Hennepin Health Newsletter June 2015


June 2015



Ross Owen

Julie Bluhm
Clinical Program Manager

Lori Imsdahl


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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.


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for more information.

Housing Navigation Results

RS Eden

Since its launch, Hennepin Health staff and members have consistently identified lack of housing as a top health barrier. Consequently, housing homeless or precariously housed members is a priority.

When care coordination teams identify a medically complex or frequently-hospitalized member who is experiencing homelessness or is precariously housed, they make a referral to Hennepin Health’s Social Service Navigation Team. Through relationships with community-based housing providers, the navigators assess each member’s situation and match them to available supportive housing options.

In June 2015, Hennepin Health’s data analyst looked at 123 members who were housed by Hennepin Health’s Social Service Navigation Team between 2012 and mid-2014 and analyzed their rates of emergency department (ED), psychiatric emergency department (APS), and inpatient hospital admissions, and outpatient clinic visits one year prior to and one year following their housing placement.

Evaluation methodology

  • Utilization rates are reported on a per 1000 member month basis, and the pre- and post-periods are each 12 months in duration
  • All outcomes are calculated from electronic health record (EHR) data



Hennepin Health members housed through housing navigation services saw significant reductions in acute care utilization following placement.

  • Members were admitted to a hospital 16% less often after placement in housing
  • Members visited the emergency department 35% less often after placement in housing
  • Members visited the psychiatric emergency department 18% less often after placement in housing
  • Members received outpatient clinic visits (including primary care) 21% more often after placement in housing

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Site Visit

site visit

On June 15, Hennepin Health and Hennepin County Medical Center were honored to host colleagues from the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, Centrahealth, Virginia Commonwealth University, New York University School of Medicine, National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and the American Board of Family Medicine.

Attendees enjoyed a morning of presentation and discussion with a variety of Hennepin Health team members, followed by a tour of Hennepin County Medical Center’s Coordinated Care Center (CCC) and Hennepin Health Access Clinic — and observation of an inter-disciplinary team meeting.

Many of the participants were visiting Minneapolis for the 2015 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting (ARM) – the nation’s largest health services research conference. Hennepin Health was represented at this meeting in two panel presentations on community health and accountable care, serving as a model that others are interested in replicating nationally.

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New Hennepin Health Team Member


In May 2015, Renee Levesque became Hennepin Health’s Social Service Navigation Team supervisor. Renee comes from Touchstone Mental Health, where she served as the director of Targeted Case Management and Intensive Community Rehabilitation Services. Renee’s worked on multidisciplinary teams and with vulnerable populations — two Hennepin Health mainstays — her whole career.

Renee is attracted to Hennepin Health’s innovation, and the program’s long-term, holistic approach to health. A self-described “fiscal conservative” she also admires Hennepin Health’s attempts to reduce unnecessary health care expenditures — while increasing client health and well-being.

Renee will focus on building more efficiency into Hennepin Health processes.

One of Renee’s revelations from working in the human service field is that everyone is complex and “relevant.” “You see people [as they are] in that moment,” she said. “But I’ve learned that if you listen to people with empathy you find that everyone has a story, everyone comes from some place, and everyone has dreams, feelings, and goals that they want to achieve.”

You can contact her at Renee.Levesque@hennepin.us

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Trauma Informed Care Series

Trauma Informed Care (TIC) is the belief that a quality health care, human services and/or social safety net organization needs to address the impact of trauma on every person in that organization. Hennepin Health supports trauma informed care and is committed to working with its clinics and providers to implement TIC principles.

For the past few months, each issue of the Hennepin Health newsletter has featured one of the seven TIC domains. We share practical ways to implement that domain and showcase examples of current work that supports it. This issue focuses on Domain #3.

Domain #3: Nurturing a trauma informed and responsive workforce, Part Two -- Recognizing the impact of secondary trauma on caregivers.

We can’t practice trauma informed care without addressing the impact of trauma on ourselves. Working in a caregiving environment comes with an emotional cost that can lead to personal and professional consequences. This installment will address the impact of secondary trauma — and offer coping strategies.

To begin: What is the emotional cost of caring for clients and patients?

Burnout, compassion fatigue, secondary trauma and vicarious trauma are all terms that describe the impact of working in a caregiving environment. Ironically, those who bring the most empathy and passion to their work are often the most at risk — because when we put our whole selves into work, it can be difficult to find a balance between helping others and caring for ourselves.

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, founder and director of the Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others, calls the concept of caring for people who are suffering “trauma stewardship.” Her book is a great resource as is her TED talk on the subject. 


We can use the following steps to assess our vulnerability to secondary trauma, determine the impact of our work, and make positive changes in our lives:

1. Understand and accept our vulnerability.

The first step is simple: awareness. Knowing that we are vulnerable to being impacted by our work can go a long way towards prevention. If we aren’t aware of this, the symptoms below may be scary and cause us to intervene in ways that don’t address the root of our distress.

2. Understand the symptoms. Individuals impacted by caregiving work may experience:

  • Emotional: stress, anxiety, numbness
  • Intrusive cognitions: thoughts, images, nightmares, dreams
  • Perceptual cognitions: altered worldview, memory loss, loss of interest, jaded
  • Physiological: depression, headaches, digestive problems, low energy
  • Behavioral: being tearful, over-reactive, numb, forgetful, sleepy, nervous, excessive substance use, withdraw socially, judgmental, unsympathetic 
  • Interpersonal: codependency, isolation from others, loss of trust, loss of interest in sex, loss of intimacy, blaming others, family problems

Check out this professional quality of life inventory online.

3. Understand preventative and reactive coping strategies.

Achieve balance:

  • Learn to balance the needs of our clients, agency and self: Pressures resulting from work frequently compete with the time we have to take care of ourselves. Often we choose work. Do this too much and we will lose balance and effectiveness in all areas. 
  • Recognize when our self-care system is not working: Most of us can list sources of self-care, but are we really utilizing them? And do they really work for us?
  • Recognize our own positive and negative coping behaviors: Understanding what helps and hurts is an important first step towards creating a self-care plan that works.
  • Commitment to personal replenishment: This is hard, but crucial. We need to be replenished. The activities that accomplish this may feel indulgent and selfish, but that’s how we know they’re working. 

Make changes to how we work:

  • Avoid grouping emotionally stressful tasks together: Think about the tasks we put off doing. The energy we put into that avoidance stays with us throughout the day and distracts us from the good things. Do those tasks throughout the day or week, proactively, and we’ll feel much better. 
  • Plan breaks throughout the workday and follow through: When we are able to take a break, TAKE A BREAK. Walk outside for fresh air, take a couple of deep breaths. 
  • Stretch throughout the day to reduce tension build-up.
  • Answer “let me think about this” rather than automatically accepting new tasks.
  • Take professional development and training opportunities: Stepping away to learn new information will increase our motivation and camaraderie with others.
  • Get involved with our community in another area of the field or a related cause: For example, if we work with children who are sick or dying it can be easy to forget that many survive and are healthy and happy. Attend a survivor’s event or walk to experience this.

4. Get help: Employee Assistance Programs

The July newsletter’s trauma informed care installment will focus on management and organizational strategies.

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Member Spotlight: Lafonso Rollins -- Part Two

This is part two of a two-part series Lafonso Rollins. Read part 1 here.

Part 2: Post-Prison

On July 12, 2004, in an Illinois courtroom, a judge exonerated 28-year-old Lafonso Rollins of raping a 78-year-old woman.

Rollins had been charged with the rape in January 1993 — and he served 4,193 days of a 75-year prison sentence. He might have been in prison even longer had it not been for "Bull," a fellow inmate who helped Rollins draft a post-conviction relief petition and a motion for DNA testing.

Ultimately Rollins was assigned a public defender and obtained DNA test results — which were not made available during his original trial. The results excluded Rollins as the perpetrator of the sexual assault. He was released from prison in July 2004.

John Gorman, a spokesman for the Cook County State’s Attorney's office told the Chicago Tribune that after the judge read the not guilty verdict, “It was one of the only times I have seen a public defender and prosecutor hug each other.”

Minutes after that hug, Rollins left the courtroom. But the moment was bittersweet. Rollins had nowhere to go and no one to greet him, because most of his relatives had died shortly before, or while, he was in prison.

In early 2006, Rollins filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago. The suit alleged that Rollins falsely confessed to the rape because city police detectives used “excessive force, intimidation, threats and misrepresentations.”

Rollins eventually agreed to a settlement after his defense discovered documents that revealed the Chicago Police Crime Laboratory had improperly handled his case.


After the settlement, Rollins purchased a condo near West Madison Street and North Oakley Boulevard. But he soon encountered other “prisons.”

One of these prisons, said Rollins, was his “institutionalized mentality.” He wishes he’d used his settlement money to “travel the world”; instead he holed up inside his condo. It took him a year after he was released to feel comfortable outdoors.

Rollins’ family was another thing he had to contend with. Shortly after his release, Rollins went to visit his younger sister. He was horrified when he saw her neck. She’d been stabbed with glass, and had over 150 stitches. “These are the impacts of my life,” he said of that image, which won’t go away. “These are my demons.”

Ironically, Rollins’ newfound wealth was the biggest prison. Many “friends” wanted his settlement money, and he was hounded incessantly. People even “stormed” his condo.

When Rollins’ mentor advised him to leave Chicago, he moved to Georgia. And, according to him, “From there, I got lost.”


“I regret losing myself,” Rollins says now, of the next eight years, during which time he lived in Georgia, Florida, Illinois, and Minnesota. “I learned that money can’t solve everything.”

While Rollins made charitable donations to the Innocence Project (an organization that helps exonerate wrongfully convicted individuals) and to Chicago’s Pilgrim Baptist Church (which had been devastated by a 2006 fire) other money was squandered. It went to things that ultimately made him anxious and alienated.

In Georgia, “I spent my time in a Best Buy parking lot,” Rollins recalled, “because it was a place where no one would expect me to be. Everything was negative.”

Recently, Rollins relocated to Minnesota, where he’s struggled with substance abuse and anxiety. A few months ago, he joined Hennepin Health.


In 2015, Hennepin Health strengthened its relationship with chemical dependency and mental health treatment facilities like Park Avenue CenterRS Eden, NuWay, and Anchor House.

Some of these facilities are now — with member permission — sending Hennepin Health the names of people who are in the facilities and due to transition out. After receiving these referrals, Hennepin Health social service navigators reach out to the members in advance of their transition. 

DeAnna Hayden, a Hennepin Health social service navigator, explains the goal: “If we can catch people before they’re actually discharged we can try to meet some of their social service needs so that when they get discharged they don’t end up, say, back in the shelter — or get out and don’t have anything lined up in terms of follow-up care.”

Hayden connected to Rollins through this transition process. She helped him obtain a chemical dependency assessment and get into an outpatient treatment program. She also helped place Rollins in a studio apartment that Hennepin Health leases from the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority.

Today, Rollins participates in Hennepin Health’s ED In Reach program, a collaboration with RESOURCE Chemical and Mental Health. Holly Sandefer, the RESOURCE social worker who facilitates the program, provides targeted case management to Hennepin Health members who are frequent users of the emergency room and other crisis care.

Rollins visited the emergency department four times in the two months before he started working with Sandefer. Since joining ED In Reach, he’s only been to the emergency department once; since being housed he has not visited the emergency department at all.


On May 20, Hayden and Sandefer visited Rollins at his apartment.

That day, Rollins told Hayden and Sandefer that he desires more social connections and would like to be a motivational speaker. He wants to “get involved,” “to be part of something,” but he isn’t sure how to take the next step. He shared stories from his life, revealing a penchant for spoken word poetry, and questioned whether his past experiences can take him from Point A to Point B.

“You’ve learned phenomenal life lessons that some people never get in their whole life,” Sandefer assured him. “You have a voice that’s really important for other people to hear.”

Added Hayden, “The person you are and the attitude you have is astounding.”

If you know of motivational speaking opportunities for Rollins, email DeAnna.Hayden@hennepin.us

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