Regional News in Review - November 2011

Caregivers stage protests

Caregivers from Dellwood Place and Bethesda Care Center, two Cerenity nursing homes slated for closure in November, rallied Oct. 12 at Dellwood Place with community supporters from across the Twin Cities to stand up for seniors, the disabled, and long-term care workers.

During a week that the Congressional “Super Committee” was expected to discuss proposals to make drastic cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and public services, those at the rally demanded that major banks and “the top 1%” pay their fair share of taxes to protect public services like quality care for our disabled and elderly.

“These closures will force our residents, who have lived in the community for decades, to move away from their neighborhood and family members,” said Calvin Cooper, a janitor at Dellwood Place. “The big banks crashed our economy and foreclosed on our homes. Now, the continued refusal of the top 1% to pay their fair share of taxes is causing budget cuts and closures of our state’s nursing homes. It’s time to stop being bullied by the big banks and Wall St. and start standing up for dignity for seniors and workers.”

At the rally caregivers and community supporters signed goodbye cards to residents at Dellwood Place Care Center, which is one of two Cerenity care centers slated to be shut down in the coming months. The Cerenity closures follow in a string of nursing home closures caused by callous budget cuts that were required after the state’s richest residents refused to pay their fair share of taxes. [Source: SEIU]

 

Medicaid demonstration to start

Hennepin County is proposing a Medicaid demonstration project—Hennepin Health—to test an innovative approach to delivering medical, behavioral health and human services to clients in the county’s “safety net,” who tend to have poor health outcomes and be high users of county services. 

Hennepin will be negotiating with the Minnesota Department of Human Services to develop the plan and a new payment model. All members of Hennepin Health will be adults without children enrolled in Medicaid who earn annually less than $8,172 for a single person or $11,040 for a married couple.

Hennepin Health will develop new protocols and eliminate barriers for people on Medicaid who use the county’s systems, primarily Hennepin County Medical Center, NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center, Human Services and Public Health Department and Metropolitan Health Plan Hennepin is in a unique position, said Jennifer DeCubellis, area director for Human Services and Public Health Department and director of the project.

“The county has a cooperative network, which includes a hospital, a health care center, a system of social workers and behavioral health experts, and a managed care organization. By blending medical, behavioral health and social services in a patient-centered care model—and managing the dollars—we should reduce costs and impacts on other systems such as law enforcement, corrections, the courts and community agencies.” If successful, Hennepin Health could be replicated in other parts of the country.

The four core partners have collaborated extensively over the development of this model and have initiated similar collaborations and planning sessions with extended partnerships, including community agencies and other health centers.

Hennepin County Board Chair Mike Opat said, “We know that medical problems need to be addressed alongside social, behavioral and human services needs. Coordinating those services reduces costly, unsatisfactory results—for the client, for providers and for the county, which ends up paying for care.”

By addressing all the issues and creating a coordinated, comprehensive care plan, costs should be reduced and health outcomes and client satisfaction improved. “We need to end the cycle of costly crisis care,” Opat said. “Hennepin Health is innovative because it truly blends social, behavioral and medical services.”  [Source: Hennepin County]

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