Anne Polta covers health care, business/economic development and general assignment. Her HealthBeat blog can be found at http://healthbeat.areavoices.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnePolta.
- Member for
- 3 years 5 months
An early spring has led to an early start to the tick-borne disease season, Minnesota Department of Health officials said today. They are urging the public to start taking precautions from ticks and the diseases they can carry. Black-legged ticks, or deer ticks, have already begun feeding in forested areas of the state, officials said.
WILLMAR -- Brandi Tweeter is one of the first in Minnesota to complete training as a dental therapist, the state's newest midlevel health profession. Tuesday afternoon she found herself talking to Sen. Al Franken, explaining the care she provides for dental patients in the Montevideo area and the need she has been able to fill. Tweeter said she became licensed at the end of January and started seeing patients Feb. 1. This past month she had 23 new patients.
WILLMAR -- For most folks, the snowless winter and early spring have been supremely welcomed. But there's a down side for those suffering from allergies: Their seasonal symptoms are kicking in way ahead of schedule. Gesundheit! "Definitely we're seeing an earlier start" to the allergy season this year, said Dr. Amy Ellingson of the Allergy and Asthma Specialty Clinic in Willmar. "Everyone is already starting to know allergy season is here." Pollen is a major culprit, she said.
Don't count out influenza. Following a relatively quiet season this winter, flu cases unexpectedly began rising in early March. Health providers, accustomed to seeing flu activity peak in late January or during February, have been a little taken aback by the late-season surge. "We don't know when it's going to end and we don't see signs of it ending," said Jo DeBruycker, manager of the Health Learning Center at Affiliated Community Medical Centers.
WILLMAR -- Plans for major renovation work of the Rice Care Center received the go-ahead Wednesday from the Rice Memorial Hospital Board of Directors. The board voted unanimously to complete the design development phase and begin working on construction documents.
WILLMAR -- Under a proposal approved Wednesday by the Rice Memorial Hospital board, anesthesia and sleep laboratory services will be folded into Willmar Medical Services, the joint venture co-owned by the hospital and Affiliated Community Medical Centers. The move is expected to make these services more efficient, reduce costs and duplication, and set the stage for initiatives to enhance quality. Formal discussions about transferring the two services to Willmar Medical Services had been taking place since last fall. "We sought out input from lots of stakeholders in this process," said Mike
WILLMAR -- Rice Memorial Hospital has been selected to participate in a Stratis Health initiative to reduce two types of hospital-acquired infections: urinary tract infections associated with catheter use, and surgical site infections. Stratis Health is the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization in Minnesota. The initiative is supported by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Nationally, between 5 and 10 percent of hospital patients develop an infection associated with their stay in the hospital.
WILLMAR -- Local anesthesia services would be enhanced under a proposal to fold them into Willmar Medical Services, a 4-year-old joint venture between Rice Memorial Hospital and Affiliated Community Medical Centers. The plan would transfer sleep lab services into the joint entity as well. The proposal is on the agenda of the Rice Memorial Hospital board of directors, which meets at 5:30 p.m.
In May 2011, a charter bus traveling on Interstate 95 from North Carolina to New York City left the road north of Richmond, Va., at 5 a.m. and rolled over while the passengers inside screamed in fear. Four people died and several others were injured. The driver reportedly had fallen asleep at the wheel. Surviving passengers later told law enforcement officials they saw him gulping down energy drinks and coffee to stay awake.