevent arbitration from being rendered a meaningless ritual."
Amanda Eichmann couldn't get the story, and the young woman in it, off her mind. "I read that article over and over," the 39-year-old Williston, N.D., woman said last week. "Something kept telling me to read it again and read it again." Eichmann's interest led to action, and as a result a Duluth woman with a rare genetic disease has a new kidney, sooner than she had reason to hope.