Hennepin Health Newsletter: January 2015


January 2015



Ross Owen
Deputy Director

Julie Bluhm
Clinical Program Manager

Lori Imsdahl
Operations Coordinator


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Hennepin Health is an innovative health care delivery program that was launched in January 2012.

The program is a collaboration between Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center (NorthPoint), Metropolitan Health Plan (MHP), and Human Services and Public Health Department (HSPHD) of Hennepin County.

Hennepin Health members receive care from a multidisciplinary care coordination team. Other innovative features include a common electronic health record, and tiered care that is based upon a member’s identified needs.

Find eligibility and enrollment information at the MNsure website.


For more information about Hennepin Health visit www.hennepin.us/ healthcare

2014 Highlights


Thanks for supporting Hennepin Health in 2014. Here are a few of our accomplishments:

Quarter 1

Quarter 2

  • Won a Supporting the Safety Net Award from the Association of Community Affiliated Plans
  • Received a grant from the Minneapolis Foundation to partner with Rise, Inc., to provide employment services to people in the Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility
  • Redefined the role of the primary coordinator, a person who helps Hennepin Health members link to and navigate the health care system
  • Expanded the Hennepin Health social services navigation team  


Quarter 3


Quarter 4


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2015 Reinvestment Initiatives

In 2015, Hennepin Health is sponsoring eight reinvestment initiatives. Throughout the year, we’ll highlight each of these projects in our newsletter. A brief synopsis is below. For more information, please contact lori.imsdahl@hennepin.us

  • Hennepin Health Social Worker in the APS: A social worker in Hennepin County Medical Center’s Acute Psychiatric Services will work to prevent unnecessary admissions.
  • Employment Pays Housing Navigation: A housing navigator from St. Stephen’s Human Services will help clients in Hennepin Health’s Employment Pays program find housing.
  • Care Coordination at the Mental Health Center: A behavioral health nurse will provide care coordination at the Hennepin County Mental Health Center.
  • NorthPoint Hennepin Health Patient Care Initiative: NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center will expand health education, health coaching and care coordination, and will continue 2014 dental and outreach initiatives.
  • Community Paramedic at Harbor Light: Hennepin County Medical Center will embed two community paramedics at Harbor Light shelter to address residents’ medical issues and to prevent unnecessary ambulance runs and emergency department visits.
  • Primary Care at the Mental Health Center: A part-time internal medicine physician will provide primary care services at Hennepin County Mental Health Center.
  • Addiction Medicine Consultation Service: Hennepin County Medical Center will develop an inpatient medicine consultation service to meet the needs of patients with substance use disorders and to support health care providers who treat these patients. 

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Member Spotlight: Elizabeth ("Betsy")


On January 12, 2014, Betsy was at a bar in Factoryville, Pennsylvania, when a patron with a radio scanner approached. “There are reports that your trailer is on fire,” he said. Betsy was incredulous; her trailer was only a mile from the bar and she hadn’t been gone an hour. Her thoughts turned to Morgan, her 13-year-old cat, who she’d let inside the trailer as she was leaving.

It was cold and snowing as Betsy rushed home. As she neared Tall Timber Trailer Park, her fears were realized. The sky was illuminated by flames and by the lights of fire trucks and ambulances. Betsy’s trailer, where she’d lived on and off for 15 years, was ablaze and ultimately unsalvageable. But the bigger loss was Morgan, who Betsy describes as “a crusty old man” — a cat who’d hiss at anyone who visited Betsy’s trailer, but adored her.

“A fireman found Morgan in a hallway, took him out, and gave him CPR, but he died due to smoke inhalation,” said Betsy, beginning to cry. “I don’t remember the next few days.”



Prior to the fire, Betsy worked in the home health and hospice industry for 25 years, but lost her job in 2009 when her company shut down. “That was the beginning of everything going downhill,” she recalls. Without her company’s health insurance plan, Betsy stopped taking medications and receiving treatment for her rapid-cycling bipolar and severe panic attacks — conditions she’s struggled with since she was 13.

Another issue that went untreated: alcoholism. For decades, a typical day for Betsy consisted of coming home from work in the morning (she worked the night shift) and pouring her first drink at around 8 a.m. She’d continue to drink — usually eight to 10 glasses of wine or vodka — until she passed out. Then she’d sleep until it was time to wake up and go to work again.

The constant drinking took its toll. Betsy went to treatment twice and was hospitalized again and again for cardiac arrhythmias, low electrolytes, and more.

“I needed alcohol as much as I needed air. It wasn’t a choice; I had to have alcohol to live,” Betsy said.   


After the fire, Betsy’s drinking intensified. For a time, she moved in with her ex-husband, but later she decided to leave the state. “There was no hope [in my life],” she said.

When Betsy began hitchhiking out of Pennsylvania in July 2014, she didn’t have a specific destination in mind. “I just planned to go somewhere south because I assumed I was going to be homeless,” she said. While on the road, Betsy called her younger sister, a resident of Bloomington, Minnesota; the sister convinced Betsy to come live with her.   

At a rest stop in Pennsylvania, Betsy met a truck driver who was headed to Minnesota. “He didn’t ask me too many questions,” Betsy said. “I just told him I was coming to see my sister.” The driver dropped Betsy off in Bloomington on July 17.

Shortly thereafter, Betsy’s sister connected her to Hennepin County’s network of medical, behavioral health, and social services. “Very slowly, they put me back together,” Betsy said.

Since September, Betsy’s been on Hennepin Health. She receives care at the Hennepin County Mental Health Center — from Amber Morgan, R.N., and Natalie Hopfield, LICSW — and at Hennepin County Medical Center’s Richfield Clinic, where she sees Dana Barr, M.D. She also works with Hennepin Health’s social services navigation team. “If it weren’t for Hennepin Health, I’d be dead by now,” she concluded.

Two recent events may change her life even more. Amber Morgan connected Betsy to Naltrexone (Revia), a drug that’s helped her taper off alcohol. And DeAnna Hayden, a member of Hennepin Health’s social services navigation team, found Betsy an apartment in a group residential housing facility in Minneapolis’ Whittier neighborhood; she moves into the unit on January 27.

When asked about her future plans, Betsy said, “I want to get settled in and I want to give back.” Then pausing, “And maybe someday I’ll get a cat again.” 

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Professional Boundaries Training

In February, Hennepin Health is hosting a three-hour training on professional boundaries at the Minneapolis Central Library. Details are below. If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP to lori.imsdahl@hennepin.us before Wednesday, February 18.

When: Monday, February 23 2015, from 9 a.m. to noon

Where: Minneapolis Central Library (300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis)

Pohlad Hall Auditorium (2nd floor of the library)

Training Description:

Participants will be able to describe and identify a boundary issue and name some basic strategies to navigate them. The class explores the typical background of clients in mental health programs and what this means in relation to boundaries and ethics. It examines the differences and similarities between boundary crossings and violations as well as the nature of the therapeutic alliance and relationships with clients. A basic ethical decision-making procedure is presented. 

Trainer Bio:

Russ Turner, MA, MS, is the training manager for People Incorporated Mental Health Services, the largest mental health organization in Minnesota. In the last eight years he has developed and taught a curriculum of training classes for mental health practitioners and rehabilitation workers. He believes that adults learn best when they are challenged, the material is applicable to “real life,” and sessions are interactive and engaging.

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