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Governor Dayton Declares “MNsure Enrollment Day” in Minnesota

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 2:59 PM
Categories: Health

It's officially MNsure enrollment day

More than 152,000 Minnesotans have already enrolled in high-quality, affordable health insurance using MNsure, benefitting from the lowest health insurance rates in the nation. With the March 31st deadline for enrollment approaching, Governor Mark Dayton today declared today “MNsure Enrollment Day,” urging Minnesotans to use MNsure in the coming days to find and enroll in a health plan that best fits their needs. Minnesotans still looking to enroll in coverage should visit MNsure.org or call 1-855-366-7873.

Recently, MNsure announced that any Minnesotan who attempts to enroll in health insurance through MNsure by March 31st will be eligible for an extension, and will be allowed to complete their enrollment after the deadline. For more information about whether you would qualify for an extension, visit MNsure.org or call 1-855-366-7873.


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Minnesota announces new plan to prevent and end homelessness

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 3:44 PM
Categories: Health, Economy, Education

2013_12_19_homelessness_event.jpg
Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius with Jackson Elementary School students

Despite Minnesota’s growing economy, homelessness remains a major problem across our state. Studies estimate that on any given night more than 10,000 Minnesotans are homeless – more than half of them children. However, Minnesota has a new plan to change that. Yesterday, state officials joined Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges at Jackson Elementary School in Saint Paul to announce Minnesota’s new Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.
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Minnesota Breakfast Challenge

Posted on October 09, 2013 at 1:45 PM
Categories: Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon, Health, Education

Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon talks with students at Pillsbury Elementary School

Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon talks with kids at Pillsbury Elementary School in Minneapolis

Today, Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon served breakfast at Pillsbury Elementary in Minneapolis to raise awareness of child hunger and its impact on education.  She explained that more than 200,000 Minnesota children experience hunger every year. And research shows, that poor nutrition among school age children directly relates to poorer class performance, more days of missed school, and declining academic achievement.

To increase access to free and reduced price breakfast, the State of Minnesota is partnering with Hunger Free Minnesota, the Midwest Dairy Council, and the Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota to create the first-ever Minnesota School Breakfast Challenge. The challenge will reward the top 30 Minnesota schools with $0.10 for every new breakfast served beyond what was served last year.



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The Pink Tank Project

Posted on October 08, 2013 at 1:41 PM
Categories: Health, Military Servicemembers

You can find more Pink Tank Project videos on the Minnesota National Guard's YouTube page here

To build breast cancer awareness for all women, the Minnesota National Guard has launching the Pink Tank Project this month for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

"Improving wellness in our service members aligns with our priorities and the Pink Tank Project assists in keeping us a competent and ready force," said Army Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash, Minnesota National Guard's Adjutant General.

"This project is to build breast cancer awareness for all women whether they wear the uniform or not," said Army Maj. Kristen L. Auge, Minnesota National Guard's Deputy Director of Public Affairs. "The Pink Tank Project is a promise - a promise to yourself to conduct monthly self-breast exams and have mammograms as recommended by your health care provider."

"Three women with ties to the Minnesota National Guard and whose lives have been forever changed by breast cancer are featured in this project," said Aug?. "Throughout the month, their stories and a special breast cancer awareness video will launch on the Minnesota National Guard's Pink Tank Project webpage."


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A Great Place to Live

Posted on August 06, 2013 at 3:36 PM
Categories: Economy, Health

By almost any measure, Minnesota is a great place to live. We have it all: a growing economy, affordable living, top-notch health care, pristine lakes and forests, educated workers and a low crime rate.

In study after study, Minnesota consistently lands at the top of the heap when it comes to quality of life measures. The granddaddy of those studies, the Camelot Index, recently ranked Minnesota second in the country based on six factors: economic vitality, health, education, crime, society and government. Another study, the Opportunity Index, rated Minnesota third this spring behind Vermont and North Dakota, based on social and economic factors that contribute to opportunities for career and life success.

Underscoring the health of the economy, the state has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, while per capita income grew to $46,227 last year – 11th best in the United States.

Want more evidence about the quality of life here? Minnesota was rated the third-happiest state in the country, according to a 2012 report by the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index, which measures physical health, emotional health, work environment and overall life satisfaction.

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Minnesota Grabs Top Rank for Healthiest Place to Live

Posted on June 07, 2013 at 12:59 PM
Categories: Health

A biker utilizes one of the Twin Cities' many bike paths.

Minnesota ranked number one for senior health and the Twin Cities ranked top for fit metro areas. Photo Credit: Flickr user, Michael Hicks

Minnesotans have yet another thing to be proud of--their good health.  Reports released last week named Minnesota the healthiest state in the nation for seniors, and Minneapolis-St. Paul the fittest metro area in the United States. 

The report, released by the United Health Foundation, ranks Minnesota the healthiest state in the nation for seniors.  This ranking recognizes Minnesota’s longstanding commitment to health care services and long-term care for the state’s older citizens.  Minnesota topped the list based on a variety of factors which lead to good health including prescription drug coverage, availability of home health care workers, and rate of annual dental visits.  Minnesota also scored well with a high percentage of seniors reporting very good or excellent health, a low rate of premature death, and a low rate of hospitalizations for hip fractures. 

The American College of Sports Medicine’s annual American Fitness Index ranked Minneapolis-St. Paul the fittest metro area in the country for the third time in a row.  The ranking takes into account health factors including smoking, exercise, obesity rates, chronic health issues, and access to healthcare.  It also considers environmental factors such as parks, trails, recreational facilities and farmers’ markets.  The cities’ large per-capita investment in parks and high rate of physical activity were also factors in the first place ranking. 

While these reports provide good news for the state, they also show that Minnesota still has room for improvement in the area of health.  The United Health Foundation found that Minnesota has a low rate of seniors with a dedicated health care provider and low community support expenditures for low income seniors.  The American College of Sports Medicine found that many Minneapolis-St. Paul residents should increase their fruit intake, to ensure that they are getting the five recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.  More Twin Cities residents also need to quit smoking, according to the American College of Sports Medicine's findings.  

These rankings are a promising illustration of Minnesota’s commitment to good health and fitness.  With poor health at an all-time high nationwide, Minnesota is making strides in the right direction. 


View the United Health Foundation report here.

View the American College of Sports Medicine's American Fitness Index here.


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Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon Leads Effort to Improve the Lives of Minnesotans with Disabilities

Posted on June 04, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Categories: Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon, Health

photo_yvonne_prettner_solon.jpgSpeaking at the Department of Human Services Tuesday, Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon outlined Minnesota’s Olmstead Plan, which will help improve the quality of life enjoyed by Minnesotans with disabilities.

The plan lays out the state’s goals to ensure that Minnesotans with disabilities have the freedom and opportunity to live independently, to contribute to the workforce, and to become fully integrated into their communities.

“Those who can live independently should own the choice to live on their own,” the Lt. Governor said. “As a state, we should be doing everything we can to make that possible.”
The Olmstead Plan takes its name from the 1999 United States Supreme Court decision Olmstead v. L.C. The decision ruled that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In January 2013, Governor Dayton created an Olmstead Sub-Cabinet to oversee the implementation of a plan to better meet the needs of persons with disabilities living in Minnesota.

On Tuesday, Lt. Governor Prettner Solon, chair of the Olmstead Sub-Cabinet, said that once implemented the plan will have a profound impact on the lives of Minnesotans.

“More and more Minnesotans with disabilities will have the courage, skills, and support to step forthrightly into their communities, work with purpose and dignity in our local businesses, and reach with confidence for their highest aspirations,” she said.
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Destination Medical Center Will Create Tens of Thousands of New Jobs

Posted on May 23, 2013 at 3:17 PM
Categories: Health, Budget, Jobs


In Rochester earlier this week, Governor Mark Dayton was joined by Speaker Paul Thissen, Majority Leader Tom Bakk, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, Mayor Ardell Brede, local legislators, and other community leaders in announcing a historic Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative. This 20-year public-private partnership is aimed at securing Minnesota’s competitive position as an international hub for health care and medical advancement, and making the Rochester region an economic center for job growth and business development. The state’s $455 million investment in the project over the next two decades will leverage an estimated $5.6 billion in local and private investment, and create tens of thousands of new jobs in Minnesota.

“This initiative will secure Minnesota’s position as one of the world’s premiere destinations to receive medical treatment; it will create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs for Minnesotans and make Rochester an even better place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Governor Dayton. “Those who said that state government should play no role in a project like this are just flat out wrong. This project demonstrates the value state government can bring to the table. By partnering with the private sector, we can accomplish great things together for the people of Minnesota.”

Over the last 150 years, Mayo Clinic has earned an international reputation for excellence in health care and medical advancement, treating more than half a million patients in its Rochester facilities every year. Today, Mayo Clinic is Minnesota’s largest employer, providing good-paying jobs for more than 40,600 Minnesotans, including over 33,000 in Rochester, and generating a $9.6 billion annual economic impact to the State of Minnesota – roughly 4 percent of the state’s total GDP. And each year, Mayo Clinic contributes approximately $1.5 billion in tax revenue to the State of Minnesota and local governments.


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Budget for a Better Minnesota: Investing in the Middle Class

Posted on May 21, 2013 at 11:59 AM
Categories: Budget, Health, Jobs, Education

Governor Dayton and DFL legislative leaders at a post-session press conference

On Tuesday, Governor Dayton and DFL legislative leaders held a press conference to talk about middle class investments made in the Minnesota state budget

The budget passed by Governor Dayton and the DFL legislature puts fairness back in the system.  It strengthens Minnesota’s middle class and our economy by lowering property taxes and making investments in education and job creation to move Minnesota forward.

The budget closes the deficit for the long term and makes spending cuts and reforms.  It pays for new investments in education and job creation by asking the richest 2% of Minnesotans to pay their fair share and closing corporate tax loopholes. 

  • A Historic Investment in Education:  For the first time in its history, Minnesota will offer All-Day Kindergarten to every child in Minnesota.  We are giving thousands of children access to high-quality preschool and child care.  And we are freezing tuition for the next two years at the University of Minnesota and all MnSCU campuses and increasing student financial aid to make higher education more affordable for middle class families. With nearly a billion dollars in new money for education, this budget invests in every learner in Minnesota – from early education through higher education.  This new funding will help give our kids access to a world-class education and train the best-educated workforce in the world. This budget will also eliminate the school shift by the end of the next biennium. [ Read more ]
  • A Growing Economy that Creates Middle Class Jobs – Minnesotans need a strong economy for good jobs, living wages, and a strong middle class. That is why the Governor and the DFL legislature took bold action this session to create jobs, strengthen our infrastructure, and make our state a more competitive place to do business. The budget enacted this session invests in job creation efforts that will leverage billions of dollars in private sector investment in Minnesota’s economy, make our state a more competitive place to do business, and get tens of thousands of Minnesotans back to work.  [ Read more ]
  • Property Tax Relief for Minnesotans – Property taxes have increased by 86% statewide over the past decade, with increases falling hardest on the middle class, seniors, and small businesses. This session, we invested over $441 million in property tax relief for Minnesotans by restoring the state’s commitment to cities, counties, and school districts, and providing direct relief to homeowners and renters. [ Read more ]
  • A Fair Tax System – According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, low-and middle-income Minnesotans pay 20% more of their income in state and local taxes than the wealthiest Minnesotans. In order to honestly resolve our state’s budget deficit, make new investments to strengthen the middle class, and invest over $441 million in property tax relief for Minnesotans, the budget enacted this session asks the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans to pay 2% more in income taxes. With an average income of over $617,000, the richest 2% are the only Minnesotans who are asked to pay more in income taxes. [ Read more ]
  • A Fair and Balanced Budget – A decade of deep cuts, games and gimmicks have caused Minnesota to lurch from one budget crisis to the next; limiting our ability to fund education and job creation. This session, the Governor and DFL legislature put an end to roller-coaster deficits with a fair and balanced budget that puts Minnesota on sound fiscal footing and delivers investments to strengthen the middle class. [ Read more ]

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Governor Dayton Appoints Seven-Member Board to Manage MNsure

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM
Categories: Health

mnsure_board

Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of a seven-member board responsible for managing and operating MNsure – a new health insurance marketplace where Minnesotans can choose quality, affordable health insurance. The board, which was established by law earlier this legislative session, was chosen through the state’s open appointments process from a pool of 112 candidates. Board members will serve staggered four-year terms. With the exception of the Commissioner of Human Services, all members are limited to two terms of service.

“The individuals chosen to serve on this board represent a broad diversity of experience and expertise,” said Governor Dayton. “Their collective breadth of knowledge, and each board member’s shared commitment to the successful development and delivery of this new health care marketplace, will serve the best interests of all Minnesotans.”

According to state law, membership on the board must include representation from outside the seven-county Metro area. One of the six members must have experience representing the needs of vulnerable populations and persons with disabilities. All appointed members of the board have demonstrated that they do not have any conflicts of interest. Board members appointed today by Governor Dayton include:

Thompson Aderinkomi , Founder and CEO, RetraceHealth. Mr. Aderinkomi has more than 14 years of experience helping health care organizations use their data effectively. Currently, he is the founder and CEO of RetraceHealth, which is an innovative technology provider that delivers primary care services to members. He began his career managing the finance department of CareMate Home Healthcare. From there, he performed program evaluations, created predictive models, and studied health insurance reimbursement for Ingenix (which is now Optum Health) and Medica Health Plans. In 2009, Aderinkomi co-founded Evidity, which is a health-care data analytics firm that serves the physician market. He is also serves as the board chair for WATCH MN, a domestic abuse monitoring agency, and as a board member of Youthprise, an education focused group working to increase the quality, accessibility, sustainability, and innovation of opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.

Pete Benner, Independent Consultant. Mr. Benner is a consultant on health care, labor relations, and public policy. Prior to consulting, he worked for many years with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees). Benner is the former Executive Director of AFSCME Council 6, where he was the lead negotiator with the State of Minnesota in designing the insurance benefits for state employees and their families. He also sat on many boards and commissions relating to health care including: Minnesota Health Care Access Commission, Minnesota Health Care Commission, Minnesota Citizen’s Forum on Health Care Costs, Governor’s Health Care Transformation Task Force, Governor’s Health Care Reform Task Force, Minnesota Community Measurement, and the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement.

Brian Beutner, CEO, mPay Gateway. Mr. Beutner is a consultant working with start-ups and their founders as they try to expand their innovative concepts into viable businesses. Until April 2013, Mr. Beutner was the CEO of mPay Gateway, a venture-banked healthcare software company that has developed financial products and services to support healthcare payments. In the past, Mr. Beutner spent seven years with UnitedHealth Group working in various capacities, including General Counsel of UnitedHealthcare. At UnitedHealth Group, he helped found its financial services business and chartered Exante Bank, now Optum Health Bank, which is the first successful bank built by a healthcare company. Mr. Beutner previously served as General Counsel of Jostens and practiced law with Oppenheimer Wolff and Donnelly. Beutner served as an adjunct professor at Hamline University Law School, where he created and taught courses on business and healthcare. He currently serves on the Hamline University School of Law Health Law Institute Advisory Board. Mr. Beutner previously served on the board of directors of the Courage Center Foundation; the foundation is a supporting organization to the Courage Center.

Kathryn Duevel, OBGYN, Affiliated Community Medical Care (retired). Dr. Duevel is an OBGYN physician. She worked at Affiliated Community Medical Centers in Willmar, Minnesota for more than 20 years until June 2012. In addition to her MD degree from the University of MN, she has a Master of Health Care Delivery Science from Dartmouth College. Dr. Duevel was previously a member of the executive board of the MN ACOG(American College of OBGYN) and Rice Memorial Hospital's Medical Staff Executive Committee while also serving as Vice Chief of Staff and Credentials Chair. She currently leads Rice Memorial Hospital’s OB Patient Safety Committee and was a founding board member for the Kandiyohi Area Family YMCA. She has served as a volunteer physician with the Remote Area Medical Women’s Health Program in Guyana, South America and African Medical Mission in South Africa.

Tom Forsythe, Vice President of Global Communications, General Mills. Mr. Forsythe has worked for General Mills for the past 22 years, where he is currently Vice President of Global Communications. He has served as a board member of Twin Cities Public Television, Twin West Chamber of Commerce, the Minnesota State University Board, and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, where he also served for a year as Chairman of the Board. In 1991, Forsythe worked on behalf of the business community advancing health care reform, including the legislation that created Minnesota Care. Forsythe was later appointed by Governor Arne Carlson to the Minnesota Health Care Commission, and by Governor Tim Pawlenty to the Minnesota Health Care Transformation Task Force, where he advocated for market-based, consumer-oriented health care.


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