Hennepin Health newsletter February, 2016


February 2016



Ross Owen

Julie Bluhm
Clinical Program Manager

Jim Redmond
Social service navigator


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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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Hennepin Health incorporates families


It’s time to break out balloons and party hats because Hennepin Health has expanded their healthcare to include families. While Hennepin Health has provided quality care to adults for four years, we are now excited and honored to incorporate services for children as well. 

Since the beginning of 2016 Hennepin Health started working with a small group of families. These families will receive the same integrated services that have made Hennepin Health an innovator in the healthcare field. When providing care, these services consider a patient’s physical health, mental health, and social needs. This integrated care ensures the patient receives the best possible outcome while still managing costs.    

On March 16th Hennepin Health will have an information session for Hennepin County employees to learn about our work, and to continue to identify collaborative opportunities. 

Hennepin Health will meet the opportunity to serve mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons with determination and pride. While we won’t leave members with a balloon or a piece of cake, we will leave them with peace of mind knowing that they are receiving the best possible care.    

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Population Health Grand Rounds promotes shared learning, develops relationships

On medical TV shows such as ER or Grey’s Anatomy, complex health problems are resolved through dramatic meetings between the doctors and nurses. The medical staff will flip through charts of a dying patient while asking each other questions and re-examining pertinent information. Within their spirited conversations some revelation about the illness or patient comes to light that provides a just-in-time solution, and everyone walks away happily ever after.

These meetings between hospital staff can be presented as quite fanciful. Despite that, they underscore a critical idea about the importance of sharing information. In healthcare, when professionals communicate with each other, they provide higher-quality services to patients. That connection is the basis for Hennepin County’s Population Health Grand Rounds. 


Population health is an approach to patient care that focuses on the health outcomes of a group of people. Hennepin Health has helped pioneer this approach, and Hennepin County is moving towards it as a lens for treating its entire population.

Population Health Grand Rounds are hour-long meetings where employees across Hennepin County and Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) share information about a specific topic and develop relationships. Employees who attend include administrators, doctors, data professionals, social workers, and housing navigators. 

“We are not a bunch of separate departments,” said Ross Owen, a co-sponsor of Population Health Grand Rounds. “We are part of a forward-thinking and innovative network of care that includes healthcare providers and other professionals.”  

Unlike typical hospital rounds, these meetings don’t focus on individual patients. Instead, they focus on macro issues such as interpreting data, learning about different models of care, and health care reform. They will occur five times in 2016 at various county locations.      

Dana Soderlund presented the first topic, titled “HCMC Patients with Homeless Indicators at Discharge.” Ms. Soderlund described standard methods used to identify homelessness, and shared analysis regarding characteristics, utilization, and readmission rates for such patients. 



“Homelessness has risen as an important determinant of care,” she stated. “Emergency Department utilization among the homeless is much higher than with the general population.”

Looking at homelessness and other topics as a collective group allows Hennepin County health professionals to develop a shared understanding of a particular problem. With that shared understanding they can brainstorm ideas and discuss solutions across departments. In a way, group members are flipping through charts to save not just one patient, but many.

While future topics have yet to be finalized, their focus will be on how to reform the healthcare system from one that treats sickness to one that creates health. Topics might include outcomes for healthcare utilization and cost, or examining housing and corrections information. 

Regardless of the topic, Population Health Grand Rounds will engage Hennepin County healthcare professionals in a unified discussion. These discussions won’t provide immediate revelations that save a patient like an ending to Grey’s Anatomy. They will, however, provide gradual improvement to the entire healthcare system which will impact many, many people. That is an outcome more dramatic than even the best medical TV show.   

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Hennepin County Mental Health Center adds primary care


The Hennepin County Mental Health Center and Bob Dylan may seem an odd combination, but both have a similarly expressed belief: that the times they are a-changing. For Bob that phrase echoed through the 1960s as a call for social change. For the Hennepin County Mental Health Center the phrase is more focused in scope, but equally important, as it reflects their continued innovative changes to mental health care. 

Hennepin County Mental Health Center’s most recent innovation is adding a primary care physician to their mental health clinic. The center, which serves over 4000 people, recognized that many of their patients showed difficulty in navigating the health care system. 

To assist these patients Hennepin Health provided funding for a primary care physician, an RN care coordinator, and renovated space. By integrating primary care with mental health care, both Hennepin Health and the Hennepin County Mental Health Center planned to help patients reduce emergency department visits for basic medical needs, reduce inpatient hospitalizations, and improve their physical health.   


In June, the center brought in a primary care physician two days a week to address these needs. Now patients are able to access a primary care physician, psychiatrists, a nursing staff, care coordinators, and a pharmacist all in one setting. According to Amber Morgan, an RN care coordinator, the Hennepin County Mental Health Center provides the best care possible. “People love having services in one spot,” she said. “They find it comfortable.”

Patients find it so comfortable that the center is expanding their services. The center plans to have a primary care physician on-site for 40 hours per week. They are bringing in another physician and building two larger offices to accommodate this service. The old office will be turned into a lab room.


Improving the level of patient care is nothing new for the Hennepin County Mental Health Center. In 2014 they recognized that patient volume exceeded resources. To solve this problem they implemented a drop-in program that helped patients maintain psychiatric services while allowing the center to use their resources more judiciously. As a result they received a Model Practice award from the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

While many providers cap the number of people they serve, The Hennepin County Mental Health Center does not. The center is a safety-net program that sees mental health patients who are not eligible for services elsewhere. They meet the many needs of these patients, and do so with great flexibility.   

Hennepin County Mental Health Center’s innovative approach to services better serves people with mental health needs. When Bob Dylan sang about the importance of changing times, it’s easy to imagine that this is part of what he meant.     

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