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Continued: In a year, Hennepin Health improves care for poor, keeps costs down

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: May 18, 2013 - 12:04 AM

McClary is among them. In the past couple of years, he moved from a homeless shelter to an apartment. He needs to move again, he said, because he cannot navigate the 15 stairs to his apartment. “I’m a mess,” he said. “I can walk a block, but then I have to sit down.”

To further help patients like him, Hennepin Health next will improve care coordination and data analysis. Other plans: a sobering center to staunch the overflow of detox patients to the emergency room, interim housing for medically complex patients, vocational support, and behavioral health and psychiatric counseling.

The dearth of psychiatrists to serve these patients has been a major concern. On a first visit, a patient might get a 30-day supply of meds, but then have to wait six weeks to see a psychiatrist. DeCubellis said “real-time consulting” is a goal to quickly diagnose and stabilize patients.

The Hennepin Health model can be replicated, Leitz said. For instance, 12 southwestern Minnesota counties have banded together to administer Medicaid. “We’re very interested in supporting those types of models,” he said. “What works in Hennepin might not necessarily work in southwestern Minnesota.”

Meanwhile, McClary is hanging on, and credits the county with doing the best it can for him. “I’m not complaining,” he said.


Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747 @rochelleolson

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    • Adults ages 21 to 64 with no dependent children at home.

    • They have incomes at or below 75 percent of the federal poverty guideline ($8,124 a year for one person).

    • Almost half are chemically dependent.

    • A third have more than one chronic disease.

    • A third have unstable housing situations.

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