Member newsletter - February 2021

hennepin health member newsletter


February 2021

In this issue:

February is American Heart Month


The National Institutes of Health’s American Heart Month raises awareness about heart health and urges you to take action to prevent heart disease.

You can live a heart-healthy lifestyle when you:

  • Choose heart-healthy foods
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  •  Manage your stress
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Quit smoking
  • Get enough quality sleep
  • Check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels

Learn more about American Heart Month

Healthwise® Knowledgebase has healthy heart information

Hennepin Health members will find many articles in the Healthwise Knowledgebase online health resource to learn about their heart and how to keep it healthy. A couple of topics are:

  • Is high blood pressure a big deal? It could be a sign that you are at greater risk of a stoke or heart attack. The good news is that there are many ways to treat high blood pressure.
  • Walking is the best thing you can do for your heart. Walking helps your heart become stronger and lowers your blood pressure. Starting slow is okay – a little is better than none.

Read more about these and other healthy heart topics at

heart health month

Medicaid benefit for housing


A Medicaid benefit can help members find or keep housing. This benefit, called Housing Stabilization Services, is available to members with disabilities or who are most likely to experience homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

Minnesota is first to offer Housing Stabilization Services as part of the basic Medicaid program. Housing Stabilization Services are for people with disabilities, including mental illness and substance abuse disorder, as well as older adults who are homeless or living in an institution. Having a safe place to live affects every aspect of a person’s life, including lowering their risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus. Including Housing Stabilization Services in the state’s Medicaid program recognizes the connection between health and stable housing.

More than 100 providers now offer Housing Stabilization Services. Some Hennepin Health members may qualify for this program. Call Member Services at 612-596-1036 for more information.

medicaid housing

Opioid epidemic worsens during COVID-19


The opioid epidemic has gotten worse in Hennepin County during COVID-19. From January through August 2020, there have been 181 opioid related deaths. In 2019, there were 160.

The COVID pandemic has made life harder for people with substance use disorders.

  • Treatment and support services have been disrupted. People can’t visit clinics for methadone and other addition medications. Some rehab facilities have limited new clients, cancelled programs or closed doors.
  • Staying away from others increases the risk for addiction and prevents people from attending support groups.
  • Staying away from others may increase the risk of overdose deaths. Using alone means no one is nearby in the event of an overdose. Responses to 911 calls may be slower because of an overloaded health care system.
  • People are more likely to use opioids when experiencing traumatic events.

Opioid addiction help is available

Hennepin County remained focused on opioids despite COVID-19. All essential health services are still in operation, including naloxone distribution and needle exchange. Hennepin County’s Health Care for the Homeless and Public Health Clinics still serve patients. Hennepin County detox and treatment providers still work, using telemedicine so that people can safely access group, clinic, and medical treatments.

The Red Door Clinic offers clean needles and other supplies at no cost. The Red Door Clinic also offers naloxone (Narcan), a medication that can prevent an opioid overdose.

The Sheriff’s Office offers online training on how to properly give naloxone. To schedule a training, email The Sheriff’s Office can also mail you a medical disposal bag (Deterra bag) you can use at home (email

More Hennepin County treatment resources:

February is Children's Dental Health Month


Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Children who develop good habits at an early age and schedule regular dental visits get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

Healthy smile tips:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Clean between your teeth daily.
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral diseases.

You can find fun coloring and activity sheets for your kids in English or Spanish at the ADA Children’s Dental Health Month website.

What you can do

Schedule: In Hennepin County, dentists are open and accepting appointments. If you don’t currently have a dentist, you can find one online in the member provider directory.

Earn: You can get rewarded for staying up-to-date with dental health. Members can earn a $25 gift card for an annual dental visit by a network dentist. Read more about the awards program online.

Learn: Use the Healthwise® Knowledgebase online tool ( to find out more about dental health care.

childrens dental month

Annual member satisfaction survey


Every year the Minnesota Department of Human Services asks our members about their experience with Hennepin Health and their health care providers. Hennepin Health uses this information to improve health care services.

The survey – called the Adult Consumer Satisfaction Survey (CAHPS®) – was randomly sent out to 1,350 Hennepin Health members the second week of January. Be on the lookout for a white envelope from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Survey Processing Center. If you receive a survey, please fill it out and return it by March 25.

Contact Member Services at 612-596-1036 with questions or if you need assistance.

Vaccinate your kids


Vaccinations, or shots, is one of the best weapons you have against a number of serious diseases. Many deadly diseases – like chickenpox, measles, polio or whooping cough – can be prevented through vaccines.

Staying current with your child’s shots during the COVID-19 pandemic will help prevent disease outbreaks that could over-burden our health-care system.
Read more about vaccinations at the Minnesota Department of Health website.

Child and Teen Checkups

Checkups are free and can earn you rewards ( Children and teens should get health checks at these milestones:

  • Between birth and 1 month
  • At 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 24, 30, and 36 months
  • Every year after age 3 through age 20

C&T checkups

Enrollee Advisory Committee update


The Enrollee Advisory Committee (EAC), who are Hennepin Health members, met on December 17. Members discussed the following topics:

  • EAC membership and the EAC charter
  • Services offered by the county’s Office of Multicultural Services (OMS) with guest speaker Jillian Kyles
  • COVID-19 updates and Q&A with Hennepin Health’s Dr. Marc Manley
  • Hennepin Health’s Facebook launch and website refresh
  • The annual member satisfaction survey (CAHPS®)

Committee members were glad to learn about the many services offered by OMS. OMS has health access specialists who work with under- or uninsured county residents. OMS also has immigrant advocates, interpreter services, and social workers who speak English, Somali and Spanish.

The EAC gives feedback on overall health care issues, new programs and changes in procedures. Group feedback reflects the priorities and interests of members.

March is National Colon Cancer Month

National Colon Cancer Month is set every March to spread awareness about colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is a cancer in the colon and/or rectum. Most colon cancers start as a polyp that is an abnormal growth inside the colon or rectum. Some polyps may become cancerous if not removed. Colorectal cancer is treatable when discovered early.

colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer death. It affects men and women of all racial and ethnic groups. This disease takes the lives of more than 50,000 people every year.
Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Screening (testing) is the best way you can prevent it. Colorectal cancer is highly treatable if caught early.

To highlight awareness, Friday, March 5 is Dress in Blue Day. Participants are encouraged to wear their favorite blue clothing, post their selfies and share the "Get Checked Screening Pledge".

To find out more about colorectal cancer visit:

Learn more with Healthwise Knowledgebase


The Hennepin Health Healthwise Knowledgebase online health tool has lots of information to help you learn about health conditions and how to treat them. Some topics you can research include:

  • Glaucoma – January was Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the U.S. Early detection and treatment can protect your sight.
  • HPV and cervical cancer – January was Cervical Health Awareness Month. Each year more than 13,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is preventable with vaccination and screening.

Learn more, in English or Spanish, at


COVID-19 updates


New COVID-19 quarantine and isolation calculator

Have you recently been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19? This new calculator will help you decide if you need to quarantine or isolate and for how long:

Get tested

If you have symptoms, or if you don’t have symptoms but think you’ve been exposed, you should get tested. Call your doctor or find a community testing site near you. Try these COVID websites:

COVID-19 vaccine information

Minnesota’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out is underway. Because there is a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines in Minnesota, information about who can be vaccinated and where they should go to get the vaccine could change frequently. You can go online for the latest information and read more about the state's vaccination plan

Vaccine FAQs

Find answers to your commonly asked vaccination questions:

Vaccine FAQs are also available in other languages at the link above.

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